Since we launched the Vero 4K in February 2017, we’ve been shipping Linux 3.14 to support this hardware. In 2018, we modernised the media stack by backporting Linux 4.9 drivers to this 3.14 kernel, which enabled us to support a wider variety of DVB tuners.
Linux 3.14 has been end of life for some time. As part of our commitment to long term support, we’d like to move to a more modern kernel and take advantage of a number of upstream improvements from the system-on-chip (SoC) vendor. We have brought up a 4.9 kernel for Vero 4K and Vero 4K +. This kernel is supported upstream until January 2023 and by the SoC vendor until the end of 2020. The SoC vendor have also finished working on a 4.19 kernel for an upcoming Android BSP release. One of the reasons why this update has taken so long is because we have backported these 4.19 changes to our 4.9 kernel. This allows us to keep in sync with upstream changes from the SoC vendor and build an off-ramp for the future of video acceleration in Kodi, which will use V4L2 M2M decoding with a GBM rendering backend. We will then move to a 5.x kernel.
There are a number of significant improvements, but the main ones you can expect from this update are:
- Added support for Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) video output
- Added support for full HDR10 metadata output (MaxFALL/MaxCLL metadata is now passed through)
- Added support for HDR10+ dynamic metadata, with fallbacks to HDR10 or SDR where appropriate
- Improved 3D MVC support to resolve stuttering issues when playing clips with an NTSC flag
- Improved video playback:
- Decoder microcode updates
- Solved some issues playing back some problematic clips
- Improved WiFi driver performance for Vero 4K / Vero 4K +
- Updated GPU driver, which should yield improved GUI performance
- HDR to SDR tonemapping for those watching HDR content on SDR only displays
- Initial Hi10 decode support (work in progress)
- Reduced system temperatures under load
Known issues (will be added as discovered / reported)
- This kernel does not utilise backported media drivers. Our 3.14 kernel had drivers backported from 4.9 and users were relatively happy with this; so in the interim we are using the drivers that are available in tree. If there is demand and regressions can be mitigated, then we will look at backporting media drivers from Linux 5.x to this kernel.
- Fixed an issue preventing NFS kernel support from working
- Improved thermal stability on Vero 4K/4K+
- Fixed interlace output
- Improved playback of M2TS files
- Fixed some stability issues with crashes during playback (sad faces)
Please note that the only way to downgrade after installing this is to reinstall OSMC; unless you really know what you are doing. Please take a backup of any important data before testing.
We expect there will be some issues and corner cases with this release. For us to improve this kernel further and ready it for general release, we need feedback. As always, full debug logs when a situation arises will be helpful.
This kernel (and supporting packages) have been made available via a separate APT repository until it is deemed stable enough to be included in the staging repository, followed by being included in a stable release.
To test this update:
- Ensure your system is up to date via My OSMC.
- Login via the command line
- Edit the file
- Add the following line:
deb http://apt.osmc.tv videoimprovevero main
- Run the following commands to update:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade && reboot
- Your system should have have received the update.
- March 25th 2020 - initial release
- 5th April 2020 - Kodi and kernel updated
Thanks to early testers that verified our new boot process and allowed us to deliver OTA bootloader updates (something we were always a bit worried about doing) to facilitate the transition to the new kernel.
We’re looking forward to your feedback