Planned changes to the TV Box area


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I have begun to make some changes to the TV Box 'Club' area.

 

The overall goal is to provide more useful information to users and reduce the support workload of answering the same questions over and over again.

 

To that end there is now a FAQ forum on the menu.  While it is currently empty and just a place holder it should provide a centralized location for TV Box information over time.

 

The second new addition is the forum titled 'TV Boxes running Armbian'.  The idea here is to provide a maintained list of current information with links to the details for boxes reported by the community to be successfully running armbian.

 

Both of the two above forums will likely be strictly moderated to keep the information concise and on topic.  I don't want these to become mega threads (like some of the TV box threads tend to be).  Content that gets posted here that belongs elsewhere will be moved.

 

I'm still trying to figure out how the rest of the area should be organized.  There needs to be a place for newbies to ask questions and it would be nice if there was a place for developers to share information.  The problem is that the current mega threads for the Rockchip CSC builds do that in a single thread, vs using one or more forums for that.  Also I wonder if there should be different forums by CPU family (AML,RK,AW?) by developer build (Balbes vs Jock's CSC builds?).  Any suggestions on how others think things should be organized?

 

  

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23 hours ago, SteeMan said:

I have begun to make some changes to the TV Box 'Club' area.

 

The overall goal is to provide more useful information to users and reduce the support workload of answering the same questions over and over again.

 

To that end there is now a FAQ forum on the menu.  While it is currently empty and just a place holder it should provide a centralized location for TV Box information over time.

 

The second new addition is the forum titled 'TV Boxes running Armbian'.  The idea here is to provide a maintained list of current information with links to the details for boxes reported by the community to be successfully running armbian.

 

Both of the two above forums will likely be strictly moderated to keep the information concise and on topic.  I don't want these to become mega threads (like some of the TV box threads tend to be).  Content that gets posted here that belongs elsewhere will be moved.

 

I'm still trying to figure out how the rest of the area should be organized.  There needs to be a place for newbies to ask questions and it would be nice if there was a place for developers to share information.  The problem is that the current mega threads for the Rockchip CSC builds do that in a single thread, vs using one or more forums for that.  Also I wonder if there should be different forums by CPU family (AML,RK,AW?) by developer build (Balbes vs Jock's CSC builds?).  Any suggestions on how others think things should be organized?

 

  

 

I'm always happy about tidying up things, and tv boxes section is still far from being ideal. Honestly I don't know if it is a wise idea to have a section "TV Boxes running Armbian" and I explain why: it could work well with serious and proper brand products, but if you mean to tidy up the forum against the chinese brands, well, we have to face the reality that cheap chinese tv boxes don't have any proper nomenclature. Often you get a recognizable pattern, sometimes you don't. This is especially true for the cheapest products and so things that have the same market name may have a different hardware, either "just" the wifi chip or a completely different board with another SoC. Anyway, trying is costless, so let's try it :)

 

Personally I maintain the rk322x and rk3288-xt-q8l-v10 (xt-q8l-v10 is a rk3288 tv box board) CSC threads and so far I have to say I never had to ask a moderator to delete a post or ban a person. We never faced any major inconveniences with users, yet people has been very collaborative in some cases that we brought up hardware support remotely (esp8089 wifi support, for example) and very often people sends device trees to be analyzed. The rk322x thread has been a great source of fun ^_^

 

IMHO they work well because:

  • the subject is clear - since most of the problems are related to the hardware, bringing in many architectures in the same place will incredibly increase confusion. One architecture and its related kernels, that's more than enough.
  • the first post covers the basics - though I have to say that preparing such pages to be simple and effective took a lot of time and effort - it is terribly useful for users. Most people read this and finds their way. Some don't read the first page, so you kindly redirect there, some skilled or unskilled people read the first page, don't get it and post. They get attention as long as they show to be collaborative. If they acts like childish leeches they will just get ignored.
  • the thread is a linear history of what happened and when - except for the first page which is often updated with the "must read" infos, reading the last 2/3 pages of the thread are enough to get up to date
  • stay within the armbian rules - it means that even if they are tv boxes, they fit and integrate into the armbian ecosystem as much as possible. For example: if FAT is not supported by armbian (yet it is, but that's an example :P ), don't use your own hacky thing to make a FAT partition but bring FAT support into armbian; if the board uses some firmware, don't put the firmware somewhere hidden but commit the firmware to armbian-firmware repository and fix the thing with a generic patch, and so on... It's harder, but it's better and brings much better cooperation at all levels and people will find the stable board/box images in the right place (the Download page), not elsewhere.

 

Getting back of the tv box club, I share my wonders about how it could be arranged - that's just an idea, it could be totally wrong...

Along with the "Overview" and "General chat" sections, since there are just 3 major vendors they could be put as main tv box club sections.

Overview is cool because it's a "what's new" overview page. I consult it often and finds it very useful to spot recent posts that may be interesting.

General Chat is where newbie people will probably post, along with generic threads and posts asking for help. There I would put a pinned "FAQ" and "must read, forums rules" thread.

 

The three vendors sections (Rockchip, AmLogic, Allwinner) will be less touched by newbies which don't even know what Rockchip/Allwinner/AmLogic are; people with just a tiny bit of experience instead would post vendor specific questions in the vendor sections.

I would put the "CSC megathreads" in the vendor specific sections. People who wants to cooperate to support some chip of that vendor or talk about that vendor could freely do that in the vendor section; if interesting discussions arise (like happened in the recent past for S905X3), threads could be pinned or CSC support materializes for a tv box/board/architecture, there could be a pinned thread for that too.

As an example, S905X3 tv boxes don't have CSC support, but may have a pinned thread (one pinned thread for one architecture) to let people discuss about it in one place, decent tv boxes (Beelink S922 ones just popped in my mind) may have a separate pinned thread if there is a CSC maintainer for that board if there is discussion or enough interest about.

 

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@jock Thanks for your comments.  I will certainly reach out to you before I do anything with your threads (like moving them to a different sub-forum, etc).  What you are doing seems to be working well for the users you are supporting, and I don't want to break what works.

The support issues generally are on the amlogic side of things right now.  Since there is no active development support for builds for amlogic based TV boxes after balbes stopped supporting them.  The additional problem is that the majority of TV boxes produced seem to contain amlogic cpus (although rockchip seems to be changing that recently).  So the volume of users on the amlogic side is higher than allwinner and rockchip at the moment.  And as you point out the various china clones of varying quality tend to be amlogic based.

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