H96 Max Plus USB 3 TV Box

imageThe H96 Max+  is, how can I put it, wonderful. It has Android 8.1, both WIFI and high speed Ethernet, 4k HD video (yes, I have a 4K TV) 32GB storage (4GB internal RAM), USB 3.0, HDMI output and more. At the time of writing, it is a very low £38.87 at Banggood.

At this point I would normally send you off to look at the ad but in this case you might be put off as it is the usual gloss complete with language errors. The unit deserves so much more.

I’ve tried all manner of TV boxes from PCB level Android units to full blown Android TV. The former generally work but often need some technical knowledge to set up and often come with old versions of Android, The “Android TV” units (as against full Android which this unit supports) are, in my experience, a let-down.

Quick screen grabWho wants the restricted content and stripped down Android TV Play Store when you can have the full App store. Indeed, the only thing up to now I can’t get this box to run is NowTV and I believe that is a SKY restriction more than a problem with the unit as I cannot get any other Android unit to fire off NowTV to the big screen.  Netflix is fine, Amazon TV is fine, YouTube is fine and unlike the Roku, there is a VPN facility for those of us who travel overseas. The IPlayer as yet does not seem to want to know Android 8.1 but the BBC Radio IPlayer works a treat. Meanwhile my SmartTV handles the normal IPlayer no problem. I’ve installed a ton of apps such as TED-TV but it would take weeks to do justice to all of them. Thanks to the 4K RAM and 32GB built-in memory (expandable by microSD) there seems to be almost no limit in sight to what I can put into this box. I was originally determined  to crack NowTV rather than buy another unit just for that but eventually took the plunge – the units are cheap and Sky doesn’t do 4K (at least, not for NowTV)  -When ARE they going to join the modern world?

H96 Max Plus TV Box

As usual with these Android units, initially I noted some edge content missing off-screen but in this case a very simple and very welcome zoom facility immediately corrected the issue – end of story – no technical knowledge required. I now have a perfect picture. I DID have a slight issue with the remote control which seems to be missing the odd useful button. Eventually I just bought another control. I am amazed at how well this is working with my “bargain” Aldi 4K TV. The overall result is stunning and trust me, I’m no novice to HD TV.

The unit displays a “skin” but unlike “Android TV” you can get to normal settings and the full Android Play Store without issue.


I cannot stress enough that my crude screenshots are not intended to convey the quality out of this unit. Hopefully they do help otherwise. Not ALL of these packages were installed by default but took seconds to get from the Playstore. I should point out that the Netflix and Prime apps are free but you will need subscriptions to these services of course.


If you need more storage, the unit has sockets for both USB sticks and uSD.

Here’s the link – H96 Max Plus RK3328 Android 8.1 USB3.0 TV Box — https://goo.gl/oS5DRB

More Android TV Boxes — https://goo.gl/UxpC64 

EU Warehouse —  https://goo.gl/QceUQM

Note: The images here are meant to help but probably fail to get the quality across. Take my word for it that image quality (clearly, depending on the App and your broadband) is superb.



42 thoughts on “H96 Max Plus USB 3 TV Box

  1. The H96+ box is pretty standard Andoid 9 (NOT Android TV which I would not go near with a bargepole) with it’s own launcher – I’m guessing the people who made it don’t want you replacing the launcher. I’ve never tried. Every Google Playstore item I’ve tried to put on it installed except for two which quite often fail on similar boxes – the BBC iPlayer didn’t want to install but simply running the iPlayer in Chrome got that sorted.

    The only other program that won’t work is the Sky NowTV player but that is down to Sky – for reasons beyond me they want you to pay for their crappy box as WELL as the monthly fee to watch anything.

    They claim you cannot STREAM from the box – but using the box with a TV is not STREAMING – I tried speaking to the NowTV people but eventually gave up and found alternatives like Netflix and Amazon, both of which work just fine on that box and others.

    Overall that is one of the best boxes I’ve come across so far. Bear in mind of course that a lot of the material Sky use is available on a variety of platforms. You could of course go for a Roku but mine, nice as it was, ended up in a cupboard as you can’t add programs – like the NowTV box it is crippled in that respect – and I needed aVPN for the iPlayer so that while abroad I could watch the BBC (which I like millions of others reluctantly pay for anyway).

  2. Hi Pete,
    Just purchase one of those from Amazon (as I was in a hurry). It came with Android 9.0 and this awful launcher which is impossible to customize. I’m desesperatly trying to get a better launcher like Nova Launcher but all attempt fails.
    Are you using the default launcher or did you manage to get something else ?
    Searching on XDA and Freaktab doesn’t give much hint.

    1. The user interface isn’t the prettiest – but then most of the units I’ve seen and/or used have less than ideal interfaces – everyone is different, I’m more concerned to ensure I can play everything… and the unit does that.

      1. >> most of the units I’ve seen and/or used have less than ideal interfaces

        That’s why I want to replace it by better one.
        I don’t want Netflix, YouTube, AmazonPrime to stand on my main page while I won’t use them at all.
        I’ve been able to install Nova Launcher on my MECOOL BB2 (Android 7) and that’s much better (as far as you get an AirMouse).
        I think I’m going to return it and find something I can better customize.

          1. Hi Antonio
            It means installing through GPlay goes through downloading, then installation, then error message saying installation failed.
            I also tried with SmartLauncher. Very similar : download, install. No error message but launcher is not installed.
            Later yesterday I found reference of people successfully installing ATV Lau cher and Ugoos. I will give a try tonight before sending back the box.
            Best regards

            1. I tried again tonight to install other launchers (ATV Laucher, Simple TV, HAL, …) all end up with the same error “Impossible install xxxx”. It provides a link to a google page which suggest to clear GPlay storage. Which I did but it didn’t solved anything.
              Other applications can be installed (VLC, other media and streaming apps) and are working fine.
              I don’t know if it is related to Android 9.0 or this specific box.
              Anyone has tried to replaced the default launcher on this box or another Andrid 9.0 box ?

  3. I just got one of these with android 9, already rooted. The problem is after a random amount of time the display goes a funny pink colour! I have to unplug the HDMI cable then plug it back in, then all is fine but only for a while. I just read that I have to change the display in HDMI settings to RGB or CEC so I will try that this evening.

  4. After wasting far too much time trying to figure out why the BBC iPlayer App won’t work on the H96 Max+ I tried something I was not expecting to work – Chrome WEB Browser search for BBC iPlayer – well, it worked a TREAT didn’t it. I am of course in Spain so I turned on my OpenVPN client first on the box to a UK VPN address.. and I’m happily watching iPlayer in very good quality. I should say that we have something like 10Mbps download here in the wilds, only slowed down slightly if at all by the VPN to the UK.

  5. Just purchased one of these and I’m struggling to get the vpn working. Any tips for a ludite?

    1. I’m not a vpn expert but I have the openvpn client running on the H96 box. Its a standard Android Playstore App. Back in the UK I have a PI running PIVPN. That all seems to work.

      1. I tried to run it through openvpn, but it hasn’t worked yet. It seems like the inbuilt vpn setup is somehow blocking it?

  6. I have one of these, specifically rk3228-8d4-v1.1,,
    it has a problem running any linux.. Uboot sees uSD OK, kernel loads, the dtb,
    then loses uSD, if you have a usb stick with right LABEL or uuid it will run from that
    After quite a while I have hacked a blodge, many errors in dmesg, runs from
    uSD, I still don’t understand the problem (which is in dtb). NOT recommended

    1. As the unit is supplied with Android and intended specifically for use as a TV box I can’t be of much help if someone chooses to hack it and use it for something entirely different. The only thing I would (and did) change on this unit is the remote.

  7. I bought this TV box and it has a wifi broblem. If security is WEP it works fine. If it is WPA it drops it, and it stops downloading. Any other with this problem?

    1. I can’t argue with that as I only briefly used WIFI. I tend to use a hardwired connection for TV-related stuff to get the best speed. Cant you fire it back at the supplier? I have to say that apart from a poor choice of remote control, mine works a TREAT.

      1. I think that the problem is on software. So is it is easier to operate wifi with wep security until an update fix this problem, than to send it back to China

      2. Pete said ‘poor choice of remote control’
        I got a ‘2.4GHz Mini Wireless Keyboard Mouse Touchpad For Android Smart TV’ from eBay.

        It works fine with my H96 box.

            1. Yes I thought that one was the one he mentioned – I have one somewhere, possibly in Spain – I’ll get another at that price. Ta.

  8. I had one of these boxes in the past and used a Rapoo6700, rechargable bluetooth keyboard with touchpad. Can also be used with your Android phone 🙂

  9. Stuck here with only The Voice Romania, Love Island Romania, X-Factor Romania, and a rip-off of Family Fortunes seemingly on nightly rotation – I really need one of these to hook onto the VPN to back home.

    If only iPlayer would work with it…

    1. If it’s about running Linux: I don’t think so.

      TV boxes are meant to have random hardware inside and only the Android on the internal flash memory is prepared to deal with this.

      If you need to run Linux the problem is not Linux but exchanged hardware parts that need an adjusted bootloader for any other OS running other than the adjusted Android on the internal flash storage.

      Another ‘nice’ example: https://forum.armbian.com/topic/4877-h2-sunvell-r69-android-tv-box-aliexpress/?page=8

      If you think about Linux and TV boxes always have in mind that a new batch of a box that looks the same, is called the same and smells the same is something entirely different. But hey, at least it’s your wasted money and time 🙂

      1. Well I for one am happy to continue to use this box for TV. I am also happy with Pi3 for Raspbian but I really wish they would give it some more RAM.

        1. Sure, if you want to run Android then choose any of those TV boxes from vendors who get the Google stuff licensed (according to Libre Computer Google simply doesn’t do this with SBC vendors any more: https://libre.computer/2018/09/27/android-release-for-tritium-and-le-potato/)

          If you want to run Linux better spend the additional 5 bucks for a development board instead of a TV box since here you know the board vendor cares about hardware compatibility unlike TV box vendors who create new batches of boxes with same name and same written ‘specs’ but entirely different inside.

          And if you want Linux with more than 1 GB you need to choose something else than RPi since the VideoCore IV design all RPi rely on is not capable of dealing with more RAM. The 1 GB are already an ugly hack according to Kristina Brooks who tried to developed an open source ‘firmware’ for the Raspberries before she gave up: https://irclog.whitequark.org/linux-sunxi/2017-04-02#19158500;

          1. Not “any” of the TV boxes. I’ve played with lots of them – most have old versions of Android, many are not rooted, some have screen overscan issues with no simple utilities to fix, etc. Not all of us have the time, skill or desire to mess with operating systems. I’ve done my share but for TV boxes I want a recent Android (in the knowledge that updates are unlikely), most if not everything working and decent ROM/RAM – so I can spend more of my limited leisure time watching shows (after installing god knows how many packages for the different services) in jitter-free decent quality – and of course at low cost as this will not be the only device attached to the TV.

            For Debian etc I’m happy to do more and have done but again it would be better use of my time developing or modifying actual programs than re-inventing the wheel in operating systems. I’ve been through many different boards and, well, we’ll not open up the backup discussion again but the PI 2 and 3 are quite easy in that respect. I continue to watch and revisit Armbian, checking for new developments.

        2. and sure enough my RPI prayers are answered, my soon to arrive RPI4 has 2GB RAM. Still using H96+ for TV, still good – but still no BBC iPLAYER. “clear cache” solutions out there seem to have no effect even after a reboot.

  10. Usually tv boxes have 1-2Gb of RAM, this one 4Gb and very cheap in comparison to fanless mini PC. Is it possible to install some Linux here? I’m looking for one more fanless mini server for home automation.

    1. You know, that’s a REALLY good point. Of course, if there IS a Linux for it, it would be all down to support… I wonder if the Armbian guys have come across this yet? I’ve been complaining about 1GB in Raspberry Pi for ages. Other boards have more but very FEW have 4GB RAM, yet here we are with a fast, capable board with full 4K video and 4GB RAM, in the right hands it could be an establishment challenger at a price well below the competition. I’m updating the blog incidentally right now. As this board clearly does a cracking job with Android, the icing on the cake would be a Pi-compatible Linux installation… for sure.

    2. It’s always only about the SoC. RK3328 is one of the few ‘open source’ Rockchip SoCs and is already used on some development boards (Rock64 and Libre Computer Renegade for example) and as such runs pretty well with Linux.

      Do a simple web search for ‘H96 Max Plus site:armbian.com’ (then you’ll find out what to expect when buying TV boxes with H96 as part of their name –> RK3328, RK3399 or even Amlogic S905x, you can never trust into getting the SoC you’re interested in)

      The problem with these TV boxes is that the vendors usually don’t give a sh*t about their specs being correct and next batch of boxes using same ingredients as older ones. One typical symptom is exchanged wireless chips or different DRAM chips needing different bootloaders. Not a problem with vendor’s Android flashed to onboard eMMC storage but as Linux enthousiast you can end up with days of your life wasted on getting a device to boot that received positive reviews in the past (based on an older variant of a box with the same name)

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