X96 (S905x) Android TV Box
After some time reading and digging through the WWW I found all the tools and info I needed to give ROM Cooking a try 🙂
Here is what came out of my kitchen so far:
(Please allow some time for the links to appear here as I still have to create suitable update packages and upload the files! And I am still writing on this, in case it appears incomplete 😉 )
Although I tested everything on my box and only upload what really works, I can not know if your box is really a X96 2GB/16GB Wifi only – or some clone.
That means the first thing you have to do if the Recovery boots on your box is to make a backup!!
I am not responsible if you feel the need to try my firmwares and your box is bricked when done.
Everything you is at your own risk and by downloading the files you agree to accept this!
I only say it works on my X96 box with P212 firmware.
General how to:
If you do have a lot of Kodi stuff added or personalised I suggest to use the Kodi backup functions, available as an addon.
For additionally installed programs, account settings and so on please use the backup solotion of your choice.
All files are uploaded as a Rar archive.
Inside the Rar archive you will find what needs to be extracted to an empty SD card.
I suggest to use a fast one with at least 8GB so you have enough room for a few backups.
Once the SD card is ready and inside your box (powered off) you stick a toothpick into the AV port and press the little button inside, plug the power in and when you see the X96 Logo on the screen take the toothpick out.
Shortly after you see the TWRP Recovery screen and need to swipe to confirm you actually want to write onto your system.
This is why we need the keyboard/mouse combo – no TWRP possible just with the IR remote!
Again, the first thing you want to do now is to make a full backup of your box!
Select everything but Cache and let TWRP save your backup on the SD card you use for the installation.
Now go back to the main screen (the little button for back in the “status bar at the bottom”).
Wipe all but the external SD card and USB through the Advanced Wipe function.
If you want to try to keep installed programs then see if it works by not wiping the data part, although I do not recommend it.
Time to install the ZIP file of your choice to install the new firmware.
The first boot of the new firmware will take quite some time.
The X96 logo will be on the screen and it seems that nothing happens and the box is bricked.
Don’t fall for this as I did so in my first firmware attempts.
As all is deodexed and prepared for a quick transfer to the box the actual setup of everything happens during the first boot in the background.
In some cases the progress bar in TWRP stops to animate right after the firmware starts installing, if that happens for more than a few seconds shut down and reboot into recovery.
Without another wipe just install the ZIP of choice again and it should continue fine.
I have not figured out what this causes, same for the touchpad sometimes only working if the USB dongle is replugged.
Happens for about 1 in 15 installations, so you might never experience it anyway 😉
Recovery.img – download the recovery itself if you just need a backup or for the X96 Naked.zip to flash it.
1. X96 with slimmed down Kodi addons and keyboard fix.
If you have these standard WiFi keyboard/touch mouse combos than the problem with the Enter key should be gone for good.
I included a fixed keyboard layout for the keyboards with the hardware ID 0e8f:2519.
There might be other ID’s for example if you use an air mouse with keyboard.
If yours still won’t work with this fix then please post your HID in the comments and I might include it with the next round of uploads.
In case it does work:
The ALTGR key will toggle the screen keyboard and make it go away too.
OK and ENTER will now do what they should without producing unwanted characters or the need to use the pad to click on the onscreen enter button.
Klick on this to download from Filefactory
2. X96 full Kodi and keyboard fix.
This is essentially what you get from your normal factory update just with the fixed keyboard.
Klick on this to download from filefactory
3. X96 naked – this will be the base firmware you should use for every addition that comes below.
Here we have the OTA update stripped from all apps that would be otherwise included except the pure Android stuff like Playstore and Gallery.
For all additions and mods this is the base firmware used.
I decided on going this route instead of making all mods inside the firmware to avoid complications and give the user more freedom of choice.
Since we need all folder structures created you have to boot and do the usual Android and Google account setup.
Do not try to start Kodi as this won’t work and we don’t want to cause trouble trying to start something that is not there!
Klick on this to download from Filefactory
1. X96 Naked Kodi Box
This Rom is for everyone who wants the box just to be used with Kodi anyway.
So after the initial setup you can boot directly into Kodi without any launcher or things like that.
For this Rom I removed all the bloatware and only left the system apps, so no Skype, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and so on, nothing but Kodi.
The box will start and present you with a choice for the launcher.
XMBC is for Kodi
MBox is the standard launcher as you know it
I left the standard launcher so you can check and adjust all your personal settings and see what is left in terms of programs without getting too confused by the new interface.
Once you are done simply press the HOME button on the keyboar/remote to select Kodi as the default launcher.
You can either make it permanent or set it for once and be asked again at the next boot.
Kodi and the firmware is based on the last OTA update.
If you need any other addons please ask Google on where to find them.
Install X96 naked and set up if not done already.
Copy the addon ZIP file to the SD you used for the previous installation.
Boot into recovery and select the corresponding addon ZIP file for installation.
You can choose between Kodi 16 Jarvis and Kodi 17 Krypton.
Once the box rebooted you can select if you want to use the MBox Launcher or the XMBC Launcher for Kodi.
The selection can be for once or permanent, you choose.
Klick on this for Kodi 16 Jarvis
Klick on this for Kodi 17 Krypton
2. X96 All in
Here we have the choice of Mbox, Kodi (XMBC) or ADW as the launcher.
I highly recommend to try ADW 😉
On top of that there is also a dark theme for the ADW launcher and corresponding dark buttons for everything.
Additionally I added some programs that I use quite often and that you might find useful too.
For Kodi I added the full addon pack with all addons updated and nonfunctional ones removed.
If you want it just as a TV box you can set XMBC as the default launcher.
Android apps can be added to the favourites same way as the power menu, so add what you like 😉
The firmware flashing takes about 5 minutes after the MD5 check is over.
The first boot to the standard Mbox launcher takes about 3 minutes but from there you need to be patient while all the programs are installed.
All up expect to wait at least 25 minutes to be on the safe side here.
You will see how the shortcuts keep adding to the launcher screen….
Once the process is complete you will see the memory usage level out and stay steady around 25.4-25.85%.
If in doubt just have some dinner while the box is doing it’s thing 😉
As so far I am unable to include all program and launcher settings you will have to do some manual labour which I will explain now:
To clean everything up memory wise I strongly suggest to reboot through the IR remote once the box is really done installing all programs.
This next boot will give you a selection for your launcher – click on the Media Box Launcher for one time use so you can find your way through with a launcher you are familiar with.
Do the network and account setup, modify your screen zoom if required and then start SuperSU so it can update the binarier (required step).
The normal way works fine, if not the first time wait a minute or two and try again, SuperSU needs all background activities to be dormant so sometimes you just need to try until it works.
For me I never needed more than 3 attempts if the first failed.
Reboot now as indicated by SuperSU.
Of course several apps will need root access through SuperSU, so please grant them this forever to make it ork properly.
Next step is to activate the AD blocking by starting AdBlock and downloading the lists.
If you don’t like reboots then tick the box for never and say no to reboots.
Only means the new lists will be active after the next boot of the box.
If you have use for Lucky Patcher I suggest to start it now and download the custom patches and usual lists, otherwise just leave this program alone 😉
Time to add some fun 🙂
Start ADW Launcher and select the basic theme you like, I used the first on the left.
I do a long mouse press on the Promo icon in the lower right to remove it from the screen and place the shortcut for Kodi here.
To get Kodi on the main screen:
Click the little arrow in the lower center of the screen to bring the apps menu up.
Hold the mouse button while dragging the icon to where you want it on the main screen – easy 🙂
Same story for the Power Menu – I place it between the player and browser button on the lower icon bar.
To get it really nice start the Black and Blue Icon pack and select ADW.
Confirm that you want to use these icons and enjoy a nice dark look for your launcher.
Feel free to customize to your liking at a later stage.
Press the Home button on the remote or keyboard to bring up the launcher selection.
Time for XMC Launcher to start Kodi.
Kodi should not need to update endless addons, todays test showed only a few had updates available and two had been discontiued to work, the rest is up to date.
Once all is updated and you made the personal changes in Kodi you like (including testing a stream or two) you can try the favourites menu to restart the box through the power menu.
Now you are set to go and enjoy the new look and feel of your TV box 🙂
Of course I now have to strongly advice that you finnish whatever you want to add or change to your box and do a proper backup with TWRP onto the external SD 😉
Keep in mind all bloat required for the initial installation is gone once the Kodi setup is complete to increase system space.
This means a factory reset will give you a naked box without filebrowser or anything of use and you need to install manually after visiting the playstore – a backup really does wonders here…
Check the screenshots below (click on image for full size view):
For Kodi 17 the pics are the same as I now included the Confluence skin.
To get the old Kodi look with Confluence:
Go into settings, skin and select Confluence 😉
Click this to download part one of the Kodi 16 version from Filefactory.
Click this to download part two of the Kodi 16 version from Filefactory.
Click this to download part three of the Kodi 16 version from Filefactory.
Click this to download part one of the FULLY UNBRANDED Kodi 17 version from Filefactory.
Click this to download part two of the FULLY UNBRANDED Kodi 17 version from Filefactory.
4. Fully unbranded!
After a lot of swearing, flashing, more swearing and flashing I finally managed to create a fully unbranded system that can be installed through TWRP.
If you still know how the original X96 looks with the original firmware you will be surprised
What has changed from the branded firmware:
Bootlogo original S905X.
Google bootanimation – that was the hardest part, allowing for a custom animation…
Media Box Launcher unbranded and with unbranded theme.
Unbranded Kodi completely removed so the rom will comply with all piracy laws and restrictions – more in the added apps section.
OTA updater removed.
All programs from the branded version removed, so no social media, Chrome, Netflix and so on.
Apart from the naked system with Google apps I included:
XMBC Laucher for Kodi
File browser replaced by FX filemanager
Power Menu added – still requires to root the box! More under added apps.
Added apps and modifications:
Kodi was removed, but the install script for the addon packs is still valid.
The script no longer refers to the system folder but to /sdcard/apps
This means if you decide to install Kodi you can place the tar.gz archive for the addons in the apps folder of the internal SD. Kodi itself is not included.
The additional apps I thought to be of use will be in the apps folder of the internal SD.
In FX file explorer it is called “Main Storage”.
Here you will find:
Film On (from the branded firmware)
Mobdro (from the branded firmware)
Netflix (from the branded firmware)
Showbox (from the branded firmware)
SuperSU by Chainfire
VLC for Android
Three different Youtube apps to choose from, including a TV version.
How to install SuperSU:
All modifications to the boot image, scripts, libraries and so on are done and included.
This means the system is rooted except for the actual Superuser app.
Install from the apps folder and let the binary update, once done reboot and enjoy.
Not all ads in programs or while surfing can be disabled by AdBlock.
For example everything coming from “trusted sources” like Google will still be allowed.
This is the only reason I included Lucky Patcher as it can be of use for some apps to enjoy without ads.
Install and use at your own risk!
Installation of the ROM:
As before wipe all through TWRP then install the ZIP file from extracted RAR archive – so unpack the RAR first to your SD card.
Installation through TWRP does take a few minutes due to the hash verification.
Since all included apps are integrated into the system the first boot is a bit faster compared to the above ROM.
And the additional apps land on the internal SD for everyone to choose or delete if not wanted.
Please allow about 5 minutes after after the launcher selection appeared before you actually start using the apps – some things are still installing in the background!
Once you finnished the network and personal setup of accounts and such boot into TWRP and make a full backup in case you need it.
A factory reset will set you back to the point of the installation of the rom – so no SuperSU and the added apps folder might be gone too.
Known bugs:Just noticed the WiFi is not always available at first activation.
As the chipset is identified during activation you might have to select the network twice until you see WiFi available.
Screenshots and sneak peak video:
Download the unbranded firmware from Filefactory