The Android TV Stick That Almost Works – My MK908 Story


Early adopter. Experimenter. Tinkerer. Guilty as charged. The allure of tech is more than I can resist.

I don’t know how I got there. No memory remains of the links that brought me to and and an entry on the Tronsmart MK908. It’s a little computer about the size of a large pack of Juicy Fruit.

The MK908 is designed to be plugged into a recent vintage wide screen TV or computer monitor. It’s meant to be an adjunct to your TV. It gets Netflix and MLBTV and nearly anything that’s delivered via the internet. You put it behind the monitor where it’s not seen and talk to it via WiFi or Bluetooth. There’s also an HDMI port, plus one full size and two mini USB ports and a microSD card slot.

The MK908 runs Android–meaning nearly all the apps in Google’s Play store. It is rooted.

Based on the last four paragraphs you’re probably not surprised I plunked down about $90 and ordered one from China. Units like this are impossible to find in the States. That’s a shame.

Damn you tracking! I watched it move through a mail center in China, disappear for a week then reappear in Flushing, Queens, Springfield, MA and then my local post office.

It came physical intact, but electronically broken! Oh, damn, damn, damn, damn!

It has a fatal ailment that’s also tantalizing. The unit powers on and plays for a while, then shuts the HDMI output (audio and video) for a second. It does this 40 to 50 times an hour! It works enough to see what it can do, but not enough to want to do it!

I’ve replaced every cable&#185. I reflashed the ROM. The problem persists.

I’ve been in touch with Anna at, where I bought it, following her instructions. I’m afraid the MK908 is going to have to go back.

IMG_9208mk908It’s a shame. This is really promising technology.

I’ve used it as a moving map watching the radar and later tracking airborne planes. It turns my TV into an additional all purpose screen.

What is that good for? Does it really matter?

I paid with PayPal. I will file a report with them Monday. I have filed a dispute report.

&#185 – Even I was surprised to find an extra HDMI to mini HDMI cable was in my cabinet.

28 thoughts on “The Android TV Stick That Almost Works – My MK908 Story”

  1. This is very similar to the Raspberry Pi. Search for it on Amazon. The Raspberry is Linux based if I recall correctly. I’ve seen some great reviews on it, and only costs around $70. It maybe a looker.

  2. Are you figuring you got a defective one, or that it’s just a bad design?

    Are you going to try another one?

    1. It is an Android device, like a phone. It runs apps. It gets webpages. It’s more versatile than the Roku or Google TV, but more complex to operate. From a practical standpoint, the Roku is a better choice for most folks.

  3. Hello Geoff,

    try a different powersupply.
    The one supplied with the unit is just so so.
    The mk908 really needs 2 ampere and very often this
    powersupply can´t deliver.powering over usb port from
    a television almost certainly will crash.
    Also,when available,the Finless Bob roms will solve
    many problems for these devices.

  4. I saw the exact same issue with an MK808 from The video blanked about once every 5 seconds, going black for 1-5 seconds with my TV displaying the input mode & resolution on the longer blackouts as if it were disconnecting/reconnecting. After a day and a half it died totally and would no longer boot. is telling me I need to flash it with new firmware. I’m telling them they should have installed any new firmware prior to shipping and that I want to return it for a refund. I suspect I’ll never see any refund. What was your experience?

    1. I reported it as DOA to PayPal. In a few days their commenting period should be up and I’ll get my money back. Very disappointing. I wanted it to work. From what I could see it would have been capable of doing everything I wanted it to do.

  5. I’ve another MK808 on order from Amazon. If it will not work I’ll wait for Dell’s offering in a month or two. It may cost more but will likely be better hardware and support.

    I, too, was very disappointed – it’s a promising gizmo.

    1. The MK808 arrived. I didn’t bother with its 1A power supply, using a 2A supply I bought separately. So far, everything is rock solid. Not a single screen flicker and the WiFi link is solid. It works great with a Logitech K400 wireless keyboard.

      1. Just to update things. The MK808 (w/2A power supply) continues to purr right along with nary a flicker. My TV has WiFi and can stream Netflix, etc. on its own so I got the MK808 just to browse the web. I have, however, tested video/audio using the Wall Street Journal Live feed via YouTube. That works great so I’m confident it would handle Netflix, et al equally well.

        For TVs without HDMI, the MK812 has an AV cable and comes with 2A power supply and external antenna.

  6. My MK908 arrived a few days ago. It’s been working flawlessly so far. I’ve installed quite a few Android Apps on it and so far the screen hasn’t blanked at all. I using the original power adapter that came with it. Also using a K400.

  7. I got an MK908 from geekbuying not too long ago and it works great. One thing that puzzles me, though, is that when it boots, I see a Google TV logo. What, exactly does that have to do with this device? Are there some special apps I can download(haven’t found any)? This has been bothering me and I can’t seem to find an answer…..geekbuying chat was useless: “coz this tvbox has installed the google play and many apps are from google play. so there is a logo of google tv when u turn it on.” Basically, the device reminds me of my Motorola Xoom tablet on a HUGE screen. It does everything that the Xoom does, but has a better processor. Someone enlighten me about Google TV on the MK908, please!!!! Thank you so much!

  8. I have the exact same thing on a Motorola Lapdock. I had issues at first but it was due to lack of enough power and bad Android 4.2.2 ROM. I leeched extra USB power, flashed on the Finless Bob ROM v1.5, and everything has been flawless since. Good design for being the most powerful commercially available Android device.

    Now to see about overclocking. I wanna hit 2GHz.

  9. I have a similar problem and I can’t tell if it’s the mk908 or my sony receiver. Sounds works but it seems to “go into sleep mode” for lack of a better term, when sounds are idle for a few seconds. For example, if I have music playing on Pandora, it works all the time. But if I’m playing a game that only uses sound effects when I click something, the sound stops if I don’t click anything for a few seconds, then starts working again (albeit delayed) when I click something. Any ideas? Is this some kind of power saving crap, or would the 2A power supply fix this?

  10. Recently purchased the MK 908 from as return policy is better.

    I have the MK908 with v3 logic board. I quickly rooted it with Finless Bob’s 1.6a ROM and things are working at about 95% consistency. No more random reboots or stuttering video.

    I also froze some apps and services that I don’t use with Titanium backup. Antutu benchmark scores are good.

    If you know android you can get this device to work well for you. If you have little working knowledge of android and how root / super user permissions work then you’d be better off with a Google or Apple TV product with simple setup but more limitations.

    Can’t wait until these tv sticks get better specs and features as the space matures.

    People buying the MK908 or almost any unlicensed tv stick will inherently have technological hurdles as it goes against the very idea of licensed material, circumventing DRM to a degree.

    That is why there is no support, that is why they are cheap, and why they come from outside the country basically at cost.

    Buy at your own risk and enjoy!

  11. Hi Geoff – sorry you got a duff unit. Like you I couldn’t resist buying the quad core MK908 instead of the more proven MK808 versions. I got mine on Ebay and I’ve had good support from the vendor to help me through my various problems. I am new to Android and XBMC so you can imagine! Anyhoo, after a couple of months I have a stick that rarely reboots itself and plays movies pretty reliably. Google/Youtube are excellent. I’m using a Measy wireless keyboard that is fine, albeit the keys are a bit ‘clicky’. I’ve even got Skype working when my Logitech C270 decides to work, but when it does, it’s great. Picture and sound both good, which I believe is a problem for many others. I’m not at home right now so can’t posts details of ROM or XBMC versions – if anyone wants this info I will find it and re-post.

  12. Forgot to say that Google voice search works well – I can speak and be understood, but I don’t get a spoken reply. This seems to be a common prob on Android phones, but I’d love to know if anyone has sorted this on an Android stick.

  13. Ive been using the mk908ii for 5 months, using it to watch streaming movies and Korean dramas on my tv. It’s almost perfect running android 4.1 with flash support. No hardware issues, but it hangs once a while on YouTube and chrome browser.

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