What is the MStar C1 Board?

The MStar C1 Board is a fully capable Android based media player with an optional Digital TV tuner. The powerful hardware of the MStar C1 Board supports hardware decoding and output of video up to 4k HEVC. The digital TV tuner handles any DVB cable or terrestrial TV signal. For DIY development that requires additional hardware,  a Raspberry Pi 2 compatible extension connector  was also incorporated .

MStar C1 Board`s specs

On the outside, we have exposed all of the main chip’s expansion features as industry standard connectors. Internally we strive for compatibility too, as with the RaspberryPi 2 expansion connector.

rho board

The MStar C1 Board aims for high performance at a very competitive price. We used all the cost-saving tricks in the book to provide you with the best price/performance ratio. Even in its basic form, the MStar C1 Board includes 4GB flash – you don’t have to spend extra to boot your board. Many media players have an underpowered GPU, compared to their main processor. The MStar C1 Board sports a 6 core Mali 450, which matches up nicely with the quad core ARM A7 CPU. If you run out of storage with the included 4 GB Flash, the Micro SD slot is there for up to 128 GB expansion.

rho board schematics

The full product leafleat for the board’s chipset can be downloaded here: mso9280mc_pb_v03 .

The MStar C1 Board comes with an example app to control the pins and busses of the RPi I/O connector. Libraries, example code and documentation are also available to help you make your own apps. Multiple apps using the expansions connector can run at the same time, and if you make a project you’d like to share with others you can use any Android distribution method – source, apk files or even publish to the Google Play store. Perhaps your project is so great people will pay to get it?

Included example IO app


IO Client and example code

For setup of development environment and getting started guide, please see this page.

All source code to IO Client and example are available at https://github.com/OpenOTT

Software Update via IP

To update the Android system software on your MStar C1 Board, go to Settings/System Update.

Recovery Image

<<Note: Only necessary if the board cannot boot>>

For recovery installation from the bootloader, you can also download system images from the image download page

To update using a recovery system image,

  • Place the .signed file on the root of a USB mass storage device (flash or HDD)
  • Rename it to MstarUpgrade.bin
  • Insert the USB device into your MStar C1 Board
  • While holding the standby button, power you board on/off
  • Keep holding the standby button, and you should see the software upgrade progress on the video output


You can download the schematics here:


Apps can be put on the board in several ways

We can recommend this one:
1. Find the app you want using your browser on your PC
2. Download the .apk file on a USB stick
3. Insert the USB Stick into one of the board’s USB ports
4. Use the OI File Manager App to find the App.apk on the USB stick
5. Click on the file and install

Useful Apps

Amazon app store – after installing this app you can also install apps via the Amazon store.
You can find the Amazon store on the following link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/get-appstore/android/ref=mas_rw_ldg

Kodi / XBMC – download link: https://kodi.tv/download/

VLC – VideoLan – download link: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-android.html

  • Introduction

    MStar semiconductor, working with the Danish design house Futarque has launched a development system called “Rho board” which enables designers to easily incorporate Android into Smart home devices.
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    The solution is available as a ready to use small motherboard that can be incorporated into many devices. The devices includes a 40 pin GPIO connector that can interface to the hardware in the home device.