What is the Rho Board?

The Rho Board is a fully capable Android based media player with an optional Digital TV tuner. The powerful hardware of the Rho 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 .

Rho 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 Rho 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 Rho 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 Rho 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 Rho 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 Rho 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 Rho 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:


Mechanical Drawings and 3D models

3DModels of Board and tuner


Got a question? Jump over to our forum at http://rhoboard.proboards.com


  • 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.
  • Recent Posts

  • The solution

    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.