Walmart’s Onn and Dynalink Android TV boxes are two of the best Android TV streaming devices available in the United States. They both cost less than $ 50 and offer a whole range of features, including 4K HDR support and great remotes. What they both lack, however, is the latest version of Android TV. We don’t know when, if ever, these devices will update to Android 11. The good news is that it’s possible to get the latest version of Android on these devices through an unofficial LineageOS port.
If you have a product with a chip from the Amlogic G12 / SM1 SoC family, which includes not only the aforementioned Walmart Onn 4K and Walmart Dynalink 4K boxes, but also the Google ADT-3 and Chromecast with Google TV, then it is possible to install Android TV 11 thanks to the efforts of several developers. On the XDA Android TV Forums, a new discussion thread has been created for the unofficial version of LineageOS 18.1 based on Android 11 for the Amlogic G12 / SM1 family of devices. Developers Nolen Johnson (npjohnson), Jan Altensen (Stricted), webgeek1234, deadman96385, trautamaki, luca020400 and aleasto can be credited for making this port possible. Although they are all regular contributors to LineageOS, this port is not officially built or distributed by LineageOS, which is why it is considered “unofficial”.
Many Android TV apps and components in stock are closed source. So while this version of LineageOS 18.1 technically can’t qualify as “Android TV 11”, it does raise “some of the best components of Google TV”. This includes, among other things, Google’s predefined GMS-free TV launcher. Other Google apps are built into the ROM version, so you won’t need to flash a separate Google Apps package after installing the version.
More importantly, the developers report that nothing major seems to be broken. Most of the basic functions, including the remote control and its microphone, work fine. Widevine L1 DRM will not break when you unlock the bootloader, which means you will be able to play videos from streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in HD. However, the developers note that the issues with hardware-backed OMX prevent the Android TV app for Netflix from working properly, so it is advisable to load the tablet version of the app until this is resolved. Another caveat is that the SELinux policy is set to permissive, which is usually a major security concern, but hopefully you aren’t accessing or saving any sensitive data on your TV box anyway. If you come across the rare TV app that checks SafetyNet, the developers note that you can install Magisk to pass those checks.
As to why we might be interested in installing LineageOS 18.1 on their Android TV box, there are a few advantages. First of all, the version is completely free of bloatware, unlike the stock firmware that many inexpensive TVs come with. Second, there are no ads. Thirdly, it runs a newer version of Android which means you have access to new features introduced in Android 11. Finally, these TV boxes are very inexpensive so this could be a fun weekend project for you. tinker them!
Download LineageOS 18.1 for the Amlogic G12 / SM1 family of devices
If this all sounds exciting to you, you can find the steps to unlock the bootloader, flash Lineage Recovery, and install the zip ROM on the respective wiki page for each device linked below:
Unlocking the bootloader for Walmart Onn and Dynalink cases is pretty straightforward, but to unlock the Chromecast with Google TV’s bootloader, you will need a model vulnerable to the bootloader unlock exploit that we detailed last week. The LineageOS version for the Chromecast was not available at the time of release anyway, but you’ll only have to wait a few days according to the developers.
For more details on this release, visit the discussion thread linked below.
[UNOFFICIAL] LineageOS 18.1 for Amlogic G12 * / SM1 family devices