BELABOX for Rockchip RK3588

Supported boards - comparison
Orange Pi 5 Plus Radxa Rock 5A Radxa Rock 5B Banana Pi BPI-W3
BELABOX support Yes, best choice for HDMI input setups Yes, only when HDMI input isn't needed Yes, but not recommended Yes, but not recommended
HDMI input Yes, full size No Yes, micro HDMI Yes, full size
List price $90 (4GB version) $99 (4GB version) $129 (4GB version) $162 (8GB version)
Total cost1 $127 (4GB version) $110 (4GB version) $168 (4GB version) $215 (8GB version)
eMMC removable module (not included) removable module (not included) removable module (not included) soldered
USB power2
  • 1.5A shared between the 2 USB3.0 ports
  • 1.5A for the USB-C port
  • 1.0A shared between the two USB2.0 ports
  • 2.3A shared between the two USB2.0 ports and the bottom USB 3.0 port
  • 1.5A for the top USB 3.0 port
  • 1.0A shared between the two USB2.0 ports
  • 1.0A shared between the two USB3.0 ports
  • 1.0A shared between the two USB2.0 ports
  • 1.0A shared between the two USB3.0 ports
  • mobile network modems cause HDMI capture to fail if placed next to the board / HDMI cable
  • the two USB 3.0 ports and the USB-C port are less convenient to use on the opposite side of the board from the other ports
  • no USB-PD support for power (power input is USB-C 5V only)
  • no HDMI input port - only buy this if you're 100% sure you'll never want to use HDMI capture - only for use with RTMP restreaming or cameras with a USB webcam mode such as the Osmo Action 4
  • mobile network modems cause HDMI capture to fail if placed next to the board / HDMI cable
  • can't provide enough power for more demanding USB modems
  • fragile & less reliable micro HDMI port for HDMI input
  • USB PD voltage negotiation causes reboot looping on some power banks
  • mobile network modems cause HDMI capture to fail if placed next to the board / HDMI cable
  • can't provide enough power for more demanding USB modems
  • double the size of the other boards
  • the HDMI capture interface on this board appears to be less affected by interference from nearby mobile network modems compared to the others - but it's still affected in some cases
  • two Ethernet interfaces
  • the smallest of the supported boards
  • USB PD power input, which appears to work reliably
  • it can deliver the most power to USB devices out of the suppported boards
  • stocked in many countries by OKdo
  • all ports on a single side of the board
  • choice of 12V barrel jack or USB-C w/ PD for power - don't connect both at the same time, you'll burn out a protection IC of the USB-C port
microSD / eMMC image Download image Download image Download image Download image
eMMC installer Download installer Download installer Download installer Download installer
1 total I've paid for my boards including delivery and import fees / taxes to the UK
2 how much power can the board deliver to the USB devices connected to it. Determines what kind and how many USB modems can be connected directly, without using a powered USB hub
Are there any advantages over using BELABOX on a Jetson Nano?
I already have a Jetson Nano-based BELABOX setup. Should I switch to a RK3588-based setup?

If you have a working Jetson Nano-based setup, there's no need to switch over as the Jetson Nano BELABOX port will continue to be maintained for the foreseeable future. However, if you experience issues related to the capture card or to heat on your Jetson Nano, a switch to a RK3588 setup may improve your experience.

Which board should I get?

The comparison above is provided so you can make the right choice for you. If you're uncertain, the Orange Pi 5 Plus is currently considered the best compromise for most users - mainly because the HDMI input appears to be slightly more resistant to the radio interference caused by LTE / 5G modems, it has a full sized HDMI port, and it's the cheapest model.

The 4GB version of each model has sufficient memory for BELABOX usage, there's no advantage in getting the versions with more RAM.

How do I install this?

Installation to a micro SD card works pretty much the same as on Jetson Nano, starting with flashing the correct image file to a micro SD card. You can follow the original BELABOX tutorial. Just forego the USB capture card and remember to download the correct image file for your board.

Installation to an eMMC is recommended for improved reliability and more consistent performance over micro SD cards. To install BELABOX to an eMMC, flash the installer instead of the image to a micro SD card, then plug in both your eMMC module (if removable) and your flashed micro SD card into the board. Power on the board, which should then boot from the micro SD card, which will install BELABOX to the eMMC and shut down. Finally, you can unplug your micro SD card. After you turn the board on again, it will boot the new BELABOX installation on the eMMC.

What's the status of the port?

The RK3588 port is now considered stable and preferred for new setups over the original NVIDIA Jetson platform.

Right now, should I build a RK3588-based or a Jetson-based BELABOX setup?

Using an Orange Pi 5 Plus is now recommended for new setups. Jetson Nano is only recommended for new setups if the streaming rig can't be organised so as to avoid potential HDMI EMI intereference (see Are these any known issues?). In practice, we've found this is unlikely to be an issue if the modems are kept some distance underneath or to the side of the board in a streaming backpack.

What functionality is currently working?

All the major features of BELABOX are working. This includes SRTLA bonding, BELABOX cloud remotes, HDMI capture and encoding, BELABOX's WiFi manager and receiving RTMP feeds and transcoding them to H265.

Are these any known issues?

On all boards, routing the HDMI cable very close to an LTE / 5G modem or placing the board itself next to the modem can cause interference that makes the HDMI capture fail until the modem is removed. The effect seems to vary depending on what HDMI cable, LTE bands, modem transmit power, etc is used. Be prepared to move your modems away from the board and the HDMI cable in case you run into this problem. This appears to be a hardware design issue, and it's very unlikely that a software fix is possible. If this potential issue is a deal breaker for you, it would be best not to build a setup based on one of these boards at this time.

How does the video quality compare between RK3588 and Jetson Nano?

Jetson Nano's H265 encoder gets a higher VMAF score, all things being equal. Subjectively, I find that the RK3588's encoder is less prone to producing noticeable compression artifacts. The RK3588 platform needs more real world use in a variety of scenes before giving a definite answer, but for now we believe the RK3588 has a small edge.

Is the Jetson Nano BELABOX port going to continue being maintained?

Yes. At the moment there are no plans for discontinue the Jetson Nano port. Significant notice will be given if that decision gets taken, and not while the Jetson Nano platform remains in popular use.

Can you add support for <insert another RK3588 board>?

There is a significant overhead in adding, (and testing on a continuous basis!) each board, so we have to be pretty selective here. That being said, if you're aware of other RK3588-based boards with 1) a HDMI input, preferably using a full sized HDMI connector, 2) a resonable selection of expansion ports (M.2/USB ports), 3) priced at least as competitively as the boards already supported, and 4) any unique selling points, then let me know in #rk3588 in Discord.

Can you add support for <insert a board that's neither Jetson Nano, nor RK3588-based>?

Probably not. BELABOX was designed to be portable from the beginning, so demonstrating a proof of concept running on a different platform tends to be trivial. However, inevitably there are many many bugs, design issues, corner cases and other challenges presented by the drivers and board support software that need to be fixed before a new platform will run BELABOX correctly and reliably enough. IRL streaming is a very tough environment, and tech issues create a lot of friction, so we won't release half-baked software.

As an example, it took about a week from first booting up a RK3588 board to running the first proof of concept stream going to BELABOX Cloud. But from that point, it took several months of full time work in evaluating the available boards, understanding how all the hardware-specific support software works, testing all the relevant features, fixing bugs in the drivers, support libraries and gstreamer modules, developing a disk image builder, etc.