Goodbye Android TV - Hello PC TV!

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26 May 2015 10:19 by televisiontechnology Star rating in Costa Blanca South. 165 posts Send private message

I've spent the last 3 years offering technical support on the Android TV boxes. It has been a headache!

People who cannot use a dish, have this as their only 'free TV' option and the equipment & software is so variable, that giving support to continually changing applications is difficult.

The moment someone advises me they have put in a 'rental apartment' I know it won't be 5 minutes before there is an issue....with wandering fingers. It does not take much for someone unfamiliar with these type of boxes to have a problem.

People expectations are also not helped by ridiculous marketing promises of some sellers and in reality many people are not getting the user experience or the content they were promised.

Not saying the Android boxes are useless - far from it, just not suitable for everyone, set up varies enormously and not really suitable for the 'technically challenged'.

We found more and more compatibility issues with different software (such as BBC iplayer) and different boxes & finally it does look like a better solution is around the corner.

All applications and software for this type of service is originally for a PC - whether it be XBMC / Kodi or bbc iplayer etc. Up until recently Media PC's have not been a practical comparison to the Android boxes, simply because of size & cost.

Recently this has changed, this type of 'portable PC' has come down in cost (and size), offers a far superior system to the Android boxes (as will run everything and doubles as a PC) & gets around the biggest issue Android boxes have is problems with certain pieces of software - as everything is compatible with a PC.  Downsides? still more expensive than Android box - but quality & performance (as well as being a PC) put this in a different league for free TV in the internet.

Also as other services / software come online you are 100% guaranteed they will work - which is not something any of the cheap Android boxes can promise (and we have seen!).

Having said all of the above - if you want the easiest to use IPTV system, the subscription based boxes are the simplest and most effective at deliverig content in a simple fashion (much like a UK Sky box) but you pay a service provider.

 

Free IPTV guide, systems, pro's cons & what they don't tell you. 

http://tvtech.sharepoint.com/Documents/IPTV%20help%20guide.pdf

 

Paul

www.televisiontechnology.eu

www.facebook.com/televisiontechnology

966783944

 

 

 

 


This message was last edited by televisiontechnology on 26/05/2015.

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26 May 2015 12:32 by windtalker Star rating. 1670 posts Send private message

The new android TV box that you can buy from eBay for around £40 come pre loaded all you have to do is plug in you're WiFi address plug the HD lead in from the box to the TV and that is it I use one in the UK and I also have one in Spain.





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26 May 2015 13:41 by televisiontechnology Star rating in Costa Blanca South. 165 posts Send private message

You can spend anywhere from £40 to £200 on these boxes. Quality and performance varies considerably.

Many of the lower end boxes do struggle with buffering due to low internal memory - though this in turn depends on how well your internet performs - so some may see this, some not. Some have remote controls which cost more than the box you have stated!

The point was there are many compatibility issues with some software on these boxes & the more of the different services you try, the more this becomes apparent. There are no such issues with anything PC related - which was really the point.

For example iplayer did work with M8 android boxes, then bbc changed something & (last time I checked) did not work. Ultimately they are a good way of getting cheap / free TV -  though if you want a more stable and better performing system, as is always the case - you pay a little more for quality. VPN integration is much slicker / easier - as is linking everything together iplayer / netflix / even adding in premium IPTV if required.  You can do this on the Android boxes, but not always, simply down to compatbility / config issues with the differences of hardware / software versions.

Other points are connecting equipment, such as printers etc - you can in fact now have a TV box, with a proper keyboard that does everything your home PC does as well as the Android boxes. To me as an overall system, is better resolved - quite a few people have switched from the budget boxes to the media PC's and seems to be growing in popularity. As is always the case, as prices fall, popularity will gain. 

 

Based on my personal use & feedback. My personal rankings are as follows.

 

1. Satellite (if signal available). Best quality, best audio. Subscription free UK channels.

2. Premium based IPTV - Why?  Guaranteed channel list, 7 days program guide, integrated catch up TV (usually 7 or 14 days) very simple to use. Channels from multiple satellites - great for varied content / live sports / films with decent quality (if still not as good as satellite full HD). Wide range of video on demand content. The simplest of all the IPTV solutions, with a singular box / software solution. 

3. Kodi / XBMC - For the FTA UK channels if put this through a 40" TV lack of quality becomes apparent. Quality the weakest on FTA channels. Good for free content, films, series etc. Not so good for technophobes or rental apartments. Hard to fix / set up if not techically minded. Lots of different software / applications. Best device to use for Kodi is a PC, though Android boxes are cheaper and you can also use Android smartphone / tablets. For sports would not recommend as the free streams can be variable to say the least. Remember it is free content you are receiving  - therefore cannot be guaranteed. UK channels are fine, but promises companies make of 'getting every last football / sports game' are optimistic to say the least - as free servers can get overburdened, leading to a very frustrating viewing experience.

As ever, you pay your money and you take your choice. However spending £40 will not buy you a Rolls Royce in spite of what many may claim....

 

 

 


This message was last edited by televisiontechnology on 26/05/2015.


This message was last edited by televisiontechnology on 26/05/2015.

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www.televisiontechnology.eu - Satellite TV, network telecomms, IPTV & community support.

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02 Jun 2015 01:05 by hugh_man Star rating in Kent/Roda . 1589 posts Send private message

hugh_man´s avatar

Has anyone had experience of Dreambox TV?





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02 Jun 2015 07:29 by satandpcguy Star rating in Gandia, Valencia. 399 posts Send private message

satandpcguy´s avatar

Is that Dreambox the satellite TV receiver? If this see point 1 in Pauls post below.

Or Dreambox the Android box running XBMC / Kodi? If this see point 3 in Pauls post below.

 



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02 Jun 2015 09:32 by baz1946 Star rating. 2179 posts Send private message

Rolling out fiber optic for the internet in some areas of Spain so the XMBC box and internet in general could get a whole lot better.





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02 Jun 2015 10:22 by televisiontechnology Star rating in Costa Blanca South. 165 posts Send private message

Fibre Optic - Another pointless PR exercise by Telefonica. Yes it is true, but only in areas which are vialble with a reasonable high degree of concentration of people.  For smaller villages and many expatriate locations, it will not come any time soon. 

One example being our little village, population 600-700 currently have Telefonica landline ADSL speed of 1.5Mbps. When requesting further information on updates, answer = no plans.

Telefonica / Movistar really still playing catchup, after spending most of their resources on improving South America rather in their own back yard. Shareholders !

Where Telefonica have being making more progress is the 4G and that may end up being the read additional coverage over fibre - again in our location we can now get 4G unlimited, averaging around 20+Mbps, downside currently is expensive at €60 per month, when it hits around €40 for 4G unlimited and you have the stable speed, we will then see hopefully a good overall improvement. Still a little while away as 4G also needs to increase coverage in certain locations and again, down to population.  Failing that, satellite internet - only option if you live half way up a mountain somewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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02 Jun 2015 13:04 by baz1946 Star rating. 2179 posts Send private message

Fibre Optic - Another pointless PR exercise by Telefonica. Yes it is true, but only in areas which are vialble with a reasonable high degree of concentration of people.  For smaller villages and many expatriate locations, it will not come any time soon. 

One example being our little village, population 600-700 currently have Telefonica landline ADSL speed of 1.5Mbps. When requesting further information on updates, answer = no plans.

Telefonica / Movistar really still playing catchup, after spending most of their resources on improving South America rather in their own back yard. Shareholders !

Where Telefonica have being making more progress is the 4G and that may end up being the read additional coverage over fibre - again in our location we can now get 4G unlimited, averaging around 20+Mbps, downside currently is expensive at €60 per month, when it hits around €40 for 4G unlimited and you have the stable speed, we will then see hopefully a good overall improvement. Still a little while away as 4G also needs to increase coverage in certain locations and again, down to population.  Failing that, satellite internet - only option if you live half way up a mountain somewhere.

 

Will search out the article tomorrow and see / try if I can get it posted onto here.





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02 Jun 2015 15:15 by windtalker Star rating. 1670 posts Send private message

Android TV is  exactly the same as   PC TV I don't understand this post, go out and buy a smart TV and you find it is the same thing as Android TV the only difference is the Android TV box has been built-in to you can also watch TV on a PC or a mobile phone you are still watching Google Android TV .

 


This message was last edited by windtalker on 02/06/2015.



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02 Jun 2015 16:17 by televisiontechnology Star rating in Costa Blanca South. 165 posts Send private message

Fundamental difference is on the Android boxes, you are limited to certain google products / services and there are issues as mentioned with compatibility  - example BBCiplayer on some boxes. By using a PC, not only do they run faster, but have 100% compatibility, whether it be with BBC iplayer / certain VPN's - basically everything - with of course the added benefit of it is a PC as well. This is not about specifically 'google TV' but about all video streaming services and what is the best to use (or possible) on anything.

It is a mistake saying smart TV's are the same as this is totally wrong. They are locked down, regionally limited, work differently in countries with different languages (IE you will not be getting UK catch up services on a TV when used in Spain (not without workaround / VPN routers, which we have found again compatibility issues with). They have limited software and do not compare to an Android box or a Media PC. Smart TV's are very restrictive in use, certainly as an expatirate.

This is my job - When you have spent a good few years offering support to many customers of this type of products, you soon find out there is a great deal of difference both in compatibility, software and general use.

Its a bit like IPTV in general - people in general do not realise how much differences there are in systems / hardware / providers etc, for many it is a relatively new subject.

 

 

 

 

 



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www.televisiontechnology.eu - Satellite TV, network telecomms, IPTV & community support.

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02 Jun 2015 21:56 by Pitby Star rating in Andalucía. 1904 posts Send private message

Pitby´s avatar

I have to say that I have an android box, an Apple TV, a Samsung Smart tv, and subscribe to a vpn and a dns service!!  In my opinion, the android box (we have a Minix 5) is only good for watching the odd movie or tv series - we have never and would never (as it's useless!) watched live TV streams on it (and we have Fibre Optic!).  It stresses us out searching through different sources to find one that is half way decent!!

I must disagree with you, televisiontechnology, about smart TVs in some respect though - we have 'cracked' 'hacked' or whatever our tv (a Samsung F8000 bought in Spain) to change it to think it's in the UK and have all the UK iplayers and other apps (it's very easy to do and can be googled - I did it and it automatically downloads all the UK apps and functions).  I then subscribed to a DNS service (very cheaply) and have changed the DNS in the TV and can now use all the apps (ITV player, BBC iplayer, ALL 4, etc., etc.,) without a problem - and it uses MY internet speed and we are not reliant on the speed of a VPN service.   If we want to watch live UK TV I usually use the TV browser and connect to filmon.com or one of its portals (viewtelly.com, camposat.tv, etc.) and watch ITV from there or go to bbc.com iplayer and watch live BBC there.  So, in my humble opinion, the smart TV has many benefits. 

We are now thinking about buying a Mag 254 and subscribing to a service for that - and getting rid of our Sky subscription, but I want to be sure I get as good a service on the Mag 254 for Sky F1!!  Otherwise, it's staying!! smiley

 


This message was last edited by Pitby on 02/06/2015.


This message was last edited by Pitby on 02/06/2015.



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02 Jun 2015 23:15 by televisiontechnology Star rating in Costa Blanca South. 165 posts Send private message

Still not really comparative - You need a lot of work arounds to get a smart TV working overseas. A long way from straight forward.  It had also better be the right model. Additionally manufacturers have been known to block certain workarounds with VPN's / DNS etc with update software - so do need to be a little cautious. Which still puts it (in my opinion) behind a media type PC, as none of these type of restictions or blocks can be put in place.

We have had issues with Samsung changing software & seen this on a new model, which recently installed in office. You will won't be loading a lot of other software on it, as it is simply not available.  Not saying you cannot use some features - but not without hassle, longevity software issues & ultimately limitation in both software & viewable content.

MAG type boxes with a good service provider - always simplest solution, if you are prepared to pay.

Ultimately all of the devices have their strengths and weaknesses. This post was really more about the free content and the additional benefits of switching from Android to PC for TV hardware wise. Off topic with the smart TV, though in reality there is some cross over of hardware, so a valid point. Though for many will serve to confuse further. 

Pitby -  90% of the 3000+ clients,  I deal with would not have the faintest clue what you are talking about and nor could do it.....So I have to view not through techies eyes, but real users - as we have to do the support! 

 

 

 



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03 Jun 2015 11:01 by andyintorre Star rating in Costa Blanca. 104 posts Send private message

Guess it comes down to what do you expect for free and how much does the TV rule your life. I find android box great, for free, and can't imagine paying to watch most of the rubbish on UK TV anyway.





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03 Jun 2015 11:33 by windtalker Star rating. 1670 posts Send private message

How easy do you want ,firstly buy a android box from eday they come fully loaded and jail Brocken for around £40.00 I have two boxes one for Spain and one in the UK it is a xgody cs918+ with a built in 16gig hard drive /quad core processor very fast with no buffering it is plug in an that's it the best way to connect the box on the internet is by a ethert cable from you're WiFi router to the box and you are ready to watch TV ,if you're TV is to far away from the router and you connect the android box via wifi just go into the settings menu and plug in your WiFi address and that's it no technical no how required .

This message was last edited by windtalker on 03/06/2015.



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03 Jun 2015 12:18 by televisiontechnology Star rating in Costa Blanca South. 165 posts Send private message

Clearly you do not work in support. Now try the same as a pensioner with no experience of this type of hardware or put it in a rental property for instant nightmare.

Then pick up the phone 1000 times answering such questions as, why is this app not working, why not that one - etc, etc, multiply that up with the 50 apps loaded, which at any given time one is bound to not be working.....Without a shadow of a doubt the highest amount of support we have ever needed to offer on any product in working for a telecomms / TV company in 8 years. 

Not for everyone - if it was, there would not be different systems available. Many people simply do not know or understand the hardware or what is the best / suitable type of system for them. I would not recommend this for everyone. In fact our own sales figures of all IPTV hardware seem to point now to more people switching to subscription based boxes / services - many have tried the free option and deemed it more trouble than it is worth - especially if coming from satellite or a simpler system.

If you answered the phones / emails as I did, you would find that the vast majority do struggle with this hardware at one time or another- usually software or update / walking fingers related. Bare in mind you have a larger number of freely supported applications which allow access to certain conent. If these fail to be supported or get shut down (they have been) - then you will spend more time fiddling with the box, than watching TV - some 'enthusiast' types or those wanting simple filmon (with very average quality) will be fine - not however the majority of people.

I base my opions on many users, not the tech savvy people, who it may not trouble. This is not the vast majority of people I have to deal with on a daily basis.

As for comparing a cheap Android box to a well specced media PC - Chalk & Cheese. One is much better & more flexible, but you pay more. 

 

 



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www.televisiontechnology.eu - Satellite TV, network telecomms, IPTV & community support.

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03 Jun 2015 16:38 by windtalker Star rating. 1670 posts Send private message

You can argue til the cows come home all I know is that I have that I have taken six Android TV boxes over to Spain for my neighbor's and not one complaint about the Android box what is their to complain about when you can get UK TV and the latest movie's for free ,just a one of payment of £40.00 for the box and that is it.

 

 


This message was last edited by windtalker on 03/06/2015.



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03 Jun 2015 18:02 by televisiontechnology Star rating in Costa Blanca South. 165 posts Send private message

I don't need to argue. I have a degree in IT Technology and am employed to offer support for a telecommiunications company, have 2500 facebook followers asking for advice, deal with currently 50 products for support, 30-40 emails and calls a day. Also employed to write about such subjects / support blog on a number of forums & some of the largest expatriate sites. I have probably tested 50-60 different types of Android / PC / Smart TV systems in the last 18 months. I know my subject.

There is a side you have not seen or experienced, If you did this day in and day out for a living, your opinion would likely to be a little different, as after the 1000th support call on something that is out of your control (such as Navi-X going offline for a few weeks, which it did or Mash up disappearing for a few months then re-appearing). Can be very frustrating, both for the users of these applications and those giving support, who do not control that specific software.

People if using for filmon or something are o.k, but as soon as you delve a little further and start using some other applications, you can and do have issues. You will find even on your existing equipment, not everything is compatible app wise and some will stop working - whether you notice this or use these applications is a different story - but I have to do this all day long, so do see this.

It is a statement of fact that a Media PC, has 100% compatibility with any IPTV system / service, whereas and Android box, does not. I can put on a number of different servies and software on this equipment, which is simply not available for Android. They are different - but do cross over with certain aspects. I recommended the newer path of the next generation of the Media type PC's simply as you can do more with them & after running both continually side by side, to me it is clear there are benefits with both software compatibility and general use of using a PC for these type of services - you really can access so much more.

If you are happy helping out a few neighbours and doing them a favour, it is all good. My job is to offer subjective advice based on all equipment available and what is suitable for a specific user group, I have to test / use / write up and offer support for this type of equipment. This does not mean you have to agree, nor would I expect everyone to.  

 

 

 

 

 


This message was last edited by televisiontechnology on 03/06/2015.

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03 Jun 2015 18:26 by andyintorre Star rating in Costa Blanca. 104 posts Send private message

Starting to sound like an advert for a new way to access uktv in spain, all you need to do is spend some more money and everything will be ok!!!!





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