TV viewing all wrapped up
Get your binge watching fix with an Android TV box, writes Marchelle Abrahams.
With data becoming more affordable and uncapped broadband now a necessity instead of a luxury, South Africans are looking to other alternatives to get their binge TV fix.
Traditional TV viewing is fast going through a transition of sorts, and it seems that we are happily jumping on the bandwagon.
Introducing the Android TV box. It’s a nifty little set-top box that turns your TV into a smart TV, and has features to stream some of your favourite shows.
If you’re in the market for pumping up your home entertainment system, Android TV boxes are an inexpensive and hassle-free option.
Android Authority’s Hadlee Simons has a few suggestions of what is available to SA consumers.
But before you get started, you’ll need:
- HD TV, that doesn’t have to be smart.
- Power source.
- Uncapped data or Wifi, preferable 4Mbps uncapped stable line, or 10 Mbps uncapped for families.
Access music services like Google Play Music and Simfy Africa, and TV series, movies and games from Google Play Movies, Netflix South Africa, ShowMax, or YouTube.
Its strongest selling point is that it comes with the Dstv Now app pre installed, so if you are a current Dstv subscriber, you can still keep up to date with big sporting events without having to “hack” the system.
Useful info: Telkom’s media player is powered by a quad-core Amlogic chip and runs Android 7.1.2.
Price: Available with all Telkom 24-month contract packages that qualify for LIT TV. The media player is also available for R49.99 per month over 24 months, or for R1,099 once off.
Verdict: This one comes highly recommended, especially if you’re new to the set top box scene.
The official Netflix partner in SA, Kwesé Play has more than 100 VOD (video on demand) services like Red Bull TV, NBA, YouTube, TED and Bloomberg. The Roku-powered streaming device is available at most leading retailers, and comes complete with 300GB of Vox’s free data per month for three months and free Netflix for three months if purchased at Incredible Connection.
Useful info: Brilliant HD image quality, 256mb of expandable storage, 512MB internal RAM.
Price: R999* at participating retailers
Verdict: Value for money. Plus the Linux-derived platform (Roku OS) is made with TVs in mind.
Xiaomi Mi Box
Mi Box runs on the latest Android TV software Oreo (8.0) which is easy to use, supports voice controls and Google Cast. Stream videos on demand from Netflix, Showmax and Dstv Now. Mi Box also recommends videos based on your personal Youtube and Google Play preferences. There’s also the Kodi app that lets you stream from different websites and works similarly to YouTube channels.
Useful info: Mi Box supports both Dolby Digital Plus and DTS multichannel HD audio encoding. The result is smoother, dynamic, immersive and more realistic stereo surround sound.
Price: From R1 690
Verdict: Setup can be done in 3 easy steps which makes it a good option with those who have an aversion to anything tech-related.