Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Battle of IPTV Set Top Box

Date:  Sep 16, 2014 

Today, let’s talk about IPTV Set Top box.

There are many other.  And which one to choose?

(Click to see Larger Photo)

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So many of them.  Let’s look at some of these amazing devices.

Notes:  Below are all my humble opinions.

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I like the 10moons D6.  So, when it’s D8 version came out, I told myself, I need to get one of these.

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Taobao Link:  http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.5.Ifc0Fv&id=35267486620 (RMB 399)

Note that it has a RJ45 Network port.  Why this is important?  Because many people does not have best of the best breed WiFi/Wireless Access Point at home.  So, this network port will ensure you use a wired connection to get the best TV streaming.  Please take note that, you will need a good router too.  A good router is a router that score very high on WAN-to-LAN throughput.  Don’t simply any how go and get the router without asking your ISP first.  Because certain "traffic light ISP” requires you to have a VLAN capable router in order to replace their crappy routers.  I use ViewQwest with FreedomVPN, so, I can use any router I like.  Also, they try to solve the wireless problem by giving you a big wireless antenna.  hahaha

For more info on router performance:  http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/view

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The finishing is very mate and smooth.  Nice.  It is thin too.  Not like their previous box.

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One thing I don’t like is they used this small HDMI.  

So, if you invested in high price, high quality Monster HDMI cable, you are out of luck in using it for your 10moons D8.  I think that is the price you need to pay top make the box smaller.  

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The remote control is quite good quality.  And yes, it is not sleek.  It has a number pad on it.  But the number pad is quite useful, when you need to access any Apps.  As you can configure and define these apps with these short cut number keys.  For example, press 8 to go PPTV, press 9 to launch Youku TV, and so on.  This is very useful for OLD PEOPLE in the house.  They can take the remote and then, press a number to go to the App they like.

This TV box definitely sit in my living room.  

The native app is excellent.  Did not do so much GEO lock verifications.  Launching the show in 华数TV native app is very fast.  About 3-5 seconds you can launch a show.  So, likely you don’t need to install a different launcher to access all the Apps.

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Next, we talk about Xiaomi Mibox 3.  This is the most sleekest box.

But it comes with some disadvantages.  1)  They remove the RJ45 Network port.  2)  The iCNTV / MiUI native App does not work anymore on my ViewQwest Network.  It does not work for all the ISP in Singapore.  There may still be some survivor, but soon, I am sure iCNTV will figure out how to block all these.

Removing the network port is a big NO-NO.  Not many people know how to design their home network properly.  So, as a result, the Wifi can be lousy.  

For example.  You bought a super WiFi AC1200 something like that.  Thinking that it will work the best as it is the fastest.  Imagine, there is a very old piece of Internet Radio that has a 802.11b antenna trying to log into your 802.11N network.  Once it successful doing so, the entire WiFi network become slow.  Because that piece of old junk actually make your super WiFi router to downgrade to talk at slower speed, i.e. 11Mbps.  So, a lot of people really does not know about that, and they blame the box, the router, the ISP, and so on.

So, when you don’t have a good WiFi signal, basically you cannot use this.

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Taobao Link:  http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.59.wLLIAp&id=39024878520&ns=1#detail (RMB 399)

 

One fine day I came back from Jakarta.  I see this on my Xiaomi box.  Oh dear.  The iCNTV is cracking down all these oversea devices.  They don’t want you to watch the copyright contents.  So, the MiUI is completely useless when it keep popping out this message. 

One solution is to install Shafa launcher.  Once you do the Shafa launcher, you can run any apps you like.  By passing this verification check.

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Because the box is very sleek and small, easy to carry.  This is my No. 1 choice for bringing it to oversea.

Simply plug it into the HDMI port giving in the hotel room, or behind of the TV.

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Log in Wireless.

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That’s it.

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It works at Legoland Hotel in Malaysia too.

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I watched the Voice of China singing show at Legoland using my Xiaomi Mibox3.

Even if you cannot login to Wifi, then, bring a USB stick with shows on it.  And you can watch these shows by plugging it to the USB port.

Xiaomi Mibox is indeed a good buy for RMB 399.

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Next, I found this box.  From Tmall.Com.  Which is Taobao.  Which is Alibaba.

So, YunOS is developed by Alibaba.  So, you can imagine how seamless the UI works on this TV set top box.

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Taobao Link:  http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?spm=a220m.1000858.1000725.1.Ha4wdl&id=38938192695&cat_id=2&rn=0330c0293b3068d549317dbe4afbea8e&user_id=1862759827&is_b=1 (RMB 299)

This is how it’s remote control looks like.  Looks a bit cheapo. 

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But the box is small, sleek a bit heavier I think.

And it has cat eyes on it.

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The UI is very smooth.  The launcher has almost zero bugs that I can detect. 

Launching show in 华数TV is fast (approx 3-5 seconds).  This is perhaps a good alternative to Xiaomi.  It is RMB 100 cheaper too.

And it has a Network Port.  :)

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I bought this box from Simlim.  This is probably my first Quad-core box.  Running Android 4.2.  So, I install the Shafa Launcher with Shafa App stores.  I can watch EPL using 光芒体育from this box.  PPTV works exactly the same as others too.  No difference that I can detect.

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I also have a Minix NEO X7 Pro & Mini.  

It used to be very good box.  I wrote some good comments on it too.  But as soon as the Chinese boxes came out, this put them into “old device” categories.

But all of them, are the same.  Quad Core.

And it is enough to run all the Apps I want.  

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This surprisingly RMB 229 cheap box.  It is based on YunOS.  But the manufacturer did not do a good job in building its UI.  But it is good enough to watch any IP TV contents from China.  

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Taobao Link:  http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.1.pEFoGQ&id=37645045071 (RMB 229)

This is still my favourite.  But I recently upgraded to D8.  This is the D6 model.

Oh ya, do you know that I can play and stream 3D movies from the TV content sites from China too?  Ya.  I can watch very HD and 3D with my LG 3D glasses on the TV.

It looks ugly, but I like the UI.  It is fast.

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Taobao Link:  http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=22289468827&spm=a230r.1.0.0.CFiyAL (RMB 299)

This has quite amazing hypes in this device.  But when I try it, it has the most lousy UI design.  The remote control feel is really cheap, and low grade quality.  So, if you really want me to choose, I don’t really like this box.  

But the good thing is, install the Shafa launcher, it will work for every one.  :)

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Taobao Link:  http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?spm=a220m.1000858.1000725.7.V6MmOH&id=16471100604&cat_id=2&rn=25bfb5fd6f39298024a96fd9bad34cb4&user_id=843421904&is_b=1 (RMB 299)

After I installed the Shafa Launcher….

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All my box has the same look and feel.

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All the apps are the same on each box.

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Only install those apps that works on your ISP. 

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I know you can do every thing with Android.  But don’t.  Once you decided that it is a TV Set Top box, then, it should only be a TV set top box.  Do not install any unrelated apps on it.  don’t go and jail break it too.

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Hope this helps you make a good choice of

1)  Which ISP can give your the best peering to China content 

2)  Which router to use

3)  How to run your Wifi at home

4)  Which box you want to choose to run

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