Date: Jan 10, 2015
* Scroll down to the very last page last passage to see why I like the box.
I have used a lot of different IPTV Box.
I like AppleTV as it can run the Netflix App and HuluApp. And it gives superior AirPlay capability. It also runs Photos from my iClouds.
I like XiaoMi MiBox / TV Box as it has all the China Apps running with ViewQwest’s FreedomVPN. All Apps just work. And it has the most superior 4K video.
Of course, I still have some Minix Android box or 10moons YunOS box (Alibaba) here and there. All does the same thing.
But out of these TV Android boxes or Apple TV, I love this box the most.
And today, I am going to write what I do with it. And you tell me whether it is powerful or not.
This is my $99 box from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Fire-TV-streaming-media-player/dp/B00CX5P8FC
It is called Amazon FireTV.
It has a Quad-core CPU. Much faster than the rest of the three (hahaha, I actually have all of them). Somehow, the Americans don’t like to compare their product with the Chinese one. hahaha
It is a very standard interface. It comes with a LAN cable so that you do not have to rely on WiFi if you can access to a Ethernet link. It comes with optical port too. The USB is a bit useless now, but let’s see what are the hackers around the world can do next.
I bought the Gamepad too, I think is about US$38.
By default, Amazon Fire TV comes with a sleak remote control. Very similar to Xiaomi TV Box Remote Control.
It feels quite OK in your hand. The best thing is, press the MIC button, and say “Star Wars Rebels” and the Amazon Fire TV will search and return you the shows you want to see on Amazon Prime TV. And surprisingly I feel that it understand my slang more than the SIRI.
You might have already guess it. It is the best game console for Android Box. Later I will show you some of the games I am playing.
How Do I Install Shafa App Market or Shafa Desktop?
Now, in order to install any third party APK on this box, you need to “hack it”. There is a simple way to hack this. As I have already explained it in details in my previous blog entry on Amazon FireTV.
There is only one single App that you need to install. Which is the Shafa App Store (沙发管家). From there, you will installed all the cracked version of Chinese Apps as well as the Shafa Desktop.
You need to run Shafa Desktop so that you can SWITCH between the Amazon Desktop and Shafa Desktop.
And you download the Apk from here. http://www.shafa.com/market
Next, you need to learn how to SITE LOAD Shafa App onto your Amazon Fire TV. And you do this by reading this blog.
SWITCH BETWEEN AMAZON DESKTOP & SHAFA DESKTOP
After you have successfully install the Shafa Desktop. Now, you have the capability to switch between the two desktop. THANKS to the great programmers from Shafa. They did it without the need of you “jailbreak” or “rooting” your Android TV Box.
Running Vimeo on Fire TV
You can install the Vimeo from the Amazon App store.
And it works with the remote control. I tried to searched the other version of the Vimeo Apps, all comes with disappointing user interface. But this Vimeo that comes with the Amazon App Store is great.
I played some videos from my recent trip in Hokkaido, and it gives a perfect 4K experience on my LG TV.
Now, lets see a longer video to get an idea what you can do with Amazon TV. Simply double click the HOME button, and wait for few seconds, the Desktop Switcher will show up and you can switch between the desktops. This cannot be done before. It is only quite recent no long ago that Shafa Desktop programmers has incorporate this features. I don’t know what’s the reason that you have to wait 4-5 seconds for the desktop switching screen (Launcher Selector) to come up. But this is more better than go to search the App in the Application menu under the Settings category.
I also demonstrate here that you can now run Vimeo (Amazon Fire TV App) on the Fire TV itself. You can’t do that on Xiaomi TV box unless you install Google Services and hack a few things. And the Apps does not look great on it too.
I have Youtube App too!
Yes! From the Amazon FireTV App Store, you can search for YouTube and download it. It will be the version specially written for Amazon Fire TV.
This is the YouTube Interface. Also works with the remote control too.
Shafa Desktop / Launcher
Once you successfully learned how to site load the Shafa App Store / Market, you can install Shafa Launcher / Desktop.
After you installed all the Apps onto your FireTV box, you cannot see those apps on the usual Amazon Launcher/Desktop.
In order to launch any App that you installed from Shafa App Store, you will need to go to the Settings.
Select Manage All Installed Applications. Only thru here, you can see all Apps installed from Amazon FireTV App Store as well as those from Shafa App Store.
Amazon FireTV choose to hide those app you installed via other means. So, previously the only method is to use this method to run the App. Even after you have installed the Shafa Market App and ShafaLauncher App, you still need to come here the first time to run the Shafa Launcher.
Once you run Shafa Launcher, well, you are in good hands to install new apps, and run new apps.
You can see all your Apps now. Using Shafa Launcher/Desktop.
Even if you accidentally press the HOME button and you are back to Amazon Fire TV Interface, don’t worry. Simply double press or double click the HOME button, wait for 1-5 seconds, a Launcher Selector screen will appear. There is where you switch back to Shafa Launcher/Desktop, the easier way. The only thing is you need to wait for 1-5 seconds.
Netflix & Hulu
ViewQwest’s FreedomVPN gives you DNS redirection service that will fool Netflix and Hulu to think that you are in US. And hence unlock the GEO lock and gives you all the TV streams you wish to watch.
So, previously, the only method is to run it on iPad, or Apple TV. Apple TV allows you to install both Netflix and Hulu Plus. But Apple TV does not run Android APK.
Apple TV gives very good video quality, but it is only a single core device.
Now, Amazon FireTV with Quad-core CPU gives very smooth and good video streaming experience.
Of course, you will need to subscribe to these, only about US$10/month
Of course, I also have Roku box, and Roku TV stick. But the apps on them sucks.
Let’s run Netflix on Amazon FireTV box.
Yup, all the Netflix shows can be played from Amazon FireTV.
Download Hulu Plus and you can watch all the Hulu Plus shows you want.
The Chinese TV Streaming Apps
The best TV Movie / TV Series App is PPTV on ViewQwest’s FreedomVPN network.
All the shows are updated. PPTV gives the “Local” version of PPTV content when run on FreedomVPN. PPTV has two version, on other network, you might get the International version where they locked down a lot of non-copyright content.
The CloudTV app is pretty cool nowadays.
This is the App where SimLim Square are pushing.
Because it gives you Live TV content that works.
I can even see the Live TV streaming for Malaysia Channels TV1, TV2, NTV, TV3, 八度空间.
This is some of my favourite Channels.
And yes, you really can cut the Cable cord with this App. It is free.
Of course if you pay US$60/year, then, you can enjoy much faster speed, and much stable contents.
So many channels to choose from.
For EPL lovers, you can can install the Guang Mang TiYu 光芒体育
It gives you most of the live sport channels. The EPL is delivered thru Astro Supersports channels 1-2 & 3.
An alternative will be XiaoDou TV 小豆直播
There are tons of Chinese Apps you can install.
Some of them got cracked version to bypass the Geo Lock if any.
Recommended Chinese App are
My kids love Star Wars Rebels. Me too. And I can easily search it on these Chinese TV streaming App.
9th episode is where Ezra constructed his light saber. Very new, only come out a couple of days ago. And it is already on the Chinese App.
HD quality, and it is free.
One more thing.
The gaming experience is EXCELLENT.
It simply works.
It works seamlessly on the Amazon Gamepad.
If you don’t like, then, use the remote control to play.
They do not lacked of games. Good quality games.
Only thing is I have not figure out how to install larger storage for these games.
You might have notice it.
Everything in English. HaHaHaHaHa Of course the Chinese App are still in Chinese. But the Shafa Desktop launcher, the Shafa Market are in English.
This is the Shafa Market App. This is how you can install your APK onto the Amazon FireTV after you have installed site load the Shafa Market App onto your Amazon FireTv.
This is one method. The other simply just install from the Shafa Market App.
Let’s check out the Network at my home.
This is a big B. Not too bad. It is Ultra HD quality.
This is the device info.
Amazon Apps Store
There are many Apps are available from the Amazon App Store.
And only thru “Buying” then you can get these wonderful Apps that is optimised for Amazon FireTV.
Previously, the locked down the service for Singapore.
Yesterday, when I check, I can buy credits coins, I can buy via Credit Cards.
Although Amazon App Store has not launched in Singapore nor they are selling the FireTV in Singapore.
But clever them finally figure out where does all the easy money comes from. HaAhAHa
Welcome to the App store.
Let’s choose a game to buy.
I just top up some Coins yesterday.
And this is how you buy the Coins. Online, from the FireTV itself. I assume you have Amazon account. They will just get the credit card info from the Amazon account.
Select what you want to buy, and they will top up your Coins.
You can use Coins to buy it, or you can buy directly from Credit Cards.
And there you go.
1. I like Amazon FireTV box.
2. It has English User Interface.
3. It is a Quad-Core CPU Android Box.
4. You can run Vimeo, Youtube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon PrimeTV, PPTV, Youku, Tudou, Sohu, 小豆直播，光芒体育, HDP TV, Cloud TV on one single TV Box.
5. You can play games on Amazon FireTV box. With a remote control or Gamepad.
6. You can now purchase directly from Amazon too. Last time, they stopped you from buying. Now, they open up.
7. I can see my sinology DLNA disk. So, I can played all my local contents too.
8. So, it is everything in one small box. One small solid little box. That is why I like it!