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467 posts

Ultimate Geek


#265781 11-Feb-2020 06:58
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I am looking for an Android TV box.

 

I notice TM has loads.

 

What should I be looking for or can someone recommend a make and model.

 

I know there is some discussion on there use and this thread is not about that please :)


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  #2415839 11-Feb-2020 07:18
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What are your requirements?

 

Asking that question is a bit like asking what phone to buy because you're after a phone!

 

Depending on those requirements a dodgy dirt cheap box may be OK, or you may be needing to look at something a lot more high end.

 

 


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  #2415845 11-Feb-2020 07:44
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sbiddle:

 

What are your requirements?

 

Asking that question is a bit like asking what phone to buy because you're after a phone!

 

Depending on those requirements a dodgy dirt cheap box may be OK, or you may be needing to look at something a lot more high end.

 

 

 

 

eg do you want Freeview over the Internet?





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  #2415846 11-Feb-2020 07:44
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Good reply.
I want to stream uk tv including sky uk anything else is a bonus.



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  #2415847 11-Feb-2020 07:47
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I have been looking at

Xiaomi Mi Box S which has lots of features but can it be set up for uk tv ?

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  #2415860 11-Feb-2020 08:27
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beenz: Good reply.
I want to stream uk tv including sky uk anything else is a bonus.

 

Anything will stream Sky UK. You could buy a Pi Zero to do that as it's just a free HLS stream.

 

What software do you plan to use as a front end? Obviously the TV service you're planning to use would make a difference.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  #2415877 11-Feb-2020 09:03
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Most of the UK TV apps work well on the Amazon Fire TV devices - we use it for BBC and Dave (can't recall if ITV works); while not as cheap as some of the Android TV boxes, they've been really reliable for us. Note it's running a version of Android itself, and one can side-load Android apps like Kodi.


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  #2415894 11-Feb-2020 09:26
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beenz: I have been looking at

Xiaomi Mi Box S which has lots of features but can it be set up for uk tv ?

 

I have a Mi Box 3 (older version of the device you're looking at) and have been a big fan of them on these forums. They're not perfect, they are not the best device out there, however for their price they're great.

 

Jumping onto the Play store and finding the Sky Go app for the UK here (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bskyb.skygo) it lists as not compatible for my Mi Box. You would therefore have to try and side load it from somewhere.  If you're comfortable doing that then go for a Mi Box. If you're not comfortable with side loading then go for something that is supported.

 

Note: That app may be the Android phone app - rather than an Android TV app. You will need to do your own hunting and investigation to see if there is a dedicated Android TV app for Sky Go (UK).

 

One thing I do like (a lot) about the Mi Box is that it has built in Chromecast. So if there is no dedicated Android TV app, however, the Android app supports Chromecasting I'll just do/use that instead.  For example; this is what I do for the Sky Sports Now app here in NZ which is Android only (not Android TV).


 
 
 
 


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  #2415945 11-Feb-2020 09:50
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Mi Box S works well for me, not streaming what you want, but Kodi / Disney. Netflix is a bit flaky, it won't always auto advance to the next episode and when it won't Netflix won't work until the whole box has been restarted, which my toddler doesn't appreciate.


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  #2415951 11-Feb-2020 10:08
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I have two Android boxes. One is an Nvidia Shield, which has a good reputation for its technical quality. The other is a cheap generic box I got off AliExpress for $30. I run Kodi on both of them, as well as a handful of apps. For my purposes, there is not much difference between them. We don't have fibre, though our WISP connection is usually pretty solid. We don't have 4K so everything we stream is 1080 or 720 (or less!). The cheap Android box is fine for that. 

 

Since a cheap box can be had for little money, you might want to just start with that to see how it goes and move on to something better later. As others have said here, it depends on your requirements.

 

 





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  #2416165 11-Feb-2020 13:35
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I use the earlier version of the Mi Box S. It is basically perfect. I watch lots of UK TV. Unfortunately none of the main UK providers have dedicated Android TV apps (emphasis on the 'TV' at the end of Android).

 

 

 

This means two things:

 

1/ You will almost certainly need to side load the app after getting it from APK Pure or APK Mirror. Often you can't access these apps from the NZ Google Play store hence the need to get it from Pure/Mirror. Even if it was in the NZ Google Play Store it would say it is not compatible with the Mi Box (as it is a phone app) so will not install anyway.

 

 

 

2/ The apps you will get from Pure/Mirror will be phone based versions for touch screens. So this will mean the Mi Box remote will not be able to control the app like it can with a purpose built Android TV app - so you will not get the true experience of what they call 'lean back launcher'. This will mean you will need at least a wireless mouse to use with the Mi Box (some users also use a wireless keyboard although I have never found a need).

 

 

 

Finally there are some non UK dedicated Android TV apps (again note the 'TV") that are not available in the Google Play Store as the service is not supposedly available in NZ eg Zattoo, HBO Nordic, HBO USA, Amazon Prime, PBS, Pluto TV etc etc. On the other hand NetFlix, Lightbox , You Tube all have dedicated Android TV apps available in the NZ app store (think NF & YT actually are pre installed on the Mi Box).

 

 

 

For any non NZ service you will need a subscription to a service that tricks the non NZ site into thinking you are based in the country providing the service eg UK for BBC - I use DNS4ME who provide a discount to Geekzone members.


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  #2416234 11-Feb-2020 14:55
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steve2222:

 

I use the earlier version of the Mi Box S. It is basically perfect. I watch lots of UK TV. Unfortunately none of the main UK providers have dedicated Android TV apps (emphasis on the 'TV' at the end of Android).

 

...

 

2/ The apps you will get from Pure/Mirror will be phone based versions for touch screens. So this will mean the Mi Box remote will not be able to control the app like it can with a purpose built Android TV app - so you will not get the true experience of what they call 'lean back launcher'. This will mean you will need at least a wireless mouse to use with the Mi Box (some users also use a wireless keyboard although I have never found a need).

 

 

And that's a one advantage of the Amazon Fire TVs - the apps for BBC iPlayer and UKTV at least work flawlessly with the AFTV remote (assume they're dedicated Fire TV apps, not simply Android apps?). I've not had any luck with ITV (appears to only be an Android app) and I can't recall the situation with All4 (again, I think Android only).

 

I'm really not a fan of having to use a mouse and/or keyboard just to watch content on a TV; perhaps, as someone else mentioned, Chromecasting from another device may be an easier option? (Indeed, have you thought about simply going with a Chromecast? Many don't seem to mind the lack of a dedicated remote, especially noting that CEC means basic controls like play/pause on a TV remote will typically work with Chromecasted content.


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  #2416261 11-Feb-2020 16:12
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jonathan18:

steve2222:


I use the earlier version of the Mi Box S. It is basically perfect. I watch lots of UK TV. Unfortunately none of the main UK providers have dedicated Android TV apps (emphasis on the 'TV' at the end of Android).


...


2/ The apps you will get from Pure/Mirror will be phone based versions for touch screens. So this will mean the Mi Box remote will not be able to control the app like it can with a purpose built Android TV app - so you will not get the true experience of what they call 'lean back launcher'. This will mean you will need at least a wireless mouse to use with the Mi Box (some users also use a wireless keyboard although I have never found a need).



And that's a one advantage of the Amazon Fire TVs - the apps for BBC iPlayer and UKTV at least work flawlessly with the AFTV remote (assume they're dedicated Fire TV apps, not simply Android apps?). I've not had any luck with ITV (appears to only be an Android app) and I can't recall the situation with All4 (again, I think Android only).


I'm really not a fan of having to use a mouse and/or keyboard just to watch content on a TV; perhaps, as someone else mentioned, Chromecasting from another device may be an easier option? (Indeed, have you thought about simply going with a Chromecast? Many don't seem to mind the lack of a dedicated remote, especially noting that CEC means basic controls like play/pause on a TV remote will typically work with Chromecasted content.



If you sideload the Android TV app then you have an experience suitable for a remote control. This is exactly the same on the fire tv.

The Mi Box S and Fire Stick are fairly similar experiences, it comes down to which UI do you like. I really hate the fire os interface which is purely a personal thing.

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  #2416379 11-Feb-2020 19:45
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jonathan18:

 

steve2222:

 

I use the earlier version of the Mi Box S. It is basically perfect. I watch lots of UK TV. Unfortunately none of the main UK providers have dedicated Android TV apps (emphasis on the 'TV' at the end of Android).

 

...

 

2/ The apps you will get from Pure/Mirror will be phone based versions for touch screens. So this will mean the Mi Box remote will not be able to control the app like it can with a purpose built Android TV app - so you will not get the true experience of what they call 'lean back launcher'. This will mean you will need at least a wireless mouse to use with the Mi Box (some users also use a wireless keyboard although I have never found a need).

 

 

And that's a one advantage of the Amazon Fire TVs - the apps for BBC iPlayer and UKTV at least work flawlessly with the AFTV remote (assume they're dedicated Fire TV apps, not simply Android apps?). I've not had any luck with ITV (appears to only be an Android app) and I can't recall the situation with All4 (again, I think Android only).

 

I'm really not a fan of having to use a mouse and/or keyboard just to watch content on a TV; perhaps, as someone else mentioned, Chromecasting from another device may be an easier option? (Indeed, have you thought about simply going with a Chromecast? Many don't seem to mind the lack of a dedicated remote, especially noting that CEC means basic controls like play/pause on a TV remote will typically work with Chromecasted content.

 

 

 

 

The ITV and All 4 apps I use are just vanilla Android ie really for a phone and as such you need a mouse. AFAIK there are no true Android TV apps for these two services.

 

 

 

With respect to Chromecast (which is baked into the Mi Box already) my understanding is this is not easy to setup when the service you want to watch (and here we are talking about UK TV services) requires the use of a DNS service to trick the TV providers into thinking you are in the UK. It is something to do with the Chromecast hard wired to use Google's DNS. There may be some work around by using the DNS redirect service directly in your router/modem but I am not sure. I use the DNS re-direct service in each device that needs it.


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  #2416384 11-Feb-2020 19:59
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steve2222:

 

jonathan18:

 

steve2222:

 

I use the earlier version of the Mi Box S. It is basically perfect. I watch lots of UK TV. Unfortunately none of the main UK providers have dedicated Android TV apps (emphasis on the 'TV' at the end of Android).

 

...

 

2/ The apps you will get from Pure/Mirror will be phone based versions for touch screens. So this will mean the Mi Box remote will not be able to control the app like it can with a purpose built Android TV app - so you will not get the true experience of what they call 'lean back launcher'. This will mean you will need at least a wireless mouse to use with the Mi Box (some users also use a wireless keyboard although I have never found a need).

 

 

And that's a one advantage of the Amazon Fire TVs - the apps for BBC iPlayer and UKTV at least work flawlessly with the AFTV remote (assume they're dedicated Fire TV apps, not simply Android apps?). I've not had any luck with ITV (appears to only be an Android app) and I can't recall the situation with All4 (again, I think Android only).

 

I'm really not a fan of having to use a mouse and/or keyboard just to watch content on a TV; perhaps, as someone else mentioned, Chromecasting from another device may be an easier option? (Indeed, have you thought about simply going with a Chromecast? Many don't seem to mind the lack of a dedicated remote, especially noting that CEC means basic controls like play/pause on a TV remote will typically work with Chromecasted content.

 

 

The ITV and All 4 apps I use are just vanilla Android ie really for a phone and as such you need a mouse. AFAIK there are no true Android TV apps for these two services.

 

With respect to Chromecast (which is baked into the Mi Box already) my understanding is this is not easy to setup when the service you want to watch (and here we are talking about UK TV services) requires the use of a DNS service to trick the TV providers into thinking you are in the UK. It is something to do with the Chromecast hard wired to use Google's DNS. There may be some work around by using the DNS redirect service directly in your router/modem but I am not sure. I use the DNS re-direct service in each device that needs it.

 

 

All 4, ITV and iPlayer are all available as native apps on the Apple TV. This is why I consistently recommend the Apple TV as the best streaming device available. I have both Android TV and Apple TV and nine times out of ten I use the Apple TV. The main uses for my Mi Box is for chromecasting photos from my phone and Kodi if I want to force resolution on Kayo.

 

The other alternative if you want to use android tv may be kodi. You might want to try this on a PC and see if there are Kodi Add Ons for your services before you buy a dedicated player.




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  #2416447 11-Feb-2020 21:31
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So now the question for me is Apple tv or an Android box.
I am now confused even more ☹

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