Android set-top boxes with tuner usually costs $70 and up depending on hardware specifications, and number of tuners, but if you want something cheap that runs Android and supports DVB-T2, “Mecool M8S Plus DVB” may be worth looking at, since it’s sold for just $55.99 shipped. [Update: Mecool M8S Plus DVB can now be found on Banggood for $42.99 including shipping]
In order to achieve such low price, the company had to make some compromises, and the TV box only comes with 1GB RAM, and 8GB storage. Amlogic however recently published a press release about their “new Amlogic S905X chipset” supporting Netflix and 1GB RAM. S905X is clearly not new, but it’s possible the company made some Android optimizations for their S9XX SoC family that provides a decent user experience even with just 1GB RAM.
Mecool M8S Plus DVB set-top-box specifications:
- SoC – Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor with Mali-450MP GPU
- System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
- Storage – 8GB eMMC flash
- Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack
- Audio – Via HDMI, AV port (stereo audio)
- Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265 up to 4K60, VP9 Profile 2 up to 4K30, MPEG/VC-1/AVS+/H.265 up to 4K30
- Tuner – DVB-T/T2/C tuner with coaxial antenna connector
- Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1
- USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
- Power Supply – TBD
- Dimensions – 13 x 9.85 x 2.1 cm
- Weight – 180 grams
The box also lacks a micro SD card slot, so PVR function would have to be done to an external USB hard drive or thumbdrive. I actually never tried to record video from the tuner to a micro SD card, as it may be too slow (TBC).
M8S Plus DVB runs Android 7.1 (i.e. not Android TV), and ships with a power adapter, a HDMI cable, an IR remote control, and a user’s manual. If you want to get a feel about the user interface and capabilities of the DTV app, you may want to check my earlier review of Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid set-top box, specifically the DTV App for DVB-S/S2 and DVB-T/T2 section of the review.
This device is designed for free-to-air TV, but some people are not aware that there are different standards per country, so please do not buy this model, if your country does not support DVB-T2, DVB-T, or DVB-C. For example, if you live in the US, you should get an ATSC set-top box instead.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
Seems a pretty pointless box with only 1Gb RAM and single tuners aren’t really useful as you can’t carry out the most basic of function that set top boxes have been able to do for a long time, watch one program whilst recording another.
Tuners are also very cheap and so there is no reason why one should add significant cost to any box.
Update: The set-top box is now $42.99 on Banggood. Added to top part of the post.