What’s the Best Android TV Box (2017/2018 Edition)?

Since I was often asked which TV box to buy, I wrote a guide entitled “What’s the best Android TV box?” in April 2016. Time has passed, new products have launched, I tested more devices, and got further reader feedback, so it’s time for an update. There’s still no device that rules them all, and since everybody has different requirements and price points, what could the best Android TV box ever to one person, maybe be a piece of junk to another. Before purchasing a TV box, you should consider what you plan to do with it, and find the device with matches your needs and budget. So first, I’ll provide a list of things to look for – beside the SoC/RAM selection – before selecting three TV boxes that stand out (in no particular order), as well as alternatives worth looking at. Things to Look for The list is […]

U5PVR Deluxe Set-Top Box & NAS Review – Part 2: Android TV, Debian, and Live TV App

U5PVR Deluxe is an set-top box with digital TV tuners that runs Android TV 5.1, and support 2.5″ and 3.5″ hard drive. I’ve received a model with a dual DVB-T/T2 tuner, and already posted “U5 PVR Deluxe Android Set-Top Box Review – Part 1: Specs, Unboxing, Teardown, and SATA HDD Assembly” a few weeks ago, where I described the hardware, and I inserted a one terabytes 3.5″ hard drive. I’ve now had time to test the device, but it took much longer than expected due to a partial firmware update issue, which forced me to redo many of the tests. There are also some undocumented features, so if you want to make the most of the device, be prepared to spend time in the forums. U5PVR Connections, OTA Firmware Update, and Setup Wizard The box have one USB 3.0 ports, and three USB 2.0 ports, so most people won’t need […]

U5 PVR Deluxe Android Set-Top Box Review – Part 1: Specs, Unboxing, Teardown, and SATA HDD Assembly

Last year, I reviewed U4 Quad Hybrid, an Android TV box powered by Hisilicon Hi3796M quad core Cortex A7 processor and with a combo DVB-T2/C + DVB-S2 tuner. with digital TV tuner. It worked pretty well, except for a few bugs here and there, the processor is not the most powerful, and video output & decoding is limited to 4K  @ 30Hz. The company – Shenzhen Vivant Technology – is now back with a new model called U5 PVR powered by a more powerful Hisilicon Hi3798C V200 quad core Cortex A53 processor with fast interfaces like USB 3.0, SATA, and Gigabit Ethernet, as well as support for 4K @ 60Hz via a HDMI 2.0a interface. There are actually three variations of U5 PVR with Deluxe/Slim/Normal models, and the company sent me U5 PVR Deluxe model for review. As usual, after listing the specifications, I’ll start the review by checking out […]

Review of U4 Quad Hybrid Android Set-top box with DVB-T2/C and DVB-S2 Tuner

U4 Quad Hybrid is an Android 4.4 satellite, cable and terrestrial TV receiver powered by HiSilicon Hi3796M V100 quad core Cortex A7 supporting video decoding for H.264 and H.265 up to 4K @ 30 Hz. I’ve already taken a few pictures of the device and the board and tuner, shown how to easily configure another device or computer to stream live TV from this Android TV box, so today, I’ll write more about the Android and DVB parts both in terms of features and performance in the full review. First Boot, Settings and First Impressions I’ve started by connecting USB peripherals and cables: USB 3.0 hard drive to USB 3.0 port, USB keyboard, and RF dongles for MINIX NEO A2 Lite air mouse and Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad, as well as Ethernet and HDMI cables, and the terrestrial and satellite antenna cables. The DVB-T2 connector is using an F-connector, so […]

Stream Live TV to Your Computer or Smartphone with U4 Quad Hybrid Android TV Box, Kodi and TVheadend

TVheadend is a streaming server and recorder for Linux, FreeBSD and Android supporting DVB-S, DVB-S2, DVB-C, DVB-T, ATSC, ISDB-T, IPTV, SAT>IP and HDHomeRun as input sources, and while in theory it should be possible to configure any recent Android TV set-top box with digital TV tuners, configuration is complex, and there’s no guarantee the tuner will be recognized. However, the manufacturer of U4 Quad Hybrid has already configured their box to support HTSP clients, so I’ve installed the latest firmware, and given it a try with my Android smartphone running Kodi 15.2 with TVheadend HTSP client, and I could successfully stream live TV (DVB-T2 free-to-air channels) to my smartphone. Once you’ve scanned the channels using DVB-T2 and/or DVB-S2, there’s no other configuration in U4 Quad Hybrid TV box, but you’ll still need to find out your IP address by going to Setup->Network, and WiFi, Ethernet or 3G depending on your […]

U4 Quad Hybrid Android TV Box Unboxing and Teardown with DVB-T2, DVB-S2 and ATSC Tuners

Yesterday, I wrote about U4 Quad Hybrid Android Digital TV receiver based on HiSilicon Hi3796M processor, and supporting for DVB-T2/T/C, DVB-S2, and ATSC standards. Today, I’ve received the device, taken a few pictures, and torn it down to find out more about the hardware. The full review will come out in a few weeks. U4 Quad Hybrid Unboxing DHL did their job quickly as I received the set-top box in about two days in the following package. The box comes with a 12V/1.5Am AV and HDMI cables, a WiFi antenna, an IR remote control requiring two AAA batteries (not included), a user’s manual in Korean language only and… a separate tuner… So let’s check that tuner more in details… The demodulator chip is LG3390A, so an ATSC tuner is included in the package. Not very useful in Thailand, but it’s good to know it’s included. I also open the cover […]

U4 Quad Hybrid Android Set-top Box Supports DVB-S2, DVB-T2/T/C & ATSC Tuners

So far most of the Android receiver with digital TV tuners I covered on CNX Software are based on Amlogic processor, with a few exceptions such as Infomir MAG277 based on STMicro STiH301 processor. There’s now another choice with U4 Quad Hybrid, an Android 4.4 TV box powered by Hisilicon Hi3796M quad core Cortex A7 processor that supports DVB-S2, DVB-T2/C, and ATSC tuners. U4 Quad Hybrid specifications: SoC – Hisilicon Hi3796M quad core Cortex A7 processor with a Mali-450MP GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3-1600 MHz Storage – 8GB internal storage and micro SD slot Video Output – HDMI 1.4a up to 4K @ 30Hz + AV port (CBVS) Audio Output – HDMI, AV and coaxial S/PDIF (optical S/PDIF available as an option) Video Decoding – Up to 4K @ 30 fps for H.265, H.264, MPEG-4, AVS, VC-1, VP6/8, etc.. Full HD 3D video (MVC) and blu-ray navigation supported Tuners […]