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Android boxes, the future of home entertainment

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........................ and the end of SKY TV and other subscription services?

 

 

 

XBMC, Sports Devil, OTA, Navi-X it's a whole new language but one that is rapidly taking off. I have had a SKY TV subscription since the days when they were BSkyB but tomorrow I am phoning them up and cancelling SKY Sports and Movies because, after looking at various other boxes and using a mate's MX box for a week, I have brought a slightly more expensive one with a wireless keyboard and it's due Thursday.

 

Nowadays I live in a pretty rural area and my internet speed is a paltry 2.0 - 2.5mps, but the MX box worked for most things I streamed be it football, movies or TV shows. Occaisionally I had a slight lag on HD films but I just paused and let it buffer on for five minutes or so, pressed play and it was fine.

 

 

So, is it the future of home entertainment and the first nail in the coffin of SKY? I hope so. Anyone got one or have plans to get one?

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I must say i was tempted to get a Raspberry pi to use it for that kind of purpose, shame was don't seem to be getting chromecast in the uk that would have worked perfectly well.

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We cancelled our virgin box. I have a skybox f5, I get every single sports channel etc known to man for 10 quid a month! Comes directly through the dish and the router is used for the key.

The EPG is terrible, bit I use the sky app to see whats on.

Its ridiculously good

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Got xbmc on my tablet and phone, just started looking at android boxes using it. Which one you got, been looking at a justop one.

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I must say i was tempted to get a Raspberry pi to use it for that kind of purpose, shame was don't seem to be getting chromecast in the uk that would have worked perfectly well.

 

Chris, what would be the advantage of Chromecast? Wouldn't a pre-loaded Android box plugged into your HD TV do all that and more?

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I've got a Raspberry Pi with XBMC hooked up to the TV, it great for downloaded stuff but the lack of processor power and memory makes it frustrating to use with things like Sports Devil, etc. It works eventually, at least most of the time. Generally I prefer to hook my computer up to the TV via the DVI input for live streaming.

 

I don't think android boxes will be the end of Sky as they are more than a TV company nowadays, but I'm hoping that it will eventually force them to stop their policy of forcing you to pay out of the ears for loads of channels you don't want just to get the one or two sports channels you do want.

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Got xbmc on my tablet and phone, just started looking at android boxes using it. Which one you got, been looking at a justop one.

 

 

dkw, I did put the link to the one I am getting in my original post but as I haven't actually received or used it yet I thought I should remove the link in case it doesn't turn up or isn't as good as advertised. Once I have got it and set it up I will get back to you with a review.

 

My mate has got two of these:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MX-Android-4-2-Dual-Core-Smart-TV-Box-XBMC-1080p-Media-Player-Network-Streamer-/161064429360?pt=UK_Sound_Vision_Internet_TV_Media_Streamers&hash=item2580302730

 

 

He lent me one to try out for a week and I was very impressed with how easy it was to set up and use, it even came with a HDMI lead. The only downside was having to use the remote as a keyboard or cursor to navigate the search menus, hence why I have brought one with a wireless keypad. I also wanted a box with the ability to update itself over the air, (OTA), which I undestand not all of them have at the minute.

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I've got a Raspberry Pi with XBMC hooked up to the TV, it great for downloaded stuff but the lack of processor power and memory makes it frustrating to use with things like Sports Devil, etc. It works eventually, at least most of the time. Generally I prefer to hook my computer up to the TV via the DVI input for live streaming.

 

I don't think android boxes will be the end of Sky as they are more than a TV company nowadays, but I'm hoping that it will eventually force them to stop their policy of forcing you to pay out of the ears for loads of channels you don't want just to get the one or two sports channels you do want.

 

 

You are probably right Dave, but I reckon the advances in streaming technology and take up on these bits of kit are making them very nervous. Longterm I can see it having a major impact on their pricing policies and that is no bad thing IMO.

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What does it come preloaded with? I've played with xbmc lately, using mashup mainly for footie etc.

 

 

dkw, I should point out that the link I posted is not the seller my friend got his from but it looks like the same spec MX box he brought.

 

His came with Sports Devil, Navi-X, Xunity, Disney Junior..... loads of stuff pre-loaded. I have got the Chelsea Palace game on it at the minute using the Football Replays add-on, it is the Setanta 1 match coverage from a Daily Motion stream

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I have a torrent box/media server/media player(xbmc) based on a low power asus amd apu board (E35M1-I deluxe). Working good, but the only way I found so far to open an acestream or sopcast stream is to stream it on my pc/notebook, broadcast it to the local network and open that from xbmc.

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I have a torrent box/media server/media player(xbmc) based on a low power asus amd apu board (E35M1-I deluxe). Working good, but the only way I found so far to open an acestream or sopcast stream is to stream it on my pc/notebook, broadcast it to the local network and open that from xbmc.

 

Acestream/sopcast is another reason I prefer to connect the computer directly to the TV for matches; I'd love to be able to open those high quality streams in XBMC but last time I looked into it (~1 year ago) it wasn't possible.

 

I used to stream it from a PC via the network like you but one day it stopped working for no reason and I couldn't be bothered sorting it out.

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@just to me the crowded just seemed the simplest, you could stream whatever is in your browser. They were only like £30 in US, didn't use much power. 

 

How much are people spending BTW? 

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@just to me the crowded just seemed the simplest, you could stream whatever is in your browser. They were only like £30 in US, didn't use much power. 

 

How much are people spending BTW?

The MX boxes you can pick up now for £50 to £60 quid. The one I have brought is the latest M6 version which is £100. I will save £30 a month by jacking in SKY sports and movies.

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Acestream/sopcast is another reason I prefer to connect the computer directly to the TV for matches; I'd love to be able to open those high quality streams in XBMC but last time I looked into it (~1 year ago) it wasn't possible.

 

I used to stream it from a PC via the network like you but one day it stopped working for no reason and I couldn't be bothered sorting it out.

 

It's possible, but you need windows or a full linux install with a desktop environment, because xbmc would use them as external players. I run xbmc on ubuntu server so no gui, these low power boxes are not suited to run a bloated OS under xbmc.

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If you have a dish id recommend getting a skybox f5. Its HD through the satellite. No dodgy streaming. All you need is a dish, the box, a seller and an internet connection.

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You lot are far too geeky for me! Im jealous!

My mate who is also a geek built me a computer that i link up to my tv and i stream the football on it. My internet speed is sh*t because i live in the country side and quite far from the exchange. I get about 4mb.

I have been thinking of cancelling sky sports because i can watch every game online. But what you guys are talking about takes it to the next level. On my pc my mate put XBMC but i dont really know how to use it like you lot do. I just watch films on it that my mate gets for me.

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I don't have an MX box, but I use streaming boxes all over my villa.

 

I have XBMC on two different nettops (and all of my laptops) that I have connected to the family room TV and our master bedroom TV for movies, shows, etc. that I want to stream. I also have an Apple TV (for HBO GO) downstairs and 4 Roku boxes. I have Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime so I can stream shows, movies, etc. for a very minimal cost. The Rokus even have some games like Angry Birds that can be played. Kind of comical.

 

The Roku 2 XS boxes that my kids use were $60 each and the Roku 3s were $100. The Roku 2 XS supports 720p, while the Roku 3 supports 1080p.

 

I believe this is the new way of delivering TV. The question is going to be whether or not the ISPs start to throttle or cut your home Internet bandwidth after reaching a certain point of how much one has downloaded/streamed per month.

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@just to me the crowded just seemed the simplest, you could stream whatever is in your browser. They were only like £30 in US, didn't use much power. 

 

How much are people spending BTW? 

 

I think it cost around £35 altogether for the Pi and accessories (power adapter, SD card, HDMI cable) but I would only recommend it if you can have a wired connection to your router as wireless is only possible via a USB adapter (add another 10 quid) and USB support is pretty flaky anyway, might as well get one of those android boxes like the ones in just's links.

 

 

It's possible, but you need windows or a full linux install with a desktop environment, because xbmc would use them as external players. I run xbmc on ubuntu server so no gui, these low power boxes are not suited to run a bloated OS under xbmc.

 

If you need a full Windows or Linux DE then it gets a bit pointless in my opinion, might as well just browse to wisiwig and use the stand alone apps. It's still a surprise to me that nobody has made add-ons for XBMC for this.

 

Changing the subject somewhat, I've been happily using XBMC for years but I've heard lots of good things about Plex recently, I was wondering if anybody here uses it and how it compares to XBMC?

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You lot are far too geeky for me! Im jealous!

My mate who is also a geek built me a computer that i link up to my tv and i stream the football on it. My internet speed is sh*t because i live in the country side and quite far from the exchange. I get about 4mb.

I have been thinking of cancelling sky sports because i can watch every game online. But what you guys are talking about takes it to the next level. On my pc my mate put XBMC but i dont really know how to use it like you lot do. I just watch films on it that my mate gets for me.

No, your not geeky enough. Embrace your inner nerd...

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Ive just got Plex for my android tablet but not had a chance to have a play yet. Apparently the people behind xbmc are becoming more and more arsey with contributors, and some are jumping ship to Plex and other platforms.

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If you need a full Windows or Linux DE then it gets a bit pointless in my opinion, might as well just browse to wisiwig and use the stand alone apps. It's still a surprise to me that nobody has made add-ons for XBMC for this.

 

Partially but XBMC would still have some advantages if you use it as a media box only.

I believe Sopcast and Acestream are closed source proprietary softwares which would mean it's not possible for developers to create plugins using them in other apps.

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