Quick Android Streaming Box, KODI needs an update.
I have been a movie lover for as long as I can remember. I started with a collection of VHS tapes, moved to DVD, Blu-Ray and then ultimately to digital copies. I currently have well over 700 DVD/Blu-Ray and these numbers seems to grow regularly. I have classics, modern movies, most of the Disney movies. I am often asked if I watch those movies. I can honestly state that every movie I have in my collection has been watched at least twice and many of them multiple times. I have some that I have only seen twice, I occasionally want to watch a movie I do not own and wonder if I want to own it or rent it. With the advent and popularity of streaming, my purchasing has screeched to a rapid halt. Superhero movies, I own each and every one of them as they are released. Others I wait until rental, Amazon Prime, Netflix or my streaming box. These boxes can be really neat, allowing you to view some movies and television programs through streaming.
The first bit of information is, I am not a lawyer and am relying on regular internet research to gather my own understanding of the legality of streaming. Whether you are in the EU or the USA, the idea is if the user downloads any part (ANY PART) of a file “Pseudo-Streaming” this counts as a copy of whatever copyrighted material you were accessing. THIS IS ILLEGAL! If you stream your personal copy of a DVD/media file to more than your family or close friends, this is also illegal. Simply accessing unlicensed, streamed, content is typically felt to be legal. The EU has recently ruled that streaming content is not illegal so long as you have not downloaded/copied this data. The best way that I have found to describe this type of box is to think about a river of flowing water. This box jumps into the river, floats down it for a while and then gets out of the river. You never own the river, none of the rivers goes back with you. The river is essentially the Internet and the streaming box is the mark Twain Paddlewheel. If you download you are a pirate, as ownership of the material is the illegal action. Unfortunately, there are many add-ons, which start to really test the legality issue. The KODI website has a list of blacklisted add-ons, those programs that are designed to steal information that one would normally expect to pay for. http://kodi.wiki/view/Banned_add-ons. I am not condoning illegal activity by this review, in any way. There are plenty of sources on the internet that can direct you how to get add-ons onto the box, should you desire to proceed.
I have received the MXQ PRO OTT TV BOX to review. The product is shipped in a classy flat black cardboard box in a black slipcover with golden lettering. The outer box shows a 4x CPU (Cortex A9), 8X GPU (Mali-450). Opening the box, you will see the MXQ Pro device encompassed by thin foam. Beneath the cardboard, you will find the accessories: AC power adaptor with 37.5″ cable from a base of AC. The AC adaptor is rather large and bulky and the A type prongs do not rotate. At least they are reasonable placed to allow the long axis to rest perpendicular to your outlet/strip. As a consumer, I appreciate this thought. Many of them have the AC adaptor completely violating the entire plug and making it unusable to other tech. Personally, this likely could be USB powered, could have an inline AC component with a simple wall Type-A outlet for convenient spacing. There is nothing like playing a rousing game of outlet plug Tetris. Also included in the box is a 39 5/8″ HDMI cable, a #2 AAA powered multi-feature MXQ pro remote. The remote has a few rows of color-coded quick buttons, a d-pad and a number pad at the bottom. Lastly, there is an included USER manual.
The main product is 4 7/16″ square by 13/16″ tall. The front of the device has a display strip. The back of the device has a 3 3/8″ antenna, an HDMI port, LAN port, AV port and AC adaptor port. The side closest to the antenna is devoid of input ports. The opposing side has 2 USB ports, an OTG (USB On The GO) port and n SD card port. The OTC port is essentially a way that allows one device to read data from a USB connection without requiring a computer intermediary. To use this, you will need a micro-USB to USB dongle. This will then allow you to attach external storage and be ready to go, plug in controllers/devices. Essentially the OTG port has an extra pin within the micro-USB socket. If you plug a standard micro-USB device into the port it will act as a peripheral device. If you plug a special OTG dongle, the plugged in device tells the box that it is the host and the MXQ becomes the peripheral device. I do not currently have a reason for this and I do not have the cable. This type of connection often requires a Y cable to connect to power unless the device is self-powered.
The manual begins with a preface and with general statements. The English is a bit choppy, some spacing issues are immediately obvious. This does not detract from the meaning, which can be readily obtained. There is a table of contents for the 18-page manual. Chapter 1 discusses system specifications, video/photo formats, audio formats (MPEG-1/2/4, DIVX, a I,mpg,bob,make,m2ts,ts, PEG, BMP, PNG, MP3, WMA, WAV, AC3. Chapter 2 relays information about the IR remote control. None of the buttons require much explanation. Chapter 3 shows configuration options for the device. You can connect to the Internet via LAN or WIFI. You can connect to your television through RGY to AV connection or connection via HDMI. Plug the device in and start it up. You can access your apps, you can enter email information. There is a calculator, there is PPPoE (Point to point Protocol over Ethernet). I will be honest PPPOE is a complicated idea to grasp. This technology originated with PPP (Point to Point Protocol) which essentially allowed one computer to attach to a modem to dial up and then to the service provider. This became obsolete, people wanted to connect multiple computers and devices to the internet and at much faster speeds. PPPoE was born from this need. Now a single server connection can be shared over Ethernet. If you do not have a router you may need to use the PPOE to connect to the Internet.
There is a browser, a movie player, media center, picture Gallery, download feature, music feature, App Installer (allows you to install software). There is also an AirPlay option, MIRACAST option (not supported by Apple). Lastly, there is a section on troubleshooting.
Use of the device:
I plugged in the AC power and HDMI connection and turned my TV to HDMI 3 (the source I plugged it into). The boot time was quite brisk. The colors are very vibrant displaying Smart TV Box along the top left, KODI media center, KODI updates, Apps, Dropbox,music, browser, settings, clean memory and video. I tried to take a picture of the LED screen with time display and Blue LED but these do not tend to photograph that well. Next, I wanted to set up my network. My home has Xfinity service and broadband internet. I moved to settings and then selected network. The remote is very responsive. I had options for Wi-Fi, Ethernet, VPN. My router is in my basement and thus Ethernet is not an option. I chose Wi-Fi and then my home network. My password key is really complicated and this was frustrating to enter each digit with an IR remote instead of a keyboard. Luckily, the keyboard has a number pad at the bottom. I could use the onscreen QWERTY keys for the letters and then the number keys on the remote. I was able to easily connect to Wi-Fi within about 5 minutes.
Under settings you can also change the date and time. The device was shipped with an incorrect time zone and it did not automatically set. I changed it to Central Time Zone with the correct date. You can also adjust remote settings, sounds, apps, storage/reset, accessibility, display and security, and restrictions. When done press the home icon to return to the main screen. Again this is very easily done, without the instruction manual. I then selected KODI version. You can choose to include Addons or Not Include Addons. You are given a warning discussing that these are third party and that they may be illegal in some countries. I chose Addons just to see what it would look like. Without doing a full box restore I did not have the other choice as an option. The system ran through a first run set-up of the V16 JARVIS KODI. It then brought up a bunch of Addons. Here is where your experience will really differ. There are multiple options, legal/illegal/questionable etc. Pirated sites are shut down regularly and you can choose to find new Addons or not. The experience you have is really dependent on the box specifications.
You can access TV add-ons, movie addons etc. A Review of each of the Addons is beyond the scope of the review. The colors are nice, the remote features are reliable. Some sources will be high quality, others will be poor quality and some will not play. Most would give me an error. You can also access apps like Netflix, Pandora, MIRACAST, Playstore, skype to name a few. I mostly used YouTube. I was honestly most excited about AirPlay. Unfortunately, the app does not support IOS 9 at present, giving you this warning. This was a disappointment. You are supposed to be able to play movies through Movie Player via attached external device. (Future test). I was able to watch some older TV shows, but many of the Addons were broken. I chose to not add anything onto this device. I simply pressed okay when it took me to the main page. I tried F.U.B.A.R, SALTS and many of the other Addons and most of them were broken. This was to be expected. A quick internet search will give you a workaround should you be interested in this process, an update on Addons etc. This is the risk that is taken when you are warned that these were not supported. YouTube worked well with the popular right now, sign in and browse options. My kids liked this feature. Amazon prime videos over browser worked okay, it was a bit clunky.
I rate this device at 4/5 based on my ability to use the device and some of the work arounds I have done with another similar device. This device seems close to my other device, the M8S+ device. The average user will find that this does what most modern TV do already such as watch YouTube Videos, Netflix, VUDU. I was able to plug a keyboard up to the device as well as a USB mouse (2 USB ports) to better control the browser and some of the features. This box is essentially an android tablet in the box. I was very disappointed that I could not AirPlay. I do not have another android Device to MIRACAST. My children are able to watch YouTube videos on the big TV and are not fighting over the smaller IPad. Out of the box, the device may not do what you hope or think it will. With some internet searching, some tinkering, some updates, you can get it to do what you want.
I did a factory reset of the device.and was pleased to see a pleasant MXQ Pro opening scene with a boy holding a planet. The wifi is off, you must turn it on then repeat the entry of the password. This was quicker the second time as I knew how to actually use the remote. This time, the KODI gave me the same warning and I chose Not to include ADDons. You must now download what you want. Note that the original programs are now gone but the apps remain. There is still no AirPlay which is a disappointment. You can download games from the Playstore and play them on your tv. This also is hit or miss with an android controller. I did not choose to use that feature. Again, the Addons installed are broken and require effort to update. There are so many features of the device and it is a good android platform. It really benefits from 2GB of ram instead of 1 GB, and it really needs a mouse/keyboard instead of a remote.
In regards to the hardware, this seems like a great choice for an android box. The 4k output is nice, future proof but I did not find 4K nor do I yet have a 4K TV. The software is a bit disappointing, but again it is able to be updated and modified. I will continue to try to get AirPlay to work.
BUY FROM AMAZON