When you move to Panama, one of the things you have to plan for is how you are going to entertain yourself and how you are going to keep up with news events. TV and the Internet are my main conduits.
However, when it comes to TV, it is hard to get a high percentage of English speaking TV programs. Unless you pay for premium channels on cable or other sources, movies or TV series will often be in Spanish.
This project opens up a whole lot of new possibilities. I now can watch what I want, when I want. Not only that but it helps, no matter what your country of origin language is. I can find programs in every language.
Before I continue with this post, I want to make a small disclaimer. I typically badmouth Google and this post is going to be 100% about Android (which is a Google product). I tend to use what I need to use, to accomplish what I need to accomplish. In this case, Android is the cheapest way to access a large amount of streaming media from the Internet.
This does not mean I would go as far as to use an Android based cell phone or Chrome as a browser, nor advocate using any Google product in general. It isn’t Android that I don’t like, It is Google’s business and privacy practices that I don’t like.
This project turns a regular TV into a Smart TV that is smarter and more flexible than any Smart TV on the market.
That being said, I have had such good luck with the Premier Smart TV Box, running Android and KODI, that I am preparing a new Android streaming project.
Both will be here around July 9,10,11. I will use the Matricom Box in the living room and the Amazon Fire Stick in our bedroom. I haven’t decided where the Premier Smart TV box will go.
The reason for purchasing these two products is because KODI is my entertainment streaming product of choice, and both devices will run KODI. KODI has proven to be so good, that a couple days ago, I canceled my NetFlix subscription. That saves me $8.64 a month. I most likely will cancel my UNLOCATOR subscription, which will save me another $5 a month. With KODI, I no longer need to UNLOCATOR to access U.S. content.
I already purchased a Matricom box for my daughter, to replace the cheap box I bought her that died after a week of use. She has the Matricom box up and running and is extremely happy.
With so many android streaming boxes out there, it is hard to know when you are buying a decent box and when you are buying crap. The two boxes I have on order come with good quality records.
The Matricom box comes with KODI already installed and it took less than 5 minutes to configure it on my daughter’s unit and for her to be up and watching movies.
It appears that I should be able to install KODI on the Amazon Fire Stick without too much trouble. There are several YouTube videos demonstrating the installation. The Amazon Fire series use the Android system with Amazon’s user interface on it. If this test works as well as I expect, then I may buy a couple more sticks for Christmas presents.
The biggest technical differences between the Amazon Fire Stick and the Matricom G-Box Q is that the Matricom has a quad processor (dual processor on the Fire Stick), and it has 16GB of memory compared to 8GB on the fire stick. Matricom has 2GB of ram and the Fire Stick has 1GB of ram.
Also the Amazon Fire Stick only connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi, while the Matricom can connect with Wi-Fi or ethernet cable.
The Amazon Fire Stick has more memory and a faster processor than my Premier Box, so I expect it to work better. The Premier Box is not perfect, but it has been worth the price I paid.
If you came to Chiriqui with an Amazon Fire Stick or one of the other Amazon Fire products, and you are disappointed because it won’t access U.S. programming, then you might want to you might want to consider using UNLOCATOR.
Of course you might also want to investigate installing KODI and canceling Amazon Prime and Netflix and accessing more extensive programming for free.
As a side note, if you you came to Panama with an Amazon Fire TV and want to get rid of it, I will Pay $60 for it, if it is in like new condition. I will also pay $20 for any Amazon Fire Stick in like new condition.
Obviously to use any of the devices you need an Internet connection with speed capable of streaming YouTube. If you are happy with how YouTube performs, then these should work equally well.
Here is a table I found that gives a rule of thumb for speeds required for quality video. I know some people are getting by with 1 Mbps.
Another requirement is that the TV must have an HDMI connection. The Premier Smart TV Box has standard RCA video and audio connections so it is supposed to connect to older TVs. I haven’t tried that, so I can’t confirm that it will work.
Between now and the July delivery date, I will study up on the best method for me to add KODI to the Amazon Fire Stick.
If you have Internet speed consistent with the table above, you can try KODI by installing it on your PC. Once installed, it is a 5 minute job to configure KODI to access media on the Internet. This video will give you an idea of the KODI installation on a PC.