A lot of this topic has been covered before and can be found by searching for KODI or IPTV or XBMC on this blog.
Today, I want to cover some new hardware that has been announced and the direction I am going.
I have seen a lot of people signing up for a new service provided by Carlos and I wrote him to find out more about what he was providing. I wanted to know the model of the box he was using and pricing.
This what I received.
The name and brand is Avov TvOnline http://avov.tv/tvonline/ I am selling the Box for $130. Install/setup fee is $75 ( if I have 3 or more scheduled installs) and the programming subscription is $150 per year or $100 for 6 months or $75 for 3 months.
Installation/Setup consists of: Determining the Internet connection (Wifi or Ethernet) and which will be used followed by a speed test. Configuring the Stalker Middleware with the server information and the unit’s Mac ID. Opening the account and activating the subscription. Once all is good and I start the Tutorial on whats included in the subscription which consists of 3 categories, Live Tv channels, Video on Demand Movies (1230 English and Spanish movies from 2012-present) Radio on demand that all run off the private server.
Lastly I set up a few 3rd party apps for additional additional movies, Tv series etc. I show you how to use the Android Mickey hop Market (20 apps and growing) to get these extra goodies like 1Channel, Movie25, Dream, Kodi 15.2. These apps run off the internet and are not associated with our server.
Average Installation/setup/tutorial is 2 hours
All this is necessary to provide my clients a thorough understanding how everything works. Followed by support via e-mail or phone throughout the duration of the subscription.
When you take a look at the hardware contained in this box, you find that it is pretty typical of most of the cheaper Chinese Android boxes. It has a very limited amount of ram (512 MB) and 2GB of storage. It uses an IR remote.
If you were to purchase most Android boxes with similar technology, you would pay around $50 to $70 max for the box.
The AVOV is different from other Android systems, because it adds its own front-in (Mickey Hop) on top of the Android OS and “Stalker Middleware” to allow the installer to configure the box to special streaming servers.
Not having used the service, I can’t comment on the quality of streaming from their servers located in who knows what country. I would be very surprised if any of the subscription fee makes its way to the networks that are available.
After looking at the hardware specs, I think the box is overpriced. Before I would part with $350 for the box, installation and a year’s subscription, I would want some sort of performance guarantee. A guarantee would be hard for anyone to provide because there are so many points of possible slowdown.
For my needs, I can get by with a far less outlay of cash. I will stick with a combination of Cable Onda TV and a Amazon streaming device.
Recently all of the major streaming devices have come out with major upgrades. Apple, Roku, Amazon, and Google.
I am going to discuss my view of the best value in my opinion, living in Panama. My wants may be different than others and there is no perfect solution.
Gaming & 4K Video: All of the major brands are aiming at getting into gaming. However, from what I have seen, the gaming capability will not compete with a real gaming box like a PS3 or 4 or an X-Box.
I only need gaming when Lilliam’s grandkids visit, so I would rather not add money to my streaming box for gaming. Kinda like paying for a Smart TV, when an non Smart TV with HDMI input will work better. Unfortunately, it is getting harder to buy a TV without the “Smart” portion.
I have a Samsung Smart TV and never use its features.
Amazon and Roku have both added 4K video to their high-end boxes and for Panama, I add zero value for that feature. This just increases the bandwidth demand.
For those of us living in Panama, the major sources of U.S. IPTV programing will come from NetFlix, Amazon Prime, HULU, and a few others. To receive most of the U.S. programing, you will need some sort of proxy service or VPN.
I use UNLOCATOR because it places less overhead on streaming than using a VPN.
I used Apple’s previous generation Apple TV for Netflix and it was fine with UNLOCATOR and I had buffering with my VPN. Apple doesn’t offer access to Amazon Prime and for Amazon users, that is a negative.
I considered Roku and Google, both of which offer access to all the best streaming services, but went with Amazon for two reasons.
The primary reason is that you can install KODI. Since it is an Android based system, it is more open than Apple or Roku.
It is really hard to beat the Amazon Fire Stick. Costing just $39, you can access all of the premium services and with KODI, your entertainment choices is practically limitless.
The second reason I like the Amazon products is that their remote pairs with the device and is not IR.
I am an Apple fan and I think that for the money spent, the Amazon devices offer a better value in Panama.
Between Amazon Prime, KODI, and the free channels on USTVNOW, I have more English programming than I can watch.
Amazon Prime is beginning to compete more with NetFlix. For TV series and Movies, Amazon Prime or NetFlix can’t be beat. Their dedicated servers always deliver great streaming for me with rarely any buffering.
You will need a minimum of 4mbps consistent speed. More than that will be required, if you are streaming higher definition video or if there are multiple devices in use in the household.
For live U.S. TV in Panama, I haven’t been satisfied with anything I have seen. I do use the free USTVNOW, and it is fair, but no better than fair. The paid subscription is supposed to be faster, but I am not willing to pay price.
My only need for live U.S. TV is sports and I am satisfied with what is available on Cable Onda. 50% of the time it is in Spanish, but for the price, I am satisfied.
I get Fox News on cable and have to use KODI to get CNN. I could get CNN on Cable Onda in English, but that requires stepping up to the next package level. I would rather use that money to pay for Amazon Prime, NetFlix or both.
The real value of the Android based streaming box, is the ability to install KODI. That is the one reason that moved me from Apple and Roku to Amazon’s Fire Stick. For $39 dollars, I can get all the programming that is on NetFlix, Amazon Prime, HULU, and even movies that are currently in the theater.
I am sure that the question will come up is “Why pay for NetFlix or Amazon Prime if you can get it all on KODI?”.
That is a reasonable question. When I had the Premier Smart TV box, I cancelled NetFlix and all the premium channels on Cable Onda. It knocked close to $60 off my monthly bill. It worked fine 95% of the time.
When I bought the first Fire Stick, I decided to pay for a year of Amazon Prime ($99). I found that I liked it. I now use Prime, if it has what I want to watch, and KODI for everything else.
You really have to try KODI to understand if it fits your needs. Since it is free, it costs nothing to try it on your laptop/desktop to see if your internet is fast enough.
To test it on your desktop, install the TVMC version for your PC’s operating system. This installation will do the complete basic configuration. With this config you will be able to watch any movie or TV series. I will also add that it may be worth testing Netflix or Amazon Prime on your PC as well. If you can’t stream one of these, than you probably won’t be satisfied with any streaming solution.
The TVADDONS site is one of the better sites for add-ons to KODI.
I have installed KODI on several devices now. It takes about 15 minutes to install KODI on a Amazon Fire device and another 15 minutes to demonstrate how it works. Contact me if you are interested. No charge.