Prices for TV Boxes continue to fall and as the continued sale of TV Boxes looks to be under threat as lawsuits against their use gather momentum there has never been a better time to get on board. This new mid range box from RUPA seems a good buy at £39.99.
Inside the rather attractive and robust box was the TV Box itself, a UK power adaptor, medium sized remote control, HDMI cable, and a User Guide. The build quality seems fine and this model is a very typical TV box in this respect. The User Guide, as they often are, is small and contains little information of use but is far from being the worst I have ever seen. It is fairly well printed and big enough to actually read and it is just a pity all it tells you is how to connect the box up. I enclose a scanned copy of it on the end of my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause to read it.
This TV Box is basically an Android phone without the mobile phone capabilities optimised for use a media player for local and internet files.The core of this and similar devices is the remarkable Kodi media playing application which can be downloaded from the Google app store or directly from the KODI website..
A decent but by no means generous range of ports are available for playing local files and additional equipment. It features: two USB, micro SD, HDMI, SPDIF, Ethernet and power in. It features an Amlogic S905 Quad core Cortex A53 running at 2Ghz CPU, which is more than powerful enough for a TV box.It comes with 2GB RAM, and with 16GB of storage, both double the standard capacity. That said, I must also say that in use I have found very little difference between any TV boxes once KODI is installed and running. This one works nice and fast with an easy to navigate onscreen menu system and seems stable and robust enough in use. It uses the reasonably up to date Android 5.1 Operating System and although Android 7 has just been launched it is yet to appear on any TV Box.
Thanks to the two USB ports third party memory sticks, keyboards and mice can be used to make navigating the User Interface faster and easier, although the built in pop-up keyboard and remote control will suffice. The supplied handset is fine but some users may wish to invest in a wireless keypad to give the full range of keys and a built in mini touchpad. The device also sports Bluetooth 4 connectivity and so wireless keypads and other devices also be attached that way.
The only real task is in setting the device up is to connect to your home network and it has both wifi and Ethernet options available. It supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wifi as well as high speed , Gigabit ethernet. If you are familiar with Android then configuring the unit is very simple, non Android users may find this more difficult. Once on the network to get the best from this device you should login to your Google account,so apps can be installed from the Google Play website, Gmail and YouTube will be auto configured at the same time.
There are a variety of applications pre installed, some useful and some not, but with time you may discover that like me you find that everything want can be done from Kodi. Kodi is an immensely powerful but rather complicated media portal, with a host of plug-ins and remote repositories available. Without leaving Kodi I can view memory card files, files on all of my three NAS devices, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime.Kodi will also index and download subtitles, synopsis, song lyrics and images for all you home media files so when you browse your library this information is presented to you. Kodi can be a bit flaky to use and channels will appear and then vanish without warning so you need to keep on top of it. A search on Youtube will find a host of guides to getting the best from KODI.
The on screen menus are attractive and easy to use and the faster processor and above average amount of RAM makes moving around fast and easy. However, once inside KODI this box feels pretty much as they all do.
This is a high quality TV streamer but as with all Android TVs there is a learning curve to get the best from it. It has many attractive features and for me the only drawbacks are the device having just 8GB of onboard storage and just two USB ports rather than the four often found on many boxes.
Many essential apps pre installed including Kodi
Good build quality
SD card slot
Dual band wifi
Cheaper rivals available
Kodi can be challenging for new users
No handset batteries supplied
Limited User Guide
Only two USB ports
Only 8GB built in storage