Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

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toppinglift
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Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by toppinglift » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:08 pm

Hi All,

I have had HDHR Connect providing a feed to three or four TV's for several years and connected it to a very barebones low cost Android TV box (Beelink) running Android 6.0. I also tested it with Kodi and Roku. I use HDHR with Netflix, *****, Hulu, Vudu and PlayOn. I am testing Spectrum TV Choice right now (slim cable) to substitute for *****. I didn't want to invest a lot of money until I could learn more about the tech and figure out what I needed. (Also to test the WAF). Over the years, I have participated mostly in the "HDHR Software Setup & Troubleshooting (Live & DVR)" forum because . . .well I was using a Beelink and not a NVIDIA so I had a lot of trouble.

From this experience, I learned:

1. I am not a power user, so I will not be using Kodi or a NVIDIA box
2. The latest beta of the HDHR Android App works the best recording and live-streaming when compared to Roku and Kodi (IMHO)
3. The Roku HDHR app does not work as well as the Android app, so I will discontinue using Roku
4. HDHR has the best solution for recording shows (and immediately viewing the show while still recording it) on a home network, so I want to stay with it (although lately I am suddenly having a lot of trouble with breakup of the sound on the lowest OTA channel (CBS Channel 2) (but not the video). Rarely, but sometimes the sound breakup (but not video) occurs on the next highest channel too (NBC-Channel 4). I am not sure if it is the OTA reception, problems with the NAS or a bug in the HDHR software because I am using Android 6.0 and not higher.
5. I would like a mid range android box (less than $100), running at least Android 8, with a simple remote with separate RW and FF buttons (not combined in a rocker directional "navigation circle" as it is on the Beelink remote).
6. I want to run all my streaming services on one box instead of a Roku (which I could do with Roku, except that the HDHR app does not run as well as it does on the Android box, so all my streaming services, including HDHR, should be on the box).

Has anyone had a good experience with a mid-range Android box working well with HDHR they could recommend? I am looking at a XiOMI mI Box S. Thanks in advance.

toppinglift
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation for HDHR? Firestick?

Post by toppinglift » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:30 pm

Hi All,

As a quick follow up to my previous post--would a Amazon Fire stick work well with HDHR even though it runs a fork of Android? Does HDHR have an app which runs on it and how well does it work streaming and recording? Thx

mjovanovic
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by mjovanovic » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:39 pm

I'm not home right now to check, but I've used HDHR and all of the services you've mentioned with a Mii box. The Mii box is probably the closest that you'll come to an under $100 Android box that does what you need.

Personally, I've settled with the Nvidia Shield on my main tv and FireTV 4k sticks everywhere else. Nvidia Shield doesn't have to mean "power user" necessarily. It just happens to be one of the most powerful Android TV boxes (otherwise, setting it up isn't much different than anything else). You can find them for $130 when they are on sale.

Mii Box is a pretty good deal (I think I paid $60) for what you get.

I don't think that you can record with either the FireTV or the Mii Box. At least not directly to the unit. You'd still need to run HDHR on a computer somewhere to handle the recording.

I use Plex as my DVR - but rarely watch TV live. If you are going to watch live TV with most HDHR products, you probably need a wired connection. I did do some limited live tv viewing with the FireTV sticks and was surprised that they kept up with live TV even over wifi (but my testing was very limited, maybe 20 minutes at a time).

-Mike

leerandall
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by leerandall » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:31 pm

Personally, I like the Jetsteam box. I got both of mine at Walmart. However, it doesn't meet your remote control criteria (it has a D-pad), though. But then again, neither does the MiBox.

jasonl
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by jasonl » Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:22 pm

I don't know of any certified Android TV boxes have dedicated FF/rewind buttons. But, you can always just add a Bluetooth remote and use that instead of the one it ships with. There's an eBay listing for the Amazon CV98LM remote (the non-voice model that shipped with the original Fire TV Stick) for under $10 shipped, and that has FF and rewind buttons and you can pair it with any Android device (not just Amazon) and it works fine, so that plus a MiBox/Jetstream might work for you.

Ken.F
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by Ken.F » Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:59 pm

jasonl wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:22 pm
I don't know of any certified Android TV boxes have dedicated FF/rewind buttons.
Isn't the Channel Master Stream+ a certified Android TV device?

Image

toppinglift
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by toppinglift » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:38 pm

Thanks all for your responses in this thread.

The only remote I have which comes with separate FF and RW is Roku's remote, and that works well with the Roku. The Beelink remote has a D-Pad and it works with some programs, and with others it doesn't. @leerandall, @mjovanovic does the D-Pad on the Mii/Jetstream select FF and RW on or off the screen with all the apps you used with those boxes?

Maybe I can just get a Firestick and call it a day. Does anyone know if SD updates the HDHR Firestick app as often as the Android version and does it work as well with all the typical services (Netflix, Hulu, ***** etc.)? I just recall seeing updates and betas for Android and a few for Kodi.

@jasonl, thanks for the remote tip--that's a good idea.

mjovanovic
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by mjovanovic » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:12 am

On my MII remote, I only have the directional buttons.

For Android, almost all apps use left and right while playing a video as a "skip" button. So if you wanted to skip through commercials it's just "right, right, right". I don't use the MII currently but I don't remember it being a frustration. If you wanted the FF and RW ability, I believe that you push the directional pad "up" to expose a control bar, then move over to the FF or RW.

The NVIDIA controller was the same but it works with CEC so I don't use the bundled remote, I just use the TV remote (and doing so, FF and RW plus Play/Pause work as expected). A Google search indicates that MII Box S has CEC so maybe that's all you need.

jasonl
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by jasonl » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:12 pm

Ken.F wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:59 pm
jasonl wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:22 pm
I don't know of any certified Android TV boxes have dedicated FF/rewind buttons.
Isn't the Channel Master Stream+ a certified Android TV device?
It is. I just usually forget it exists because of the price :lol:. The Shield goes on sale for $139 a few times a year and it's hard to argue that the Stream+ is a better option than that.

jasonl
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by jasonl » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:38 pm

toppinglift wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:38 pm
Maybe I can just get a Firestick and call it a day. Does anyone know if SD updates the HDHR Firestick app as often as the Android version and does it work as well with all the typical services (Netflix, Hulu, ***** etc.)? I just recall seeing updates and betas for Android and a few for Kodi.
We just have the one Android app. It's the same one whether you're using a phone, tablet, Android TV box, or Fire TV. Sometimes an update will only be released in one store or the other, generally because the only changes in it are specific to a certain device. For example, right now Amazon has a newer version than Google does, because the only change in it was for the 4K Stick.

toppinglift
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by toppinglift » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:16 pm

Thanks mjovanovic and jasonl. I didn't know anything about CEC--but a google search reveals that that capability is not highly publicized either by TV vendors or Android box makers--so I don't feel too ignorant.:-).

So here is my final question--and I know on the surface its a ridiculous question because of the price disparity of among Android TV boxes, but if you DO NOT use the Android box for gaming and instead just use it with HDHR and PlayOn to record and replay local and national news programs, ***** to record and replay cable news that I may have missed by a few hours and stream Netflix, Vudu and Hulu--will the Amazon Firestick or Mii do just as well as the Nvidia for those purposes? The multiple remotes were driving me crazy and pushed WAF to new lows so CEC I now realize is really important for me to have.

I was specifically looking for the ease of use of FF and RR on the remote to skip. The most direct is to have the FF and RR keys directly on the remote (like my TV and Roku remotes) and not have to up arrow to the control bar on the screen, but if that is the remote provided by Amazon and Nvidia and other manufacturers, then I have to use it (I don't know yet if TV is CEC). I wanted to shift everything over to Roku after trying out Kodi, but the HDHR implementation on Android is so much better, so I am looking at a higher quality Android box than Beelink to run HDHR Android. The remote for the Beelink is also D-Pad, but it did not always go to the control bar on screen (it depended on the program) so I could not skip and that is why I am paying special attention to the remote.

Thx.

bdbauer
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by bdbauer » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:57 pm

You can also get a USB "air mouse" for $10-20 on Amazon. It has a USB dongle so you can use it on anything (we ended up using a small hub for two of these remotes). These have the fwd/rwd buttons and several others. They don't really work as you'd expect - forward jumps forward something like 10 minutes and back does something similar. This is probably more a function of the software than the remote, as Kodi doesn't behave the same.

gggplaya
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Re: Mid-priced Android Box Recommendation? Less than $100

Post by gggplaya » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:06 pm

Keep in mind that non-certified android boxes only play 480p netflix, they won't allow 1080p or 4k on non-certified devices.

I'm not sure if it's still true today, but I remember Kodi had to be side loaded onto my FireTV, this is not really for a non-power user.

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