Android TV boxes have started to pop up in shops all over Trinidad & Tobago and for a good reason to. We grow tired of the rising cable rates, and not enough value for money. Most days, we come home from work and realize there is nothing on TV peaking our interest.
So we have turned to purchasing our very own Android TV box. There is a danger, however. Companies are quickly bringing in boxes to sell to you without even understanding how the boxes work, the apps available, and how to properly help you get the most out of your new purchase.
We have seen companies such as veggie marts and bakeries selling boxes. All in the name of cashing in. So we have compiled a list of 6 tips, to help you buy your new box from a reputable seller.
1) Scope out the seller
As Android boxes have hit the ground running, everyone is looking to find ways to save some money on their monthly bills.
You might have even noticed an upsurge in Android TV box sellers popping up from everywhere. While the cord cutting community has existed for quite some time now, a lot of the sellers have not.
Take heed to sellers looking to make a quick buck and ride the wave of Android TV box sales.
Here are some of the questions you should be asking:
Do they have an official website?
Having a website builds credibility but also lets you know that this seller is not just going to disappear overnight if they took the time to build their brand. This goes a long way in building the seller/client relationship.
A lot of sellers only have a Facebook page and are just trying to make a “quick ting.” Most do not provide sufficient information to educate their buyers on the products they are purchasing, which leaves a lot of customers underwhelmed.
Sellers that not only have a website but a blog filled with tips and best practices are more trustworthy because they are proven thought-leaders and experts in the industry.
Do they provide information on the apps that are used?
Some sellers like to hide the applications they use in fear that other sellers may copy their personal setup.
Truth is, there are thousands of apps and more coming out on a daily basis and are made public by the actual developers.
You should be able to know exactly what your box is coming with so you can make the best decision when purchasing your android TV box.
Are they pushing a device and providing very little information publicly?
A lot of sellers have grown accustomed to selling based on price, instead of value.
With that mantra in mind, they aren’t prepared to divulge information on the products they are selling. When customers ask questions, they either give very vague answers or respond with “inbox me”.
Granted there are times when a private message is needed especially when exchanging personal details but if someone asks, “Hey what apps does the box come with?” and the seller replies with “the best apps” or “inbox me”, beware.
2) Check out device reviews
Get into the habit of checking the reviews out for the devices.
Just like your smartphones, the Android TV boxes work very similarly and all were not created equally.
Every box comes with a different processor, storage, and memory that will determine how efficient the box works and how well it can handle games, HD content (Movies/TV series) and live television.
Buffering doesn’t just come down to the speed of your internet but also if your device has the processing power to handle the application you are trying to run.
If your device is 2 years old, which is ancient in technology time, chances are it may struggle to keep up with the latest applications on the market.
3) Be clear on what you need
The devices are capable of a variety of tasks and what it needs to do for you will ultimately point you into the direction of what device you should purchase.
Will you be using your Android TV box as a home media server through popular apps like Plex?
Will you be connecting a webcam to utilize video calling capabilities?
Are you planning on watching live HD TV streams?
These devices are capable of running some of the latest and high-end game titles available on the app store. Finding out what you are looking to do with your device is a great aid in your search for the perfect Android TV box.
4) DOUBLE check your sellers
Ask questions to your heart’s content. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers, check out another seller.
When you see the terms “Fully Loaded” or “Kodi Box” get specific with questions and ask what applications are coming with it.
If the seller is hesitant or dances around the question, be weary.
There are thousands of applications for Android TV boxes, that it’s not possible for a seller to know what you’re going to be using your device for.
Imagine if you bought a new smartphone and it was packed with applications you never knew about and half of which you won’t use. Same concept. Find out what your device is coming with.
5) Make sure you get Kodi installed
Why wouldn’t you, if your box does not come with Kodi, make sure and get it.
Kodi can be a little intimidating to use at first without being shown how to properly use it.
At its best, Kodi provides a better experience than Netflix, Hulu, Popcorn Time and most other on-demand apps showing movies and tv series.
At it’s worst, things can stop working in a blink of an eye, leaving you with an empty shell media player.
The Kodi software itself is a media player that uses 3rd-party plugins that provide the streams we love so dearly. The Kodi team itself does not maintain the plugins and it is up to the developer to maintain them.
Which leads us to Kodi builds/wizard add-ons.
A build or wizard add-on is a customized version of Kodi. The look and functionality of Kodi have been completely changed. They generally come with pre-installed plugins and a pre-installed configuration that will allow beginners to use the software without having to setup anything for themselves.
The problem with builds is most developers pack them with complete garbage that not only slows Kodi down over time but they use a lot of unreliable plugins that go down.
When a plug-in goes down, the links to your favorite TV channels, movies, and TV series all stop working. Plus, these builds are generally too big for most Android TV devices and take up all of your precious storage space that can lead to your whole device crashing.
Save yourself a headache and don’t use builds/add-on wizards.
Thank me later.
6) Do NOT fall for the myth of a “Jailbroken Android TV box”
One of the more puzzling things we see online is this term of a jailbroken Android device.
To people in the know, this is an oxymoron as only iOS (Apple devices) can be jailbroken.
Android devices were made using an open source platform that allows for quite a few things without having to be “rooted” to gain further access to system settings. You can download and install 3rd party applications without having to tamper with anything.
So if you see someone selling a “jailbroken” Android TV device, be very wary of the seller. They usually throw in the term to justify selling the device at a larger price point.