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Looking for a smart TV box that is easy to use (simple remote)

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Last Modified: 2017-07-11
Hello all,

My mother in law wants to watch a particular web based TV station but it doesn't work very well over their rather inept Samsung Smart TV. I think the TV's computer is simply not powerful enough to decode and play the H.264 stream (it constantly shows a refresh icon in the center of the video); it plays perfectly on a computer or iPhone.

The other problem with the Samsung Smart TV is that it is very "complicated" to wait about 2 minutes, press "smart hub", use the navigation buttons to find the Internet browser, then move the cursor to the bookmarked URL (that I set up), then finally navigate the web sight to start the TV streaming.

What I am looking for is a TV Box that I can pre-configure to minimize the effort required for my mother in law to watch her TV streaming.

Important features:
  • Minimalistic controller.
  • Decent built-in web browser with capable web video decoding.
  • Built-in WiFi.
  • USB memory stick interface.

One candidate is the Minix Neo U1 + A2 Lite Air Mouse.

Any other suggestions?

Thank you
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Doug VanTechnical Writer

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Commented:
Thank you Merete for your assistance (again... you always seem to find my questions. LOL).

Sorry for the long wait for a reply.

>Either way your mother in-law will be confronted with technical choices how to start it if the station is not free to air.
Actually, that isn't an issue. It is a free streaming website. The problems are:
1) The website wasn't designed for Smart TV access because of the multitude of menus and selections. Like this one... allseego.com. It was designed for viewing from a desktop. That is why I am looking for a smart set-top box that comes with remote control that makes it easier to navigate a website from a TV screen.

For example... a remote control with a joystick, mouse pad, or an air mouse.

2) The very limited computer in the Samsung Smart TV cannot properly stream content from any of the TV streaming sites (like the one above). It is the TV, not the home WiFi connection. It plays perfectly from a mobile phone and a desktop computer (all using the same WiFi connection).

> If she is elderly ?  how old?
Age isn't really relevant. Like I stated above... it's really mostly about a remote control that is better equip to handle web browsing. :)

>You didn't mention if she is at home and has her own internet.
Home internet (via WiFi) but like I stated, the speed over WiFi is more than adequate.

>Minix Neo U1 + A2 Lite Air Mouse.
Thanks for the Youtube video link. I'll watch it this evening.

>Kodi
No... the only purpose of the box is to allow my mother in law to easily watch Web TV streaming or prepared videos on a USB stick (via a built in USB port).

Kodi is otherwise a really nice personal streaming platform but it requires a home computer that runs the Kodi software. That would not be useful in this situation.

To reiterate, the primary motivation is a box that can easily navigate and play videos from sites like allseego.com (it's a Korean TV streaming website). That means the remote control must have better controls than an up/down, left and right buttons.

Thanks again. :)
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Any update?
Doug VanTechnical Writer

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Commented:
Hello all,

Sorry for the delay. I've been travelling again with little time to get back on this project.

Jackie Man, thanks for your suggestions. Miracast wouldn't help for an older person. That would be far too complex.

I ended up purchasing a GooBang Doo MXQ Pro Android 6.0 TV Box for around $60. It comes with an air mouse controller (which should be good enough for web browsing) but for less than $20 more dollars, I also ordered a Ybee Mini 2.4Ghz Portable Wireless Keyboard Touchpad air mouse. I have already received assurance that web browsing and video web streaming works acceptably well with this box.

I will update this thread after I receive and test it (I should get it this Friday).

Thanks again.
Doug VanTechnical Writer

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Commented:
Hello all,

>I ended up purchasing a GooBang Doo MXQ Pro Android 6.0 TV Box for around $60.

Well, you get what you pay for?

Although it appears to play the web streaming videos without the problems the Samsung Smart TV had, the unit is virtually useless for anything else. It seems vastly underpowered as it stutters occasionally when playing videos through my Synology server and many Android TV apps seem to become unresponsive so often, they are quite impractical to use.

So, for my inlaws, I think the unit is acceptable because it supports web video streaming... that was the primary objective.

But for me... I need an Android TV box with a lot more CPU power. I guess I will keep searching.
Doug VanTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
Hi Merete,

Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore you. Thanks for your assistance.


Hi sconnel, there are legalities/protocols involved when accessing web sites that stream TV. Or any form of video music that may have copyrights. So only specific devices can be used.
If a specific web page is not designed for smart TV then implies those standards.

Not applicable in this situation. There are no restrictions like that.



Why not consider a larger screen hooked up to a PC? Be it even a flat screen TV. I have flat screen TV connected to a PC here. Flat screen digital TV are cheaper than monitors it acts as a monitor for the PC. This way your mother-inlaw has a much larger screen with a PC.

Thanks but that is way too overly complicated for them. They want to sit in the comfort of their living room to watch their Korean programs. :)

Like I already stated, I found a $60 Android TV box that makes viewing a lot easier for them. :)


All in one place.< that's a quote but the Xbox does have the remote control you asked for because the Xbox includes games.
http://www.xbox.com/en-AU/entertainment?xr=shellnav
http://www.xbox.com/en-AU

Actually, I have since found many inexpensive air mouse remotes that work with most or all Android TV boxes.

Thanks for your links. Since I'd love to get my own Android TV box, I will review the information provided in your links.

Best regards,
Shawn
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Thanks for the update Shawn appreciate it. Daunting task I agree. Looks like you are getting there and happy with what you found.
Regards Merete
Doug VanTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
I've decided to ship back the GooBang Doo MXQ Pro Android 6.0 TV Box because every time I use this device, it seems inevitable that within an hour of use, it will become temporarily unresponsive and apps will force close. It appears that it is not only underpowered but also unstable.

Since I now understand that most or all Android TV boxes can be customised with 3rd party controllers (i.e. air mouse), I am looking for recommendations for an Android TV box that has a bit more power than the GooBang.

Thanks
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GooBang does sound a bit gooie with a bang
Cant really recommend as I am in Australia, also depends on what streaming services you want to use.

Read user feedbacks and ratings.
Have a little read  from Android PC Review.
What's covered
Won’t any device work?
What should I look for?
Best Android TV Box
Runner Up:
More:
http://androidpcreview.com/best-android-tv-box/2309/
Good Luck :)
Doug VanTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
Cant really recommend as I am in Australia, also depends on what streaming services you want to use.

Actually, it doesn't really matter where you live. The problems with the GooBang Doo MXQ Pro would be pretty universal. For example, even the normally solid NetFlix app would temporarily freeze up during playback (or even as the app loaded) or the Google Play store would go into a Force Stop condition.

What puzzles me is that this device received so many positive reviews on Amazon but the fewer negative ones did accurately describe many of the problems that I also experienced. Perhaps, I received a bad unit? Nevertheless, Amazon's excellent return policy allowed me to return it without trouble. :)

The next unit that I've ordered is the Leelbox M9S Pro Android tv box. About double the cost... let's see how this one performs. But if this one doesn't perform well, the next step up in price takes me within the range of the cost of a NVIDIA Shield. Once I get to that cost, I might as well just purchase that name brand product.

Thanks for your link. Unfortunately, it is out of date. :) What I need to look at are the units supporting Marshmellow. But your link does confirm that the two top contenders are still the NVIDEA and the MINIX... or specifically now it's the NEO U9-H. As I mentioned above, the Minix is the next one up from the one I just ordered, Leelbox M9S Pro. The issue with the Minix is that it's nearly the price of the NVIDEA... so I might as well spend a few extra dollars and buy the NVIDEA... if the Leelbox fails me. LOL

Who knew this would be so complex and fraught with failure?

Best regards,
Shawn
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Cant proceed without Shawn's contributions. I feel there is many suggestions but no solution here. Thanks
Doug VanTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
Hello all,

Sorry for being so neglectful in regards to this question.

I asked for it to be re-opened in order to share my experience in finding a decent and inexpensive Android TV box.

As I mentioned earlier, I tried a few very inexpensive boxes, like the GooBang Doo MXQ Pro and found that they were very under-powered and suffered from long pauses and frequent Android app Forced closes (app crash).

I stopped looking when I tried the Leelbox M9S Pro (Android 6.0 TV Box 64Bit S912 Octa-core CPU 2GB Ram+16GB Rom). It does everything that I needed from my original specifications.

For navigation, I purchased a $20 air mouse. I think there will be a slight learning curve for my in-laws but it really works well when navigating a web page. FYI, I purchased the Febite MX3 2.4G Mini Wireless Keyboard Mouse.

Incidentally, I ended purchasing the best of the best Android boxes for myself, the Nvidia Shield TV as a result of an unbelievable Amazon Prime Day sale ($65 off!). LOL
Doug VanTechnical Writer

Author

Commented:
Thanks again for everyone's assistance.

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