Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Technology
Reload this Page >

Recommend an Android TV box

Recommend an Android TV box

Old Jul 17, 18, 10:31 am
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Programs: Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 16,356
Recommend an Android TV box

I've decided the easiest way to watch geo-restricted TV (Swedish TV, in this use case), is to purchase an Android TV box and install a full-time VPN connection to a Swedish server. Anyone have one and recommend it? I thought about the Nvidia Shield, but it's way too much machine for my purposes (I don't game, and I have no plans to buy a 4K TV anytime soon). Because this is a truly single-purpose device (I also have a Roku Ultra for regular streaming), I'd like to keep the price around $50-75. Also ideal if seller is in the US, so that I can have it up and running by the end of the month.

(My house is an Apple-free zone, so please don't recommend Apple TV.)

Edited to add: I see that you can install a VPN on an Amazon Fire Stick/TV, but the process of side-loading all of the apps that I need sounds like a real PITA.

Last edited by pseudoswede; Jul 17, 18 at 10:52 am
pseudoswede is offline  
Old Jul 17, 18, 11:29 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,899
How about just using an old android phone or tablet and screen cast it to the Roku? It doesn't do 4K but you said you don't have a 4K so it should be good up to 1080p if you have a good wireless router at home. I do a lot of screen cast from my Win 10 laptop streaming video to the Roku.
Need is offline  
Old Jul 17, 18, 1:11 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Programs: Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 16,356
Originally Posted by Need View Post
How about just using an old android phone or tablet and screen cast it to the Roku? It doesn't do 4K but you said you don't have a 4K so it should be good up to 1080p if you have a good wireless router at home. I do a lot of screen cast from my Win 10 laptop streaming video to the Roku.
The phone/tablet has to be connected to the VPN, which then prevents the ability to cast to the Roku since they are no longer technically on the same network.
pseudoswede is offline  
Old Jul 17, 18, 4:02 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: n.y.c.
Posts: 13,345
Is your router capable of connecting to a VPN?
nerd is offline  
Old Jul 17, 18, 4:46 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Programs: Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 16,356
Originally Posted by nerd View Post
Is your router capable of connecting to a VPN?
Another strategy I have thought of was setting up another wifi router that has VPN capabilities. The perk is that any laptop/tablet/Roku could connect to it to stream content. I decided it wasn't the best of ideas because it introduces two (instead of one) additional points of failure--and trying to teach Mrs. Swede how to use all of this new fangled technology is already difficult.
pseudoswede is offline  
Old Jul 18, 18, 3:44 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 12
You can't set it up with a rasberry pie. It requires some skill, but there are one click solutions available all over the internet.

Last edited by Moderator2; Jul 18, 18 at 8:15 am Reason: Removed bad hyperlink
onemanshow is offline  
Old Jul 18, 18, 9:26 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: ua Gold, Marriott Gold, Hilton Silver, Hyatt Gold, National Executive, Avis First
Posts: 183
After a bit of research, I just ordered an MX10. The review made it a pretty good value combination with good enough hardware to grow as I use it more. As a Nord VPN user, the Nord app should load right up. Unfortunately, I just ordered it, so I can't give any real feedback yet. I got it from geekbuying, which will ship it from various locations for varying costs, cheapest being $52.99 from China all the way up to $69.99 from the US.

https://www.geekbuying.com/item/MX10...ox-400046.html
z28lt1 is offline  
Old Jul 18, 18, 9:58 am
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Programs: Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 16,356
Originally Posted by z28lt1 View Post
After a bit of research, I just ordered an MX10. The review made it a pretty good value combination with good enough hardware to grow as I use it more. As a Nord VPN user, the Nord app should load right up. Unfortunately, I just ordered it, so I can't give any real feedback yet. I got it from geekbuying, which will ship it from various locations for varying costs, cheapest being $52.99 from China all the way up to $69.99 from the US.

https://www.geekbuying.com/item/MX10...ox-400046.html
Please let me know how that works out. I went and bought an ABOX A4 last night from Amazon based on a detailed review on XDA.

Amazon Amazon

Last edited by pseudoswede; Jul 18, 18 at 10:36 am
pseudoswede is offline  
Old Jul 19, 18, 12:36 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Somewhere in Florida
Posts: 1,852
I'm not sure which apps you need, but I've been quite pleased with the current Amazon Fire TV stick. I've side-loaded Kodi and a VPN, no issues with it. I love the size and reliability of the device.

You might want to drop a note to your VPN provider and see what they recommend. Chances are they're quite familiar with what you're trying to accomplish. After all, many of these VPN providers are doing this for similar reasons as we do.
KRSW is offline  
Old Jul 19, 18, 9:54 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: SIN
Programs: Carte Bienvenue
Posts: 114
The Nvidia Shield is a great Android TV box but it's way to overpowered to do only that. The "cheap" alternative would be the international version of the Xiaomi Mi Android TV Box. It was recently updated to Android 8 Oreo :

https://www.gearbest.com/tv-box-mini-pc/pp_426056.html

As a word of caution : the MX10 Box you bought is NOT running Android TV. As many of these Chinese boxes it runs a heavily skinned Android version initially designed for phones. The experience is nowhere the same as the one you would be getting from the Nvidia Shield or the Xiami Mi Android TV Box (only talking about the international version as the local chinese runs on a regular version of android).
pseudoswede and z28lt1 like this.
martin_paris is offline  
Old Jul 20, 18, 9:07 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Programs: Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 16,356
Originally Posted by KRSW View Post
I'm not sure which apps you need, but I've been quite pleased with the current Amazon Fire TV stick. I've side-loaded Kodi and a VPN, no issues with it. I love the size and reliability of the device.

You might want to drop a note to your VPN provider and see what they recommend. Chances are they're quite familiar with what you're trying to accomplish. After all, many of these VPN providers are doing this for similar reasons as we do.
Thank you. I haven't reached out to my VPN provider (TorGuard), but my guess is that they will recommend the additional wifi router method in post #5 .
pseudoswede is offline  
Old Jul 20, 18, 11:11 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Texas
Programs: UA
Posts: 10
I picked up a Xiaomi Mi Android TV Box at Walmart around the beginning of the year. It works well. Just make sure your VPN provider has an app specifically for Android TV or you will end up with a phone app that displays sideways on your TV.. Anyway, given that it's Walmart you can always return it if you don't like it.
Jethro95 is offline  
Old Jul 21, 18, 7:27 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Programs: Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 16,356
Originally Posted by pseudoswede View Post
I went and bought an ABOX A4 last night from Amazon based on a detailed review on XDA.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DFZ3BR2/
I received it today, and it works very well. Setup took under 30 minutes.

The TorGuard Android TV app nor the SVT Play app are not listed in the Google Play Store for Android TV (searching did not bring them up), so I had to use Chrome to search for the apps on Google then trigger the install by clicking on the Google Play Store link. A third app (CMore) had to be fully sideloaded.

The TorGuard app allows for automatic start on reboot as well as automatic login; therefore, if I ever need to reboot the device, it will automagically (in theory) connect to the Swedish VPN.

On my laptop, I went to SVTPlay.se to see which shows are geo-restricted. On the Android TV box, I was able to play the shows without any issues.

Well worth the price and effort (aka happy wife, happy life ).

Last edited by pseudoswede; Jul 21, 18 at 7:40 pm
pseudoswede is offline  
Old Jul 25, 18, 8:47 am
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Programs: Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 16,356
I have now tested it sitting idle for over 24 hours as well as a power cycle. VPN connects automatically and geo-restricted shows play without issue.
pseudoswede is offline  
Old Aug 9, 18, 9:33 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: ua Gold, Marriott Gold, Hilton Silver, Hyatt Gold, National Executive, Avis First
Posts: 183
Originally Posted by martin_paris View Post
The Nvidia Shield is a great Android TV box but it's way to overpowered to do only that. The "cheap" alternative would be the international version of the Xiaomi Mi Android TV Box. It was recently updated to Android 8 Oreo :

https://www.gearbest.com/tv-box-mini-pc/pp_426056.html

As a word of caution : the MX10 Box you bought is NOT running Android TV. As many of these Chinese boxes it runs a heavily skinned Android version initially designed for phones. The experience is nowhere the same as the one you would be getting from the Nvidia Shield or the Xiami Mi Android TV Box (only talking about the international version as the local chinese runs on a regular version of android).
This is a really good note about Android Phone versus Android TV -- and one I was only vaguely aware of when I ordered. I had some second thoughts, but after research, for my needs, I decided to go for the more powerful (marketing spec-wise at least) generic box. Someday I may regret it, but wanted something to play with and this seems to work great.

Originally Posted by pseudoswede View Post
Please let me know how that works out. I went and bought an ABOX A4 last night from Amazon based on a detailed review on XDA.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DFZ3BR2/
Now that I'm a few weeks in, I'll post an update. Funny thing is, I found my notes and originally had my eye on an ABOX A5...which gave me the Android TV Box bug versus side loading my Fire Stick. I stalled for a few months, couldn't remember which one I liked and thought it was the MX10, so that's what I ordered. The MX10 seems really similar to the ABOX stuff and works really well. It was very quick to setup, although when setting it up I had to reboot a few times (which only takes like 15 seconds) because of account errors and such. So far, the only drawback I have is that I leave mine unplugged when not in use for now until I can better isolate it on my network (irrational? fear of some Chinese malware or such running around on my network), and noticed that Nord takes about a minute to connect, so if I boot it up and start using it right away, I'm outside of the VPN. I need to make sure I pause for a minute or manually connect the VPN first.
z28lt1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread