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Thread: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

  1. #91
    Wubba Lubba Dub Dub! DennyCrane's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    OK, I promised a little write up on the Android TV boxes that are getting some traction. These are the things you see at the fair selling for $300 and promising free premium cable channels, all kinds of live sports, on-demand movies and TV shows...and you think "What's the catch?" when they say "no monthly charge". You can buy them online at Amazon and other sellers for $35-$70. You're getting a "loaded" box. That means a) it's rooted and b) it includes a software package called "Kodi" that has another software build on top. It's that software build that makes the difference. By itself, Kodi is just a media player and not much else. These builds add sub-apps called add ons. There's Exodus, Pheonix, UK Turk, Sports Devil and a lot of others that will bring you literally anything you want to watch.

    For awhile now, you could get the content these add ons have through your PC's browser, but you're plagued with malware, required players, etc. The Kodi builds get you directly to the streams. Since the boxes are stand-alone devices, and you have NO need to log in with a Google account, it's a nice layer of safety for all your personal details.

    Most boxes have a quad-core CPU, a gig or 2 of RAM, and 8-16gb of storage. They have 2-4 USB slots, an HDMI out, and a memory card slot. They include a basic remote that gets the job done, but you can plug in a wireless keyboard/mouse for easier searching of titles and navigation. Also, there's a couple nice remotes out there. The smaller one is a regular remote on one side and a mini-keyboard on the other. That's around $10. There's a bigger version that's all on one side with a larger keyboard, the remote keys, and a mouse touch pad. They're around $16. You can connect to the internet via wifi, or (preferably, since you want as much internetz as you can) a network cable. The boxes are silent and very small. The newest ones are so small, you can velcro it to the back of your TV and stick the tiny, included infrared receiver to the top of the TV and it's out of sight completely.

    So, you have a relatively newer version of Android that can be used for anything you'd use an Android device for... but personally, I turn it on, click on the Kodi "K" emblem and get all my content there.

    There's pretty much any movie you'd want to watch. Live TV from around the world. Entire seasons of about every show...without commercials. It's all on there. I haven't really dug into it, but there's music and other schtuff on it as well.

    OK, so you've got a box and it's OK. It does what it promises, but a lot of the add on apps don't work, some won't update, sometimes, you can't get streams for a series you were just watching. Well, your new box, unless it was really expensive compared to the ones I'm talking about, is probably over a year old. The version of Kodi is a little dated and the build on top of it is dated, too. The good news is, you can upgrade it whenever you want with a different build. I installed an "Echo" build on a friend's box and it's pretty nice. I was going to do it again, but Echo is migrating to new servers, so I started searching for different builds.

    That's when I found Dimitrology. Dimitri is a Russian dude who has a pretty good site devoted to internet TV boxes...Android Kodi boxes in particular. He has the best build I've seen called "Boom Shakalaka". The standard way of installing a new build was...
    1) Update Kodi (wiping out whatever build you had on top of the old version)
    2) Open Kodi, go to System, then File manager
    3) Add Source
    4) Type in the URL of the build you're adding
    5) Name it
    6) install from zip file
    7) go to repositories click the new one
    8) Go to add ons run the new one
    blah blah blah

    With Dimitrology's build, you download from your PC or whatever, an 82mb file, put it on a memory card or USB drive, plug it into your Android box, fire it up, go to Apps and open either the file explorer or Appinstaller program, go to the USB drive, click on the Dimitrology .apk file and it'll download, extract, and install itself automatically. It also installs Kodi 17.0 in the same process. Other than the download time...3-4 minutes with a decent connection... the whole process takes about 5-10 minutes. Once it's done, it'll force close Kodi with 2 pop up boxes. Then, just open Kodi back up from the main menu and it'll start updating all the add-ons it uses...takes about a half hour until it settles down. Kinda like a new tablet or phone updating itself.

    Here's the link to the build:

    Dimitrology | BOOM SHAKALAKA BUILD ON KODI 17

    This is what the interface looks like:



    You scroll left or right to choose TV, Movies, Music, kids content, Live TV, etc. Above that line, after a few seconds, is the most popular content that you can scroll left or right on and select. Clicking on something like "Movies" gives you more options like most popular, highest rated, people watching now, etc... along with a tab to directly search for a title. TV shows are broken down by season.

    Once you find what you want to watch, it will list all available streams from the highest resolution down. Click, and it will usually play. If it doesn't, it will automatically go to the next one down the list.

    Once it starts, you can press OK on the remote and a task bar will appear on the bottom where you can pause, rewind, fast forward, etc... along with a tab to download subtitles. The back button will close it, or it will automatically close itself after a little bit.

    All in all, it's a very Netflixy/Amazony interface that you will learn pretty quick. For $35 or so, you're getting a pretty powerful, dedicated media PC in a tiny package and from there on out, all the content you want. An Android box with Kodi and a good build, along with a decent antenna for local programming and you're gonna get more than you would with cable, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

    It's not 100% perfect. You're still at the mercy for internet congestion and content streamers that come and go... and there's a step or 2 more to take than you would with something like Netflix or a cable box, but the vast amount of content you get more than makes up for it.

    This is pretty much how I watch everything now. I have a ton of Blu-rays, DVDs, and yes, even HD-DVDs that mostly collect dust now. I can stream it all without dealing with physical media anymore.

    So, that's about all I can think of for the moment. When Coffee started this thread back in 2009, I think this is what we all wanted. Now, it's actually here. A great way to cut the cable/satellite monster.
    Last edited by DennyCrane; 04-11-2017 at 11:12 PM.
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  2. #92
    C-57D VincentVega's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    what are the legal ramifications behind this? How is content streamed? is it like a torrent for protected material? I don't want to be streaming things I don't have rights to

  3. #93
    Wubba Lubba Dub Dub! DennyCrane's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    Quote Originally Posted by VincentVega View Post
    what are the legal ramifications behind this? How is content streamed? is it like a torrent for protected material? I don't want to be streaming things I don't have rights to
    If you're in England, you can get in trouble selling these boxes. In America and Canada, it's legal. Streaming the content is a gray area that's not a legal issue at this time. You're not distributing the content. This is how those guys at the county fairs have been able to sell them for years now. This is still relatively new technology and the laws may change on all this, but if you're viewing from a site someone else is streaming, it's their legal issue, not yours. WalMart is selling these things now. With fully loaded Kodi builds:

    https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=android%20tv

    So, yeah, no problem owning or using them.
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  4. #94
    C-57D VincentVega's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    That's why I stayed away from Kodi until now. However, I think I'll give it a shot

  5. #95
    Wubba Lubba Dub Dub! DennyCrane's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    Dimitrology also has a YouTube channel with lots of updates. He's a pretty entertaining guy to listen to.
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  6. #96
    Sports Czar realged13's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    Thanks Denny.

    Have a few coworkers who use Kodi all the time. What actual box do you suggest buying from Amazon? Between work, studying and busy life, I don't have as much time to tinker anymore.

  7. #97
    Wubba Lubba Dub Dub! DennyCrane's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    There's a lot of the same boxes with different branding. Look for one with at least an S905x processor. Amazon is good.
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  8. #98
    Wubba Lubba Dub Dub! DennyCrane's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    Quote Originally Posted by realged13 View Post
    Thanks Denny.

    Have a few coworkers who use Kodi all the time. What actual box do you suggest buying from Amazon? Between work, studying and busy life, I don't have as much time to tinker anymore.
    This one, I'd call mid-grade. It has the S905x processor, 3gb DDR3 RAM and 16gb storage. It's $50 and Prime-eligible. You can drop down to 1gb RAM and 6gb storage and probably get one for around $40. The latest boxes are in the $80 range.

    https://www.amazon.com/Transpeed-S90...5%3A2470955011
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  9. #99
    Time 2 Play DigitalDD's Avatar
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    Re: Dropping the Cable/Satellite Monster

    Quote Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
    This one, I'd call mid-grade. It has the S905x processor, 3gb DDR3 RAM and 16gb storage. It's $50 and Prime-eligible. You can drop down to 1gb RAM and 6gb storage and probably get one for around $40. The latest boxes are in the $80 range.

    https://www.amazon.com/Transpeed-S90...5%3A2470955011
    A friend has something like that from a company called U2C which has a LAN port on it as well, he has it hooked up to a Westinghouse 46" LCD TV from 2011.

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