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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CD-R KING INTERNET TV BOX REVIEW




Have you ever been tempted by the latest commercials of Samsung or Sony for their newest TV?  Do you have an old TV and wish you could turn it into a Smart TV? For P2,880 the CD-R King Internet TV Box might just do the job.

Last week, I was browsing the CD-R King website and found this item listed as “coming soon”. Like a much-anticipated movie release, I purchased one unit as soon as it came out. My goal was to off-load some of the work from my aging Macbook such as watching videos, downloading torrents, youtube, etc. to this one device. To give you an idea on what it does, it’s just like connecting an Android phone to your TV. Theoretically, it should function as a small Android computer and be able to do most of what I need. Spec wise, it has the following features:

- Android 2.3 (Upgradeable daw!)
- 1Ghz Cortex A8 Processor with 512MB DDR3 RAM
- 4GB NAND FLASH
- 1080P Output and support for various video formats
- 4 USB Ports / 1 SD card slot





The unit includes a wifi antenna, remote control and manuals. If you are familiar with Android, you should have no problems navigating the simple menu, setup and settings. Unless you are planning to use it purely as a media player, navigating with the supplied remote is “useable” at best. But maximizing all its features is where it starts to get tricky. I would highly suggest using a UBS keyboard and mouse or a CD-R King 3-in-1 wireless keyboard. It is a bit expensive at P1180 but worth every peso if you want to do more. (I tried using a Bluetooth keyboard with a Bluetooth USB dongle but could not get it to work.)



The menu system is pretty straightforward. Just select media player, apps, Youtube, Angry Birds (Yes, it works!), etc. You can even add shortcuts to the main menu. Just plug your hard drive, USB or SD card with all your media and you can play it right away from the media center app.





Here is the first problem I encountered. At first, I could not get to play videos in full screen on the media player app. After much tweaking and tinkering, I found out that by using the “My Files” app (which is like a file explorer), videos play in full screen with no problem. The second difficulty I encountered was using the Google Play store. I could not install some apps using an Ethernet connection. Using wifi instead, solved the problem.

The beauty of Android is that it is very customizable. There are lots of apps available on the Play store. Once I installed Atorrent, FTP Doid, Podkicker, I was able to browse the web, download and play vidoes all from one device. Heck, it even recognized my iPad, my other media player in the living room and I can now stream from that as well.



Overall, I am pretty impressed with this little box. The media player function alone is worth the price. Being able to access the Internet on a TV unit like a proper couch potato is practically having the best of both worlds.

The Good:

- Price!
- Media Player function
- Android OS

The Bad:

- Wish it had a faster processor and more RAM
- Not sure if Android 4.0 ICS update will be available