WHAT IS A TV BOX? – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’S)
A Part. General (FAQ’s) Topics Included on the top half of this page:-
A1. What is a TV Box?
A TV Box is also known as a Android TV Box, Set-Top Box, Media Box, TV Box, M Box, OTT TV Box, IPTV Box, Streaming Box etc. is a innovative device that streams content from the internet directly to your TV in resolutions up to Ultra HD, also referred to as 4K. These remarkable devices are physically small in size yet extremely powerful with regards to processing power (CPU) and also incorporate high resolution 4K graphics cards (GPU) which output via the HDMI port.
You are able to choose from literally 100’s of thousands of applications (known simply as Apps) to install on your TV Box . These Apps can be sourced via the Google Play Store, Internet or your PC. Once installed each of these Apps will offer you their own unique and specified selection of content to stream or download. This content could be in the form of video (movies, series, sport, documentaries, news, live TV etc.) or audio (music or live radio streams etc.)
The whole intention is to install and uninstall apps until the box is fully customised to your very own specific needs. It is unlikely that anyone single App will cover all your requirements and for this reason you may need several Apps which combined offer you everything you desire.
A TV Box is also a powerful Media Player which can play all video and audio formats which have been stored on devices such a local server or external hard drive (HDD). e.g. family videos etc.
Currently we offer two versions namely, Android TV Box and Windows TV Box (new)
A2. What is the difference between an Android and a Windows TV Box?
From an physical appearance and functional point of view both types are near identical. The main difference is the operating system installed on the boxes been Android version 7 (nougat) and Windows 10 (home). Android does not require a license while Windows does, this effectively makes the Windows TV boxes around R1,500 more expensive per unit due to the Windows 10 Home license (included in the price).
So why buy a Windows TV Box?
Several of our customers require applications such as DSTV Now which require an Android TV boxes to be google certified. With a Widows TV box these applications can stream 100% from within a browser e.g Chrome via HTML5 and do not necessarily require the application to be installed (.exe). The other reason is for use as a small portable and powerful gaming pc where certain games are only available on Windows. Effectively the exact same as your windows PC (great replacement).
Summary: if you require DSTV Now or any google certified applications then a Windows TV Box is the preferred device to purchase.
A3. What can I watch and do via my Android or Windows TV Box?
To the very best of our knowledge there is pretty much nothing you cannot watch via your TV Box. The content available for you to stream or download is specific to each App itself, these vary from those with monthly Subscriptions e.g. Netflix, Showmax etc. to those which are ‘free to air’ e.g. YouTube, Red Bull TV etc.
Following services are also supported:-
• Social Media: all known platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
• Communication: platforms such Gmail, Skype etc.
• Video Gaming: games that rely on a keyboard / mouse as opposed to a ‘touch screen’ to function are supported (fast growing market segment.)
A4. What internet connection do I need?
An internet connection with a minimum speed of 4Mbps and preferably ‘uncapped’ is recommended for your TV Box. Higher internet speeds will allow for higher resolutions of the video image you are streaming. If you have a 4Mbps internet package we recommend that you do not use Wifi but rather and where possible hard wire your TV Box directly to your router via an Ethernet data cable (compensate for the inherent loss of speed when using Wifi.)
The medium or provider of your internet connection does not matter. Any of the below ‘uncapped’ packages are suitable in order of preference:-
• Fibre Optic Internet. If available in your area (roll-out is growing fast)
• LTE Internet. Requires a SIM from your preferred network provider
• ADSL Internet. Requires that you have fixed line phone connection
A LAN cable (patch cord) connection directly from your internet router to your TV Box is the preferred connection method but all our boxes do support Wifi connections.
A5. Why should I buy my TV Box from you @ Henrac Tech?
We are the only known entity to have developed our own firmware. As a result of our efforts we have taken Android TV to the next level. Our Android TV boxes offer the following benefits when compared to identical hardware, mass market generic units directly from the factory:
1. Significant overall improvement in performance: Mass market or generic factory TV Boxes are prone to ‘hanging’. This due to the fact that firmware updates where not installed when the factory firmware was first created and has never been updated. (these cannot be updated by you, the user)
2. Support all known applications: All large number of very popular Apps (up to 30%) will not work or run on most of the mass market or generic factory TV Boxes. Our TV Boxes are the only known units to support all Apps including ‘DSTV Now’ and ‘ShowMax’ etc.
3. Platform: use the latest ‘stable’ operating platform, currently this is Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and Android 7.1.2 Nougat (including all applicable relevant security patches and updates).
4. CPU: use only the most powerful ‘current production’ central processors from Amlogic.
• S915w Quad-core (4x 2Mhz CPU). Used in our TX3 mini-series of TV Boxes
• S912 Octa-core (8x 2Mhz CPU). Used in our H96Pro-series of TV Boxes
5. Configured for ‘Beginners’: only units that cater for both BBT’s (Born Before Technology) and BBT’s (Born After Technology) individuals. Choose from two launchers (user interface). Our default ‘user interface’ is a simple TV launcher for BBT’s been those persons not yet familiar with android TV.
6. Fully customisable: meaning you can download and install or uninstall Apps as per your very own personal requirements. However for your convenience and as a great ‘starting point’ our TV Boxes are pre-loaded with only the latest and most up to date applications including Kodi v17.1 (Krypton), Netflix, ShowMax, Amazon Prime Video, Red Bull TV, DSTV Now, Supersport, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, YouTube, File Manager, Google Play Store, Browser, etc. to name but a few.
A6. What should I look for when buying a TV Box?
The demand for TV Boxes is growing due to the recent increases in residential fibre roll-out and overall affordability of ‘uncapped’ internet packages. As with any small opportunity certain individuals / entities will always look to exploit the technically uninformed.
These are the 5 most important factors when looking to purchase a TV Box
1. Firmware: does the TV Box support applications such as DSTV Now, Supersport and ShowMax etc. If the TV Box is a mass market generic factory unit then it will most likely NOT support these and many other applications.
2. Operating Platform (Android version): do not purchase a TV Box with an outdated Android version other than version 7 Nougat which is current and stable):-
Outdated Android version 6, also known as Marshmallow. Launched Oct 2015
Outdated Android version 5, also known as Lollipop. Launched November 2014
Outdated Android version 4, also known as Kit-Kat. Launched Oct 2013
3. CPU (Central Processor Unit): even if the TV Box you are considering has the latest android version make sure the CPU is a ‘current production’ model. If an Amlogic then all CPU’s starting with S8xx or less are outdated. If using an RK (Rock chip) make sure of the same.
4. RAM: the image that appears on your TV originates from the TV Boxes RAM. RAM is fixed and cannot be upgraded or expanded). The higher the RAM the higher the resolution of the image. Make sure the RAM is type DDR3.
TV Boxes with:-
• 1G of RAM are adequate for streaming Full HD (1080p) video and are the most affordable units.
• 2G of RAM are adequate for streaming most Ultra HD (4K) video are the most popular.
• 3G of RAM are generally the top of the range and are required when playing Blu-Ray quality media files or high end gaming applications.
5. ROM: this the storage where your Apps are installed. The enhanced base Android firmware without any Apps we install is approximately 4.5GB. Android applications can be downloaded as a *.apk file (as opposed to a *.exe in windows). The average APK file size is 30- 40MB so the capacity of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB TV Boxes can be determined. ROM can be expanded via the use of a class 10 or better SD card but the performance of internal ROM is still superior.
A7. Recommended Accessories for use with your TV Box
1. i8 Keyboard / Air mouse: All our TV Boxes include a standard Infra-Red (IR) remote control. These remote controls are considered cumbersome when for example typing data which appears as a keyboard layout on your TV. For a far more pleasurable TV Box experience we strongly recommend an i8 Keyboard / air mouse which is more responsive and easy to use as opposed to the default remote control. By their very nature TV Rooms / Home theatres are dimly lit, for this reason all our i8’s are LED backlit with 3x colour options, red, green & blue (FN+F2 to enable). Available in a Black or White Shell.
2. HDMI cable (4K /UHD compliant): all our TV Boxes include a HDMI cable which is only suitable for Full HD (1080p) applications. If you are fortunate enough to own a 4K / UHD TV then do not spoil your experience with an unsuitable cable. We offer Ultra-series 4K HDMI cables in 2m, 10m and 15m lengths.
3. Digital Audio cable: if you do NOT wish make use of your TV’s build-in speakers for audio then you will need to connect your TV Box to your amplifier / sound system or bar.
Digital Audio out:- Optical/ Toslink digital audio cable [click here]
Analogue Audio out:- 3.5mm Jack Aux plug to RCA [click here]
A8. What is a VPN and do I need one?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network creates a secure, encrypted connection, which can be thought of as a tunnel, between your TV Box and a server operated by the VPN provider (similar to a home private network). Applications running across the VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, management and most importantly security of such private network.
Due to the present sophisticated nature of ‘spyware’ and ‘malware’ etc. our identities and personal information is constantly under threat. For this reason the installation and constant use of a VPN is strongly advised. We recommend either Express VPN or Nord VPN. These both offer multiple simultaneous connections (4-6) on a single subscription. These connections can be any combination of devices running on various operating platforms 1. android (TV Box + cell Phone, 2. Windows (PC, Laptop +Cell Phone), 3. Apple iOS (mac Book + iPhone etc.). The various app are available for download from the vendor and will require a subscription with your Username and Password to be enabled.
PART B – Technical Frequently Asked Questions
B1. Whats is a ‘Google Certified’ device?
Google’s, Android team will certify submitted devices once they been verified to be safe & secure and ready to run the latest apps from Google and the Play Store. In most cases these Android TV Boxes will be required to have widevine Level -L1 and be running Android TV OS with v7 Nougat or v8 Oreo.