Vodafone TV Streaming Box REVIEW
Vodafone TV Streaming Box Review
PAT PILCHER plugs Vodafone’s latest widget into his goggle box to see what’s what
$179 (plus monthly Sky and streaming service subscriptions)
With Spark Sport experiencing teething problems, streaming media has been a hot topic as of late. As howls of dismay from rugby fans died down, Vodafone launched their streaming TV set-top box.
In this Vodafone TV Streaming Box review, I found that it’s an appealing device with several standout features, including being able to rewind and record 500-hours (up to 1.5Tb) of HD video onto Vodafone servers. That’s a tonne of storage compared to the paltry amount you get with MySky. Add to this the ability to record/rewind/pause shows that aired up to three days ago and there’s a lot to like.
As a Skybox replacement, that’s great, but you also gain the ability to stream content from a raft of streaming services.
The most significant change over Voda’s first TV box is that it plays nice with any ISP’s broadband, not just what’s sold by Vodafone. Vodafone says a fast fibre connection is best, but a trawl through online forums reveals people are getting good results from VDSL.
I’m using Gigabit fibre. While my broadband never hits its peak speed, TV content looked great. There was with no noticeable buffering.
Vodafone also added Wi-Fi into the mix. It might not seem like a noteworthy addition, but given how few people have their router next to the TV, it can simplify the setup process.
Looks-wise, the new box very closely resembles the original Vodafone TV box. It’s a small back plastic square slab with rounded corners and a subtle Vodafone logo etched into its top. It also has more than a passing resemblance to the first-generation Apple TV.
On its front is a small LED indicator, which is red when the box is on standby, and white when it is powered up. Around the back are HDMI, Ethernet and power sockets. Given the small number of connections, getting set up was a largely plug-and-play experience. It was so simple that even I got it right.
Vodafone’s TV Box vs MySky
After connecting the box, I turned it on and was prompted to visit a Vodafone website. There I activated it and chose which Sky content I wanted. Total setup time was a shade under five minutes.
Looking at pricing for Sky content, the benefits of the Vodafone TV box might not be apparent to some Sky customers. The upshot is that you get a huge amount of storage compared to MySky, and have monthly contracts instead of being locked in for longer periods.
Powering up the Vodafone TV box also reveals a simple minimalist interface that is straightforward to use. The remote is also a standard clicker, so the learning curve for most subscribers is likely to be minimal. I did notice that there is no app store. Adding streaming services isn’t an option, so you’re forced to wait for whatever Vodafone makes available.
That said, you’re well catered for when it comes to streaming services. Netflix, YouTube, Freeview, Sky TV’s NEON, LIGHTBOX, and Play Stuff are all installed. Amazon Prime is MIA, but indications are that it will soon get added. Being a Vodafone product, Spark Sport is absent, but there you go.
Vodafone TV Streaming Box Review – Summary
If you’ve got fibre, a dumb TV, and are looking for an affordable box that delivers Sky TV, Freeview and a swathe of streaming services, Vodafone’s TV box could be just what the doctor ordered.