Back in July, I purchased an MXQ Pro 4K Android TV box to give TV boxes a spin. Would have loved to get the Nvidia Shield but my pocket didn’t agree. Anyway, I’ve been using this box for about 5 months now and its doing really great (excluding about 4 times it froze and I had to reboot) considering how cheap I got it.
I thought I’d give you guys residing in Nigeria (especially Lagos) a peek into my experience thus far and some helpful tips should you decide to ditch DSTV & GOTV for a box.
What I love about the box
A TV box exposes you to a world of options. Forget all that endless repetition of old series and movies you see on cable TV. As far as I’m concerned, the only things that are fresh on cable TV are news & live sports. Down here, cable TV with reasonable channels isn’t cheap…unless you’ve already mentally settled for less.
Another bummer is that after you subscribe, you get disconnected once the validity period is up. Whether you travel, your TV gets faulty, signal has been horrible, you don’t have power…its your headache Baba! Having to watch cable TV on a generator ruins my day because I feel like I’m being robbed on two ends.
I have a Sukam Inverter set + batteries + equalizer so I’ve not used my generator more than thrice this year. I not only save on generator costs but can spread power availability into any time of the day. This, coupled with my TV box, means I can catch up with my favorite shows anytime (not what and when Cable TV dictates I watch). When I’m not doing so, my data remains unused (I can always rollover if not exhausted) and my maintenance free battery just sits there waiting to serve. In essence, I can tailor my usage.
My Challenges so far
Finding the right data plan
If there’s one thing you’ll need a lot of, its data. My biggest challenge thus far has been finding the right data plan. By right, I mean both reasonably fast and cheap. No network is blazing fast in my area, and I’ve tried them all.
I’ll be putting aside unlimited plans because the only network that has a truly unlimited plan is Ntel. Swift 4G ditched their unlimited plan shortly after introducing it. They now have the worst network in my area BTW, worse than GLO 3G, which is strange because I once clocked 132 GB in a month with the Swift Merit ₦3,000 plan.
Spectranet is the best in my area because its about the most stable (closely followed by Airtel 4G which has much better upload speeds) and quite cheap in that I get 100% data bonus (80GB total) when I renew my Spectranet Unified Value 40GB (@ ₦12,500) on Sundays or promo days (lookout for the emails)
Ntel is the cheapest with their WAWU data plans. I get 48 GB for just N3,000. Ntel isn’t so fast in my area plus they’ve been having serious problems in the last couple of months (check their social media pages). It however serves really well; which brings me to my next point.
Slow internet? Youtube is your friend
I’m guessing you would prefer data volume over speed initially. If that’s your case then Youtube is one app that’s optimized for streaming on slow internet. You can even subscribe to some live streaming channels like I did. I bumped into Channels TV, TVC news, ABC news, France 24, Al Jazeera and Euro News. If you dig Nollywood Yoruba movies then Yorubahood is a good channel to look.
I also found Netflix to handle slow internet quite well (but not as well as Youtube). Your default Netflix installation (like mine) might not allow you download for offline viewing so I uninstalled that and downloaded the official Netflix apk ; problem solved.
If you want sports and many other channels then Mobdro apk should do fine. The video quality might not just be super on your TV but hey, you get several channels for free!
Kodi Addons are super awesome!
This particular box runs Kodi smoothly. If you’re venturing here then its a good idea to install a VPN. Cyberghost has a free plan you could try. There are so many addon repositories…Sports, News, Tech, TV Shows, Music, Latest movies, E-learning… you name it and there’s a free addon for you.
This particular box runs Kodi smoothly. If you’re venturing here then its a good idea to install a VPN. Express VPN or Cyberghost has a free plan you could try. There are so many addon repositories…Sports, News, Tech, TV Shows, Latest movies, E-learning… you name it and there’s a free addon for you.
You’ll be needing relatively fast internet because the picture qualities are mostly HD (at least).
Adoptable storage is the answer to limited storage
My box came with just 3GB free storage. This was a total let down for offline downloads. If you find yourself in such a fix then grab an external SD card and make it an adoptable storage. This is a very easy way to expand your storage space especially when you can’t change the default write disk.
Offline downloads are a life saver
If you have a free night plan or slow internet then you should bank heavily on offline downloads (whenever you can) for a smooth streaming experience. Offline downloads not only eliminate that annoying buffering but will save you data. For example, someone else wishes to watch something you already did or your kids want to watch that same cartoon like the 100th time.