Sunday, 16 April 2017

Android ReTV X1 4K Box Review A Fully Loaded "Smart TV" Box Price & Features

Android TV Box ReTV X1 Review A Fully Loaded "Smart TV" Box for Your all TV tv streaming Needs.

The ReTV X1 is an intelligent TV box with Android that offers more than other TV streaming devices. But is it good enough to eclipse your competitors? We checked to find out.

Smart TVs have always been on the expensive side and focus on a niche audience. In recent years, the characteristics of "smart TV" have even come to televisions priced below Rs 20,000. But if you have an old non-intelligent TV, Smart TV boxes based on Android OS, like Amkette's EvoTV, and streaming media dongles like Chromecast and Tweete, among others, are the way to go. Now, the Mumbai-based company ReTV has devised an intelligent TV box called 'X1' with a set of interesting features that aim to improve the way you consume content.


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X1 Box

At a price of Rs 4,199, the ReTV X1 can turn your silly TV into a smart TV. You can use the smart TV box to stream music, movies and TV shows, as well as surf the Internet. You can also connect your external hard drive or USB flash drive to play audio and video content. Now, while this is something that you can do in most smart TV boxes as well, the differentiating factor of ReTV is the torrent integration and the FastForward feature. I've been using the ReTV X1 for three weeks, and here's my opinion.


Design of  ReTV X1



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x1 4k box 

The ReTV X1 has a very simple design. You get a small white, square-shaped box with rounded corners. It is made of thick plastic and the quality of construction feels solid. The top half is flat with the ReTV logo and there is only one hardware button to turn the power on and off.

Along the bottom, you have a round rubber ring to make sure it does not slide off the surface. In fact, the base is slightly conical in shape and has holes for heat ventilation.

On the connectivity front, it has a microSD card slot and two USB ports, one of which will usually be used to connect the receiver to the remote. You can use the other USB port to connect an external mouse, keyboard, hard drive, or thumb drive.

On the back, it has a power input port, an HDMI port, a CVBS (composite video output) port and an RJ 45 (LAN) port.

The remote control, on the other hand, has a shiny surface and is comfortable in size. The remote control has a slight protrusion on the bottom half that makes it fit very well in your hand. Above, has the power button, followed by the volume buttons, a 5-way button - cursor left, right, up and down, and an "OK" (or select) button in the middle.

Under the 5-way directional button, you have the buttons on the back and the menu, followed by a five-button home trip, turn the cursor on / off, buttons to turn subtitle on or off, and something favourite, followed by a Mute button. The remote control works with AAA batteries and the receiver gets into the battery cover, as you can see in the previous photo.


ReTV X1 Specifications


Speaking of specs, the ReTV box is powered by a quad-core 64-bit SoC with a 2GHz clock. It combines with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. There is also a microSD card slot for further expansion up to 32GB. Working on Android 5.1 based on Lollipop OS, the ReTV box can play popular video codecs (MP4, AVI and MKV among others), 4K videos and popular audio formats like MP3, WAV and AAC. Speaking of content in the box, you get an HDMI cable, analogue audio-video cable and a power adapter.


Features of ReTV X1


You will also get six months of free access to WebChannel, a subscription service with access to comedy, music and documentaries among others, which otherwise costs Rs 899 per year. ReTV also offers 25 GB of FastForward free space and if you want more, you'll have to pay Rs 150 for 25 GB. The feature allows you to download video files into ReTV's cloud account and stream the videos in seconds. Therefore, when you are looking for movies and TV shows that are on Torrent sites, instead of downloading them locally, you can save them to the FastForward cloud account and then stream them.

There are some benefits here, Torrents are illegal, but what you're doing here (according to ReTV) is just TV streaming, and do not download it, consider it from another angle, say you want to watch a movie 'Iron Man 3' and Its DVD RIP is approximately 1.5 GB in size. Downloading it locally is illegal and the time required will also depend on your Internet speed. Instead, what you do with FastForward is to use Quick Internet from ReTV to quickly download it to the cloud drive, and then stream it from there. This saves the data and space on the local drive. I have tested the function and it works fine.

In addition, ReTV offers three months free subscription to Ditto TV, where you can watch over 100 live TV channels such as Zee Cinema HD, Sab TV, Sony Entertainment, Zee TV HD, Zee Marathi and more. After three months, you can continue with the subscription by paying a simple Rs 20 per month.


ReTV X1 User Interface


The ReTV X1 user interface is simple, and those who have used Kodi (formerly XBMC), would find it similar. Along the left edge, you have a list of sections: Movies, English TV, TV in India, Web Series, Live TV, Web Channels, Search, My Files, Applications and Settings.

Under the movies, you will see the best movie titles that have recently been released and have made their way to the torrents. When I tried, I could see titles like Raees, Rangoon, Dangal, Jolly LLB 2, Fifty Shades Darker, Logan and La Land among others. After clicking on one of these you can see details like the synopsis, the cast of stars, the trailers and the link to torrents to see it. When you click on torrents links, the movie dampens slightly and playback starts while continuing to download in the background. To get the best experience, make sure you have a bandwidth of at least 4 Mbps and higher.

Speaking of English television, you choose from the likes of The Big Bang Theory, Supernatural, Prison Break, Marvel's agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Better Call Saul among others. However, I could not try it since I did not find any streaming links at that time.

Indian TV shows include Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma, Kapil's Sharap Show, Koffee with Karan and more, and I was able to stream these programs to perfection. You can choose the episode you want to watch and control the transmission quality: low (180), SD (480) and HD (720).

The web series includes the likes of another love story, married woman diaries, Chai Sutta Chronicles, little things, ladies room, TVF singles, hilarious his, girl in the city, the trip and The man's world and they worked pretty well too.

The web channel section includes the integration of Hotstar, ErosNow, Spuul and Ditto TV, and you will need to subscribe to these services to enjoy the content. It also has other content curated like news, movies, Bollywood, comedy, entertainment, children, music and Travel chosen by curators content ReTV.

Search allows you to search for content based on movies, TV shows or actors. The 'My Files' section is actually a file manager, where you can access the files stored on your internal and external storage. Finally, you have apps and Play Store, where you can access the installed applications and download new from the Store.

Included applications include Clash of Clans, ES File Explorer, Gallery, DLNA-based media player on the home network, YouTube, Chrome, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. ALSO READ: YouTube seen by 180 million users in India


ReTV X1 Android TV box Performance


As for performance, the lack of powerful hardware is clearly visible here. I hooked up on an external 1TB hard drive to play some music videos and movies. The ReTV took about eight seconds to read and open the folders, and while the full HD videos played without a hiccup, 4K videos showed an insignificant amount of delay.

I then tested the reflection of the screen using a pair of Android smartphones, and while Miracast works decently, the connection is disconnected in about four or five minutes. You will then need to reconnect it, but again after a few minutes, it disconnects.

The system delay is clearly visible when running Android applications. I opened the Chrome browser to browse a couple of websites, and after an initial couple of minutes, there was a noticeable delay, and the screen would only freeze for a few seconds. In addition, although applications like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video could transmit the videos without any problem, the same did not happen with the Hotstar application that I downloaded from the Play Store. Yes, there is native Hotstar integration, but it only shows free content. In general, the performance is a mixed bag.


Final words


For the selling price of Rs 4,199, the ReTV X1 has a lot to offer, especially for those who are into binge watching. Although the Google Chromecast is a wireless media dongle, the curated content library, smart TV functionality and the ability to connect your external storage device and play content is something that sets the ReTV X1 apart from others.

Yes, not everything works perfectly. Sometimes the torrent streams do not work, there is an occasional delay, but I would blame that on most of our habits of being impatient. Even when navigating through the interface, streaming some media or running applications, give it a few seconds without rushing too much and you could get the best of the X1.

Unique features like FastForward come handy, and the ability to have all the content at your fingertips is something that works for ReTV. While freshman access to ReTV content is free, you will have to pay a minimum fee of Rs 99 after that. Even if you do not choose to use their services, you still have applications like Chrome, YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to meet your internet TV needs. If you are looking for a decent smart TV box and can compromise light performance delays, the ReTV X1 could be a good choice to go. If you just want a TV streaming media dongle, we recommend you go to Google Chromecast.

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