Monday, January 14, 2013

TVpad Review

I purchased a TVpad and installed it recently and decided to write my thoughts on the device after using it a few hours. The main device (box) is basically the same size as my LG Smart TV Upgrader Box ST600. The remote control is a full sized remote control (unlike the remote of the LG Smart TV Upgrader Box which is about 1/3 the size) and uses two AAA batteries.

The unit that I purchased came with the wireless USB stick with CD containing drivers, an HDMI cable, an AV cable, a remote control, a TF memory card, the AC adapter, and the TVpad box itself.

The TVpad runs on a modified version of Android (the one that I tested is running 2.3.4). You can install additional programs on it but it is limited to the TVpad Apps programs unless it is heavily hacked/modified. The version that I tested is running TVpad Version 3.2.6 and the model number is M121S_3311_GV0S2 and it is the International version.

What I like about the TVpad is that unlike the LG Smart TV Upgrader Box, the TVpad has an AV port which supports older television sets that don't have an HDMI port. It also uses a standard HDMI cable for the newer television sets. It has a USB port which is used to plug the USB wireless adapter and a TF memory slot. It also has a standard ethernet port.

The menu has different language settings (I recognized traditional/simplified Chinese, English, Japanese, & Korean). Even though you might select one of the languages (ex: English), this only changes the main interface menu. It does not change the description of the program/application/episode.

My ability to read Chinese is almost non-existent and most of the descriptions of the programs/applications/episodes are in Chinese (except those programs which are in Korean).

In order to get the most out of this box, you should be able to read Chinese (so you can read the subtitles if necessary) and understand Mandarin since most of the programming is in Mandarin. There are a few programs in Cantonese (~5%) but most of it is in Mandarin.

When using a wired connection, the quality of the stream is very good. I would compare it to what I get when I use my LG Smart TV Upgrader Box on the same internet connection. Using the HDMI connection, the audio/video quality is very good. Using the AV connection, I find that the quality is still good but it is not good enough to read the Chinese characters for those people who want to read the subtitles or descriptions.

With the wireless connection, I found that the device didn't detect all my wireless access points. It only detected the access point that was a few meters away from the device. During my testing, my LG Smart TV Upgrader Box which is in the same room managed to detect 3 of the access points. I also found that using the wireless connection, there was a lot of buffering and pausing.

There is a YouTube application that can be installed on the device. There are also ~3 games (a jigsaw puzzle game, sudoku, and an reversi-type game) that can be installed on the device as well. There are ~4 applications that allow you to watch external videos or listen to external audio files. I installed these programs but quickly uninstalled them.

There are also some American movies. Some of them are are in the original English language while others have been dubbed to Chinese/Mandarin. Some of these movies are subtitled in Chinese and/or English while others are not subtitled). As of the date of this blog entry, I watched "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Batman The Dark Knight Rises." Both of these movies were in English with Chinese and English subtitles. I also watched portions of "Bourne Ultimatum" but this was dubbed into Mandarin without any subtitles while "Bourne Supremacy" had the original language track but included Chinese subtitles.

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