TV Boxes, Misinformation, and Scams
There's a lot of misinformation floating around about Android TV Boxes, and most of it is perpetuated by unethical sellers who want to maximize their profits. A healthy amount of concern and skepticism is definitely a good thing in this case! There are a few things to look out for:
#1 - THE NEWEST / BEST / LATEST MODEL
The fact of the matter is, there are quite literally hundreds of different Android TV Boxes, and most of them are based on only a few hardware chipsets. The important thing is the specifications. Amount of RAM, processor generation/operating system (these go together), whether it has Dual Band 5G WiFi or Bluetooth, or not. For instance, a device with 1GB of RAM is pretty much always slow, no matter how new it is. These people might also claim features like voice control, or self updating Kodi builds. What they don't tell you is that voice control only works for Google, as it's integrated into the Android operating system, and self updating is more or less a myth, because it might work for a while, but as soon as that Kodi developer walks away (and they do, all the time), there go your updates. Most folks who claim to "make their own Kodi builds" are liars, though not all. That's one of the reasons why we don't use Kodi, because after 4 years of dealing with Kodi headaches, we found a better way.
#2 - FLEA MARKETS / MAJOR EVENTS (Local Exhibitions/Fairs, etc.)
So, you're walking through the flea market or your local exhibition, and see a person selling these devices for some exorbitant price, like two or three hundred dollars, which promise free everything with no problems, ever. When your Kodi build stops working a month later, you try to call them and they don't answer, or the number is straight up disconnected. I've seen this numerous times as well. Sounds too good to be true? That's because it is. These folks can use a number of tricks, like running Kodi through Real-Debrid (a paid service) or just playing content they've saved to the device to make it look easier and more reliable.The number of folks whose devices I have redone over the years who told me this exact story would boggle your mind. The worst part? The devices are usually old M8S or MXQ Android 4.4, 1GB RAM models from 2013-2014, sold as "the latest model" years later. This unethical seller bought a device for around $20 and resold it for $200. Great for them, bad for you. They might be new as in unused, but that doesn't mean they haven't been sitting on a pallet in a warehouse for five years. The moral of the story? Do your research!
#3 - WE MAKE OUR OWN BOXES
These people are liars, don't walk away, RUN! All of the fancy websites like Red Rhino, MyGica and any number of others I could name, buy their devices from China, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. MyGica is kind of an outlier, because they seem to have taken a hand in the design and specifications of their devices, but they outsource them to the same manufacturers we buy from. When MyGica approached me for a distributorship, I turned them away. Whenever I speak to someone with a Red Rhino device, I just shake my head. $500!?! The cost is too high for the negligible or non-existent performance difference, and you have all the same problems with no solutions. There are exceptions though, such as Fomuler, BuzzTV, and Dreamlink. Those are legitimate, reputable manufacturers with actual support for their products. Formuler devices in particular are a favorite of ours.
#4 - YOU NEED A VPN, BUY THIS PARTICULAR ONE!
These people are affiliate sellers. I know this for a fact, because over the years I've been approached by PureVPN, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access for the same deal. Sell our service and get a nice fat kickback, usually half the price of the subscription. Now, having a VPN isn't a BAD thing per se, but it isn't strictly necessary either. If you live in the UK, and you want to stream content, yes, you need a VPN. Canada, not so much. The UK government has made streaming a criminal offense, which it isn't here. In fact, it's completely legal!
#5 - IPTV ONLY BOXES
IPTV only boxes, like the MAG devices, have limited functionality by design. These are ONLY good for IPTV. You can't install your own apps, you can't do anything else with them. If IPTV is ALL you want to do, then fine. But if you want to turn a regular TV into a Smart TV, install apps, and have more control over the types of things you can do, you need something like an Android Box, Apple TV, or Amazon FireTV device. Nowadays, there are some hybrid devices available, like Dreamlink, Formuler, and BuzzTV, that have many features of both a dedicated set top box and an Android box. These can be a good choice for folks who want the best of all worlds, but they tend to be expensive, and don't have the best specifications. That being said, our clients who have these types of devices are generally very happy with them, so that is certainly an option. The Formuler devices in particular seem to be very well received by our clients.
I hope this information has been useful to you, whether you buy a device from Canada Cord Cutters or not. Factual information on the internet is becoming something of a rarity, so I just wanted to add my portion.