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TVB Anywhere Review: Installation, Impressions and Comparison to TVPad and MoonBox

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Andrew, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    TVB Anywhere UK Review Update 21/11/16 - NOT RECOMMENDED:
    Unfortunately the TVB Anywhere box has broken again for a 2nd time. The box gets stuck into a loop where the logo displays, and you can't get into any of the channels.

    Speaking to the UK branch (ChineseTV.co.uk) which is based in Wing Yip Business Centre, Croydon (+44 (0)20 3770 8828 info@chinesetv.co.uk) have been very unhelpful, and they won't supply another review unit.

    This type of TV box is only as good as the service that you receive. x2 breakages within 12 months and no customer service to replace means that I can't recommend this I'm afraid.


    tvb_anywhere_live_tv.jpg

    TVB Anywhere is TVB’s officially licensed overseas digital setup box for watching Cantonese and Mandarin content through the internet. It’s one of the few ways to access Cantonese speaking video content outside of Hong Kong and China.

    This is the real deal – no danger of suddenly not working, disappearing or shutting down due to lawsuits (like the TVPad). This is officially launched and there are support numbers and warranties that can be called in via offices around the world (including UK and Europe).

    Despite offering a fairly complete package, it’s a shame that there’s very little information about the product online – whether it’s reviews from people who have used the product, or actual information on TVB Anywhere’s website. There’s no real English documentation of what the product offers which is why I’ve taken it on myself to writeup a quick review of the product for those who are interested.

    I’m primarily writing this as a person who wants to help his Cantonese-speaking in-laws to watch Cantonese content, and secondly as a parent who would like to expose their 4 year old son to more TV shows which are in Mandarin and Cantonese. I’m reviewing this using a 200Mbps internet connection in London. Review box was provided by TVB Anywhere.

    What comes in the TVB Anywhere box?
    The packaging includes:
    - TVB Anywhere box and power adapter
    - HDMI cable
    - Remote control
    - Video cables (composite and HDMI)
    - Instruction manual

    tvb_anywhere_box_1.jpg tvb_anywhere_box_3.jpg tvb_anywhere_box_4.jpg tvb_anywhere_box_5.jpg tvb_anywhere_box_2.jpg

    Installation
    Installation is pretty simple and is on par with setting up a device like an Apple TV. Simply plug in the adapter and then plug the HDMI into the back of your TV. Using the remote to change the language to English (via the TVB App settings) and use an Ethernet cable or go through wireless settings to setup network connection. I’d estimate you need at least 5Mbps connection to get decent quality and speed, so make sure you are located close enough to your router and that you have decent broadband.

    tvb_anywhere_connections.jpg tvb_anywhere_settings.jpg tvb_anywhere_language_select_english_chinese.jpg

    Impressions Video
    Below is a short 10 minutes of using TVB Anywhere - browsing the TVB Live channels, the settings, the 7-Day Catchup, the VOD (Video On Demand) services, see below:


    Channels
    channels.jpg

    There’s a very decent selection of channels: most exciting are the official live TVB channels – Jade, News and Junior which are the main Cantonese speaking Hong Kong channels. Others like Asian Action, Premium Lifestyle look very good too. You might see other familiar channels like Phoenix-Europe (which is a Freesat channel). And there are a few dozen other mainland Chinese channels which are mostly Mandarin speaking.

    7-Day Catchup
    tvb_anywhere_catchup_junior.jpg

    Since Hong Kong time zone is GMT +8 you’ll never really get the right experience watching the live TV channels. 7-Day Catchup allows you to watch specific shows and times from the last 7 days on select channels: Jade, Premium Drama, Junior, Premium Lifestyle and KBS World. Access to Junior is fantastic as there is a wide selection of Cantonese shows aimed at young toddlers and older kids. However it’s a bit disappointing that only 5 channels are available on catchup, whereas a device like the MoonBox has access to a whole lot more.

    Video On Demand (VOD)
    tvb_anywhere_video_on_demand_vod_all.jpg

    This looks very promising with currently 191 full series of shows (think of these as Chinese boxsets). These are put into helpful categories like Epic and Thriller. I’m no expert on which dramas are popular these days or are worth watching (I’ve leave that for the in-laws to determine), but it feels like there’s a large and wide selection of content.

    The Children section only contained 5 series at time of writing which feels quite disappointing, however I believe most parents will mostly use the 7-Day Catchup for the Junior channel which is plenty for most kids.

    tvb_anywhere_catchup_junior.jpg tvb_anywhere_catchup_doraemon.jpg tvb_anywhere_video_on_demand_children.jpg

    What’s also nice is that many of the dramas feature Mandarin and Cantonese audio tracks, which can be switched using a button on the remote control if the track is available.

    Other Features
    Despite having an AppStore category, it’s not really an open box available to download additional apps or channels, it’s just used to open to TVB Settings menu.

    tvb_anywhere_programme_guide.jpg tvb_anywhere_settings.jpg

    There’s also a Programme Guide which tells you about new content coming out in the future. There’s no advanced functionality here (for example the ability to schedule to watch a particular show).

    Pricing and Where To Buy
    Here’s the current breakdown for the first year - when you buy online, you’ll be paying for:

    Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 10.07.55.png

    Box (including shipping) + 2 Year Subscription £256 – an offer for new customers only
    After that period is over a 1 Year Subscription is £119

    Ordering can be done from the TVB Anywhere website where shipments are fulfilled via PayPal. Alternatively, payments can be made over the phone and via credit card, cheque or bank transfer.

    I’ve been told that it’s possible to buy the Box + 2 Year Subscription in Wing Yip in Croydon, Manchester for £248.

    Subscription, Support and Future of TVB Anywhere
    tvb_anywhere_device.jpg

    The great thing about TVB Anywhere compared to other, illegal piracy options (e.g. TVPad, MoonBox) is that this is an officially licensed device. Once you buy the device (which comes with a year’s subscription), you won’t be in danger of having it be closed down during that period of time, and you’ll have support via phone and email from their offices in UK and Europe.

    There is also a standard 14 day returns policy. I made good use of the support – they are happy to take calls and questions, and when my box stopped working after a few days (it went completely unresponsive) the office were happy to send over a replacement straight away.

    I think that the TVB Anywhere box does a very good job of allowing overseas Chinese to watch Cantonese and Mandarin content online – it has the main Cantonese TVB channels, and a wide selection of dramas to choose from. The Junior channel is a godsend for immersing kids in child-friendly Cantonese programming that is readily available, entertaining and challenging.

    If anyone ends up buying their own TVB Anywhere box, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the service, please comment below.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  2. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    I've had a few queries about international availability of TVB.

    UK, Europe
    Definitely can buy in UK and possibly Europe (there is an office in Paris).

    Australia
    I believe there's a version in Australia that also contains advertising.

    United States / North America
    I believe there's a different strategy involving apps which are specific to United States only, see:
    http://www.tvbusa.com/encore/v1/
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/encoretvb/id1026575503?ls=1&mt=8

    I've also heard that there is an app for the latest Apple TV 4, however will need to confirm. You can see this ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQNJ-GkXF1E - however this is only on TVB USA channel.

    I'm not sure whether this is available to Canada, would love to hear from Canadians if this is possible.
     
    #2
    edwaz likes this.
  3. William Wong

    William Wong New Member

    Wow ty for posting this. Right now I'm having to spend $80/month on Comcast just to get basic tvb for my parents. I've tried showing them how to use Kodi to watch Cantonese movies but they aren't very savvy with tech. Sounds like with TVB anywhere we can just let go of Comcast completely.
     
    #3
    edwaz likes this.
  4. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    Awesome! Thanks!
     
    #4
  5. dc984

    dc984 New Member

    Kind of a dumb question but is there any way that you could get TVB anywhere to show its program with an 8 hour delay ? I'd like to be able to get the live experience say turning on the TV at 8 p.m. and watching a prime-time soap. cheers!
     
    #5
  6. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    Some set top boxes like Moon Box and TVB Anywhere have time shift broadcast.
     
    #6
  7. dc984

    dc984 New Member

    Thank you sir
     
    #7
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    Update 21/11/16:
    Unfortunately the TVB Anywhere box has broken again for a 2nd time. The box gets stuck into a loop where the logo displays, and you can't get into any of the channels.

    Speaking to the UK branch (ChineseTV.co.uk) which is based in Wing Yip Business Centre, Croydon (+44 (0)20 3770 8828 info@chinesetv.co.uk) have been very unhelpful, and they won't supply another review unit.

    This type of TV box is only as good as the service that you receive. x2 breakages within 12 months and no customer service to replace means that I can't recommend this I'm afraid.
     
    #8
  9. Steve_rt

    Steve_rt New Member

    We have been using TVB Anywhere for about 4 years and before that TVB satellite service. I agree the customer service is pretty bad in the London office. The service is changing and the pictures shown above is for the old service. With the round tvb box you get about 50 channels, and about five channels has 7 days catch up.
    Which is great, this allows the children to watch the dramas after they finish all their homework or binge over the weekend.
    However when your subscription end you have move to the new square tvb box, the subscription has has significantly. There are only a handful of channels! I think 5 rather 50. We only TVB Jade. And even worse the catch up has reduced to 24 hours and only for the TVB jade channel!
    A half decent service to rather disappointing. If they want people to stop using TVpad, Kodi, HTV then don't make the service worse.
    The sales explanation when I renewed was the old tvb box was for Europe but the new one is international. Yes it is good the international community can watch it as well but why introduce an inferior product than what you currently had. Also they have created new package whereby you can pay per view dramas thus making the original subscription which had also 'on demand' much more limited. Just make people move anyway from using a legitimate service. Just pure old greedy but I think they will loose out in the end. The view quality of these 'free' TV boxes are equal to tvb boxes just not so legit. As you can see I'm a disppointed TVB subscriber.
     
    #9
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  10. simon li

    simon li New Member

     
    #10
  11. simon li

    simon li New Member

    Ive been told to switch off (unplug) and using the remote s red button, to turn on (plug the power back in) and quickly tap on the red button... then when it loads the android recovery section choose the 4th option down then wait for it to load up again... you will slowly load the Tv options providing you have the internet cable plugged in...
     
    #11
  12. pangster

    pangster New Member

    Andrew: I'd say it's a bit harsh not recommending it - i think if you're going to give a review it needs to be balanced and you need to be able to take some perspective on things...

    We've had TVB Anywhere for around 4 or 5 years now (the current round box) and the older rectangle box (which was non-HD).. I also have a fairly good understanding and appreciation of how to gain access to TVB through various other means i.e. set top boxes, VPN and dynamic DNS etc and have to say that for reliability, content and complexity - nothing comes close to the official TVB Anywhere offering in my opinion..

    ALL of the other options have a trade off with at least one of the factors mentioned above! - the only feature I think that could improve it further is the ability to record (which it doesn't currently allow you to do).
     
    #12

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