If it’s free it’s for me!
I had a roommate who used this as his mantra for everything, here at Moda Terminal we try to be just a tad more selective but that being said everyone likes free stuff. When I was a kid TV was free. You bought a set in a console with a radio and a turntable. It was a huge piece of furniture that weighed a ton and your mother put bric-a-brac on top of it, but I digress (as usual). The cool part was that all you had to do to watch TV was put up an antenna. Stick the rabbit ears on and you could watch Mr. Dressup Chez Helene and the Friendly Giant. Connect to a big antenna on the roof and you were able to see Dave Thomas on Rocketship 7 and the ubiquitous Commander Tom who was also a weatherman for some reason. Hockey on Wednesdays on channel 11 rounded out the roster. 6 channels baby what more could you ask for? Cable ruined all of that. Paying for better quality picture and more channels without that antenna nonsense! A modest fee for more. That is almost as good as free. Soon we were watching Channel 29 and channel 79! SEVENTY F$%&#^G NINE! That meant you could have like 78 channels. This was awesome. Little did we know that the same programs were on all the channels. Fast forward to 2014, cable ain’t cheap, there are hundreds of channels and the same junk is on all of them. Sure they look great and all on my 55 inch LCD TV (and there isn’t any bric-a-brac on top of it) but the price is crazy. What to do? Back to the original premise as far as we are concerned. Netflix was supposed to be an option but who wants to pay (even a moderate amount) for old shows with mediocre resolution? Not us. What about the ever present semi legal elephant in the room? The Pirate Bay and the torrent solution. Well that works pretty well but it can be a pain in the butt waiting to download a show that might not be available for a couple of days. I realize it’s being picky but we want it free and we want it in a timely manner. Enter the Android TV Box. They promise free streaming TV as well as first run movies all for the price of the box. Using your internet connection these marvels bring back the good old days of television. Now I am no neophyte when it comes to technology. In fact I’m pretty good at it, got all my credentials and everything, but setting up the box was a pain in the ass. There are features and wizards that automate setup to some degree but I think that if you are a regular computer user you should call some 14 year old boy over to set it up for you. Once up and running you can access Netflix, the almost useless Apple TV and the true gem XBMC.
XBMC is an open source offshoot of the X-Box software. In a nutshell it allows you to stream all kinds of content through various sketchy servers. I watched everything from Chinese league football to Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire, all for free and with very little hassle. Little if you happen to be facile with technology and have a bit of time on your hands. Just keep in mind…
1. NOT ALL CONTENT IS AVAILABLE ALL THE TIME
2. CHANNELS WILL BECOME UNAVAILABLE ESPECIALLY INTERNATIONAL (NO FAULT OF THE BOX)
3. XBMC SERVERS GO DOWN OCCASIONALLY AND UPDATES ARE NOT AVAILABLE
4. NETWORKS BECOME BUSY AND VIDEOS WON’T STREAM (SUNDAY NIGHTS MANY PEOPLE ARE ONLINE)
5. KEEP IN MIND YOU’RE NOT PAYING FOR ANY OF THIS CONTENT SO XBMC AND ANDROID MINIBOX IS NOT OBLIGATED TO PROVIDE IT
6. PATIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE ARE THE BEST WAY TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THESE DEVICES