Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid TV Box Review – Android & Satellite!

0
0

If you are reading this article then I know what you are thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to have a single TV box that can play all of my satellite TV channels but with vast array of apps that having an Android operating system offers. Well in fact you can! But despite the length of time Android TV boxes have been around there are few to choose from. In this Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid TV Box Review we take a look at one of the more popular hybrid TV boxes & assess both the good & the bad.

Mecool Kiii Pro Unboxing & Overview

The intention of the Mecool Kiii Pro hybrid TV box is to allow you to have a single device beneath your telly to handle all of your viewing needs. You can watch any free to air satellite channels and also download/install the majority of the applications available on the Google Play Store including games. In this Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid TV box review we will explore all of these different use cases. This will allow you to determine whether a single TV box for everything really is possible. [Extra Reading: 3 Best Windows TV Stick Devices- Alternatives to Android]

Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid TV Box Review
MeCool Kiii Pro Packaging

There is only a handful of Hybrid TV boxes out there. This is strange when you consider the benefits of having the Android OS combined with a satellite receiver. We purchased the Kiii Pro really due to its hardware spec. Alternative Android hybrid TV boxes include the WeTek Play 2 & the GT MEDIA GTC and we may look to review some of these devices in the near future.

Mecool Kiii Pro Unboxing
The Box Contents

The image to the right shows the Mecool Kiii Pro unboxing and the components included. Pretty much as standard you get the hybrid TV box itself, the mains adapter, a HDMI cable and the manual. Kiii Pro devices only come with US mains adapters but a UK converter is included. For a box that potentially offers so much it is very small and compact in design. It will hide away nicely in your TV cabinet.

Mecool Kiii Pro Specifications

If it is possible to have a single multipurpose box then it will need to be sufficient under the hood. The table below provides the Mecool Kiii Pro specifications break down.

CPUAmlogic S912 64 bit Octa core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2 GHz
GPUARM Mali-T820MP3 GPU up to 750MHz (DVFS)
Mem3GB DDR3
Storage16GB EMMC Flash
USB Ports X 4
WifiBuilt in 2.4G/5G WiFi Support IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
BluetoothBT4.0
TVDVB-S2:
DVB-S2 system standard: ETS 302 307
Symbol Rates: QPSK,8PSK
Forward error correction rate 1/4,1/3,2/5,3/5,2/3,3/4,4/5,5/6,8/9,9/10
Carrier frequency acquisition range: ±5MHz for symbol rates above 3 Msps and ±3MHz for the remaining symbol rates
Roll-off factors for pulse shaping: 0.2, 0.25 and 0.35
Code Rates: 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8
Input Signal level: -84 dBm to 0 dBm(average power)
ANT. Connector: IEC TYPE F
DVB C: Support
DVB-T2:
DVB-T2 system standard: ETSIEN 302 755
OutputHDMI
LAN10/100M/1000M
OSAndroid 7.1
VideoH.265 4K @60fps 10btis, VP9 Profile 2, H.264 4K @30fps, AVS+ 1080P @60fps
H.264 1080P @60fps
HDR 10, HLG HDR
HD MPEG1/2/4,H.265/HEVC , HD AVC/VC-1,RM/RMVB,Xvid/DivX3/4/5/6 ,RealVideo8/9/10
Avi/Rm/Rmvb/Ts/Vob/Mkv/Mov/ISO/wmv/asf/flv/dat/mpg/mpeg
MusicMP3/WMA/AAC/WAV/OGG/DDP/TrueHD/HD/FLAC/APE
PhotoHD JPEG/BMP/GIF/PNG/TIFF
Mecool Kiii Pro Specifications
Android Satellite Receiver
A Closeup of the Hybrid TV Box

At a glance the Kiii Pro appears to be a suitable system to run any of the more demanding games & applications. It will also comfortably run all of the mainstream file formats.

It has all of the versatile connectivity you would expect from a hybrid. We will assess some of the above as we progress through the review. [Extra Reading: Best TV Box for Netflix and Online Streaming Services]

Mecool Kiii Pro Connectivity Ports

Hybrid TV Box
The Rear Connectivity Ports

The image to right shows the rear view of the Mecool K3 Pro and the available sockets. The key areas to focus on are the two TV/satellite inputs (DVB-T2 & DVB-S2), the ethernet socket for wired connectivity to your home network and of course the HDMI output port. The rear space has been used for all of the cables that you will rarely want to change and ensures that they are kept out of view. [Extra Reading: Intel Compute Windows TV Stick Price Compare & Review]

Satellite TV on Android
The Side Storage Ports

The image left shows the side view which is reserved for connecting your storage devices. There is a single micro SD card slot. When a card is inserted it can be used to pause, rewind & record live TV. Along with this there is a total of 4 USB ports. These are of USB 2.0 standard but this is more than sufficient for playing media files from. It is unlikely you will moving any data around using your TV box. [Extra Reading: Best Android UK TV Apps – Catch-up & Live TV]

With the storage ports located on the side of the device it makes them easily accessible for changing USB sticks and hard drives and with 4 ports you will never be stuck for a slot.

Mecool Kiii Pro Usability & Android Layout

The best way to describe the user interface of the Mecool K3 Pro is to the point. It isn’t the most glamorous GUI you will find on modern TV boxes. If you are looking for something that looks fancy then you can find better. It is however very functional. The desktop is divided into two rows. Along the top you can set all of your most frequently used Android apps. Along the bottom you have your key functions; File Explorer, Apps, Settings & Browser etc. The image below shows how this looks. [Extra Reading:  How to Install Amazon Store on Android – For Apps & Offers]

Android Hybrid Box
Mecool Kiii Pro Dashboard

This setup makes it very easy to access your favourite content. The highlighted icon is the DTV application used for accessing your satellite channels (see next section). If you regularly use catch-up TV apps or live streaming services you can add them next in the row. If you are working through one of the latest Android games then drop an icon here for quick access. You couldn’t get a simpler solution to use. [Extra Reading: Best Android DLNA Player – Client Apps]

Mecool Kiii Pro Satellite TV Playback

As you would expect the Mecool Kiii Pro uses DVB-T2 to hook up to your satellite dish. As discussed when you boot up the box there is an app on the home screen called DTV. Simply launch this app and the box transforms into a fully fledged satellite box. It is capable of receiving all free to air channels. As with all satellite tuners you have some initial setup to do but this is straight forward. Just select the appropriate satellite for your country, perform a channel scan and you are away. [Extra Reading: Bluestacks – The Android Emulator for PC]

Android TV Tuner
DTV Android Satellite Receiver App

Using the DTV app it is easy to navigate through your channels. Push channel up or down on the remote or key in a channel number. Exactly the same as with a standard receiver. You can order the available channels however you see fit. As you scroll through the channels DTV gives you details of the current show being aired plus what is up next as you can see from the image left. TV content has been blocked out by the app for the screenshot. [Extra Reading: Plex Media Server Review – Stream to Multiple Rooms & Devices]

You also get a rather clean looking EPG. This allows you to sift through a multitude of channels and times to gage what is on for the day. From the EPG you can also select the shows that you want to record. More on this in the next section. [Extra Reading: Best PC Game Controllers for HTPC – Emulators & Steam]

Android Satellite Box
DTV Android App EPG

For the most part satellite TV playback on the Mecool Kiii Pro is very good. You could not tell the difference between this device and a standard satellite receiver. However we did come across an issue here. On occasions the image seems to become distorted with a red blur in places throughout the picture.This is infrequent and can easily be resolved by going up a channel and back but it happens. We don’t know whether the issue lies with the Kiii Pro box or with the DTV Android app used to receive the channels. [Extra Reading: Top 5 Handheld Games Consoles]

Pause, Rewind & Record Live TV

This is now a standard feature with digital TV receivers and is incorporated into the Kiii Pro. To enable the ability to pause, rewind and record live TV you are required to purchase a microSD card to store the recorded shows. Despite being a standard offering these days this brings us to the second problem we found during this Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid TV Box Review. Intermittently when you push play on a show that has been paused, time shift will end around 10 minutes in and skips back to live TV. This is frustrating as it means you lose the show that you had paused. This issue seems rather sporadic. It may be down to the microSD that we used but we were unable to get to the bottom of this. [Extra Reading: Sideload Apps to Amazon Fire TV & Stick using ADB]

Mecool Kiii Pro – Use of Android Applications

It is fair to say that perhaps the main reason for purchasing the Mecool Kiii Pro is to gain access to the wealth of Android apps on your TV box. So is compatibility as good as using a tablet or smart phone? Truth is it isn’t as good and it does have issues with a small number of apps. We have probably installed around 20 common TV streaming applications and 3-4 of them didn’t work. BBC Iplayer for example is perhaps the most frequently used TV catch-up app in the UK. It wont work on the Kiii Pro! If you are buying this box for a specific application then I suggest you check compatibility first. This said you can still get masses more apps for the Mecool Kiii Pro than for a standard digital TV receiver. [Extra Reading: Best Android Games for Tablet & TV Boxes]

Something else that could have been better with the Kiii Pro is the use of the remote when running Android applications. When you think of the Amazon Fire TV or Roku, on these devices you can easily navigate app menus using the directional buttons on the remote and this is what you want. The Mecool Kiii Pro requires you to push the ‘Mouse’ button on the remote and move a curser around the screen to click the buttons. This is time consuming and doesn’t make simple menu navigation easy. We have been though the menus trying to find a setting that can be changed to allow directional button navigation but there isn’t anything. [Extra Reading: Top Mini ITX Cases for the Smallest HTPC Build]

Mecool Kiii Pro Gameplay & Performance

With some beef under the hood and the ability to use Android games the Mecool Kiii Pro should provide a top gaming device. Well, not quite. As part of this Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid TV Box Review we downloaded a selection of the more demanding Android games and looked at the frame rates the box delivers. With its S912 octa core processor, a decent GPU and 3GB memory you would expect high frame rates when you get ‘in game’ and this it does. Most games tested achieved 60FPS or thereabouts. That is if you can get ‘in game’… [Extra ReadingHow to Download APK Files From Google Play – For Manual Installs]

TV Box Games
Call Of Duty Mobile Stuck At Privacy Statement

Most Andoid games are designed for use on touchscreen tablet or smartphone devices. The Mecool Kiii is not one of these and relies on the remote or a controller for game use. On a number of the games tested we could not use the in game menu buttons to actually get to the point of playing. We tried with the remote, the cursor mouse, a keyboard & a controller and the buttons do nothing. You can launch the game but get no further than the main menu. Powerful hardware & strong FPS figures are pointless if you can’t get into the game. This is a real shame. [Extra Reading: Best Blu-ray Player Software]

HMP Verdict – Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid TV Box Review

Well, that’s our Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid TV Box Review so would we recommend the device? The concept is great in that a single device can cater for all of your entertainment needs. The Kiii Pro provides solid hardware with built in satellite tuner & all run from an Android OS. It provides TV, an abundance of apps and gaming all in one place but unfortunately it under delivers. Its a bit of a ‘Jack of all trades but master of none’. [Extra Reading: How to Launch Android Apps from Kodi]

There were just too many issues that were apparent from very early on. TV playback suffers intermittent red distortion and paused shows exit timeshift after around 10 minutes of viewing. Android apps are difficult to control and a mouse cursor is required. There were compatibility issues with a number of mainstream apps. Finally, despite a good level of gaming performance a number of games do not allow you to operate their menus and so you cannot get as far as playing. There may be fixes available for these issues but there were just too many for us. [Extra Reading: How to Play Games on Kodi]

The hybrid is a nice idea and having one device to cover all areas is certainly appealing. However we feel that you will get a far better experience having a dedicated satellite receiver for your TV and then a more mainstream TV box for your apps, games & streaming. Close but yet so far! [Extra Reading: How to Install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV Stick with no PC]