12 January 2016

REVIEW: August International DVB500 Android Smart TV Box

Box clever.

TV has changed a lot recently, with more and more of us streaming content from the internet rather than tuning in to good old fashioned TV channels. However, despite all the great stuff out there from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube, traditional telly shouldn't be over looked… and August International have the ideal gadget to control all your binge-watching addictions. We review the DVB500 Android Smart TV Box.

What we have here is a Freeview set-top box which lets you watch all the free digital channels that your aerial can pick up. Nothing new there, we hear you shout. However, the DVB500 Android Smart TV Box can also act just like a Roku Player, and an Apple TV, and an Amazon Fire Stick, by connecting to the internet vis WiFi or Ethernet to access the likes of the aforementioned Netflix, as well as communication apps like Skype and WhatsApp.

But that ain’t all. August International have also seen fit to build not one, not two, but three USB ports into the DVB500, letting you connect up a hard drive or memory stick and play previously downloaded media files on your TV. So a Freeview box, a streaming box, and a media player. Pretty awesome so far. Oh yeah, and you can also record Freeview direct to the device, saving the files either to something plugged into one of the USB ports, or to a Micro SD Card (because it features a slot for one of those, too).

The unit itself looks nice and sleek and has clearly been designed to blend in as much as possible to your living room entertainment set-up. It’s black, thin, and unobtrusive, with all connection and power ports are at the back, while the USB ports are on the easy-to-access side. The included remote control is larger than we’re used to with this kind of gadget, but it is also designed to control conventional TV as well as streaming networks, so it features a full selection of buttons.

Set up is easy as pie, and as the box runs Android KitKat you have access to normal Google Play store apps. Bluetooth is also built-in, allowing you to connect wireless accessories like headphones, speakers and – to improve your experience of net apps like Skype – Bluetooth keyboards. We’ve never before tested a streaming box, regardless of whether it could pick up Freeview channels, that could do that, and using a keyboard in conjunction with the August International DVB500 Android Smart TV Box makes for the complete ‘internet-on-your-TV’ experience.

We’ve only ever tested speakers and headphones from August International in the past, and despite our glowing reviews for those products, the August International DVB500 Android Smart TV Box is on another level. Yes, this makes your normal TV smart, but it does so in a way that blows the likes of Roku out of the water. The level of versatility is great, making this a true one-stop device. Check it out.


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