Awhile back I wrote an article explaining the differences and advantages and disadvantages of Google TV’s vs Apple TV’s. With Apple’s lack of ability to open up there software for a potential jailbreak it’s made the purchase of Google TV’s all that more inviting. The question most have asked me though is which Google TV Media Player is the best? Flat out I don’t have an answer as to which one is the best but I can tell give you some hints on which ones you may want to lean towards if you’re looking to purchase and run XBMC. If you’re unfamiliar with why you would want to run XBMC watch the video below.
Pivos Google TV Media Player
There are a lot of debates and a lot of other hardware available that may be better and more powerful but when the developers of XBMC are creating firmware and adjusting their software based on this hardware device it seems like a no brainer. As of January 29th the dev team has just released version 12.0 dubbed Frodo which is the first official release for the Android platform. Frodo for Android was designed and tested significantly on the Pivos XIOS.
The device does everything you expect of an XBMC capable device and is the perfect finishing touch for anyone looking to build a home media center. Having used an Apple TV for years I have now recommend most to the PIVOS. The device will play everything you throw at it and I have yet to notice and choppiness unless I’m using it to stream large high defintion rips across over Wifi. You’ll usually want to have a wired ethernet connection for this.
If you find yourself just using the device for XBMC then you’ll have no need to run Android on the device and if capable installing a Linux Distro on the box may be more beneficial in the long run.
While the Pivos has been the development tool of choice for team XBMC I’ve also had the opportunity to check out the G-Box midnight, another capable device although this one I found I needed to do a little more customizing to get the perfect setup. The G-Box is a little more beefier with it’s guts and as a consumer most times if I can buy better components for a cheaper price then the competition it becomes an easy sale.
Like a good consumer though you may want to hold on and dig a little deeper before spending some cash on the G-Box. A lot of good things have been said about the G-Box and having it in your living room won’t be terrible, the problem lies within the hardware support. A ton of users have had bad things to say about the device simply put because there is no support offered, which is something the Pivos has no problems with. The right firmware will put the G-Box a step ahead and while I haven’t had a chance to personally test the latest Frodo version on the G-Box it’s always a little nicer to have frequent bug updates over a week rather then months.
Jynxbox Android for XBMC
The most expensive option provided in this list is probably one of the less used. Most of these devices feature the same hardware and firmware which won’t seperate a whole lot in terms of functionality.
A lot of the features are the same and you wont find much difference in this and the G-Box, of course it will all come down to preference and perhaps the ability to have an extra USB port (maybe not). What’s dogged most devices in the past has been the firmware but with the release of Frodo a lot of these Google TV Media Players have been working like a charm, the Jynxbox HD is no different. 1080p playback with Dolby Digital capable of playing and streaming 1080p (based on connection of course) this is just another device capable of getting you started with a full blown entertainment system chalk full of thousands of movies and TV Shows.
I fully expect 2013 to be a big year for XBMC on Android. Years past it’s been the small HTPC computers running XBMC, then it was the Apple TV but since Apple is strict on allowing third party programs to be installed on their devices it’s opened the door for numerous hardware manufactures to get in the HTPC market. With XBMC 12 Frodo out the door more and more people once they find out about this will be dumping their Apple TV’s to head the Android way.
Take a look at the Rikomagic mk802iii who essentially looks like a USB thumbdrive but is fully capable of running XBMC and streaming videos to your HD TV. With a price tag of of under $100 this device could very well be a big seller with its portability. I personally haven’t had the chance to test this device but a portable entertainment system you could take anywhere will be a pretty sexy device.
Last but certainly not least is Ouya. If you haven’t heard of it yet you should read about it as it’s quite possible this device may revolutionize the way we view not only our movies and TV shows but how us gamers play. I won’t go into much detail as Ill be writing a blog about this shortly but Ouya will feature XBMC support when it’s released in the future. Under $99 you’ll get a home entertainment system along with a pretty innovative and free to play gaming system. The future is indeed bright for Ouya.
The best bet
Out of all the options listed the Pivos for XBMX is still my favorite Google TV Media Player for none other then the ability to have endless support and a vibrant user community. While you cant go wrong with G-Box or Jynxbox thanks to the latest release of XBMC 12.0 “Frodo” if you’re willing to wait a little longer for some more reviews or release dates you might be thankful. The potential of the Rikomagic mk802 and the massive expectations and hype of the Ouya may change the home entertainment industry forever.