There are a lot option when it comes to set top boxes, if you are the in the Apple eco-system then the Apple TV is a good option, Amazon’s Fire TV is a good option if you get all your content from Amazon but what if you want to have the flexibility of multiple ecosystems and your own local content?
The Xsbox (XS802h) is a new Android powered set top box that has the Android app store so you can pick from vast range of Android apps out there and it also has XBMC/Kodi Media Center built in. The device is a small box with WiFi, Ethernet, dual USB ports, HDMI and MicroSD card slots and runs Android 4.4 Kitkat. It comes with a power supply, HDMI cable, AV cable and remote control.
So what can you do with it? I connected it up to my TV and network and was presented with a TV friendly start screen. Out of the box there is a media player for playing files on the MicroSD card or attached USB storage, XBMC/Kodi and a handful of Android apps.
With Kodi (formally known as XBMC) you get a complete media center system, it will play content from the network shares, DLNA or local storage as well as having a massive ecosystem of addins available. You can read more about XBMC/Kodi at Kodi.tv and in my video you can see how well it works on the box. Really this is almost enough for the box to be a worthwhile devices in its own right but what this also has is the Google Play Store.
With the play store you get access to apps like Netflix, Google Play Movies, Chrome browser and so on. It is not running Android TV so you don’t get the new look and feel of Android TV, it is the standard Android 4.4 OS and that means tablet optimised apps which work fine on the Xsbox. You could also install apps like Plex and Media Browser as well as Twitter and Facebook so there are plenty of options.
All the apps are controllable via the supplied remote control but you can also plug in a keyboard and mouse to the USB ports if you like. I used a keyboard to save keep trying out passwords with the remote which I would recommend at least while you are setting up the device. You can also customise the start screen and pin apps to the different sections so you have quick access to your favorite apps.
It’s is not all perfect, I couldn’t get the BBC iPlayer app to work and neither did the Miracast app but the basics work very well and Kodi is a great system in its own right so the Android apps are a bonus.
At £69 from Amazon it’s very flexible little box, have a look at my video to see what you can do with it.