We check out the EasyTV!
While some people have been ditching their cable subscriptions for streaming services like Netflix, not everyone can adapt to this format. One of the main reasons include not having a decent internet connection, as streaming videos demand a fast and stable internet connection to work properly.
One alternative to streaming services is digital TV, where a set-top box (or more commonly known as a digibox) is used to receive digital signals over the air, without the need for dedicated cables. Solar Entertainment is the latest company to offer a digital TV box with EasyTV, which we’re reviewing today.
What is it?
EasyTV is a set-top box that relies on an antenna to retrieve channels via a digital signal. Unlike streaming services where you have to rely on an internet connection, EasyTV lets you enjoy watching TV without worrying about slow and unreliable internet speeds. By default, it comes with 15 premium channels, along with free-to-air local channels.
You get all of this for $56, which includes a one-year subscription. There’s no monthly subscription as of this writing; instead, Solar Entertainment is offering an annual subscription to all the premium channels for $19.
What sets it apart from similar products?
Aside from having an HDMI port (you have to buy the cable separately), the EasyTV has a USB port that lets you record your shows. It can accommodate anything from a USB flash drive to an external hard drive—it really depends on how much you want to record tv shows. Think of it as the good ‘ol VHS days—this time with much more recording time than VHS tapes.
In addition, the EasyTV also functions as a media player, where you can run a photo slideshow, listen to music, or watch movies saved on your USB drive.
Is it easy to set it up?
Absolutely! To start off, download the EasyTV app via Google Play and activate your account with the app. Aside from the usual details, you will need to input your Smartcard ID, which is found at the bottom of the EasyTV. Once you register your details, your EasyTV is activated and ready to go.
The app is important as this is where you can view your account details and your current plan.
After the activation, just hook up the EasyTV to your TV with the supplied cables (you can use the HDMI port instead if you have an HDMI cable lying around), along with the indoor antenna that comes with it.
Since EasyTV is a new product, signal coverage is limited in the meantime. At our headquarters in Quezon City, we had to place the antenna outside our window to enjoy all the channels EasyTV has in store. EasyTV’s technical team told us that they are adding new transmitters, so expect signal coverage to be better in the coming months.
Once installed and powered up, all you have to do is click on Auto search by pressing Menu then going to channel search. It will take around 3 minutes to scan all available channels before you can start off and enjoy watching TV.
How is the picture quality?
Once you find the best place to put the antenna (it took us three attempts before finding the best spot at our headquarters in Quezon City), the picture quality is decent. While the EasyTV supports up to 1080p, all available channels are limited to 480p standard resolution for the meantime.
While it may be a turn off for some, EasyTV is a new product (it officially launched last May 25), so expect improvements on Solar Entertainment’s part in the coming months.
Wait, it can record TV shows?
It can, though it is a bit tricky to use. Once you press the record button on the remote, you’ll have to press it again to set the recording duration. By setting the recording duration, the EasyTV will record whatever you are watching to your USB drive at your preset time.
Since you can only set the recording duration, you cannot skip commercials, so you’ll have to consider that. Saved video files are recorded in .ts, and the file is playable with players such as VLC.
In addition, you can view your movies, music, and pictures using the EasyTV’s media center function with any USB drive.
Should you buy it?
Aside from the limited signal reception, EasyTV is pricey at Php 2999. While it is expensive, the base price includes a one-year subscription to channels like History (for documentaries, series, and specials), NBA Premium (for anything and everything NBA related), K-Plus (for everything K-Drama and K-Pop), AniPlus (for everything anime), and Boo (for the best of Asian Horror)—all of which you will have to pay extra on other cable/digital TV plans.