UPDATE: Check out the latest from SkyStream with the SkyStream Two review.
The hard part about technology is that you either have to be first or you have to be better.
Android boxes based on the AmLogic S905 chipset have been around for a while, so first is out of the question. The SkyStream One is trying to be better than the competition.
If you’ve read any of the older reviews of their products, like the SkyStream X4, you’ll know that I have a soft-spot for these guys. Maybe it’s because their offices are just across town from me and I like seeing local companies succeed. Maybe because I’ve met Pete and Phil and they’re both great guys that care about their customers. Either way, it’s exciting to see the company growing and releasing new stuff.
Based on the Amlogic S905 chipset, the SkyStream One sports a modern powder-white case and a slick new launcher sitting on top of Android 5.1.1. Take note of that last part. Android 5 (or higher) is a requirement to run the new version of Kodi 17 Krypton when it is released later this year.
TV boxes running the Amlogic S905 were already some of the better performing TV boxes I’ve tested, and one of my personal favorite chipset because of their video performance within Kodi. This one was further tweaked with some custom firmware to squeeze every bit of speed out of the device.
So how does it perform? See for yourself in my SkyStream One review.
SkyStream’s support network
Most people look for a cheap Android TV box and forget about one thing. There’s more to something than just how much it costs when you buy it. That’s why you get better service from Mercedes than you do from Dodge. Sure, that Dodge may cost less, but you’re going to miss a lot of the extra support that the Mercedes gives you.
SkyStream offers that “Mercedes level support.”
SkyStream Updater App
One way they do that is with the SkyStream Updater App.
The first step in the Quick Start Guide (you DO read those, right?), is to run the SkyStream Updater App. That ensures that the latest firmware, bundled apps and addons are running the latest versions.
Yes, I said add-ons as well. The Updater App gives you a choice of whether you want a “Family Friendly” or “Adult Friendly” version of Kodi installed. The versions are identical, except the Family Friendly installation removes any apps that have access to “adult only” viewing.
One of the first things I do whenever I set up an Android TV box is to update the firmware and any installed apps. It’s a nice touch for that to be taken care of for me.
SkyStream has several different options for support before and after the sale. For quick answers, there’s a host of FAQ sections talking about how to get started with their devices, XBMC\Kodi help, some different thrid party apps, as well as potential issues with the device or remote control. If speaking to a human being is more your style, their toll-free phone number is front-and-center on their website. They also have an official forum for news, tips and troubleshooting of both their streaming players and some of the Kodi add-ons that ship with them.
Finally, SkyStream offers an optional 2-year extended warranty for $9.99 and an optional Extended Care Plan for $3.99 per month, which gives you access to even higher levels of service.
Styles change quickly.
Anything that bucks the current design trend is going to get a lot of attention. Think about the original, white Xbox 360, or Apple’s iPod with the scroll wheel. The SkyStream One will also turn a few heads.
The SkyStream One has a familiar “square with rounded edges” shell found on almost every Android box ever made, but it is coated in a powder white finish. Rather than blending in, the white color scheme sharply contrasts with everything else in your TV stand. And I’ll admit, this could be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you want your living room to look.
It attracts just enough attention to be recognizable. It’s a conversation starter when your cord-cutting friends come over.
Just get ready to answer some questions about what it is, and what’s under the hood.