Hi everyone and welcome to the very first question in my new Streaming Tips: Questions from Readers section. Every Monday and Wednesday I’ll be taking a question submitted by you and answering it in a short post. If you’d like to submit a question, head on over to this page and use the contact form. If I end up using your question, I’ll send you an Amazon e-gift card for $5 US, $5 CDN or £5 UK.
Now for today’s question. This comes from Anne B, from Canada:
I am just beginning to educate myself on the android tv box. I have read quite of few of your articles for beginners. I see you wrote, there is no reason anyone should use anything lower than 5.0 software.
Today I phoned a local person (I live in eastern canada) who sells boxes built by someone locally and after explaining some things to me, gave me a price of $180. for a box using 4.2 software. He said he “likes kit kat and can modify it easily”. So, first of all, in comparison to what I find on Amazon, this level of 4.2 for $180 is very high… am I correct?
I mentioned your comments about not buying Kodi “fully loaded” because of all the extra bloat in it and he said “no problem… Like going to a department store for women’s clothing… you have to walk through the men’s and children’s dept… no problem.. you get to women’s eventually, and the second time you go, you get there even faster. You just ignore what you don’t want.” Can you comment on that please?
Thanks for the questions Anne!
I have a couple of concerns about this. Let me start by saying that Android 4.2 isn’t KitKat…it’s the much older Jelly Bean. Either way, though, it’s not good.
I firmly believe that the only reason why somebody would still prefer an Android box running either KitKat or Jelly Bean is that they have a lot of old Android boxes lying around and they want to get rid of them to people that don’t know any better.
I am honestly thrilled when you say that you went on Amazon and checked prices! I wish I could get more people to comparison shop like you did.
First, let me give you a little information on the version of Android that this guy loves so much. KitKat 4.2 came out in November 2012, so it is pushing four years old at the time I’m writing this. It is not supported by Google anymore. Even KitKat 4.4 is only receiving security updates. That is the last step in the software’s life cycle before being kicked to the curb. That means if there is any security risk like malware, viruses or even a bad addon, these devices will be vulnerable – unlike a device running Android 5 or Android 6.
The second part of that is the price tag. $180 CDN is more than it would cost for the MINIX NEO U1, most of the MyGica and WeTEK lineups, and every single Roku device. Some boxes like the Amazon Fire TV or NVIDIA Shield TV are more expensive up in Canada, but there is absolutely no reason for a quad core Android 4.2 TV box to be that expensive! Surprisingly, I was able to still find a couple of them on Amazon.ca. But…they were more in the $40 CDN price range than $180.
Finally, about fully loaded Kodi boxes…I don’t like them. There are extremely few that I ever thought have been worth the money, and that’s only because the companies that sell them really go above and beyond to support their customers. In general, I think you’re throwing all of this junk on your device that you’ll never use. To use his department store analogy, I don’t walk through the entire store to get to the department I’m looking for. I prefer going to a smaller store that has exactly what I’m looking for so I’m not wasting my time.
One final thought. Do you trust this person? That’s the question you need to ask yourself before you buy an Android box that is fully loaded. Why? Because as soon as you plug it into your network, you’ve bypassed the security that your internet provider and your router give you. That device is now on your private network and has free reign to everything on it. I’m not saying that everyone who sells fully loaded Kodi boxes is out to do bad things to you. But the possibility is there.
To me, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take.
Thanks again for the question Anne! Come back on Wednesday to see the next reader question answered.