Read this comprehensive Scishion V88 Review for the lowdown on the Mars 4K Android TV box. Can this budget device function as a TV box running Kodi?
Firstly, big shout out to the guys at Chinavasion for sending out this V88 4K TV box for me to review. This model is the Mars first edition and is powered by Android 7.1 Nougat.
This budget box retails at under $30 but has specs relative to the price so I was curious to see how it would perform with Kodi and other apps.
My review will include testing with video playback and also watching on-demand content with Kodi. For this review, I have installed a custom Kodi build which will give me a good idea of the performance.
Can a Budget Box like this replace cable TV?
Full V88 4K TV Box Review
Product: Scishion V88 Mars 4K TV box
Best place to buy: Chinavasion
Price: $27.97 + FREE Shipping
Dimensions: 90 x 90 x 12mm
Warranty: 12 months
I tend to shy away from boxes with budget specs but that's just a personal choice. If you are in the market for a budget box then you are probably looking at Android TV boxes below $50.
This one certainly fits the bill at under $30 and my first impressions were not too bad. It has a decent remote with various specialized functions on it that will fast-track certain operations. The Home key is always good to have and the box can be powered on and off using the remote.
It comes with a couple of USB slots and a TF card reader. HDMI cable is included too but no batteries for the remote control are in the package (2 x AAA).
I tested this box with AnTuTu benchmark and it returned an overall score of just over 11,187 which is one of the lowest I have seen, but bear in mind I don't usually test budget boxes.
I installed this benchmark app from the Play Store without any problems apart from being a tad slow. I tested 720p, 1080p and true 4K files using Kodi media player and they all worked with no problems.
Using the V88 with Kodi
If it's your intention to use Kodi with this Andorid box, you should note that it comes with an unofficial version of Kodi pre-installed. However, it's not been customized or set up for any addons so if you are not familiar with adding third-party addons you may want to use a custom Kodi build.
My favorite Kodi build these days is Titanium which is installed via the Supreme Builds Repo. However, you cannot use it with the pre-installed version on this box (called RKMC) so you should remove this version first and install the latest version from the Play Store.
This will allow you to add the Titanium build and get access to all the latest addons that are in working order. As you will see from the video below, it worked reasonably well playing on-demand content in Kodi.
I was pleasantly surprised by this so if you are looking for a bedroom box for the occasional movie then this may fit the bill. However, I would'nt recommend this as a cable TV replacement.
If you are planning to use Kodi or other free apps like Mobdro, you may want to consider using a VPN.
Pros and Cons
Why Use a VPN with Kodi?
A VPN will allow you to access restricted content which is becoming more frequent with TV apps. BBC iPlayer is already restricted to UK locations only but a VPN will allow you to bypass these restrictions.
Certain servers are blocked in the UK due to the clampdown on Kodi third-party developers so a VPN is pretty much a necessity.
In the UK and USA (and other countries) we are now being monitored whenever we go online. Checking what we access now seems to be more important than other priorities that government and police depts previously focused on.
I no longer take chances when I am online and I use my VPN across all my devices. I've teamed up with PureVPN to get you the best deal for 2018.
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A Genuine Cable TV Replacement
The V88 4K TV box comes with other apps installed like Netflix but these only give you access to VOD content which cannot be regarded as a replacement for live cable TV channels.
The system I am going to tell you about CAN replace your cable TV and also be used for VOD content. In 2016 I replaced my expensive cable TV after a long search for a solution.
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