Android TV Box Review: SkyStream ONE
SkyStream ONE is an easy-to-use Android TV Box that allows you to watch online videos (essentially free movies, TV shows and live sports). The device connects to the Internet through an Ethernet cable or Wifi connection. TV with an HDMI input is required.
Once SkyStream ONE is connected to your TV, you can navigate its Android-based media centre menu to launch your favourite streaming Apps. Alternatively, you can install Apps from the Google Play Store so SkyStream ONE could function as a gaming device or perform simple PC tasks if you plug in a mouse and keyboard.
In this article, we will take a close look at a SkyStream ONE Android TV Box; review how it operates; confirm whether SkyStream’s claim of free movies and TV shows is real.
Why SkyStream ONE Android TV Box
The main reason for you to purchase a SkyStream ONE is to take advantage of its pre-installed software such as Kodi Media Centre and other streaming Apps. Kodi itself is a legal media center software but many of its add-ons (plugins) developed by third-party developers allow you to gain access to the latest movies for free.
For free TV shows and live channels, SkyStream ONE also features a streaming App called Mobdro. Mobdro offers streaming of live TV channels in several categories including plenty of live sports channels.
You may argue all Android TV Boxes also have Kodi and Mobdro, so why choose a SkyStream ONE?
First of all, the rise of the Android TV Box means many companies attempt to cash in on the opportunity. Therefore, many companies try to slap on different brands/names on a similar Android TV Box in terms of hardware specifications and exterior design. However, these companies usually lack the drive to make an Android TV Box better because R&D cost will cut into their profits.
Secondly, low-cost Android TV Boxes usually include a cookie-cutter remote control which is hard to use thus spoiling the user experience of an Android TV Box. In addition, most companies lack live customer support for streaming related issue or address issues with outdated add-ons. This means you may be forced to tweak the device on your own eventually.
SkyStream ONE attempts to address these flaws by promising the best Android TV Box experience. Our hands-on test will reveal if their claim is true.
- High-Speed Internet
- TV with HDMI Input
- Wireless Internet Router (if an Ethernet cable is not present where the Android TV Box is to be placed)
- Wifi Range Extender or Powerline Adapter (if the Android TV Box location gets weak Wifi signal)
- Mouse/Keyboard (optional for gaming and performing tasks beyond basic typing)
- CPU: Amlogic Quad Core S905 2.0 GHz 64-Bit ARM Cortex
- GPU: Penta Core Mali-450
- DRAM: 2GB DDR3
- Flash Memory: 16GB
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Operating System: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
- User Interface: SkyStreamTV
- Platform: SkyStreamTV
Length x Width x Height: 5” x 5” x 1.25”
- LAN: RJ-45 10/100/1000 GigaPort Ethernet
- WLAN: 802.11 b/g/n/ac Dual Band WiFi (2.4 & 5 GHz)
- Host USB: 4 x External Ports (2.0)
- SD Card: 1 x External Port (SD/SDHC/MMC)
- Video Output: HDMI 2.0 with HDCP Support
- Audio Output: Dolby Digital via HDMI & SPDIF (Optical Audio)
- SkyStream Remote
- External Power Supply: 5V@2A (100-240V, 50/60Hz)
- SkyStream ONE Streaming Media Player
- Power Adapter
- SkyStream Remote Control
- HDMI Cable
- SkyStream Quick Start Guide & Manual
Audio & Video Formats
- Resolution: Up to 4k x 2k, 3D-HD(1080Px2), 1080P, 720P, 480P
- Video Formats: MPEG-1 MP/HL, MPEG-2 MP/HL, MPEG-4 Part 2, ASP, WMV/VC-1 SP/MP/AP, H.264 HP@L4.1, H.265, REAMDEO 8/9/10, M-JPEG & JPEG
- Video Codecs: MPEG, MPE, MPG, M2V, ISO, TS, VOB, DAT, AVI, MKV, MP4, MOV, 3GP, 3GPP, FLC, WMV, FLV, RM
- Subtitles: SRT, SUB, IDX, PGS
- Audio Codecs: ACC, AC-3, ADPCM, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP2, MP3, MS-ADPCM, PCS, RV40 Vorbis WMA, AAC+ (HE-AAC vi), eAAC+ (HE-AAC v2)
Setting up a SkyStream ONE Android TV Box requires little effort. It could be done in less than 5 minutes if you have a proper Internet connection, an Ethernet cable or Wifi password handy if connecting via Wifi.
After testing several Android TV Boxes, we conclude the most important features to consider before buying one are: 1. if the pre-installed streaming Apps are up-to-date; 2. ease of on-screen navigation via a remote control.
Most Android TV Boxes come with a cookie-cutter remote control which is functional but not very user-friendly. In our opinion, the quality of an Android TV Box remote control should not be overlooked because it affects the smoothness of the device operation.
What impresses us the most about SkyStream ONE’s remote control is the well-designed button layout. It features only a few core buttons so it’s fairly easy to remember and use without the need to look at the remote control itself. The wide “back” button underneath the D-pad is especially useful. Overall, the on-screen menu navigation is very smooth due to the intuitive remote control design. By the way, one of our pet peeves is given a device without batteries. Thankfully SkyStream ONE comes with two AAA batteries for its remote control.
Are Your Streaming Apps Up-To-Date?
Video add-ons and streaming Apps define the usefulness of an Android TV Box. Popular video add-ons are pre-installed in all Android TV Boxes. Unfortunately, most add-ons may already be outdated when you open the package depending on how long it’s been sitting in the warehouse. This is a common flaw and the task of updating these video add-ons may be intimidating for inexperienced Android TV Box users.
The team from SkyStream realizes this issue so they created a proprietary updater App called “SkyStream TV Updater”. Within a few simple clicks, this Updater App adds the latest video add-ons inside Kodi Media Centre (excellent for movie watching). The SkyStream TV Updater also offers updates for Mobdro (it’s a great App for streaming TV shows) and Netflix Ultra HD.
In our opinion, this proprietary Updater App is the best feature of the SkyStream ONE. In fact, for anyone considering buying an Android TV Box, SkyStream TV Updater alone is a compelling reason for buying a SkyStream ONE.
Really? Free Movies and TV shows?
As for SkyStream’s claim of free movies, TV shows, and live sports, our test unit delivers what is promised. After running the SkyStream TV Updater, plenty video add-ons appear in Kodi Media Centre. Many add-ons link to movies but invalid entries are also not uncommon though. For TV shows and live sports, Mobdro streaming App is a better choice because its links work better than Kodi’s. With a huge selection of live TV channels in various categories, Mobdro alone can replace cable TV.
Quick Tips for SkyStream ONE
- Fast and stable Internet connection speed is vital to streaming smoothly with SkyStream ONE Android TV Box. Therefore, Internet connection via an Ethernet cable is highly recommended. If Wifi is your only option, try placing SkyStream ONE as close to the wireless router as possible. If still getting a weak Internet signal, adding a router range extender (see price here) or Powerline adapter (see price here) might help.
- Use SkyStream TV Updater periodically to get latest add-ons but be aware customization like Kodi favourites may be lost after the update.
- Shutting down Kodi properly every time will avoid most issues according to the manufacturer. You can do so by clicking on the power icon at the lower left-hand corner of Kodi’s home screen.
- For better sound experience, connect your SkyStream ONE to your home theatre system using an SPDIF coaxial cable (not included).
- Check out SkyStream ONE’s Facebook page for the latest and best add-on recommendations for movies, shows, and live sports.
SkyStream ONE Android TV Box could keep you entertained with hours of movies and TV shows without ever asking for a single penny from you. Its remote control is simple-to-use. The built-in updater App allows a hassle-free viewing experience. Combining these great features with live customer support*, SkyStream ONE is one of the best units we’ve tested.
As an added bonus, you can actually use SkyStream ONE (or any Android TV Box) as a basic PC (a monitor with HDMI input, mouse, and keyboard are required) by downloading Apps such as Google Docs. You can also use SkyStream ONE to play simple online games via its web-browser or games from the Google Play Store.
You can also use SkyStream ONE for streaming free contents from YouTube or paid streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sling TV, etc. (Hulu and Sling TV are only available in the US).
Please note, we only review the device to verify the seller’s claims thus you must exercise your own discretion about using the add-ons in Kodi and Mobdro streaming App.
Interested in checking out other ways of watching movies, TV shows and live sports for free or less? Browse our website (ways to cut my cable TV bill).
SkyStream ONE Review Summary
- Unlimited viewing of free movies/TV shows with pre-loaded Kodi Media Centre and Mobdro App
- Excellent value (see US price here) or from eBay.ca (see price here)
- SkyStream TV Updater saves precious time by adding the latest add-ons to minimize Kodi viewing issues (this alone is worth the price of admission for new users of Kodi and Mobdro)
- Very easy to set up
- Excellent online reviews (e.g. Amazon) plus over 43K Facebook likes at time of this review
- No ads while streaming movies and TV shows using Kodi
- Streaming of high-definition movies or shows without any lags or buffering (based on 10Mbps Internet connection speed and a stable video source)
- Quad-Core processor allows 4K streaming
- Includes Speed Test App for checking Internet connection speed
- Factory reset function restores the device to its original state including Kodi and all its pre-installed add-on repositories
- Live support via Quick Support App (where technician can remotely troubleshoot the device)*
- Designed in the USA
- Ability to view media files from a portable storage device on your regular TV
- Ability to cast your mobile device screen on your regular TV
- Package includes a good HDMI cable
- Batteries are included for the remote control
- Unit is made for US market so some pre-loaded video Apps such as Hulu and Sling TV will not work in Canada
- 3rd party add-ons in Kodi could infringe on copyrighted materials
- Not all video sources in Kodi and Mobdro work properly
- Inconsistent menu navigation speed through Kodi’s 3rd party add-ons
- Quality of live shows and live sports streaming depends heavily on broadcasting sources
- If you update Kodi with SkyStream TV Updater, customization such as favourite channels may be lost
- Too much streaming may exceed your Internet bandwidth limit
- Hard to input text via the remote control (best solution is to plug in a mouse and keyboard or purchase an Air Mouse)
- Price in USD (see price here).
- Shipping charge to Canada is not free at the time of writing if SkyStream ONE Android TV Box is ordered from SkyStreamX’s website. A workaround for Canadians who drive to the US: order the unit and send it to a parcel receiving store by the border on the US side and pick it up to receive free shipping.
*SkyStream will not and can not offer any support for 3rd-party add-ons within Kodi because the add-ons are owned and maintained by their respective 3rd-party developers.