Review of UBOX’s Free Live Sports & TV Channels
The Golden Ticket?
Seeking a perfect way to cut your cable TV bill is like the movie: Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. In this eccentric movie, everyone is looking for the golden ticket so the lucky winners could tour Willy’s Wonka’s factory and were promised once-in-a-lifetime surprises . Similarly, you might have learned about how an Android TV Box could replace your cable TV package before finding this article. All you need is installing a streaming app called “Kodi”, right? Almost… but not quite. Many people underestimate the amount of effort to set it up and maintain it. Therefore, using Kodi is not a “golden ticket” for everyone.
The good news is: there is an easier-to-use streaming device called UBOX that delivers live sports and live TV channels; without a monthly fee. Does it sound too-good-to-be-true? You don’t have to spend a fortune on Wonka bars to find out. Read more about an UBOX’s streaming performance below.
Why an UBOX?
A little background about UBOX. The streaming device has been around since 2012. From our research, online sellers started to carry them late 2019 in North America. It was originally designed by Unblock Tech for the Chinese market (also popular in Malaysia and the Philippines). Therefore, don’t be surprised if you find Chinese in its packaging, hardware, on-screen menus and show/movie titles (see User Tips below to switch language to English). UBOX’s proprietary streaming app delivers live TV channels from many countries including Canada and US. As you already know, it streams live sports channels as well. It also sports an extensive list of movies and shows from a number of countries. Note: streaming of shows and movies are not tested in this article.
The biggest difference between UBOX’s own streaming app and Kodi is: everyone is able to use an UBOX. Unblock Tech took most guesswork out of watching live sports and TV channels by packaging everything in one simple streaming app. This saves you both time and frustration of not having to deal with the complicated setup and ongoing maintenance of a streaming app such as Kodi. At the time of this writing you can find the following UBOX models online:
To clarify, UBOX is based on an Android platform so its onscreen navigation and settings are similar to other Android TV boxes. Aside from UBOX’s proprietary live streaming and video apps, you can install other streaming apps, including Kodi. Realistically though, when you buy an UBOX, you are ultimately paying for its proprietary live TV and movie streaming apps. Other apps are completely optional.
What does an UBOX come with
- UBOX Streaming Device
- Remote Control (Bluetooth version for PRO 8 MAX)
- Power Adapter
- HDMI Cable
- Setup Guide
What else do I need for an UBOX to function properly
- High-Speed Internet
- Wireless Internet Router (Wifi 6 or mesh router system can improve you Wifi signal)
- TV with an available HDMI Port
- Two AAA batteries for the remote control
- Extension cord (PRO2’s power cord is relatively short)
What you can Expect from an UBOX
As our title suggests, we will focus mainly on the performance review of UBOX’s live sports and live TV channels (Canada and US only). Streaming apps of other Android TV Boxes could contain hundreds of live TV and sports links. However, it would be meaningless if none of the links work. Therefore, we will list the number of live sports channels and TV channels you can expect from an UBOX. In the next step, we will check each channel for its availability, streaming performance and picture quality for both Canada and US TV programming.
The channel tests were performed on two UBOX models: UBOX PRO2 and UBOX PRO 8 MAX. Both were connected to the Internet via an Ethernet cable with 30 Mbps speed at the time of testing. The same version of UBOX’s streaming app was tested on both units (V1.9.0).
*Each channel is observed for minimum of 60 seconds.
*Actual viewing experience subject to Internet quality and proxy setting.
- Internet connection via an Ethernet cable yields the best streaming experience.
- Most live sports channels are in HD but picture quality degrades a bit with high-motion scenes. The picture degradation is more apparent on PRO2.
- HD TV channels on a PRO 8 MAX has better picture quality than PRO2.
- Initial buffering of TV channels is typical for both models (up to 5 seconds).
- After testing both units for a while, the consensus is that an UBOX is a well-oiled device that its live sports/TV channels usually won’t buffer. However, occasional lip-sync issue and frame-skipping are not uncommon if the channels are viewed for an extended period.
- The key to channel availability within an UBOX is the right proxy setting.
- We purposely connected the UBOX to 3Mbps Internet speed. It’s not surprising that the UBOX struggled at 3Mbps especially with HD movies (constant buffering making it unwatchable). 7Mbps appears to be “just enough” for streaming live TV.
- PRO 8 MAX comes with a Bluetooth remote control so there is no need to aim directly at the device to control it. For example, you can hide it behind the TV.
- Please note all HD reference in this article is 720 – 1080 unless specified otherwise.
UBOX User Tips
- After the UBOX is connected; find the “Globe” icon under Settings and add English as the primary language (click on the + symbol). (PRO 2 only; PRO 8 MAX has a wizard that you can choose between different languages during the initial setup.)
- Click on the “Paper Airplane” icon at the bottom left menu to speed up the device. (PRO 2). “System Boost” icon on the main menu for PRO 8 MAX.
- “Mouse” mode is handy for menu navigation when the remote control cannot reach the on-screen button/icon (basically, you control an on-screen cursor using the remote control D-pad).
- The correct proxy selection has a huge impact on the channel availability.
- Please note, updating the app will wipe out your stored data such as favourites and ability to resume watching where you left off.
- If you come across a JBOX online, it is actually an UBOX intended for the Japanese market. If you do not wish to have any Chinese writing on your hardware, a JBOX would solve that problem and give you a clean look:
- All devices become dated and obsolete some day so the company can sell you a newer version. The same goes for an UBOX.
- Picture quality of live sports is mostly in HD but degrades a bit during fast/high motion scenes.
- For non-Chinese users, the menu navigation is confusing but you can switch the language to English. However, most category/show/movies tiles will still remain in Chinese.
- You still need to clean up the system occasionally to keep it running smoothly.
- Like any streaming video service, you need tons of Internet bandwidth.
- Again, the contents offered by an UBOX might seem too-good-to-be-true. If you doubt its legitimacy, feel free to try our list of Free Live TV Streams.
UBOX’s major selling point is its ease-of-use and minimum maintenance. So you have more time to enjoy its contents. While a regular Android Box can achieve the same feat, it demands a tech savvy individual to set up and maintain the unit properly. Most people will find an UBOX is much easier to use.
During our test, most live TV channels streamed nicely (each channel was observed for at least a minute). However, you can expect issues during extended viewing for some channels. There were occasions where lip-sync delay became obvious and frame skipped briefly (but not buffering). Also, a couple of channels simply would not stream. But looking at the bigger picture, namely UBOX’s value proposition; the UBOX delivers most of its live TV contents without too many hiccups. But still, it can not match the smoothness of a cable TV package.
Finally, the sale of UBOX may be legal but its apps are definitely questionable considering its wide range of contents. Just an fyi, similar streaming service/devices have been brought down before (TVpad comes to mind) so purchase at your own risk. Because the “golden ticket” could turn into an “expired ticket”. Luckily we have another source of free live TV streams for your enjoyment. Good luck!