So for me, cutting the cord from the Cable Companies was never a hard thing. I am tech saavy and have been leveraging the world of alternative sources for my own entertainment needs for years but about 3 months ago I grabbed a little Android Box and it was plugged in and working…but really only used when I accidentally downloaded an MKV version of a video for in my library.
The Pivos Technology Group Xios DS is a nice, affordable little Android Box that runs Android 4.0, has an ARM 9 Processor, 4 GB of internal Storage with 3 USB Ports, a microSD card slot, HDMI (with full 1080p output), wireless (B,G,N) and Ethernet connectivity. All this in a frame that is less than 4 ” square and just over 0.5″ tall.
In my opening paragraph I had said that I had just let it sit and did not really use it all that much. This was not because it is not functional, it just got overshadowed by the fact that the PS3 was able to stream 99% of all of my media and my daughter is not a fan of the clickity click of the remote. There were a few other factors as well (like the lack of BlueTooth native support).
In the few months that it has been acting as a back up, I have had a 3TB drive connected to it and mucked about with turning it into a Media Server (with moderate success) but last night I got a little bored after playing a few hours of PS3 pinball and set about to turning this little gem into what I had hoped it would be when I purchased it a few months ago.
One of the challenges of cutting the cord from the cable companies is that finding your favorite shows (and sports if you are so inclined) is more than a little challenging. Heck, one could say just go to the homepage of your favorite broadcaster (ie CBS, NBC, CTV etc) and you could watch the shows for free right…yes but that does mean either hooking a full fledged computer to your TV or sitting at your desk and watching it on the small screen and that was just not for me.
Last night I did a complete refresh of the box returning it to its original Android base (I had mucked about with the Linux Kodi interface that Pivos makes available called TOFU but found it to be relatively unstable) and then installed a fresh version of Kodi (the new iteration of XBMC) and then added some repositories.
To make it even easier, the good folks at TVAddons have a configuration script that makes it incredibly easy to make things just work. A few simple clicks and I was up and running with access to all the TV shows that I could hope for in just a few simple clicks. In fact, the sources that came with the configuration script had me finding shows that I had almost forgot about since my time away from having full fledged cable.
You also gain access to Movies, Music and all the media that you could ever want to, but with I have to say, that downloading or streaming movies crosses the Copyright Rubicon and can leave you more than a open to the world of Copyright Infringement. My own ISP has sent me an email or two about downloading movies…that in actual fact I have never seen so I recommend diving into the world of Streaming Movies at your own risk!
Now the quest begins to replace the remote with something with a few more capabilities so that I do not need to have a full sized keyboard at my beck and call for the occasional time that I need to type something onto the screen, mainly because this particular model does not come with a BlueTooth enabled adapter (and the one that I purchased does not seem to want to connect).
Well, back to watching my new found best friend.