If there’s a particular dream gadget I’ve been salivating over, it’s a Smart TV. So when I first found out about the PLDT Tvolution that could turn any TV with an HDMI port into a Smart TV, I was instantly intrigued.
Still, there have already been a number of Android set top boxes to hit the market in the past, and they’ve all been rather clunky. What makes the PLDT Tvolution any different? Thankfully, PLDT was kind enough to give us a unit to review, so check out my full review to find out if it’s for you.
What’s in the Box?
While the PLDT TVolution unit itself is smaller than your typical smartphone, the box it comes in is surprisingly larger. Of course, what’s more important is what you find inside.
- PLDT Tvolution unit
- HDMI cable
- Micro USB cable
- 2-in-1 charging and OTG cable
Ports and Connectivity
The PLDT TVolution has a number of wired and wireless connectivity options. There’s both HDMI input and output, a micro USB port with USB OTG support, a full-sized USB port, micro SD card slot, and 3.5mm audio jack. As for wireless connectivity, there’s WiFi and Bluetooth.
Setting the PLDT TVolution Up
When it comes to evaluating how easy it is to set something up, I have one rule: Can you set it up without a manual? The quick answer is yes. I did just that, ignored the manual, and took the TVolution unit and hooked it up to the back of the TV via the short HDMI cable then plugged it in to a power source. I popped a couple of batteries into the remote, pressed the “power” button and voila! The TVolution was up and running!
Navigating the UI
The PLDT TVolution is pretty minimal with just a row of quick start icons to PLDT’s content services at the bottom.
You can also access more applications by launching the app drawer. Using the remote for navigation around the UI is a little clunky though, but still workable. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can install the Remote application on your smartphone and use your phone for remote and mouse input as well.
Getting Your Stuff to Play
Seeing as PLDT makes it easy to access their content services on the TVolution, watching movies on Clickplay, TV shows on My Pinoy TV, and listening to music on Spinnr is pretty straightforward and often just a few clicks away. If you want to play stuff from your own media library, you’ll have to dig a little deeper since the respective movie and music apps are hidden in the app drawer. Of course, you’ll have to pop in a micro SD card, flash drive or external hard drive to import your library.
Google Play and Installing New Apps
Being a Google-certified Android device, the PLDT TVolution gives you access to the Google Play Store app repository where you can expand its capabilities. This is where things start to get complicated though, as searching for your favorite apps means typing stuff in, and let me tell you, that can be slow and tedious on the provided remote.
It gets easier with the smartphone remote but gets buggy during password input. The best way is to plug in a keyboard, which the TVolution actually accepts because of its USB OTG support. You can always search for apps by navigating the categories and tabs, but if you have something specific in mind, you’ll always want to use the search function in the Play Store.
While Android TV set top boxes still need a lot of work, the PLDT TVolution is a step in the right direction. There’s a bit of a learning curve to use it, especially if you want to unleash its full potential by installing additional apps from the Play Store. Still, it’s quite accessible and easy to set up. It’s pretty affordable at just Php199 a month on top of your existing PLDT MyDSL or Fibr Plan.