Do you need a cable connection anymore? My answer would be a clear no. And this is not because I stopped watching our pretentious soaps and toxic news shows years ago, but because I can watch all of these without a cable or satellite connection, and maybe at much less. Also, being a chord cutter, I have realised that there is much better content out there, if you decide to unfetter yourself from dish and cable world.
ACT Stream TV 4K
The ACT Stream TV 4K is a product that will try to tap into this new type of user: one who is happy streaming all the content he wants, often to a 4K screen for which cable anyway has nothing to offer.
But an internet streaming box in nothing new and there have been quite a few very successful products like the Amkette EvoTV that have come out of India itself.
But it is new for an Internet Service Provider to offer one to go with their broadband services. Still even that will become common once Jio Fiber enters the market with its streaming box which will be powerful enough to offer more than just video.
The ACT Stream TV 4K, as I mentioned, is an internet streaming box with 4K capabilities. It looks like the ones we have reviewed before and comes with a remote that also have a built in microphone for voice commands. Also, the remote comes with dedicated buttons for Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Store and Live TV, the last being powered by a bunch of apps that have been preloaded giving access to a bunch of channels. There are other app like Zee5 that are pre-loaded and you can anyway download more from the Play Store.
The box will be yoked to ACT connections and with just a safety deposit of Rs 1,500, it seems ACT is subsiding this product. The interface is easy to understand and very similar to what you get on Amazon Fire TV or any Android TV box.
The content is tabbed into Home, Apps & Games, Live TV and Offers. ACT offers around 90 live television channels in a DVR mode. Some of these channels will need to be paid for separately and that is possible only if you have an ACT connection.
I used the box to watch Netflix, YouTube and also some new movies on Zee5. One issue that caught my attention is that while watching a movie the box asks you to use the remote once in a while, failing which it will go into standby mode. If ACT hopes to get people to watch stuff via the box, this is certainly something they need to fix.
But otherwise, it does a good job of being an Android Box. While I could not test the 4K aspect of the box, I did enjoy the Dolby Atmos thanks to the Sony HT-Z9F soundbar which I had for review at the time. I could connect to the soundbar directly via Bluetooth.
You can also play games on the box and I tried Asphalt 8 which was preloaded in the review unit. The experience was not bad, though you will need either a bluetooth keyboard or gaming controls to play the game better. There is only so much you can do with the remote. You can also use the USB port at the back to play downloaded content, if you have any.
My one grouse with the ACT Stream TV 4K is that it keeps forgetting things. Especially with the soundbar, it often needed to be paired again to work. I think there could be a few software updates soon.
For those on ACT connections, this is a good, maybe more affordable, option to cut their cable connection. The box can take care of all your entertainment needs, provided there is high-speed Internet available, something ACT has done well so far.