WeTek Play2 - 4K PVR - HD Audio - Dual Boot - Specs & Reviews
WeTek Play2: A/V Performance & TV/DVR (ATSC) Review
(Updated October 17, 2016)


Overall Verdict: B
(WeTek's TV app needs serious functionality & UX improvements, but for live TV viewing & A/V playback, Play2 is mostly good)
(Based on firmware WeOS v1.3)
  • A/V performance: B+ (occasional stability issues w/HD audio, and occasional lip synch error w/live TV)
  • TV/DVR app: C+ (clunky; needs work)
  • User experience (UX) overall: B- (Only somewhat intuitive. Reading up, researching on Kodi & WeTek forums really a must)
  • Value for money: B ($124 approx)
  • Support: B+
Disclaimer: The ratings above are both objective and subjective (but, ultimately subjective). A media player will either pass or fail A/V tests, but for PQ, I rely on my eyeballs Smile. The opinions expressed in this review are solely mine, not Kodi foundation’s, and not any kind of a consensus grade. I never let manufacturers influence what I write.


watch gallery



Overview:

My focus for this review is primarily A/V playback performance, followed by usability of the WeTV app for over-the-air (OTA) (USA ATSC) TV viewing and recording. I won't be testing OpenELEC or LibreELEC as the real appeal of Play2 is under Android, with the combined WeTek Media Player (Kodi fork) coupled with its plug-and-play live TV/DVR solution w/o need for backend PVR w/any kind (nor a complicated set-up). In the U.S., Android TV boxes with DVR's are few and far between. I can only think of Aura Live (now defunct), SkyStream ONE and Geniatech boxes. Haven't tried any of them due to poor ratings or lack of decent reviews.

Big thanks to WeTek for sending me a Play2 unit (ATSC version) for review.



A/V Performance:

I relied on WeTek's latest firmware WeOS v1.3 for this review, with WeTek Media Player (WMP) 16.1-Jarvis-WeTekMediaPlayer-v5 for a/v tests. WMP is WeTek's own customized fork of Kodi 16.1 for optimal performance out of its AMLogic S905-based boxes (Play2 and Hub).

For tests below, please note that not all types are claimed as being officially supported by WeTek. But, as Kodi A/V enthusiasts, we expect (or at least wish) any media player would support everything. These are the recommeded video settings I used.




WeTek's TV/DVR App:

The app's wizard, upon first use, was straightforward for scanning for ATSC over-the-air channels in my area using default settings. But, using the TV app itself is clunky, and takes getting used to. Still, being in the U.S. and having such limited choices for Android boxes with OTA TV/DVR capabilities, a box like Play2 is a welcome solution.

I say the WeTV app is clunky for a couple of reasons:
  • It crases randomly (occasionally)
  • The functionality options shown and settings are cryptic, hard to decipher. The manual posted online helps however
  • The remote (which I'll cover in a bit) is unintuitive with the TV app. It's easy to press a button on the inner D-pad ring when you actually want to press something on the outer ring, and vice versa
  • Some menu options in the TV app knock you out to the main UI (a crash), and you have to re-launch it. This is especially the case when trying to record an upcoming show via a channel's EPG (more on this in a bit)

The nice part is that TV quality looks great, with proper deinterlacing. Channels broadcasting in 480i, 720p and 1080i all look very good. Audio, both 2.0 and 5.1 source, both sound great. The only issue is that channels broadcasting in 1080i have a slight lip synch issue (audio behind video). But, quitting out and re-launching the TV app fixes lip synch. Or, channel up and back down also fixes it. Actual recordings are fine, with no lip synch issues.

Clicking on an upcoming show in a channel's EPG does nothing, and in fact freezes and eventually crashes the TV app (see my video above). (WeTek has asked me to send them a dubug log on this, which I'll need to do.) Scheduling recordings manually is a pain as you have to go to the TV app's settings, choose the schedule function and input the necessary values (like channel, time start/end, etc.) to create the timer. You can change the recording location from the default internal flash storage (which has only around 4GB or less available) to an attached USB hard drive or (if mounted) your NAS. I chose USB as I couldn't figure out WeTek's Net Mounter app (it's difficult to use).

Finally, you can create a "boutique" of channels, basically your list of favoite channels. But, the EPG is a real shortcoming for now. You can only bring up the EPG on the highlighted channel while in the default or boutique channel list. You can't get to the EPG with a quick single-button press while you're watching that channel, and overall it's very limited as just a flat list of upcoming shows.

Hopefully, WeTek will put some real effort into the TV app. Don't think any of us are expecting TiVo quality, but making it easier to use, more intuitive, with improved fuctionality to address the gaps I've noted, would make Play2 a real value-added Android box for the U.S. market. Especially for cord cutters who've gone (or are going) OTA in big numbers.


The Remote Control:

The remote is more full functional type than the one included with the Hub. Its range, responsiveness are noticeably better as well. What I want more out of WeTek's remote and even media boxes' UI overall are better labeled buttons or icons, and detailed manuals (like that for WeTV, and easier to find on WeTek's site). I can appreciate WeTek's stance on simplicity, but when I'm (and I bet most users are) looking at buttons or icons, if we can't figure out what does what fairly quickly or easily, it's a little frustrating. Minimalism can be nice, but has to be balanced with intuitive.


Wrap-Up:

I love WeTek the company, but for a serious A/V enthusiast wanting a solid media box w/DVR, Play2 (at least the ATSC version, w/OTA use) isn't quite ready for primetime yet. I mean this w/DVR use, as for just live TV viewing and on-the-spot recording, it's fine. But, if you didn't need the integrated TV/DVR part, you'd be better off w/the Hub. Play2 is a really promising combo box for sure, and I hope (and expect) WeTek will get it to where it needs to be for mass appeal.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
Reply


Messages In This Thread
RE: WeTek Play2 - 4K PVR - HD Audio - Dual Boot - Specs & Reviews - by hdmkv - 2016-09-18, 23:58


Logout Mark Read Team Forum Stats Members Help
WeTek Play2 - 4K PVR - HD Audio - Dual Boot - Specs & Reviews11
This forum uses Lukasz Tkacz MyBB addons.