Living in the digital era has certainly made it easier for exapts to watch television programs from their home country. For just over two years now I have been using the ThaiExpatTV service which provides seven days on demand of free to air channels from the UK. I know you can watch these streams for free on the Internet, but you only get live television and as the servers are in Europe, you suffer from buffering problems. Although ThaiExpatTV is a paid service, I do believe you get your money’s worth as they make it easier to watch. Not only do you get seven days on demand, their servers are also here in Thailand and so speed is not usually an issue. The most convenient way to watch this Internet TV service is on an Android box. This is what I’m going to review today.
ThaiExpatTV, FrenchExpatTV and 365Sport all use the Neo X7 Mini media hub. They have a special deal on their website where you can get the subscription together with this Android box for one price. It might be cheaper to buy the Neo X7 yourself, but if you buy it on the website, it will come already set up, like above, with the app installed and your username and password already set up. This only leaves you to connect to your WiFi or network hub. The Neo X7 is connected to my television with a HDMI lead. There is also an optical output to your stereo system. Other Android boxes do work, but there is no guarantee. I have one box which doesn’t play the video. I think that is something to do with the firmware. Two other Android boxes work fine. In the above example, you can see apps on the home page for Hollywood HDTV (see my review here), ThaiExpatTV, FrenchExpatTV and 365SportTV. You just buy one box and they will install all of your subscriptions on it. Apart from Hollywood HDTV of course. You can also ask them for a free trial like I did.
If you double click on the ThaiExpat icon you come to this screen which shows the program loading.
This is the homescreen that shows all of the channels in the Premium UK Package. You get this when you buy the set top box together with a subscription. Two new channels were added recently. One thing that I like about ThaiExpatTV is that even though the price stays the same, they still add new channels and develop their app with new ideas. A new addition to this update is the column on the lefhandside. I’m hoping that they will add a search feature here in the future to help you find movies and soap operas more easily like on the desktop version.
After you have chosen your channel, you come to a screen like this one. The days of the week are at the top. Blue for days already gone past, the grey one is for shows that haven’t aired yet. Choose a day and then click on a program that you are interested in. In the righthand window you then get a program summary. Click “play” to watch it. Alternatively, click the “play” icon above it to watch live TV. Well, live TV with a few minutes delay.
I use True and although my Internet is not the best in the world, I hardly ever have any buffering issues. Usually, there is a few seconds delay and then you go into the program as you can see above.
I should have mentioned before that the Neo X7 uses a wireless mouse to navigate. Click on the screen and you then get this overlay. You can then pause, or skip forward or back by one minute or five minutes. Useful for skipping commercials. In the top right is the symbol for the buffer. Green means you have five minutes in your buffer and and so all should be good. The button next to it is to quit. The far left icon takes you back to the channel list and the next icon takes you back to the program listing for that channel.
The next subscription you can apply for is 365Sport which is popular for football and other sports from around the world.
As you can see, there are ten channels on offer. English Premier League is on Channels 1 and 2. Visit their website to see what you can watch. Though, as these are not recognizable channels, you have to flip through the channels to find what you want.
The app developer for 365Sport is the same as the one for ThaiExpatTV and so everything looks much the same. Click on the channel icon and then you get this page which has the days of the week and program listings. Click on a program to see more details, Then click on “play” to watch it. As you can see, there are seven days on demand which means you don’t have to stay up all night to watch something live.
A new addition is FrenchExpatTV. Like all of the other services, you can sign up for a free trial on their website.
These are all of the channels that are presently on offer with FrenchExpatTV.
Like the other services, click on the channel icon and you will come to a page with a program listing sorted by each day of the week.
The other ways that you can watch these services are on your desktop computer with a dedicated software program and on your smartphone or tablet via a web browser. You can also watch on your smart TV using the browser. Out of all of these, I prefer the Android box. I will talk about the others another day. In the meantime, here are the links for each of the services: ThaiExpatTV, FrenchExpatTV and 365Sport. Ask for a free trial first to test it out.