Android TV Box

xiaofan

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Android TV box CPU

1) Most popular is Amlogic chips

S922X High end hex core, 4xA73 core +2xA53 core, upcoming, to compete with RK3399

S905X2, quad core A53, popular latest chip, mid end, USB 3.0 support and 4GB memory support. Eg: Beelink GT 1 Mini and Tanix TX5 Max. S905Y2 variant does not Ethernet

S912, mid end, 8 core A53, no USB 3.0 and up to 3GB memory. Eg: Minix NEO U9-H, Beelink GT1 Ultimate, Tanix TX92

S905X, mid end, quad core A53. Mi Box S (Android 8 ) uses S905X. Old Mi Box global version uses the same chip but comes with Android 6 and upgradable to Android 8. EVpad Plus has S905X CPU as well and with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage.

S905W, popular in low end, 4k 30fps support instead of 4k 60fps support in S905X, buy the 2GB RAM version and not the 1GB RAM version, usually comes with Android 7.1. Eg: Tanix TX3 Max and TX3 Mini

2) The other popular choice is Rockchip

RK3399 hex core 2xA72+2xA53, most powerful among the three vendors, performance only exceeded by the CPU used by Nvidia Shield TV. Overkill for TV box. Popular in Chromebook and high end maker boards

RK3328, popular mid end, quad core A53, performance similar to S905X, but with USB 3.0 support and 4GB memory support

RK3229, popular low end, quad core A7, performance below S905W, avoid them. Evpad Pro + and many preloaded box are using this chip.

RK3368 old mid-high end chip, 8 core A53

RK3288 old high end chip, quad core A17

3) Allwiner

H6, quad core A53, performance above S905X and RK3328 but below S912 and S905X2, USB 3.0 support. Usually comes with Android 7.x. Eg: Tanix TX6 (Android 7.1 and Android 9). Latest Ubox Pro 2 I950 comes with H6 CPU but RAM is only 1GB. Same for UBox Pro I900. EVpad 3 and 3Max use this CPU as well and with 2GB memory. EVpad 3S should be similar as well.

H5, quad core A53, seldom used
H3, quad core A7, Low end. Old Ubox Gen 2, 3 and 4. Evpad 2S+, Evpad Pro, Beelink X2, etc
 
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oystermilk

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https://youtu.be/uzjC64FKzWo

The above is a good summary why Mi Box S is often recommended as the streaming device to go.

1) It is a streaming device which makes your TV smart or smarter than it is now. This is true for TVs like those Samsung Frozen OS based smart TV, LG Webos based smart TV and even Xiaomi TV running Patchwall Android based OS.

2) It runs official Google Certified Android TV OS which is easy to use.

3) Very good streaming support due to running Certified Android TV OS, Netflix 4K and YouTube 4K are supported.

4) Good voice remote with Google Assistant

5) Chromecast 4k function built-in. This is one of the best feature of Mi Box S. You can use apps like Netflix, YouTube, Starhub Go, SingTel TV Go, Singtel Cast, Toggle, HBO Go, Viu Premium, etc, on the phone (iOS or Android) and then cast to your TV with this function. Basically this covers most of the popular Streaming services here in Singapore. Take note you can still use your phone for other things after the shows started on the TV. You can run Netflix, YouTube, SingTel TV Go and Singapore Cast on Mi Box S itself as well.

In terms of cost, typical cost in Lazada/Qoo10/Shopee is around S$70-90, depending on offer and coupon. Take note Chromecast Ultra (4k support) itself cost more than S$100. Even the cheaper Chromecast (1080p) costs more than S$50.

The main disadvantages of Mi Box S are the following.
1) The author mentions relatively weak CPU and occasionally lag or skip frame if you set the interface resolution as 4k. Still it is actually very good for streaming and even casual gaming due to good software optimization.

2) Relatively limited interface, only one USB 2.0 port and no Ethernet interface. Still take note the Dual Band AC WiFi works well.

3) Relatively small 8GB storage but you can add a fast USB Flash Drive to expand the storage

Nvidia Shield TV (usually S$200++) have all the advantages of Mi Box S and none of the disadvantages of Mi Box S.
wah thanks this is sik
 

storm913

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http://www.starhub.com/personal/mobile/mobile-tv/no-data-charges-stream-shows/starhub-go-select.html

Yes Starhub Go Select should be okay. Starhub Go app supports Go Chromecast.

SingTel CAST Asian Plus is another choice if you are a SingTel customer. It supports Chromecast. You can actually install the app on the Mi Box S itself.
https://www.singtel.com/personal/products-services/lifestyle-services/cast/asian-plus

Cheaper paid option is Youku TV 酷喵影视 VIP. It supports 1080p and a bit of 4k contents, RMB 399 per year or about S$80 per year but often there are promotions. For example RMB70 per quarter now. I am paying for normal Youku VIP which is good for mobile phone and tablet. It is pretty good if you understand Chinese. It got movies and dramas from mainland China, HK, Taiwan, Korea and US.
https://pd.youku.com/CIBN?screen=phone

Take note you can try Youku TV 酷喵影视 for free by using free VPN like Transocks. But once you pay for the VIP, no need to use VPN.

For live TV from China, you can use apps like 华文电视,超级直播,电视家,etc. They are free and you can install them on Mi Box S itself.

google for imahua

install tv version, can play from mibox directly


Thanks! Will try to look for these apk now :s13:
 

FakPinoyPride

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https://youtu.be/uzjC64FKzWo

The above is a good summary why Mi Box S is often recommended as the streaming device to go.

1) It is a streaming device which makes your TV smart or smarter than it is now. This is true for TVs like those Samsung Frozen OS based smart TV, LG Webos based smart TV and even Xiaomi TV running Patchwall Android based OS.

2) It runs official Google Certified Android TV OS which is easy to use.

3) Very good streaming support due to running Certified Android TV OS, Netflix 4K and YouTube 4K are supported.

4) Good voice remote with Google Assistant

5) Chromecast 4k function built-in. This is one of the best feature of Mi Box S. You can use apps like Netflix, YouTube, Starhub Go, SingTel TV Go, Singtel Cast, Toggle, HBO Go, Viu Premium, etc, on the phone (iOS or Android) and then cast to your TV with this function. Basically this covers most of the popular Streaming services here in Singapore. Take note you can still use your phone for other things after the shows started on the TV. You can run Netflix, YouTube, SingTel TV Go and Singapore Cast on Mi Box S itself as well.

In terms of cost, typical cost in Lazada/Qoo10/Shopee is around S$70-90, depending on offer and coupon. Take note Chromecast Ultra (4k support) itself cost more than S$100. Even the cheaper Chromecast (1080p) costs more than S$50.

The main disadvantages of Mi Box S are the following.
1) The author mentions relatively weak CPU and occasionally lag or skip frame if you set the interface resolution as 4k. Still it is actually very good for streaming and even casual gaming due to good software optimization.

2) Relatively limited interface, only one USB 2.0 port and no Ethernet interface. Still take note the Dual Band AC WiFi works well.

3) Relatively small 8GB storage but you can add a fast USB Flash Drive to expand the storage

Nvidia Shield TV (usually S$200++) have all the advantages of Mi Box S and none of the disadvantages of Mi Box S.

What if I am someone with a lot of downloaded shows on my pc and my phone. I rarely use streaming services but don't mind trying them out. Do i need this android box to be able to play those shows on my TV?
 

xiaofan

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What if I am someone with a lot of downloaded shows on my pc and my phone. I rarely use streaming services but don't mind trying them out. Do i need this android box to be able to play those shows on my TV?

For local content or NAS content, many boxes are okay, Kodi is one such player for PC, Android phone and Android TV boxes.

S905X2 based box like Tanix TX5 Max or Beelink GT1 Mini will be a good one for this purpose because of the support of USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet, 4k is not a problem.

Older Minix NEO U9-H is famous Kodi box but its price is on the high side.

Plex is another one.

I do not use Kodi or Plex myself so you may get better help from others. I only use apps to streaming from internet, not downloading anything.

https://kodi.tv/
https://www.plex.tv/
 

xiaofan

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Previously I mentioned Zidoo X9S and higher end boxes from Zidoo with HDMI IN function for video recording. They also have SATA interface to add HDD/SSD.

Beelink SEA 1 is another such box.

All the above boxes are kind of niche product and they are all based on Realtek RTD1295/1296 CPU and run Android 6. A bit old but if you need such features you may take a look. These boxes are also very good for local media playing.

Beelink SEA 1 review in 2017, cost a bit above S$100 now on Lazada.
https://youtu.be/sFdFzwlzVvw

Beelink produces many TV boxes and Mini PCs.
http://www.bee-link.com/
https://www.gearbest.com/top-brands/brand/Beelink.html

Zidoo X9S HDMI IN review in 2017, cost around S$160 on Lazada
https://youtu.be/ORG3iMhk9FY

Zidoo Z9S, X10, Z10, X20 and X20 Pro are higher end models.
https://www.zidoo.tv/

Minix is another well know brand in TV box but seems to shift the focus to Mini PC. Minix NEO U9-H was one of the best TV box back in 2017 and it is still considered to be a pretty good box now.
http://minix.com.hk

Note: Gearbest link is for cost reference only. Often cheaper in Singapore online marketplace.
 
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xiaofan

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When it comes to Hybrid box with DVB-T2 tuner built-in, there are not many choices. Personally I think it is better to buy separate device but I understand that there are people who like multifunction device.

Magicsee is one such vendor with C300 and C400 model.
http://m.magicsees.com/m/
https://www.gearbest.com/top-brands/brand/MAGICSEE.html

Mecool (from.Vidostrong) is another vendor with models like Kiii Pro.
http://www.videostrong.com/index.html
https://www.gearbest.com/top-brands/brand/MECOOL.html

Both companies are also producing other TV boxes.

Mecool is kind of interesting to produce quite some non-certified Android TV OS device and tried to get around Netflix restrictions, I think it is not worth it, just buy official certified Android TV OS device like Mi Box S and Nvidia Shield TV for Netflix.

Note: Gearbest site is only for cost reference. Often cheaper in Singapore online market place.
 
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xiaofan

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Tanix is another brand producing lower cost box with relatively good quality, at least better than those no brand generic boxes.
http://www.tanix-box.com/
https://www.gearbest.com/top-brands/brand/Tanix.html


Popular generic boxes. You really do not know who are behind the boxes. Sometimes they will come with the trading company logo like Alfawise, Nexbox, Scishion, etc. Not recommended for new buyers because of a few things, build quality, lack of firmware upgrade, lack of support, potential poor design for thermal, potential poor components used especially WiFi.

I may be wrong as well here because you do not really know which one is the trading house and which one is the manufacturer.

H96 series, not bad based on my experiences with H96 Pro Plus S912 box and H96 Max Plus RK3328 box

X96 series, not as good as H96,

Alfawise
https://www.alfawise.com/collections/tv-box
https://www.gearbest.com/top-brands/brand/Alfawise.html

Nexbox
http://www.inexbox.com/

Scishion
http://www.scishiontvbox.com/
https://www.gearbest.com/top-brands/brand/SCISHION.html

Sunvell
http://www.sunvell.com/
https://www.gearbest.com/top-brands/brand/Sunvell.html


Note: Gearbest links are for cost reference only. It is often cheaper in Singapore online marketplace.
 
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xiaofan

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https://achillespen.com/google-adt-2-android-tv-media-streaming-device-complete-review

Google ADT-2 Development kit for Android TV OS.

Lon.TV review says there is stagnant in Google Android TV system and indeed this is true. In US it actually lags behind Roku and Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV in terms of streaming box. Then in the Smart TV market, leading supplier Samsung is using Tizen OS and LG is using its own Web OS.

Just from the ADT-2 HW specifications you can see it is still based on the old Amlogic S905X CPU, same as the 2016 Mi Box Global version and 2018 Mi Box S (they use S905X-H to be exact because of Dolby/DTS license).

And Nvidia Shield TV is still the king of Android TV boxes out there after so many years (2015 to now).

In local market, both Mi Box S and Nvidia are not officially launched in Singapore. Only Srarhub is using Android TV OS in its Go Streaming Box.

Of course there are Sony smart TV running Android TV OS in local market but they are not as popular as Samsung and LG.

Hopefully Android TV OS for both Smart TV and streaming TV box will catch up. It is said redesign is on the way.

Ref: https://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1547633301

Ref: bad review about Mi Box S, which may be overboard considering the cost but then Roku and Amazon Fire Stick 4k are also pretty cheap in US. Some of the problems listed are with Mi Box S but some are related to Android TV OS and partner apps.

https://www.idgconnect.com/idgconne...i-mi-box-review-isnt-doing-android-tv-justice

Strong competition from Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k 2018 version at US$50.
https://www.techhive.com/article/3309947/the-fire-tv-stick-4k-fixes-amazons-remote-problem.html

"For 4K HDR TV owners, the Fire TV Stick 4K also has the advantage of supporting both Dolby Vision and HDR10+."

Still I think Mi Box S is better in Singapore because the support of Chromecast function.
 
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windwaver

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Hi xiaofan, how's the MXQ Pro H96 Max 4/64GB with the RK3328? I can't seem to find if it supports any form of cast from cellphone, thanks.
 

xiaofan

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Hi xiaofan, how's the MXQ Pro H96 Max 4/64GB with the RK3328? I can't seem to find if it supports any form of cast from cellphone, thanks.

Not so sure what is the "MXQ Pro" comes from. H96 Max is a generic brand.

Usually generic boxes like this will come with Miracast for you to mirror the screen of your Android phone. Some of them may come with Airpin Pro as well for Apple Airplay.

Then you can install apps like Happycast 乐播投屏 to casting function from PC/Mac/Android phone.

Ref:
http://www.hpplay.com.cn/

Its focus is with the Chinese apps so it may not be suitable for use with apps like Toggle, Starhub Go, SingTel TV Go or SingTel Cast.

All in all, for casting, Chromecast dongle is still the best and then Mi Box S which has the Chromecast function built-in. Starhub Go Streaming box also has Chromecast function built-in.

I have Google Chromecast 1st gen dongle which still works fine. I bought it from SingTel shop at S$35 a few years back.

BTW, you can install SingTel TV Go and SingTel Cast on Mi Box S and Nvidia Shield TV. They will not work on rooted box. Most generic boxes running mobile version of Android are rooted.

Starhub Go and Toggle can not be installed on Mi Box S or Nvidia Shield TV but they support Chromecast. They may or may not work on generic rooted box. And the user experiences are not good even if they can be installed on TV boxes.
 
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xiaofan

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Hi xiaofan, how's the MXQ Pro H96 Max 4/64GB with the RK3328? I can't seem to find if it supports any form of cast from cellphone, thanks.

As for the box, common name is H96 Max Plus which comes with RK3328 CPU, USB 3.0 plus USB 2.0, dual band wifi and 100 Mbps Ethernet.

I have one such box and it is fine for streaming. My one comes with Android 7.1 but new one may come with Android 8.1. In my experiences it is not as good as my other H96 box, H96 Pro Plus Amlogic S912 3GB/32GB box which has gigabit Ethernet and faster CPU and faster WiFi. Price should be similar. The only thing better for the H96 Max Plus is the support of USB 3.0.

Within the H96 Series, H96 Max RK3399 is the performance king but expensive. H96 Max X2 S905X2 based may be the best now compared to H96 Max Plus and H96 Pro Plus. It kind of combines the best of the two.

BTW 4GB/32GB will be more than enough for TV boxes if you want to buy H96 Max Plus or H96 Max X2.
 
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xiaofan

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Just a list of popular current generic boxes

More to be added

Amlogic CPU
1. S905X2 CPU
Beelink GT1 Mini
Tanix TX5 Max
Mecool KM9
H96 Max X2
X96 Max
T95Q
A95X Max

S905Y2 variant
X96S TV stick
A95X Plus S905Y2

2. S912
Minix NEO U9-H
Beelink GT1-A Android TV OS
Berlin GT1 Ultimate
Tanix TX92
Tanix TX9 Pro
Mecool M8S Pro L Android TV OS
H96 Pro Plus

Magicsee C400 Hybrid box with DVB-T2 Tuner
Mecool Kiii Pro Hybrid box with DVB-T2 Tuner

3. S905X, same CPU as Mi Box S.
Mecool KM8 Android TV OS
Magicsee N5
Evpad Plus

S905D variant
Magicsee C300 hybrid box with DVB-T2 Tuner
Mecool Kii Pro hybrid box with DVB-T2 Tuner
Mecool Ki Plus hybrid box with DVB-T2 Tuner

S905L
Used in China version of Mi Box 4 and 4C, lacks VP9 codec of S905X. Used in many IPTV/OTT boxes from China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. Avoid these boxes.

4. S905W
Tanix TX3 Max
Tanix TX3 Mini
Mecool M8S Pro W Android TV OS
X96 Mini
Generic MXQ Pro S905W version (got RK3229 version as well)

Rockchip CPU
1. RK3399, not recommended, expensive
Magicsee N6 Max
H96 Max RK3399
X99

2. RK3328, avoid Android 9 version now.

Tanix TX28, likely an OEM version, not supported by Tanix website, not recommended

H96 Max Plus
A5X Max
MXR Pro RK3328
MX10
Sunvell T9
Z28

3. RK3229, not recommended, buy S905W based Box better

Tania TX2
Scision V88
Sunvell R69 RK3229 (got H3 version as well), I have this box, usable but not good.
Generic MXQ Pro RK3229 ( got S905W version as well)


Allwinner
1.H6, not recommended
Tanix TX6: not recommended because Android 9 is not mature. Also got Thermal issues.

Zidoo X6, expensive
Eachlink H6 Mini
Sunvell T95 Max

Ubox Gen 5/6 (only 1GB RAM)
Evpad 3,3S,3Max (2GB RAM)

2. H5, seldom used in TV box

3. H3, old box only. Avoid them.
Sunvell R69 H3 is the only recent box.
Old Ubox Gen 2, Gen 3 and Gen 4.
EVpad old version as well.
 
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windwaver

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Hi Xiaofan, there are some comments out there that says that Amlogic is the best supported chipset. Rockchip and Allwinner are to be avoided.

From your experience, is that true?
 

FakPinoyPride

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For local content or NAS content, many boxes are okay, Kodi is one such player for PC, Android phone and Android TV boxes.

S905X2 based box like Tanix TX5 Max or Beelink GT1 Mini will be a good one for this purpose because of the support of USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet, 4k is not a problem.

Older Minix NEO U9-H is famous Kodi box but its price is on the high side.

Plex is another one.

I do not use Kodi or Plex myself so you may get better help from others. I only use apps to streaming from internet, not downloading anything.

https://kodi.tv/
https://www.plex.tv/

Can I use VLC and chromecast on my TV from my phone or PC?

Not sure if that works?
 

xiaofan

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Hi Xiaofan, there are some comments out there that says that Amlogic is the best supported chipset. Rockchip and Allwinner are to be avoided.

From your experience, is that true?

Yes that is true in terms of Android OS support for streaming purpose.

Amlogic for TV boxes are still the best in this aspect. Even the latest Android TV OS streaming development kit from Google (ADT-2) uses S905X.

https://sites.google.com/view/droid-tv/streaming-gaming/google-adt-2

Mi Box S and Mi Box Global version use S905X CPU as well.

The new S905X2 CPU is pretty good as well, good thermal performance. My experience with the Tanix TX5 Max box is pretty positive.

S912 box will be not that recommended now because of the new S905X2 box is better in terms of overall features improvement and better thermal. Performance is comparable between the two. Still my experiences with H96 Pro Plus S912 box is positive.

That being said my experiences with RK3328 based H96 Max Plus is pretty okay. My experiences with RK3229 based R69 box is pretty negative but that is meant for very low end. RK3399 boxes are simply too expensive to be worth the money.

Avoid Allwinner in general unless you like Ubox and EVpad. H6 is not too bad but the boxes are limited. The Tanix TX6 I have is not good because of thermal issues.
 
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CatLuVer

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Hi xiaofan, i saw in lazada. The Beelink GT1 got 2 models: 2Gb Ram, 32Gb storage or 4Gb Ram, 64Gb storage.
 

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BTW, you can install SingTel TV Go and SingTel Cast on Mi Box S and Nvidia Shield TV. They will not work on rooted box. Most generic boxes running mobile version of Android are rooted.

Starhub Go and Toggle can not be installed on Mi Box S or Nvidia Shield TV but they support Chromecast. They may or may not work on generic rooted box. And the user experiences are not good even if they can be installed on TV boxes.

Hi, so Singtel TV Go and Singtel Cast can work on any Android box (both TV and mobile OS) provided it is not rooted? Not very familiar now but I thought there are ways to hide root from apps?

Any reason why Starhub TV Go and Toggle cannot work on Mi Box S and Nvidia Shield? Is it because it cannot work on Android TV OS and only work on Android mobile OS?

Btw, any idea if Starhub TV Go works on non-Starhub connection and support EPL cross-carriage from Singtel?
 

xiaofan

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Hi, so Singtel TV Go and Singtel Cast can work on any Android box (both TV and mobile OS) provided it is not rooted? Not very familiar now but I thought there are ways to hide root from apps?

Any reason why Starhub TV Go and Toggle cannot work on Mi Box S and Nvidia Shield? Is it because it cannot work on Android TV OS and only work on Android mobile OS?

Btw, any idea if Starhub TV Go works on non-Starhub connection and support EPL cross-carriage from Singtel?

SingTel TV Go and SingTel Cast can be installed on Mi Box S and Nvidia Shield TV, not sure if they work on non-rooted box. They have some types of protection.

The generic Android boxes I have all come rooted and there are no ways to hide the root. So I do not have experiences with non-rooted box or rooted box which can hide the root. In fact if you install those root manager apps, the boxes I have will brick and you have to reflash the firmware.

As for Starhub Go and Toggle, again they are designed for mobile phone and have some types of detection mechanism to prevent them from running on Android TV OS. They are not that strict on mobile Android OS based rooted box based on my experiences but YMMV. For example, reports show that some boxes are not able to run Toggle. The detection mechanism may get more strict. This may have to do with the licensing of the content.

All in all these 4 apps are designed for mobile phones and all have copyright protection mechanism which may prevent them to work on TV boxes, the best method to get them on TV is still using Chromecast.

TVB Anywhere SG is very strict in enforcing the mobile only policy and it does not support casting or external display.

As for Starhub Go packs, you can check out the website, looks like no EPL. SingTel Cast has EPL.

http://www.starhub.com/personal/support/services-and-plans/starhub-go/about.html
https://www.singtel.com/personal/products-services/lifestyle-services/cast
 
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