HTV3 Review – A true TVPad replacement & alternative

Disclaimer: This demo unit was provided to me from HTV without charge.

I can’t speak on how well HTV1 or HTV2 work, but the HTV3 I’ve been testing had impressed me… A LOT!. HTV is bringing serious heat to the Chinese IPTV market. Here is the full review of the HTV3 IPTV Box from HTV.

Quick video overview at the bottom

Presentation

From the moment I unwrapped the DHL packaging I was immediately wowed by this product. The packaging for the HTV3 is definitely one of the better packaging I have seen from a Chinese company. It doesn’t feel cheap like most Chinese Android boxes, it has a solid Premium feel to it. IMG_20160107_1845321

The top flap is secured by a magnet, while the unit is placed in a foam “cradle” on the top level. The power adapter/remote at the 2nd level and the power/HDMI cable at the basement. All the components are tightly packed, you could tell they have spend time designing the packaging. I know this may not matter to a lot of people but to me this shows the company is taking the extra steps to bring a better customer experience.

Package Contents

  • HTV3
  • Power adapter
  • microUSB cable
  • Flat HDMI cable (a VERY NICE suprise)
  • Remote (No battery tho)
  • Warranty Card

Unit Layout

All the essential ports (Power, HDMI, AV, Ethernet) are at the back. While there are a microSD and 2 USB ports at the right side of the unit. Nothing too different than other boxes. IMG_20160107_1847440

Booting up the HTV3’s

You may wonder why there is a microUSB included in the package and initially I don’t either. Until when I began to plug in the HTV3, then I quickly realized the USB cable is to power the unit. Yes, the microUSB cable is for powering up the unit!!! I don’t know why more Android box manufacturers (TVPad/Unblock) don’t do this. By using a USB powered option they are saving a lot of headaches for owners who may need a new power adapter. A nice touch and a pleasant surprise none the less.

IMG_20160108_1217475Upon powering on the unit the “Home” logo on top of the unit and the blue LED at the front will light up in blue.
This “Home” Logo does serve a useful purpose to my surprise again! Whenever the HTV3 loses internet connection the logo will change to a red colour. This is mightily useful for helping elderly parents to troubleshoot and I LOVE this. Anybody who bought a TVPad for a parent will know the struggle when it comes to troubleshooting. IMG_20160108_1208111

Once the unit has been booted up, you are prompted by a language (8 languages) and a GUI (Graphical User Interface) selection (2 Selection: Colorful and Classic Mode). The Colorful mode resembles the TVPad 4 interface while the classic mode is a lot like the TVPad 1 – 3 interface. I chose the classic mode as everything is nicely organized by; Live Channel, Vod, Playback. The interface HTV3 provides definitely solved the complain I had with the UB Box. Having an easy to use interface is definitely another plus for elderly users. IMG_20160107_1855584

Using it; a overly positive experience

Let’s get to the meat and potatoes (or rice in this case :D).

On the initial startup, there isn’t any apps included with the unit. Everything can be easily downloaded using the HTV app market like the UB box. The apps do install quickly and there isn’t the annoying android app installer confirmation you would see on the UB Box. The app installation experience is similar to what you would see on a TVPad 4; a complete Click and play experience.

All the standard Live TV affair (Cantonese, Main land, Taiwan) is here so I’m not gonna go too much into it. In the main Chinese app (with Mainland + Cantonese “ChineseTV”) there are 130 streams. The Taiwan app (TaiMinTV) has 37 streams. It worth noting that the available live stream on this unit is reliable and smooth. A lot more reliable than the UB Box stream and better quality than TVPad 4’s streams overall.

For those who is looking for Vietnamese live streams, they are here (12 streams). Unfortunately both Japanese and Korean live streams are absent here. (See bottom for further details)

As for Vod (Video on Demand) everything is here once again. Korean & Japanese dramas are available in Cantonese dubbed (TVB aired) as well as the latest releases in their original languages with Chinese subtitles.

One feature parents will like with the HTV3 is the Cantonese cartoons/anime/movies for kids that’s available in the Vod app.

There are a few standard English channels such as CNN, FX, HBO, BBC, Discovery, NG. Not enough to compare to the UB Box.

Some caveats about the VoD is that some of the older shows (not actively in circulation) don’t work. All the recent ones loads no problem.

Timeshift & Replay

Timeshift is absent from HTV3 similar to UB UBox. However Replay for both Cantonese and Mainland is available.

Edit: The Reply app will continue onto the next show if no other is selected. So that does compensate for the lack of Timeshift!

The Cantonese replay app is the exact same app that UB box uses. While the Mainland app (WonderfulPlayback) is different than the one UB uses, although they do achieve the same result.

Complains

Here are a complains that people that brought up in the forums

  1. The remote is overly sensitive (I didn’t find this to be the case. I found the remote to be quick responsive.)
  2. No responses from support ticket (I couldn’t confirm this but I brought this up with the HTV rep. I will update this post in a little bit)
  3. Vod will skip a minute every 15 minutes or so (I was able to replicate this on a movie) Update: They are currently working on a fix and will be released within 1-2 weeks*

The Verdict

I know this review may sound a lot like an advertisement for the HTV3 but it really isn’t. In my opinion the HTV3 is currently the best box available for Chinese viewers. There hasn’t been enough quirk that I could start complaining about this box.

For the Chinese viewers who are looking to replace their TVPad. The HTV3 is a no brainer. It is easy to use like TVPad and it can do everything a TVPad does but a bit better (except for timeshift). Both unit retails for $299USD (If you plan on buying the HTV3, use my exclusive coupon “padmanfriends” and save $60  + Free SHIPPING!) @ http://www.htvbox.com/

Thanks to our new sponsor, you can get the HTV3 HTV5 for only 209 and with $15 off at htv-box.com with the coupon TVPADTALK

For the Japanese/Korean viewers you will have to make some tough decisions to make. Currently the only box I have seen with live Japanese/Korean streams is the UB box. Although the VoD on the UB box is a bit wonky. As for sticking with TVPad… That’s really a decision you need to make yourself. I personally am boycotting TVPad until they can give us some sort of answer. As a TVPad user, I’m pretty upset at how they have stayed quiet. 

With the TVPad’s future up in air, users like us (purchase for elderly parents) need another stable solution and we need it quick since TVPad is scheduled to shut down their legacy devices anytime from now. HTV3 is a solid replacement and not just a substitute for TVPad.

Forum Discussion @ http://tvpadtalk.ca/discussion/516/htv3-review-now-up-60-off-free-ship-coupon

Here’s a few things that I didn’t bring up in main review that I also liked about this box

  1. Good reception on the remote; I didn’t have place myself right in front of the unit directly. During the writing of this review I’m sitting probably about 4 feet away and about 25 degrees from the unit and the remote presses still registered. I couldn’t do this with either TVPad or UB
  2. The remote does give a “click” feedback similar to the TVPad 4 remote.

    IMG_20160109_0939053

    Where I am positioned

  3. Apps and streams do load up quickly

IMG_20160107_1932100

 

 

Photos taken with BlackBerry Priv
Video taken with XiaoMi Yi Camera
Audio with Tascam DR-05
IPTV Streaming without Kodi

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  • Padman

    Leave a comment if you used my coupon to purchase! 😀

    • Christo

      I just used your coupon.

  • George Li

    What if it got shut down by enforcement again just like TV Pad? How can you be sure this is going to work for long time?

    • Padman

      Nobody know for sure how long it will work. Except for you go with the official product. Which consist of a monthly subscription.

      Just work out the math. If you are going to subscribe to the DISH/Sling deal. That’s $30/month. Basically in 8 months you will be paying the same price as this box.

      • George Li

        You may be right, but according to your point of view, what if it shut down before 8 months, and even it can last more than 8 months, it eventually create a lot of trouble for dealing with it.

        • Padman

          Not sure what you are trying to argue. You either buy it and enjoy it or you don’t…

  • Bernard

    Could you explain what you mean by “Timeshift & Replay”?
    What I’m after is be about to watch the shows from previous nights. Does this mean it is replay, and it is available?
    I live in a different timezone to HK, so to watch the night shows means I should watch from recorded previous night.

    • Padman

      @disqus_AMdgLWyKsh:disqusYes, that is replay and you will see the previous night’s shows.

  • Cathy

    When TVPads ran into problem, I got a HTV2 and love it. I have since got a HTV3. HD display for 3 is much better than 2. Other than the skipping issue for 3, I also noticed the the rewind and forward is very sensitive. I did not have any of the above issue with 2. Hope they will have fixes soon for 3.

    • Padman

      HTV is aware of the skipping issue and will be issuing a fix within 1-2 weeks (supposedly)

  • Karlo Cheung

    TVpad official dead man!

    • Padman

      Oh well, it was a good ride. All good things come to an end 🙁

  • Amas

    I assume this is an altered version of Android? One of the bigger selling points for the Moonbox was the ability to have Play store access. Does the HTV3 box have any third party app support? If not, what kind of apps can you find in their appstore, aside from the streaming channels, of course.

    • Padman

      You can install apks on it like you would on an android.

      At this point I wouldn’t recommend people buying the Moonbox. It seems like I am reading more issues with them then not.

      • Amas

        I know, seems like the company is the issue. I checked the official HTV page and it already has plenty of nice apps preinstalled.

  • Kelvin

    does the reply app and vod app skips a lot? That’s a big issue with the moonbox replay app. Just want to see if anyone notice the same problem on the htv.

    • Padman

      No that I experienced. It’s pretty smooth.

      • Kelvin

        Thanks. I already have the moonbox. At first, I thought it is not bad, but after using it for weeks now, there are just way too many problems. I had much better experience with the tvpad when it was working. I am considering getting the htv for my other tv.

  • coolspot

    Will this box survive or will its fate be like TVPad?

    • Padman

      Who knows. Depends on what your expectation be.

  • liukaihan

    Is there AV output from the HTV box? Or is there only HDMI output?

    • Padman

      @liukaihan:disqusYes it does have AV out

      • liukaihan

        is it possible for you to check if the HTV box can output AV and HDMI at the same time? Because my Unblock TV box cannot output to two tv’s ( one AV & one HDMI) at the same time but my TVPad3 could do it. Cheers.

        • Padman

          Just test it and it doesn’t do that

          • liukaihan

            Ok. Thanks for your help.

  • cchloe

    I apologize for the trouble. I recently ordered a H.TV3 However, when I install the wires, the box will not turn on, the remote flashes, but the box indicator light did not respond. I plugged all wires accordingly and was wondering where the problem is arising from. Is it possible I need to charge the box overnight in order for the box to respond?

    • Padman

      Mmm you don’t need to “charge” the box overnight, it is not a phone. You just plug in the power adapter

  • Don

    Anyone can confirm that CCTV5 and CCTV5+ play well on HTV?

    • Padman

      There’s CCTV5, not sure what CCTV5+ is

      • Don

        Thanks for posting, Padman. Do you call the connection stable?

  • Random Guy

    Hows the sports channel? Is that in chinese as well?

  • learning123

    Does this tv box have free channel for nba basketball?

  • Eric Li

    Unable to display channel list on live tv.. please advise .
    update
    Please ignore .. got the channel list by pressing ok .. cheers

  • Makro Lee

    The reason i bought HTV years ago is bcos many oriental friends told me HTV good for cantonese and english channels for imigration!
    Suppose i upgrade my HTV 2 to 3 but now i changed my mind!! Tooooo many mandarin channels!! Most channels are repeat from different apps!.Begining this set are very good for cantonese and english western channels and now they converted most english channels speak mandarin! So weird if you watch english movie speak in mandarin and the background still can hear some english! .Tht really sucks!! If i really want all in mandarin channel why i want to buy HTV 3 with a premium price? I rather stick back to TVPAD or get a cheaper tv box to watch!!!

  • Earl Reeves

    I purchased two or three TVPads and now they don’t work. There are two free channels that do play Korean Movies etc. I have a ROKU unit so I can put the internet on my TV. The channels are: VIKI Global TV and Drama Fever. You can also watch these on your computer. They do have commercials, but for $5.00 a month you can have it with no commercials.

  • hhjr888

    Is the warranty good in the United States?

  • Tony Yeung

    can install the Tom Soccer watch live sports Bien channel?

  • SAM

    HI Tony, can i ask where to get the TOm watch soccer app from? i’m getting this box only to watch european football. thanks

  • Jennifer

    Hi,
    Thanks for your helpful post!

    I just got my box yesterday and tried watching some movies from the “bee” app – almost every time I tried, there is an error code – E000002 … I wonder if my box is not functioning normally. When I first started the htv box, there was no “language” setup prompt and it also already came with some apps installed.

    I am not sure if I got the refurbished/ used one. Does a brand new box require language setup? I suppose there should be NO app installed on a brand new HTV. All useful input are welcome, thank you!

    • Padman

      Where did you buy the box ? Try starting a topic on tvpadtalk.ca, more people will be able to help you 🙂

      • Jennifer

        Hi Padman,
        Thanks for the recommendation! I will give tvpadtalk.ca a try. I got mine @ http://www.htv-box.com/ where this page provides promo code =)

  • Li Wern Tan

    Hi, Thinking of buying the HTV3. There is an option where i pay $5 more to get preinstall apps- should I pay for it? Thanks!

    • Padman

      Up to you, you can easily install the apks yourself.

  • wxie

    Whats the news with the lawsuit back in April? Has that been settle? and everything works now?

    • JEng

      I don’t think so. I just found out about the lawsuit today. We really want to buy one of these but we won’t if this is illegal. But the costs of doing Time Warner with the premium channels is too high and there isn’t enough nor is the quality of the programming enough so it is very unsatisfying.

      I wish they would legalize this or create a legal box so immigrants can get this kind of satisfaction. Our free trial of Dramafever is over soon and we won’t subscribe because they are Japanese owned. Viki has also been purchased by the Japanese.

    • Padman

      There is no news. Just look at what happened to TVPad after lawsuit.. Nothing. Business as usual.

  • cheung

    I just bought my htv3 2 weeks ago, i got a message today from my htv3 that i need to update it to carry on watching,i need 16 numbers to fill in the box,will anyone please let me have the numbers,i dont know where i can get this 16 nos,thank you

    • Padman

      What app are you using ?

  • Yabing Chen

    i just bought the htv 3. where do i go to down load the apps? please help me

    • Padman

      Are you in US ? If so, download the apk from here. http://tvpadtalk.ca/discussion/899/htv-apks-download

      Otherwise you can just download it from the App store

      • Yabing Chen

        Yes I’m in the US thanks

      • Yabing Chen

        Can you give me the link to the app Store? Thanks

        • Padman

          It should be installed on the box already.

          • Yabing Chen

            No is not in the box

          • Padman

            Provide a screenshot of your app drawer

  • John Wai

    What is the connection to the channels like compared to unblock tech 2 which cuts out regularly ?

    • Padman

      It’s a lot more stable than unblock tech boxes. Different stream source supplier