I recently upgraded from StarHub Cable TV to StarHub Fibre TV—StarHub TV+—and I am not at all happy about it. Below are my thoughts on the hardware, software, and performance.
The StarHub TV+ fibre box looks good on paper: a quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 8GB of storage, along with support for 4K UHD and 802.11ac dual-band WiFi. It’s also a much smaller box than the cable box that came before it. The remote control is Bluetooth, so you don’t need to point it in the direction of the box. However, this is where the good news, from a hardware perspective, ends.
There’s a small black strip on the front of the (white) box. It isn’t pleasant. On the right-hand side of this strip is a tiny green or red dot representing whether it’s on or in standby mode. And that’s it. There’s nothing else on this strip. Suggestion: put the time in this black strip. It was there on the old box, and it was useful.
From a networking perspective, I don’t use StarHub TV+ with StarHub Smart WiFi1. Instead, I have the TV+ box linked up via ethernet directly to the ONT. This particular setup means I miss out on local channels (e.g. Channel News Asia). If you want local stations, you need to connect the TV+ box to a separate Nokia router (also provided by StarHub) which itself connects to the ONT.
The remote control buttons are surprisingly stiff. Way more so than what they should be.
androidtv (it’s lowercased on the box) is the OS that powers the TV+ box. Owing to a higher resolution, the UI of the TV+ box is much better than the cable box. The ability to pause TV is also a plus point. But there’s very little else that’s positive about it.
The sign-up process is painful: you need to enter your “Hub iD” username and password using an on-screen keyboard. I found myriad problems with the keyboard.
- If you scroll right one too many times, the system thinks you’ve finished entering your password and tries to sign you in. When it throws you back to the sign-in page due to the incorrect password, the system requires re-entry of the whole password.
- The keyboard inexplicably changed its layout—from wide to compact2—while I was entering my password.
- Related to sign in, I couldn’t get through the initial setup without signing into Google.
What I don’t understand is why these sign-in shenanigans are necessary. If you can tell that the box is registered to my account and it’s being used from a fibre termination point in my house, why am I signing in? There must be a better way to manage this. (Even the cards that were issued with the previous cable boxes were better.)
The performance of this box is shocking. It’s so bad that the network setup I described above was the result of me trying to eke out any performance improvements I could find. It’s so bad that I’m actually on my second TV+ box in the space of three weeks. Let’s look at what’s wrong:
- it can, and regularly does, take 7-to-10 seconds to switch the channel
- random errors appear:
- This device is currently tuning to the requested channel. Please wait. [M7001]
MEDIA_ERROR_OPY_SSM_SETUP_FAILURE:SSM setup session request gets failure.3
- Player Error: Oops, something went wrong while trying to play the video.
- on multiple occasions on 9th December, anytime I tuned to BBC Lifestyle, the box crashed.
- on random occasions, when you reboot you have to sign in all over again because it loses your sign in details.
- occasionally, when entering a channel number, it cannot find that channel and will instead tune to the nearest channel number it can find4
- the box has decided that the best time to update is while I’m watching TV without asking.
Despite all this, the box shows no errors regarding its connection to the internet. Additionally, both boxes I have been issued with displayed these issues. They require one-to-two reboots per day.
I can’t recommend StarHub TV+ until these issues are sorted out. Watching TV is now a genuine annoyance. I’m left to wonder: if I keep pressing the back button on the remote control, will it bring back the cable box?
Update (11th January 2021):
On the 9th, 10th, and 11th of January the Starhub TV+ box forgot my credentials.
Additionally, on the 10th January, the list of random errors grew yet again:
U2004—Retrieving Mapping Between Hub iD and TV ID: Internal Server Error
N_ECONNRESET—socket hang up