WeTek Play Review – Android based TV tuner and media player
We review the WeTek Play. A Android based box that combines a TV tuner and IPTV offering with Android apps from the Google Play store and adds a very popular Media Center software in the form of Kodi.
A good example of this the WeTek Play box that combines a TV tuner and IPTV offering with Android apps from the Google Play store and adds a very popular Media Center software in the form of Kodi (the former XBMC). So on paper the WeTek Play gives you a very complete solution in a single box. Linux-TV has played with it for a couple of weeks and here is our review. Make sure to visit wetek.com as well
WeTek Play unboxing
The WeTek Play comes very neatly packed in a stylish looking box.
- The WeTek Play box
- IR/RF Remote Control (AAA batteries not included)
- HDMI Cable
- Serial RS 232 cable
- Power Supply
- WeTek Membership Card
- Quick Start User Guide
- A WeTek branded plastic carrying bag
- An update nail
The Quick start guide is a well organized introduction to the box content, first steps and specifications.
WeTek Play versions
The WeTek Play is sold both as a standalone media player box or as a tv tuner box. WeTek offer both a Twin tuner Satellite tuner version or you can buy it with a Terrestrial/Cable tv combo tuner.
- WeTek Play base version (without tuner)
- WeTek Play with Twin satellite tv tuner (DVB-S2)
- WeTek Play with Terrestrial/Cable combo tuner (DVB-T/T2/C)
The tuner is pluggable so you can change it later on. WeTek supplied us with both tuners and we have to praise them for making it super easy to change tuner modules. You do not need to open the receiver. It is simply a matter of pushing the tuner out at the bottom with a screw driver. Do note that only the satellite tuner is a twin tuner.
WeTek Play specifications, connections and design
|Hardware Processor (CPU)||AMLogic AML-8726 MX (1.5 GHz Dual Core)|
|GPU||Mali MP400 (Dual Core)|
|RAM Memory||1GB DDR III Flash memory 4GB NAND|
|Tuners Plug & Play||DVB-S2 (satellite) DVB-T/T2/C (cable/terrestial) ATSC (over-the-air) ISDB-T (terrestrial) *can be purchased separately|
|Wireless LAN||802.11 B/G/N|
|Wired Ethernet||10/100 Mbit|
|Memory card reader||MicroSD|
|USB||5 (3 external, 2 internal)|
|RS 232||Serial Debug|
|Analogue A/V Output||Adapter cable not included|
|LED||Power, Lan, WiFi|
The WeTek logo is on the top of this rounded box which feels quite light
Here is a look at the front of the WeTek Play with the power led which also is a power on/off button. There is a led indicating if you are connected using the Ethernet port or WLAN.
A look at the back connections on the WeTek Play. (Combo Terrestrial/Cable tuner fitted)
Here is a look on the right side of the WeTek Play with a USB port and Micro SD card reader.
WeTek Play Setup
Let us power on the device and go through the installation process. The WeTek Play comes with a start up wizard that guides you through the installation of the box.
English, French, Portuguese and Spanish were available initially as languages while a later software release added some more.
The next step you can set resolution, overscan and audio settings. 1080p 50 Hz is the highest setting.
There is built in WiFi or you can choose wired Lan. A nice touch is the on screen graphics telling you what to do with the Ethernet cable.
The WeTek Play is constantly evolving and improved so be sure to do the online update. It is very simple as long as you have an Internet connection available.
Then we are at the final step in the wizard the product registration here you will need the membership card included with the box.
We found the easiest is to go to the WeTek website and register for a user account on our computer first and then use this info during the wizard on the box. There is obviously some typing on the On Screen Keyboard to put in username and passwords for WeTek account, Google account etc. That is a bit of a pain but pretty much you only need to do this once. You can add a bluetooth keyboard to the device to make it easier.
We are reviewing the basic default setup of the WeTek Play which is a combined Android + WeTek Play Services and Kodi software solution.
You can also do an alternative DIY install from a SD card with OpenElec software so you get a more pure Kodi experience.
Another possibility is Enigma 2. Read more about this here
WeTek Play menus and general use
The look and feel of the Home Screen on the WeTek Play is an Android experience but WeTek has added their own stuff. On the Home Screen you have day, date and weather information at the top. In the middle the sections: TV, Apps, Browser, Local and Kodi.
While at the bottom you can get quick access to some of your favorite apps like YouTube, Gmail etc.
At the side there is a settings menu where you can access Android and WeTek settings.
You can install more from the Google Play store.
Everything is controlled from the supplied remote which is a combined IR/RF remote.
On the top you find the buttons you need to navigate, enter numbers, accessing EPG etc.
A button on the back activates an air mouse function which is very useful for many things in the Android Environment.
The Remote feels pretty good to hold. Hardcore TV users may miss some more dedicated buttons though.
If you like you can also get a WeTek remote app (WeControl) for your Android Smartphone.
Bootwise the WeTek Play is not super fast. We measure bootup taking 60 seconds.
Let us take a closer look at the WeTek Theatre section where you can watch some online IPTV based channels offered through WeTek or watch tv from the tv tuner (satellite or cable/terrestrial). You can set it to go directly to IP or DVB by default.
The IPTV section offers some english language news channels some german and turkeys channels to count a few of them but there channels from many parts of the world.
Quality is not HD quality but certainly watchable and you can adjust the order by logging in to the WeTek Play website.
Many channels have EPG but it is not possible to record the IPTV channels
Here a Linux TV we are of course mainly interested in the tv tuner section and we started with the satellite twin tuner.
WeTek offer a very complete satellite section with lots of positions from all of the world but the problem with this is that you have to browse through a lot which have no interest to you to get to the positions you need. Maybe an idea for a future update to simplify this in some way.
The WeTek Play offer good support for DiSEqC protocols with 1.0,1.1, 1.2 and USALS. Unicable is also an option but currently we found and WeTek confirmed that is not yet working. WeTek tell us that is being fixed and it should work if you use OpenElec / tvheadend install so basically it is a driver issue on the Android software.
Channel scan can be set to FTA, TV only to narrow the scanned channels to your liking. Since the WeTek Play has no built in card reader or CI slot for Pay TV we did a FTA only scan which performed as expected. We do hear that you can add a external card reader and install softcam software but we did not test this.
Cable and Terrestrial
To test cable and terrestrial tv we simply pushed the satellite tuner out and put in the cable/terrestrial tuner and went into WeTek Theatre settings to scan for channels. All our DVB-C channels were found but we would have liked an option to skip encrypted channels during the scan.
TV Use in general
The On Screen TV Graphics is simple and well organized and that includes the EPG.
Channel zapping is fast. We do miss some languages in the default subtitle and audio settings. Only a limited selection is available.
We found that browsing the channel list could make the live tv playback a bit choppy.
Recoding TV or Timeshifting is possible if you add an USB storage device. We are testing in the WeTek Theatre software and recording worked but we did experience some problems with playback of recordings being choppy since the on screen play graphics icon seemed to stay on at playback. WeTek tells us that they are working on a KitKat Android version of the firmware which includes a new UI for the DVB Theatre which should resolve this issue.
WeTek Play using apps
With access to the Google Play store you also get access to a lot of interesting apps. Our main focus is TV so we have mainly tried streaming services like Netflix but gaming is also possible. In general you should not expect the more advanced games to play flawless as the WeTek Play is not a super powerful device but it should have no problems with the more simple games.
WeTek provided us with a image firmware with support for Google DRM so we tested several streaming services on the WeTek Play. Since we are based in Denmark some of these are Danish/Nordic only.
- Netflix worked
- Viaplay worked (internal video player setting only)
- HBO Nordic worked
- TV 2 Play Denmark did not work
- DR TV Denmark only audio worked
So bit of a mixed bag in this area. Your milage may vary with your favorite streaming apps.
WeTek Play Kodi experience
As previously stated we are reviewing the Android default install on the WeTek Play but you can do a custom install via the micro sd card reader which probably will be the way to go if you are a hardcore Kodi user. The advantage is a faster boot directly into Kodi and in general you get better performance.
The Android version of Kodi works pretty well though. It played the test videos we tried fine. Audio passthrough for Dolby or DTS audio did not work in the Android Kodi version at least.
WeTek Play Our Verdict
The WeTek Play is an interesting device which combines several things into one box. We like the idea of combining the power of the Google Play store with TV and Kodi.
WeTek has done a lot to develop the product and the tv software and they have come a long way. The plug and play tuner install is super easy and we like the effort WeTek also puts into its packaging. It gives a good quality experience.
There are still some things to be fixed or optimized. As we found out the Unicable support is not working yet in the Android version and in general there is still some optimization to be done in the WeTek Theatre tv software.
We had mixed results with getting some streaming apps in the Google Play store to work so do not expect everything to work. WeTek looks to be very active in the development of the product and offer a great user forum where you can get advice and talk with other WeTek users.
We would recommend the WeTek Play to those interested in using a product that is still evolving and to those who like to do a bit of researching and be a part of a growing community. We tested several builds during our weeks with the product.
We look forward to follow WeTek in the future and see how they develop. We would like to see a high end version with better specs some time in the future.
Linux-TV thanks WeTek for supplying the unit for this review.