Truth be told, nothing beats streaming content on a full-sized TV. Don’t you enjoy it when you see every detail without having to shove your face in front of the screen or having to wear earphones to understand what the cast is talking about?
Apparently, though, not everyone has a smart TV. To bring this immersive experience to more viewers, Globe has launched its own Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) receiver, called Globe Streamwatch 2-in-1 Entertainment Box, in September last year.
The device enables Globe At Home subscribers to turn their regular TVs into smart ones, where they can watch content from streaming apps and tune in to free-to-air local TV channels — all without breaking the bank.
Globe At Home subscribers can purchase the Streamwatch Entertainment Box as an add-on to their plan for P149 per month for 24 months or a one-time payment of P3,599.
But still and all, can this cut-price digital TV receiver actually suffice for a smart TV? Read on as Speed puts it to work on a 55-inch Sony Bravia TV while connected to the internet via Globe At Home’s 50Mbps Unli Fiber plan.
Globe Streamwatch installation
Plugging the device into the TV is easy, as all the necessary connectors are provided in the box containing the unit. There is an HDMI cable, which you must insert in the HDMI port of both your Steamwatch and TV, as well as a small antenna to be connected to the Streamwatch’s antenna port. It also comes with a pair of AAA batteries for the remote control that has dedicated buttons for YouTube, Google Play Store, and Google Assistant.
Once connected to your TV, you will be prompted to pair the remote to your Streamwatch by pressing the controller’s left arrow key and home button until the Streamwatch’s LED light starts blinking.
Setting up the device’s software on the TV can be done in two ways: first is through your Android phone and the other is directly on your TV. I went for the latter because I only have an iPhone on hand.
The process is pretty straightforward. You would only have to connect the device to your Wi-Fi router then it will automatically update the software and launch it on your TV. However, it could also take time and, as in my case, require you to reconnect to your Wi-Fi several times.
This momentary blip could happen if, like me, your router is inside one of your bedrooms, while the Streamwatch is in your living room, right beside your TV — perhaps just where it is supposed to be?
Once the system has finished downloading the update, you will be greeted by a simple user interface that’s smooth and easy to navigate.
The Globe Streamwatch comes with several apps, including YouTube, HBO Go, Facebook Watch Live TV, VLive, and iFlix. If those aren’t enough, you can always download some on the device’s pre-installed Google Play Store.
It wouldn’t require you to log in to your Google account if you already paired your Android phone to the device during installation. In my case, though, I had to sign in directly on the TV. Logging in and searching for an app was fast and easy in the same way that downloading an app took me only less than a minute. And I’m not exaggerating.
Now let’s go to the Globe Streamwatch’s core feature — streaming. First off, I watched Mr. Beast’s viral YouTube video where he and his fellow YouTubers recreated the challenges on Squid Game. I enjoyed watching it not only because I’m a fan of the OG Netflix series, but because the Streamwatch played this 25-minute video without lag and in full HD.
Next, I tuned into ChoOxTV’s Mobile Legends live stream on the Facebook Watch Live TV app. Same as my experience with YouTube, there were no lags and the resolution was HD.
It was different, though, when I tried to watch the live Mass of a church I’m following on Facebook. It kept buffering, so much so that I had to switch to my laptop where the livestream didn’t have as many lags.
The built-in VLive app would be a good reason for K-pop fans to cop the Streamwatch. But here’s a tip: Be sure to place it near your Wi-Fi router. When I streamed an episode of BTS Run, I lost connection to the internet over 10 times throughout the one-hour show.
HBO Go was also one of the apps I tried opening upon installation and, apparently, I did not get past the app’s title screen at that time. That shouldn’t be much of a problem, as it worked just fine after a few days. I was able to log in to my HBO account within seconds via QR code and stream Wonder Woman 1984 without buffering and pixelation.
In addition to streaming apps, Globe Streamwatch gives you access to more than 40 over-the-air TV channels, including A27, GMA, TV5, and Knowledge Channel. You can expect a clear signal — thanks to the antenna that came with the device — as well as decent resolution from these standard-definition channels.
The device also offers some HDTV channels, including GMA and CNN, that you can opt for if you want something with at least 1080p resolution.
Activating Google Assistant
To complete your smart TV experience, Globe also equipped the Streamwatch with Google Assistant, which you can easily activate using the remote control. I simply clicked the mic button and held the controller under my mouth while saying the specific item I wanted Google to search for. It proved to be up to snuff, as seen in the test I did below.
For its low price of only P149/month for two years, the Globe Streamwatch 2-in-1 Entertainment Box is a sufficiently good alternative to a smart TV. It delivers HD content from its wide variety of pre-installed apps and offers easy access to more downloadable programs through its built-in Google Play Store.
The TV channels that it streams with reliable signal strength are a big bonus. Just do remember that for you to get the best viewing experience without lags and buffers, you must prop the Streamwatch on the closest spot to your Wi-Fi router.