What looks like an AppleTV, runs the Android OS, and irritates me to no end? It’s the TVPad!
First off, I admit that the language barrier didn’t help the situation, but if you’re thinking of getting one of these boxes, just know what you’re getting into. The TVPad is a custom box that runs specific apps to stream video from the Internet to your television. You can actually get your own computer hardware and install the same apps, but the TVPad is packaged into one small unit to make things very convenient. I won’t comment on the legality of the product or the video streams.
Now here’s where it gets dumb, and again, my language misunderstanding could have gotten in the way. Since the TVPad is meant to connect to your television to stream Internet-based video, you assume two things:
- The TVPad connects to your TV
- The TVPad connects to the Internet
Not unreasonable, right? Connecting to your TV is really easy if you have HDMI. One cable and you’re done. So how about that connecting to the Internet part? Take a look at the box and the “instruction manual.”
What would be your guess to connect the TVPad to the Internet? WiFi? I can read that on the box, and the manual shows the configuration steps. But no, you and I would be wrong. You see, the TVPad M121 does not support WiFi!! I have no idea why, and I still question this engineering decision. The only hint that WiFi isn’t on the M121 model is this statement in the configuration settings:
As a wireless network environment is uncertain, please choose the cable network for your comfort.
Translated this means suck it up and hardwire me to the Internet. Seriously?!
You have to use the cabled Ethernet connection to get the TVPad online. You have an Ethernet cable installed in your living room by your television, right? It’s common in every household, right? Oh wait, the TVPad has a USB port. That’s the answer. You can use one of those going-out-of-style USB WiFi adapters. Those are relatively cheap now. So I got one, a name brand one that should do the trick. But no, it didn’t. There was no indication that WiFi was now enabled via this adapter. More online research that keeps point me back to the wired Ethernet port. Really? Really.
Now, I wasn’t about to string a 50-ft CAT5e cable from the router through the living and dining room to the TV. And no, we weren’t going to relocate the Road Runner drop. What next? Set up a WiFi/Ethernet bridge like a wireless basestation working in reverse. Have you tried to get an older, unsupported 802.11g router working with a WiFi bridge from another vendor? You have? Good for you! I wasn’t about to go down that possibly tortuous road. Instead, I went for the (more expensive) sure thing – the dual band, 802.11n Apple AirPort Express.
I swapped out the older 802.11g router with one AirPort Express to act as the primary router and added a second AirPort Express to bridge the wireless back to a wired connection for the TVPad. This setup was much faster than figuring out the TVPad doesn’t or won’t natively support WiFi.
Then success, bittersweet success. The TVPad with $200 more in extra equipment was finally up and running. It actually streams video well and is responsive. Just remember that you have to choose the cable network for your comfort.
Here are some pics for the heck of it.