Thursday, June 16, 2016


Mygica Media Streamer First Impressions

  As many of my computers are too old to play 720P or 1080P video I decided to buy a media streamer: The Mygica ATV520E.

 The ATV520E has an ARM Cortex A9 CPU, 1GB of Ram and 4GB hard drive with 2 USB 2.0 slots, an ethernet port and one micro SD slot. It also supports Wifi. Inside the box you get the manuals, a remote with two AAA batteries, one HDMI cable and the DC adapter. The version I bought had Android 4.4 (Kitkat) preinstalled. Connecting to the HDTV was easy enough via the HDMI cable.

  First I'll talk about the manual which is very poor. The black and white pictures inside the manual are mostly unreadable due to the lack of contrast in the images (they look like rectangular blobs of black). The text is very tiny and you'll probably need a magnifying glass to read it. Basically the manual lacks important information one should know about operating this device. For one thing you can reboot the box by holding down the red power button. I found this to be necessary as certain button sequences may leave you with a blank screen. The manual shows an older version of the software and will probably not match what you see on the screen.

  I found the device to be easy enough to operate after a bit of experimentation. The (9) or exit button allows one to exit the current program. It would have been a good idea if Mygica put VCR style buttons on the remote but there are buttons for controlling the sound volume, muting, and the usual left/right and up/down functions. Linux users will probably want to install some sort of terminal from the Google Play store which is a digital distribution service operated by Google.

  The 4GB hard drive included with the device will fill up quickly so it's recommended to buy a micro SD card. The manual says sizes up to 32GB will work but I think it's possible that larger sizes will also work with a suitable software upgrade.

  On the positive side I was able to watch quite a lot of media. Some of it was streamed from my other Linux computers, some was streamed from CBC (shows like Murdoch Mysteries and The Nature of Things were readily available). Russia Today also streamed without any problems. Some of the media from outside Canada like ESPN3 was not available probably due to my Canadian IP address. I did have some trouble with the Wifi reception when the microwave was operating, evidently they operate at similar frequencies.

  Since the device is Android based one can play many Android games on it, although you'll find that some games are optimized for smartphones and tablets. I was able to play Pinball Arcade and Zen Pinball without any problems. There are numerous other "Apps" and one can read ebooks or pdf files once one becomes familiarized with the user interface which I found to be very different from using a GUI under Linux. I would recommend the Kr-301 Air mouse with keyboard as using the remote to do certain things is very sub-optimal or even impossible, although it should be possible to just use a USB mouse and keyboard assuming one's cables will reach from the couch.

  All in all the Mygica ATV520E seems an adequate device for my purposes. The poor manual aside, I was basically happy with it. Some power users will probably not be happy with the Intel Duo Core CPU and the device can't do 4K video but most people don't yet own a 4K TV. I see this device as a supplement to my existing computers. Users probably won't want to use this device to do actual work, but it's fun streaming Youtube videos while relaxing on the couch and for $99 it's inexpensive entertainment. The device measures 100x100x15 mm and weights only 160g so moving it to a different room is very easy.


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