Jio came with a revolution in terms of cheap mobile data and broadband plans, but it was all shortlived. Jio also announced DTH services with Jio set top box and everyone expected disruption in this space too. I had been using Jio fiber broadband services for a year under preview offer and I am quite happy with the services. Under preview offer, for refundable security of 4500, we were offered an ONT router and 1100gb data per month. Recently in August Jio commercially launched fiber broadband services and also announced Jio set-top box availability.
The preview offer continued for a while but in Dec 2019, Jio discontinued it and new plans were made available for a recharge. I got Jio set top box a few days ago. Jio team came for the installation and gave a demo. It took around 15-20 minutes overall.
Finally, its time for a detailed review of the set-top box to make you all aware of the tits and bits of this thing.
- Jio set top box
- Charger adapter
- HDMI cable
- LAN (RJ 45) cable
- BT BLE remote controller
- Instruction leaflet
Front: Status LED
Back (L-R): Power port, headphone port, HDMI port, ethernet port, USB port
Right & Left side: vents
Top & Bottom: logo and specification tag
About Jio set top box
Let me clear one thing initially that the name “set-top box” is slightly misleading and Jio’s offering is nowhere close to DTH services offered by Airtel or Tata. Jio’s box comes more in the line of Amazon’s Fire Tv stick, Airtel’s Xstream box, etc. So to say its a streaming box that caters contents from various OTT platforms like Voot, Hotstar, SonyLIV, etc.
So Jio set top box is effectively a digital media player that can stream contents from various providers and offers other services like video calls, gameplay, etc as well. Jio has partnered with providers for the same. Inside it has an Android operating system that forms the base of the device.
Unlike previous claims, this box is not a hybrid set-top box and has no entry port for the coaxial cable of the MSO or cable TV provider.
Data consumption: Full HD content viewing will consume approx 2 GB of data per hour which will get deducted from monthly data limit.
Specifications of Jio set top box
OS: Customized Android 7.0 with Dec 2018 security patch.
- Nice and cheap way to convert normal TV to smart TV.
- The quality of the device along with supplied accessories is good.
- You get it for free with any of the Jio fiber plans.
- Easy setup & connects easily to a TV via HDMI port.
- Two-way connectivity. Either use LAN cable or WiFi to connect the box to the internet.
- Voice remote with appreciably good voice recognition.
- HDMI CEC for one key power off. (Works one way, and both set-top box and tv switches off with TV’s remote but not with set-top box’s remote).
- Can play content directly from USB pen drive or hard disk.
- Can directly output audio to headphones or home theatre system via SPDIF port.
- Support for USB camera, game controllers, etc, which though need to be bought separately.
- Regular software upgrades for both the box and remote.
- It depends totally on the internet data and its speed. You eventually run out of data unless you have an unlimited pack which is very costly.
- It’s not a traditional DTH set-top box, rather a streaming device like Fire TV stick.
- Even viewing live channels is via apps and not based on channel numbers.
- Limited live channels as of now.
- Limited apps in the Jio store as of now.
- No Netflix or Prime app.
- Works only with Jio fiber broadband. *
- No TV control (on/off, volume +/-) via the same remote. You need to switch between two remotes.
- No RCA connection for old gen TV without HDMI ports.
- Restricted OS. You can’t install third-party apps via the apk file.
Features of Jio set-top box
Here we have a regular android TV or Fire TV stick like interface with the status bar on the top (L to R: voice search, notifications, profile, settings, WiFi), content carousel below that, then a row of recently used apps and further rows with other apps.
In settings we have,
Device-> network, apps, inactivity timer, HDMI CEC, HDMI resolution, storage & reset, about,
Preferences-> date & time, language, keyboard, netvelocity, overscan, mobile remote
Remote & accessories-> JIO BLE remote
Personal-> location, security
So far live channels of the Viacom18 network via JioTV+ app and star network via the Hotstar app are working in this Jio set-top box.
Zee & Sony networks live channels are not there. Individual apps (Zee5 & SonyLIV) are there with the regular content and episode availability one day later on. To access live channels and premium content you need to purchase a prime package of these apps. Jio is probably working with them to bring their live channels to the box.
Available live channels: (as on Jan 2020)
1. Viacom18: Colors TV, Nick, MTV, Comedy Central, History, CNBC Prime, Colors Rishtey, CNBC Awaz, CNBC TV 18, MTV Beats, etc
2. Star: Star Plus, Star Gold, Star Bharat, Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Utsav, few regional channels, etc
1. Entertainment: Colors TV, Colors Rishtey, Jio Bollywood Premium, MTV, Comedy Central, DD National, Nick, Star Plus, Star Gold, Star Bharat
2. Infotainment: History
3. Sports: Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1 Hindi
4. Kids: Nick
5. Devotional: Sanskar, Sadhna, Aastha, Satsang, Ishwar TV, Paras, Peace of mind, & few regional channels
6. News: Republic, ABP News, News India 18, News 24, News X, Aljazeera, DD News, DD Madhya Pradesh, News Nation, India News, News World India, CNBC Awaz, CNBC TV 18 & few regional news channels
7. Music: B4U Music, MTV Beats, PTC Chak De, 9XM, Mastiii, E24,
Jio App Store
Jio app store is highly immature as of now (Jan 2020) and has limited apps, that you can count on fingers. Also, the option to enable third-party app installation via apk’s is disabled in the interface.
Jio apps: Jio TV +, Jio Cinema, Jio Saavn, Jio Games, My Jio, Jio Pages, Music, and Photos
Entertainment apps: YouTube, Voot, SonyLIV, Hotstar, and Zee5
Some of the included apps in detail:
Jio TV+ app caters content from Voot, Hotstar, Alt Balaji, Eros, Sony LIV, and Jio Cinema
Jio Pages app is a web browser with a virtual mouse on-screen and channel keys on remote to scroll on page.
Music app is used to play music stored locally or from Jio Cloud.
Photos app can be used to view photos stored locally or from Google photos or Jio Cloud.
Jio Games app has few games for kids playtime (no serious games here).
Jio Net Velocity app to measure internet speed and see other geeky stats.
My Jio app to manage your Jio fiber account and view usage stats. As of now, recharge can’t be done via this app and you need to move to the mobile app.
Setup of Jio set top box
- Connect Jio set top box via HDMI cable to the TV.
- Connect the power cable to the box and adapter to the power socket, set-top box’s LED starts blinking white during the boot process. LED stabilizes to dim solid white when the boot process completes.
- Insert two AAA batteries in the battery compartment at the backside of the remote.
- Switch on/off the set-top box via the power button on the remote. The LED glows solid red when off and solid white when on.
- Go through the general setup.
- Pair the remote to the box by bringing it closer to the box and pressing any button on the remote. Wait for the confirmation message on the screen.
- Connect box to the internet, either via LAN cable or WiFi, as per convenience.
- Some software upgrades will start automatically for the box and remote. Do not switch off the box or operate remote during the process.
- Enjoy content streaming via Jio set-top box.
Jio hyped a lot about its set top box and many were expecting it to be a DTH killer. There were many rumors around like it will offer all live channels for a very small price, data consumption via set-top box won’t be part of regular data offered with the plans, etc.
But now after commercial launch, everything is crystal clear. First, it’s not a DTH replacement at all, but a simple streaming device and that the data consumed by the box will be deducted from the data pool you get with any package, say for eg from 100 (+50) GB you get with the bronze plan.
With the above two things, getting a Jio fiber connection with free Jio set top box is a so-so deal for anyone. Many with broadband connections already have a Fire TV stick or even a smart TV at home. So getting this box is not a lucrative offer.
- If you don’t have a smart TV or streaming device like Fire TV stick, Chromecast, Xstream, etc, and don’t have any broadband connection at home already, then you can give Jio fiber connection with free Jio set top box, a shot. But as of now, it’s having a limited app store with very few apps as against to Amazons app store with plenty of apps and content.
- If you already have a good broadband connection at home and don’t have a smart TV then better purchase FireTV stick which has a rich app store with a good collection of apps and is not a restricted device.
- If you want to have traditional DTH experience and love to scroll channels one by one or switch to any with its number, then better stick to DTH. It’s way too cheaper compared to Broadband based content viewing, has no buffering issues, doesn’t have a data cap, does not depend on a cable which may break (works via satellite) and you are free to consume whatever quantity of content you want to. While in Jio box, once your data is exhausted, you are limited to 1 Mbps connection which will be closed to useless for streaming that requires a minimum 4 Mbps speed for the optimum experience.