The MyGica ATV1200 is also called Dual Core Android TV box, and will turn your TV into a multifunctional smart TV. It is a media player, an Internet browser, a video and photo viewer, a game player, and a music player. I had a chance to test one out and run it through a few paces and here is what I found.
Who is MyGica?
MyGica is a Chinese company headquartered in Shenzhen, China. They have been around since at least 2003, and specialize in developing media streaming devices, TV tuners, adapters, and miscellaneous TV connectors. They appear to be a leader in the Chinese market for video devices, but have also distributed a number of products like the ATV1200 internationally in all 6 continents.
As a bit of a side note, MyGica stands for My Giant Calling, which comes from the world of Magic where the talents of the Giant are brought together for developing video products. I am sure there is a story or legend behind this that lead them to this brand name.
In the Box
The ATV1200 comes with a number of cables: HDMI, composite video cable, and a RCA 3-prong cable (two sound and one video). It also has a remote control complete with a pair of new batteries. Finally it has the power adapter for the ATV1200 and a set of instructions plus a small quick-start guide. I had a look at the “instructions” before I did anything and have to say they need an entire revamp. The booklet is small and most of the pictures are so dark that you can barely see what is on them (some pictures are totally useless). The way the booklet is laid out is not very logical but despite the poor set of instructions the setup of the box was simple.
This was very easy; as all I had to do was connect the HDMI cable to my TV, plug in my Ethernet cable and power adapter. I turned on the TV and it walked me through about 4 relatively simple steps to set it up. Things like: choose the right language, choose Ethernet or WiFi, set up the screen display, and choose your home screen. The screen display setup was not well explained, so I went to their help menu and could find what I needed there. I just think they could improve the on-screen setup to be a little more straight-forward, but you should be able to find your way through it with no problem.
This Android device is running on Android 4.1 and 4.2.2 jelly Bean. The home screen is laid out reasonably well and comes fully preloaded with quite a few apps. There are three sections on the home screen – the top has the most popular items like Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Skype, and a Google Calendar. There is a middle band of all the items like XMBC (more on that later) and settings that take you to further menus, and then the bottom of the screen has all your apps which can be added to. As you scroll from page to page, the apps that you have downloaded change but the top two sections remain the same.
I thought the main interface was good because it was well laid out and relatively simple to find what you wanted. However, as I started diving deeper and using some of the apps there were a few things that I was disappointed with. For instance, I found the remote control used to navigate the screen to be a little frustrating. It has a nice “mouse” option where a mouse arrow appears on the screen but the mouse isn’t controlled by moving the remote. The control of it uses the left, right, up and down arrow buttons, which was a bit clunky and slow. For some of the apps the only way to make selections was using this clunky mouse. Other apps, I could shut the remote mouse off and simply use those arrow buttons to tab through the selections. It would be nice to have a more consistent approach since I had to take a trial-and- error approach to figure out how to navigate through each app.
In addition to the HDMI connection that I already mentioned, this box comes fully loaded with 4 USB ports on the side as well as an SD card slot so you can load content directly using either. It also has an optical out connection in addition to the analog component and RCA outputs on the back. It comes with WiFi, which is great, but I used the Ethernet connection since it is more reliable for those higher bandwidth streaming applications. The WiFi is 802.11 b/g/n Dual Band and comes with an external extended range antenna for better reception.
The 4 USB ports on the side are very handy not only for content, but you can also add a regular or wireless mouse and/or keyboard to help navigate through the screens. You can also download their remote app on your Android device as a remote control on your Smartphone or tablet. To use this the box must use the WiFi capability rather than Ethernet so the Android device and the box must be on the same network. I didn’t try this because I used the Ethernet to connect, but nice to know this other option is available.
The ATV1200 comes with Dual Core CPU (ARM Cortex X9), and has 1Gb RAM and 4Gb Flash Memory. It does both 1080i and 1080p video playback so I expected the picture to be very good, but I have to say I was a little disappointed in the speed. I watched a few videos on Netflix that I had previously started watching on my Roku 3 and the ATV1200 picture was clear, but not quite as clear as the Roku. Also, when I started to watch them on the ATV1200 the first 15 seconds of video was fairly blurred and took a little time to clear up. I never experienced that with my Roku 3, despite the fact I used the exact same connections for the exact same programs.
The ATV1200 essentially brings “Android” to your TV screen. It is preloaded with basic Android apps like Gmail, Calendar, Google Play, and a few other Android related apps. It also comes with a Chrome web browser so you can find a lot of content just searching the web. It also has Miracast so you can mirror your Android device on the screen. Because it also supports DLNA and Airplay you can also mirror your IOS device using the ATV1200.
When you log in with your Google account it conveniently gives you access to all the Google Play apps that you have already downloaded before on Google Play. You can do the same with your Gmail and Calendar by logging in, it all shows up. In terms of additional content it has all the usual suspects like Facebook, YouTube, Skype, etc. that I have already mentioned, but it also comes pre-loaded with XBMC, which is a great open source media platform.
XBMC gives you access to a lot more content through their add-on menu. I found music streaming content like Grooveshark and Pandora, and TV sites like History Channel and the Food Network. The only thing I found with XBMC is that there is a lot of content that isn’t very recognizable, so you have to dig your way through it to find what you want. Too much content is, however, a better problem than not having enough.
The ATV1200 is a decent media-streaming device, but in my opinion needs a number of improvements in the processing and navigation in order to come up to the standard set by Apple TV and Roku. However, if you are Android centric then the MyGica ATV1200 can work nicely for you as it nicely synchs all your Android Google apps, and the addition of XBMC provides a lot more content now and in the future as more open source apps get developed.