Never before has there been such emphasis on getting your simple TV to multitask so efficiently. We’ve come a long way since the days when we just switched on the TV to catch the daily news (strictly an hour, and without the blaring red Breaking News banner staring at you 24/7).

And while on one end there are smart TVs eyeing the big bucks you’ve saved for years, there still seems to be a chance for pimping up your telly without breaking your fixed deposit account!

I tried out the recently launched EvoTV by Amkette, a device that promises to make your TV ‘smarter’. The entire unit comprises of the Evo Box, the main console, and Evo Touch, the system’s remote control.

Build and features

The device runs on Android 2.3.4 with ‘EvoView’, the company’s proprietary user interface. The Evo Touch turned out to be a rather unusual remote control for a media console. It’s designed to be compact enough to fit in your palm and the controls are kept to a bare minimum.

The Android platform requires the Evo system to be touch-enabled, for you to make the most of it. So the Evo Touch actually has a touch-enabled button on the underside of the remote control. The button doubles up as a touch-sensitive pointer and a gaming controller. This was quite handy, for example, when you want to browse through various applications you just click the button and swipe in the air.

There are no set-up directions that guide you through the motion control feature and this is a good and a bad thing at the same time! Good, because you don’t have to waste time going through the motions and bad, because the gestures take some getting used to.

With an in-built microphone the remote control even lets you talk into it in case you want to Skype on your telly. The remote control works in a range of about 10 metres so you don’t have to worry too much even if you are using the EvoTV in your expansive living room.

One of the best parts about the EvoTV was that the console has four USB ports which you can make use of. This lets, for example, all members of a family plug in their smartphones or thumb drives to stream their data on the telly through these devices. Saves all the bickering that would ensue when one has to fight over who gets to choose what to play on movie night!

The device is powered by an ARM Cortex A9 processor, the likes that Apple’s proprietary A5 system-on-a-chip utilise. Running on Android, EvoTV comes pre-loaded with a bunch of familiar apps that include Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Stick Cricket. You have direct access to TED videos, Skype, YouTube etc. Anyone who has used an Android smartphone will find the options and settings reassuringly familiar.

I connected the Amkette EvoTV via an HDMI cable to a Samsung telly. And it was a huge relief to know that the connection process was a simple plug-and-play affair.

The fact that the entire console weighs only about 75 grams means you can not only just use it in the living room or bedroom but maybe also carry it with you to a sleepover at a friend’s place!

When we plugged in multiple devices to the Evo Box, the console had no problems in detecting media files loaded on to the sources. I watched a favourite, Wong Kar Wai’s ‘Chungking Express’ on the EvoTV and the movie was streamed perfectly well on the television. The EvoTV supports a big bunch of audio, video, photo and subtitle formats so we never had an issue with media playback across genres. In the box, you get an HDMI cable, the EvoTouch remote, an A/V Stereo cable, a power adapter and the charging cable for the remote. The remote control is based on radio frequency, which means you can still use it if you are charging the unit.

The Evo TV is an interesting concept for the Indian home. For a big chunk of the population which might not see the need or potential of a big-brand smart TV yet, the Evo TV presents itself to be an affordable option, seemingly worth a try.

Rs 9,995

Love – Easy setup, pre-loaded apps, connectivity options

Hate – Tacky interface, motion sensing needs getting used to

(This article was published on August 15, 2012)
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