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Product Knowhow

Formuler Z Prime: the ultimate TV streaming box or nothing but hot air?

An Android streaming box with 4K resolution that supports IPTV, comes with pre-installed Kodi software and is suitable for gaming? And all of this for 100 francs? Jack of all trades device or a guaranteed let-down?

The more demanding amongst us are not satisfied with regular cable or satellite TV. Luckily, there are more than enough options to get entertainment onto your telly. Some opt for a media server or IPTV, Formuler Z Prime being one possibility. Formuler Z Prime is an Android streaming box with 4K resolution that supports IPTV and promises even more than that.

Ample equipment

It’s not much of an eye-pleaser and can’t hide its low price for long, either. It looks and feels like cheap plastic. But then again, who cares what such a box looks like; it’s usually hidden away somewhere anyway. On paper, Z Prime does better: 4K with 30fps, 8GB storage, microSD slot, WLAN and Ethernet, USB 3.0, infrared sensor. Equipped with an (outdated) Android operating system (Kitkat 4.4.2) with own interface, pre-installed Kodi software and IPTV support. And 3D gaming. OMG. All of this comes with a rather standard remote control.

Z Prime (8GB, IPTV (ready))
CHF 105.–
Formuler Z Prime (8GB, IPTV (ready))
The android-based Formuler Z Prime with 4K resolution supports IPTV and has Kodi.

Availability

Mail delivery

  • 6 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: today at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: today at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: today at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: today at 15:30
  • Winterthur: today at 13:30
  • Wohlen: today at 11:00
  • Zurich: today at 17:30

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

Z Prime is connected to your TV via HDMI 1.4 terminal. Once you’ve plugged in the power supply, you’re ready to go. WLAN or LAN are possible to establish an internet connection. I chose LAN, which allows for 100Mbit maximum. After a short firmware update, I was welcomed by a minimalistic home screen with six apps; Kodi, Youtube and Google Play were three of them. Formuler’s own app store and an app to install IPTV services were also available.

You need to create a second home screen to see more than six apps.

Navigating Play Store by pointer

To start off, I logged into Google Play and felt like I was in a time machine when I was asked to type in my password on the outdated Android keyboard. I would have liked to install a few streaming apps, but navigating with the arrow buttons of the remote control proved tricky. Instead, I had to activate a pointer on the remote control and navigate it using the arrow buttons. So much for official Google Play Store support. And although the Kodi app was pre-installed, it was an old version. Then again, installing Netflix, HBO Now and co. was no problem.

Next, I had a look at the Formuler Store. The selection was rather small. There were four games, a few apps such as Netflix, Plex and YouTube and some IPTV apps for own TV channels – which can also be streamed online. Sky Go was the only one of them I’d heard of before.

Navigating through the Play Store by mouse pointer. Not ideal, to say the least.

I decided to give Kodi a try and connected it to my NAS where my movies and series are stored. Instant success, the synchronisation started – until it ended a few seconds later. «Failed to communicate with the server» is what it said. I was still able to access my library, but didn’t get previews or additional information about the files. When I pressed play, the movie started playing straightaway. I could even watch, fast-forward and rewind 12GB movies without interruption. Only 5.1 Surround Sound wasn’t possible. Personally, I find that a no-go, but stereo would do for most people. I only had one 4K movie in my library and whenever I wanted to play it, I was taken back to the home menu and told that the IPTV app was looking for updates. Great stuff.

Miracast also allows you to send files from compatible devices directly to your Prime Z.

Not suitable for gaming

Formuler Z might lure with 3D gaming, but there was no way I was going to play one of those four desolate pre-installed games, so I installed the app «Moonlight Game Streaming», which allows you to stream your collection of games from your PC to another device. That’s if you have a current GeForce graphics card and GeForce Experience is installed. Unfortunately, 1080p was enough to keep games from running smoothly and the performance was so bad that they stuttered and jagged. I tried out 4K/30fps just for fun, but this made it a nightmare to play even old adventure games.

Formuler Prime Z next to the Nvidia Shield and the Steam Link.

Yet, Netflix and co. ran smoothly and with no problems at all. But that was the very least I’d expected. One of the main attractions of the Z Prime is that it supports IPTV, either by downloading one of the available apps from the Formuler Store or by connecting to your desired service manually using the MYTV Online app. However, Swisscom TV and similar services have their own box sets. This makes it impossible to connect to them (at least not in any legal way). But there are quite a few sites that offer IPTV login details, so if you are into those kinds of services, the Prime Z might be for you.

The Prime Z is by far the most bulky of the three.

My conclusion: half-baked solution with limited functionality

You get what you pay for with the Formuler Prime Z. A streaming box with 4-year old Android version, inconvenient Google Play Store and without 5.1 surround sound. Instead, it has several terminals such as infrared and memory expansion possibilities. Yet, the main use of the Formuler Prime Z is in combining it with IPTV. It’s good enough for that. Apart from that, its price is the only advantage over Nvidia Shield or Apple TV.

This might also interest you (in German)

User

Philipp Rüegg

Being the game and gadget geek that I am, working at digitec and Galaxus makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop – but it does take its toll on my wallet. I enjoy dabbling with my PC in Tim Taylor fashion, hoping to get more power out of it. I also like getting on my full suspension mountain bike in search of some nice trails. My thirst for culture is generally quenched with a couple of cold ones and deep conversations at the mostly frustrating games of FC Winterthur.

22 comments

User choconinja

holt euch gleich den Shield, das hier ist nur 100.- für die Katz. Hdmi1.4, android 4.4 und Updates??? Der Shield kommt mit Hdmi 2.0 CEC, Android 7.0, 1-2 Updates pro Jahr, Fernbedienung und Game Controller.

08.08.2017
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User kleenex00

Da hast du recht. Wie können die eine Box mit 1.4HDMI basteln.

08.08.2017
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User kleenex00

Netflix und das andere Zeug können diese Boxen noch schnell mal abspielen. Interessanter wirds bei Zattoo oder Teleboy und so. Also kann nur sagen die Shield funktioniert und zwar gut auch mit HD.

08.08.2017
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User JiSiN

Nvidia Shield ist einer der wenigen boxen die Netflix in 4K mit HDR abspielt (dank HDMI 2.0 - HDCP 2.2)

09.08.2017
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User Acid1978

Nvidia Shield ist ein Traum in jeder Beziehung. Spielt auch 4K UHD Material mit HDR ab ohne jegliche Probleme. Nie mehr etwas anderes...

10.08.2017
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User encinasr

Hauptfunktion des Formuler ist ja IPTV über die eigene MYTV Online app. Würde mich interessieren wie gut das funktioniert, insbesondere im Vergleich zu einer MAG Box...

08.08.2017
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User turbosalto

genau, preislich dann auch eher mit Raspberry Pi (inkl. entspr. Zubehör) zu vergleichen. bei diesen Geräten alles bereits vorinstalliert und Android Apps als gratis Zückerchen oben drauf :).
Kann und will mir nicht an all meinen TVs (und die meiner Eltern und Bekannten) nen Shield leisten.

11.08.2017
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User FelixInd

Ich vermute mal NETFLIX wird nur in SD Auflösung gezeigt, korrekt?

08.08.2017
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User Shiga

Die Shield kann mit Netflix auch HDR, 4K und Surround Sound. Von daher wäre das wirklich cool, wenn man das erwähnen würde.

09.08.2017
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User JiSiN

Da die Formuler Prime Z kein HDMI 2.0 mit HDCP 2.2 hat wird es nix mit Netflix in 4K und HDR.

09.08.2017
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User Philipp Rüegg

@FelixInd Netflix ist in der Tat nur SD

09.08.2017
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User evil_shinobi

Unterstützt dieses Gerät CEC? Also kann ich meine TV-Fernbedienung benutzen, um dieses Gerät zu steuern? Das wäre ein Killerkriterium für mich.

08.08.2017
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User Shiga

Denke nicht. Meine China-Box die ähnlich Aufgebaut ist, hat das auch nicht.

09.08.2017
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User sspreitzer

Ich würde gerne solch eine Box kaufen welche HDMI2 in vollem 4k mit 60p unterstützt. Android und ruckelfrei.

09.08.2017
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User andycab1

Hol Dir eine Nvidia Shield TV und du wirst glücklich sein

09.08.2017
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User Heizi

Oder hol dir die Xiaomi TV Box 3
Echt genial die kleine Box

09.08.2017
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User vernetzer

Ich würde gerne eine Xiaomi TV Box kaufen aber finde kein Shop der in die Schweiz liefert :/

10.08.2017
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User varera1965

It is not IPTV vendors' fault that Swisscom TV and some other providers are locking their channels to their own proprietary solutions. I have Swisscom TV box at home, and it is nothing but yet another IPTV box, stripped of extension options and only capable to stream from Swisscom.

yesterday 17:31
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