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Walmart’s new Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box is pretty much what it says on the tin: a 4K media streamer that runs Google TV software based on Android 12.

What’s somewhat remarkable about that is that this is also one of the cheapest 4K media streamers around, with a list price that’s just under $20. It’s set to go on sale soon, but a number of folks have already manage to find on them on shelves in Walmart stores and buy them a bit early.

The new media streamer is actually a modest update over a model that Walmart first launched in 2021. That original model shipped with Android TV software and it was already a bargain with launch price of $30. But since then, Walmart has dropped the price by $10.

Walmart’s new model has hardware that’s very similar to its predecessor, including 2GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, and a quad-core ARM chip with Mali-G31 MP2 graphics and support for 4K video playback.

What’s new is that the 2023 model ships with an  Amlogic S905Y4 processor, which features four ARM Cortex-A35 CPU cores and VPU with support for AV1 software decoding, while the 2021 version had an S905Y2 chip with Cortex-A53 CPU cores and support for H.265 and VP9 video, but not AV1.

Other features include support for WiFi 5, Dolby Audio, a remote control powered by two AAA batteries, and a 3.3 foot HDMI cable that comes with the device. According to customers who have purchased the new media streamer, it’s also a little larger and the corners are a little more rounded than the first-generation model.

While the new hardware is a relatively small change, a bigger update is the move from Android TV to Google TV software, giving the new Onn 4K media streamer the same user interface as you’d get from a Chromecast with Google TV… but for a lower price.

Unfortunately one thing that hasn’t changed? Walmart’s new media streamer has a micro USB port for power, which seems like a strange choice for a new device shipping in 2023 when USB-C is increasingly common.

via AFTVNews, 9to5Google, and reddit (1)(2)(3)(4)

This article was first published April 13, 2023 and most recently updated April 18, 2023

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27 replies on “Walmart’s new Onn media streamer delivers Google TV in 4K for $20”

  1. Guys,

    You should really watch a recent Linus Tech Tips video on those cheap Chinese streaming boxes. Long story short – they are full of malware out of the factory, that’s by design. He recommended Google Chromecast or NVIDIA Shield because those at least come with no malware and won’t steal your passwords and other valuable stuff

    1. Google isn’t malware?

      In any case, many of these boxes can be repurposed (and arguably greatly improved) by reflashing them with a different ROM, e.g. LineageOS, or with Linux.

    2. Apparently the greater threat is the risk of prepaid SIMs being hidden in the hardware.

      1. I’ve never seen a prepaid SIM hidden in any Chinese TV-box, and if I did, it would be awesome. No need to pay my current mobile provider and save money by using the Chinese SIM. If it exists, it has to have loads of international data and stuff, if it’s supposed to upload information on what we do on those boxes.

        Wouldn’t it be easier to have a “phone home” app hidden in Android?

        1. That depends on whether it’s using LTE-M; if it was then that wouldn’t be very useful to you? But I guess even if there was a SIM card installed, it wouldn’t be able to do anything without being connected to a modem chip?

          IIUC it might be easier to do that via an app but if the User reflashes the device with a different ROM / OS / firmware then that app won’t work any more, whereas a permanently connected SIM + modem hidden on the board that the overwhelming majority of Users will never see (because they won’t open up the case) would basically be a hardware backdoor?

          1. You may be right, but for me it just sounds like a very expensive thing to do for very little gain.
            What does the average Android TV box user do with the box? Use it to get streaming services on a non-smart TV? It’s not that much information that can be stolen compared with a rootkit on a mobile phone, for example.

      2. I finally got to watch the Linus Tech Tips video about the cheap TV boxes. He doesn’t mention anything about prepaid SIM. Just that the Android firmware on those boxes probably is infected.
        He also complained that there was almost nothing you could use the boxes for because all possible firmwares were infected.
        He never bothered to test OpenElec/CoreElec for people who want a infection free Kodi box, nor he tried Armbian, which will make the cheap ChinaBox a weak but usable Linux desktop computer or a usable server. None of the original firmware is used. No infections.

        1. As I previously stated, it was in the comments beneath the video that I saw this potential SIM issue mentioned.

          Agreed, he really doesn’t appear to have put much research into it…

    3. This is a Google TV certified device unlike those that Linus listed.

      This is fine to use

      1. Pahaha yeah because Google could possibly be considered malware…

        …right?

        1. My point was this is just as safe to use as the Chromecast with Google TV devices as it’s officially certified unlike those shady boxes

        2. Yeah these Onn players can be purchased in-store from Walmart, a large retailer in the USA. If it had any type of hidden Chinese spyware hardware, there is no way Walmart would be allowed to continue selling them.

  2. My 4K google chromecast with andoird tv has been super reliable but I love the performance of my nVidia shield (tube version), it just seems to wake up slowly sometimes. Maybe there is a setting I can adjust.

  3. I’m pretty excited for alternatives. I have two Chromecast with Google TV and they run like complete garbage. I have one 1080p and one 4k. Both hardwired and they stutter like crazy. Worst purchase I’ve ever made.

  4. I bought the 4K Chromecast at the end of last year for $30. Not too excited about saving $10 for a non-google product.

  5. Good to see more alternatives hitting the market, especially that Google’s Chromecast with Android TV is good, but overrated in what it does and how well it does it – the days of the original Chromecast are long gone, it’s now a slow, cluttered and bloated experience with far more invisible advertising on the default dashboard.

    Not saying this is it tho, one should definitely keep their expectations in check for a $20 streamer from Walmart, but more competition is always welcome.

    1. I agree. In my experience over the past 2 years, the Android TV experience has been going very downhill. I have a Hisense 4K TV that has Android TV built in, and the OS bloat has come to the point now that I actually can’t use it any longer. I’ve had to uninstall every app, except for the preinstalled ones.

      The internal device running the Android TV only has 4gb of storage, and with the size that the OS has grown to, I can’t have more than a few streaming apps without causing issues. The local buffer files for streaming apps will grow to a size that causes the device to run out of space. I’ve had to completely stop using it.

  6. Unless I’m mistaken, the Amlogic S905Y4 should be fairly good as a mini Linux desktop.

    1. I doubt it will have an unlocked bootloader. The only examples I’ve seen running Linux are on Khadas boards, which have open firmware.

      1. Dunno if this one is unlocked but iirc the first gen did have unlocked bootloaders.

    2. The predecessor should already have been not bad in that department, with 4Gb DDR4 RAM – forum manjaro org / t / amlogic-tv-box-emmc-boot / 72379 ? page=4

      1. I couldn’t find anything about S905Y4 or Walmart on Manjaro’s Amlogic page. Is the predecessor the X96S mentioned near where page 4 is?

        1. That’s the one!
          Sorry, I meant the CPU in the predecessor to this Walmart device seems to be not too bad for use as a Linux desktop, particularly when combined with 4Gb DDR4 RAM as detailed in that thread about the X96S – they use files from the Manjaro image that was created for the Radxa Zero.

          1. Ahh, okay. I haven’t tried the newer S905*4 chips, but I still got an old S905 with 2GB RAM and 8GB eMMC as a small server, running Armbian and a RK3328 with 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC. Both small TV boxes.

          2. Someone else also had the X96S running CoreELEC: discourse coreelec org / t / x96s-no-longer-boots-coreelec / 8641

            After reading the comments beneath LTT’s latest video about Android TV boxes, I’m now curious to know how likely it is that dongles like the X96S conceal prepaid SIM cards…

  7. I wonder if there is any additional advertising that this box does to subsidize the low price. At a minimum they are selling all the usage to a 3rd party.

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