Sungale Kula TV (IPTV) - Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Article Index
Sungale Kula TV (IPTV)
Specifications
Testing
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Sungale Kula TV Final Thoughts:

Now the idea behind the Kula TV is great, everyone would love to tell the old cable company to take a hike and replace them with a free alternative such as the Kula TV. Unfortunately in our testing the Kula TV fell a bit short in our opinion and we were left feeling a little disappointed with this product. I thought that the features that the Kula TV includes were great in theory, however the implementation of some of the features (local media player for example) need a little more work.

One of the greatest features of the Kula TV is the fact that it's free and you don't have to pay any monthly subscription fees, however with that being said, one of the worst features of the Kula TV is that the programming is free and in the end you get what you pay for in regards to programming. For English programming you get stations such as CNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and other "public" channels (all of the networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX all feature feeds from local affiliates, complete with commercials of course). For the English programming there are about 150+ channels listed, out of the 150 or so I'd say around 25% are public access or city council feeds which chances are good are of no interest to the majority of users. The Kula TV features channels from all around the world, so if you wanted to watch TV in other languages that were not available in your country, the Kula TV might just be the device you have been looking for.


The content selection of the Kula TV is really a no-win scenario for the folks at Sungale. They decided to go with "free" programming which means that you aren't going to get any premium channels and have to settle with "free" channels which some can be a bit on the lame side. If they would have gone with a subscription-based model and charged a monthly fee in order to provide higher quality channels people would have probably complained loudly and it probably would have been expensive if you wanted "premium" stations. In the end I think going with the free channels was probably the better of the two decisions, however you also have to remember that it's all free content when looking through the channel list (or when a channel fails to load).

Another thing to take into consideration with the Kula TV is that you are going to need a decent internet connection, we tried the Kula TV on a lower end wireless connection and had trouble streaming most of the stations smoothly. On a high speed wireless connection we had better success acquiring stations and the quality of most was reasonable. On a high speed connection we didn't find any buffering issues, but on the slower connection buffering was a pretty regular occurrence and made it tough to watch most channels (which would make this pretty tough to use on most shared public Wi-Fi connections unless you are getting some decent bandwidth).

One of the biggest beefs I have with the Kula TV is in regards to playing video files that you've put into internal memory or onto a microSD card. The lack of controls for playing video makes this feature pretty useless in my opinion. The lack of a fast forward, rewind, or even a resume function makes watching a longer video clip pretty painful. While playing a movie if the touchscreen is touched the movie playback stops immediately and takes you back to the media selection screen and if you want to watch your movie you then have to start from the beginning again (no resume, no fast forward). I'm sure this could be resolved with a firmware/software update, but until it's resolved the video function of the Kula TV is pretty much pointless unless you have the time to watch the clip from beginning to end with no interruptions.


The concept behind the Kula TV is a great one, however the implementation of some of these features is a bit lacking and that greatly impacted the final score that we have awarded to the Kula TV from Sungale. The Kula TV unit that we tested wasn't all bad, the screen resolution was decent and nice and bright, the menu layout was easy to figure out, and the built-in speaker was loud enough to hear for a fair distance away. Some of the other features such as the video playback from local storage need to be improved before I could confidently recommend this product. The Kula TV is a very new product and I think with a few fixes and feature additions (like maybe the ability to stream media to this unit for a computer on the same network?) the Kula TV could be a great gadget and I look forward to seeing what the next revisions of this product will look like.

 

Pros:

  • Free Programming (No Monthly Subscription Fees)
  • Easy to Use
  • Screen is nice and bright
  • Decent built-in speaker

Cons:

  • Free Programming (You get what you pay for in regards to quality stations)
  • Playing Video Files is painful and lacks features such as fast forward or resume
  • Touchscreen is a bit unresponsive (you'll sometimes find yourself having to hit a button a couple times)
  • Scrolling with the touchscreen is a bit buggy, addition of an "up" and "down" button would be great when scanning stations or media files

 

 BCCRating

 

If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.