Walmart’s $15 New Onn Streaming Stick Reviewed

My latest video takes a look at Walmart’s newly released Onn Streaming stick,. Retailing at a modest $15 (compensated affiliate link), this device is exclusive to Walmart and primarily targets users with older televisions that support 1080p resolution.

The Onn Streaming Stick, devoid of the high-end features found in more expensive counterparts, still manages to hold its ground in terms of value. It’s particularly appealing for those who have older television sets that are no longer updated, along with those who travel frequently, offering a convenient way to access streaming shows on the go. The device connects via its built in HDMI plug and includes an extension cable for easier placement behind a television.

The Onn streaming stick has only a single micro USB port for powering the device. An interesting aspect is its compatibility with the Smays ethernet adapter, which also provides additional USB ports.

At its core, the stick is powered by an AM logic S805X2 processor, similar to Google’s HD-only Chromecast, but at half the price. It comes with 1.5 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage, sufficient for streaming applications but limited for storing games or other large files.

The included remote features full voice capabilities integrated with Google Assistant. This allows for easy voice searches and control of home automation devices. Performance-wise, the stick handles most streaming services efficiently.

The Onn Streaming stick runs a “pure” version of the Google TV OS which allows for personalizing content recommendations for multiple family members. Google TV recently added a great new free live channel interface that brings in a lot of ad supported content from a number of providers. And because the underlying operating system is based on Android it has a deep app library along with the ability to sideload apps.

It also supports Chromecasting, enabling content from a phone running a supporting streaming app seamlessly transfer content to the TV. The universal search function, accessible via voice command, is sufficient, although it is still limited by not offering a truly universal search and watchlist functionality.

While the device supports game streaming services like Nvidia’s GeForce Now, native gaming experiences are less impressive due to hardware limitations. In terms of updates, Walmart has been reasonably consistent in providing security updates for their devices, though they haven’t explicitly stated their update policy.

The Walmart Onn Streaming Stick is a good option for those with older TVs or for travelers seeking a portable streaming solution. While it may not excel in gaming, it performs well enough in its primary role as a streaming device, offering good value for its price.

Is Your Generic Android TV Box Compromised?

In my latest video I dive into the security concerns surrounding generic Android TV boxes.

These devices, often found on platforms like Amazon, Walmart, and AliExpress, have been reported to contain spyware and malware that can execute in the background without the user’s knowledge. This malware can perform various nefarious activities, including click fraud, where the box clicks on ads generating revenue for the people operating the command and control server.

What’s more concerning is that these boxes have the potential to do just about anything from your IP address as they are located behind your router or firewall. Given that these devices are often connected to our Google accounts, this could mean that someone could potentially access your YouTube account, Gmail account, and any other services attached to Google through the TV box.

To ensure your Android TV device is secure, Google suggests checking if your device is Play Protect certified. This can be done by going into the Google Play Store on your device, navigating to the ‘Play Protect’ section, and checking if your device is certified. However, this process can be a bit tricky on devices running the Google TV OS, as the Google Play Store is not readily accessible.

In my video, I demonstrated how to check for Play Protect certification on the Onn 4k Google TV box, a device running the Google TV OS. Despite not being listed on Google’s list of Android TV partner products, the Onn box was found to be Play Protect certified, suggesting that it is a secure device.

However, given the potential security risks associated with non-certified devices, I recommend sticking to name-brand ones. There are good and affordable name brand options available, such as the Onn box from Walmart along with the Chromecast with Google TV (affiliate links). And for power users the Nvidia Shield TV Pro (affiliate link) is still the top device.

While generic Android TV boxes may be tempting due to their low price, the potential security risks they pose just isn’t worth it. It’s always better to opt for a certified, name-brand device to ensure your privacy and security.