The Nokia Streaming Box is an affordable media player produced under license by the Austrian company StreamView. Media players generally have a difficult position in the market in which smart TVs are also active. Can they add something if they are equipped with the same operating system as on your television? That answer to that question is a resounding yes. For example, Xiaomi and Nvidia already show. So now it is the turn of the Streaming Box 8000. How do you like this device under the TV?
Specifications and design
While Nvidia in particular does remarkable things with the design of its media players, we see that StreamView keeps it simple for the Nokia Streaming Box 8000. It has become a flat, square box. At the bottom is a rubber edge, so that it does not slide off a cupboard, shelf or desk. The matte finish is complemented by the shiny sides, which unfortunately can attract dust and fingerprints. There is also a small LED light on the front, which fortunately is not disturbing while watching (when you place it in sight).
Under the hood is an Amlogic S905X3 processor. It has four cores and the graphics processor ARM Mali-G31 MP2. Furthermore, the Streaming Box 8000 only has 2 GB of RAM on board, as well as 8 GB of internal storage space. In either case, that’s not a whole lot, which makes the media player seem a bit limited at first. In the light of the price (of 109 euros) it can be explained. However, when using the media player you will hardly notice the lack of extra working and storage memory.
There are a number of ports on the back. There is an ethernet port, for example, for wired internet. There is also an HDMI port, but it is unclear whether this is HDMI 2.0 or 2.1. In addition, there is a USB-A port, to which you can, for example, connect external storage media for playing content. In addition, there is an optical audio and a regular audio port and you get access to a USB-C port. Finally, there is bluetooth 4.2 and you get access to wifi 5 (previously 802.11ac). You can also use those USB ports to charge other devices.
The supplied remote control
The included remote is long and slim and has a lot of buttons. The remote is tuned to the Android TV experience and has buttons for various video streaming services and the Google Assistant. You can visit YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Google Play at the touch of a button. There is also a button for direct access to settings, the home menu and more. In addition, it is good to know that the remote control lies comfortably in the hand, thanks to the continuous part at the bottom.
When you hold the remote, your index finger is in a quiet place. For example, you can use your thumb very comfortably to reach the navigation keys and the OK key, allowing you to scroll through content pleasantly. It is also nice that the keys have backlighting, so that you do not have to be difficult in the dark when you cannot find a button. Finally, the remote control connects via bluetooth, so you can place the Nokia Streaming Box 8000 completely out of sight after the initial installation. That has no effect on usage.
It is also striking that the remote control has a volume control. It is not often that a media player has its own volume control. Usually the system immediately switches to the standard operation, but now you have more options at your disposal. The scope is not very wide, so don’t expect too much of it. Fortunately, you can use the Streaming Box 8000 with your own remote control (from the TV, for example), because of the support for HDMI-cec. So make use of it.
Features and Android TV
The Nokia Streaming Box 8000 has Android TV 10 on board. It’s a shame it’s not Android TV 11, the software upgrade available since September 2020. You don’t miss a lot about that upgrade, because it is mainly intended for gamers. For example, support is offered for all kinds of game controllers. Behind the scenes, Google has also provided extra stability and speed, which you are missing out on now. If you don’t have devices for a direct comparison, then you won’t miss out on the software.
Because Android TV is Android TV, regardless of the device you use that system on (apart from the recently launched Google TV than). That means you can access Chromecast built-in features. This makes it very easy to cast audio and video from devices on the same network. Unfortunately, you cannot include the device in a multiroom speaker network, but that applies to all media players and televisions that run on Google’s TV platform. The Google Assistant can come to the rescue, also via the well-known command.
While it is possible to connect an external USB drive or stick to the Nokia Streaming Box 8000, you may also encounter the problem that some apps do not recognize the external hardware as a storage medium. You are, as it were, at the mercy of such an app maker. So don’t assume that every app works with the external memory. And then it is annoying that the media player offers so little space. Of the 8 GB of internal storage space, not even half is actually available at 3.5 GB.
With bluetooth 4.2 on board, the media player cannot enjoy the extended range of bluetooth 5.0 or higher. But if you simply place the Streaming Box 8000 in a bedroom or living room, chances are that a range of up to ten meters is enough. For example, if you connect wireless earphones or headphones, you have to take into account that the signal can drop out if you walk too far. This is less of a problem for simple game controllers; after all, you are sitting on the couch.
Image quality and performance
The media player offers support for content up to 4K. There is also support for content in high dynamic range (hdr) and the audio format Dolby Atmos. However, the Nokia Streaming Box 8000 does not offer Dolby Vision. If you are looking forward to that and want to fully enjoy the content on Disney + and Netflix, then you really come home from a rude awakening. You can of course watch that content without Dolby Vision, because the video streaming service simply does not send the signal to the media player.
In contrast to, for example, the Nvidia Shield models, the Nokia Streaming Box 8000 presents all content in HDR. Also the content that does not support HDR and the content that is presented in other formats, such as the aforementioned Dolby Vision. This results in images that often have a beautiful, even color. People’s faces look a lot more natural, but this is at the expense of clarity. Also, because of that standard image processing, we encounter artifacts and stutter in some scenes.
And that is actually immediately noticeable. First, the brightness is lower, so you probably have to fiddle with the settings of your TV. (For this review we use the same settings as with the reviews of the Nvidia Shield, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.) The stutter is noticeable when lines appear on the screen and that is somewhat disturbing. You can also see the artifacts of the image processing in people’s faces. That hdr mode can add something; the question is whether you can see through the negative aspects.
Nokia Streaming Box 8000 – conclusion
For a first media player under the Nokia name, you don’t get the wrong product with the Nokia Streaming Box 8000. With a price of 109 euros, manufacturer StreamView positions itself below Nvidia and just above the better offer from Xiaomi. The media player has a number of great features – such as being able to connect external drives and accessories – and also some things that don’t go as well. Think of the standard HDR mode that causes problems. If you do not notice such problems, you cannot fall for it.