Walmart has released the Onn UHD Streaming Device, which is their first 4K Android TV streamer using their Onn house brand of electronics. The most impressive thing about it is its price, which is $29.88, making it the least expensive 4K streaming box from a well-known company. Even more impressive, considering the price, is that it comes with the Google-designed “G10” remote that has voice capabilities and TV controls. Check out my unboxing video above, where I compare the remote to numerous other popular remotes from Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, and more. Then read on for a full overview of Walmart’s first attempt at streaming hardware.
The streaming box itself is quite small at 2.75 inches square, making it a tiny bit larger than the box portion of Amazon’s 3rd-gen Fire TV pendant. Included in the box is the aforementioned G10 remote, a pair of AAA batteries, a 5V 1A micro USB power brick, an HDMI cable, and the streaming box. It’s impressive that Walmart included an HDMI cable at such a low price.
There isn’t much going on in the way of ports on this streamer. You just have the HDMI port and the micro USB power port. The micro USB port does support OTG adapters, so you can use it to connect things like an Ethernet adapter, which I did verify worked fine. The only other thing on the box itself is an LED, that is lit white while the device is on, and a small button for remote pairing.
Under the hood of the Onn UHD Streaming Device is an Amlogic 1.8 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali-G31 GPU.
I suspect the Soc is either an Amlogic S905X2 or S905Y2, but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet. Update, it does have an Amlogic S905Y2. There is 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, of which only about half is available to use. It has 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2. It’s running Android 10 with a slightly old security patch from January 2021. It supports HDR10, but not Dolby Vision or HDR10+. It supports Dolby surround sound audio, but not Dolby Atmos.
The remote that comes with the Onn streamer is Google’s new generic Android TV remote. This remote, called the G10, is a reference design created by Google that is manufactured by TW Electronics. Get used to this remote because Google seems to be pushing manufacturers to use this remote instead of making their own, so there are going to be a lot of Android TV devices released with this remote in the near future.
Overall, it’s a pretty good remote, but it’s not without some issues, which are mostly software-related, that I’ll get into momentarily. It feels good in the hand with good buttons and I prefer it to the remote that comes with the 2020 Chromecast with Google TV. It’s easily the most Fire TV-like remote I’ve ever seen for an Android TV device, which is a good thing, thanks to its nearly identical size and very similar button placements.
Along the top are power and input buttons that are supposed to be able to control your TV. Below those is a button with a flag, that seems to act as a menu button in most places of the UI, a voice button, and a settings button. Then there is a navigation circle with a center select button, a back button, a home button, and a button with a TV icon. Pressing the TV icon button loads YouTube TV, if you have the app installed, or the appstore page for YouTube TV if it’s not installed. I couldn’t find any way to select a different app for this button to launch.
The bottom half of the remote has volume buttons, a mute button, and channel up/down buttons. The Channel buttons did work in some apps, like Sling TV, to change channels but were useless in most apps. Along the bottom are 4 app buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. This G10 remote seems to always come with YouTube and Netflix as the first two app buttons, but the bottom two seem to change by device manufacturer.
My issues with the remote are that its TV buttons could not be programmed to control my two particular TV. I can only assume that there are TVs that it’s compatible with, but it didn’t work for me. After selecting my TV brand from a list and then choosing to program the remote buttons, it would either display a message saying “Use an original remote to set this up” or “Something went wrong.” In one instance, trying to configure the TV buttons froze up both the Onn streamer and the remote, requiring the box to be unplugged and the remote buttons to be removed before everything started to work again.
Remote issues aside, the Onn streamer comes with a pretty standard version of Android TV. It uses the older Android TV interface, not the new Google TV interface found on the 2020 Chromecast. It also doesn’t use the re-skinned interface, which mixes elements of the new and old interface together, that some Android TV devices are getting. What it does have, unfortunately, is the addition of ads across the top of the old home screen, which is something that has recently been creeping into Android TV devices that are still running the older interface.
The device comes pre-installed with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max apps, and the usual assortment of Google Play apps. You can uninstall Hulu, Prime Video, and HBO Max apps, but not the other apps. There is also a “Movie Player” app which seems to be a very basic media player and file explorer app.
Lastly, there is a strange “UPDATE” app that almost seems like it was left over by Walmart’s software engineers. It has an “Online update” button that, when selected, displays the meaningless message “Check Failed! Check your OTA service agent.” The other buttons in the app are equally useless. Android TV does have its default update checker setting in place, which seems to be working, although my device reported no updates out of the box. This strange “UPDATE” app really doesn’t give me much faith in Walmart’s ability to support this device with updates.
At just $30, I can forgive TV control buttons that don’t work and weird system apps, but what is unforgivable is the bad video image coming out of this thing. The colors are simply not right and nothing I can change in the very limited display settings can correct it. The Onn streamer is permanently stuck in HDR output mode for everything. Regardless of whether you are in an app’s interface or playing SDR content, the device is outputting in the HDR color space,
which I can only assume is the reason the image looks so bad. Update: See my new note below in the update section about why the colors are so messed up and impossible to fix. Note that the screenshots in this article are captured from the OS, so they bypass the video color output issue. The colors seen in the screenshots are vastly different from the colors seen on the TV.
Unless you must have 4K output and your budget can’t be a dollar over $30, I can’t say the Onn UHD Streaming Device from Walmart is worth getting. The hardware genuinely seems solid and is downright impressive for the price, but Walmart’s inexperience in software is showing through. Remote quirks, system freezes, strange system apps, and bad image quality with too few display options are all reasons to pass on this streamer for the time being.
A few system app updates, which did not show up yesterday when I initially reviewed the Onn streamer, came in this morning through the Google Play Store. These updates changed the home screen to now use the reskinned version, seen in the image above, that mimics some of the aspects of the Google TV interface, such as the Discovery tab. Unfortunately, these new system app updates did not correct the video color issues or the remote issues I am having with the Onn streamer.
Regarding the video color issue I’m experiencing, I’ve figured out a bit more about it and it’s much more than just being on HDR all the time. The device is defaulting to an incorrect color space setting. Changing to the correct setting doesn’t actually correct the color unless the device is rebooted, even though it claims in the settings that the color space has changed. However, turning the TV off or changing inputs away from the Onn streamer causes the incorrect color space setting to be re-applied, even though the system setting still says the correct color space is set. So, there seems to be no way to use the correct color space setting unless you set the color space setting, reboot the device, and then never turn off the TV or change inputs, which is obviously a ridiculous process.