It seems Italy has seen another new Android TV device being announced this week, the TIM Box. This unit comes from TIM, and follows on from the TIMvision decoder that was also only recently announced – an Android TV device which suspiciously looks like a Google Home unit. With the launch of two different Android TV-based devices in quick succession, it certainly does seem as though TIM, is really starting to get behind the platform in Italy. Although in terms of support for the platform, this latest arrival is likely to fuel adoption significantly more than the previous model.
For reference, TIM is one of the largest telecom companies in Italy, and provides a full range of services including, mobile, fixed line, and Internet services. So it is not that different from the likes of AT&T in the US, or BT in the UK. Which does typically mean that TIM's Android TV options are not lightweight OS options, as they do come with a number of TIM-related features. That said, the TIMvision decoder for instance, comes with some really nice touches which will be seen by consumers as less bloat, and more useful. A prime example being access to the TIM TV Serie A channel. This is a channel designed for those specifically interested in domestic football (soccer), and one which essentially allows the viewer to purchase access to matches for only €1.99 per match. Which is a very good option for those who only want to watch their favorite Serie A team playing, without having to pay larger add-on fees for sports packages that most of which they will not use. Something that is not available in either the US or the UK – where football rights are locked down and typically far more expensive. As for the new TIM Box though, it seems this is likely to become one that is more readily seen in households across Italy. As opposed to the TIMvision decoder (which is essentially a $2.99 per month optional add-on), the TIM Box looks set to replace the company's standard set top box (STB) for broadband customers. So those signing up for TIM services in Italy in the future, will likely receive this Android TV device by default.
The downside with this unit being more of a unit for everyone though, is that its design is far less novel and certainly not to the same caliber as the TIMvision decoder. Instead, this one is much more box-like and more in line with the type of STBs often encountered from other service providers around the world. However, inside the TIM Box is seeing a number of improvements compared to the TIMvision decoder. While the general user experience remains the same (with access to the Android TV Google Play Store and TIM's own services), the storage has been boosted up to 32GB, while the unit in general has seen improvements in connectivity, and reportedly features an improved remote control. Although what might be of particular interest, is that the TIM Box is also being positioned as more of a gaming unit compared to the TIMvision decoder. As this unit not only comes with a dedicated gamepad (the TIMGamepad), but will also offer access to a new gaming service, TIMGames. Which although will be a subscription service (like NVIDIA's GeForce NOW service), will also reportedly over access to a number of free game titles as well.
In fact, the announcement of the new TIM Box was made in conjunction with multiple new products from TIM, including a new home hub (TIM Hub), which is a new modem equipped with six antennas and offers a download capacity of up to 2 Gbps. Collectively, these items form the newly-rebranded 'TIM Home Platform.' According to the details, both the TIM HUB and the TIM Box (along with TIM Games) is set to initially become available in September, in select cities in Italy. Followed by a greater roll out later in the year. You can watch the video below (in Italian) for more details on the upcoming TIM Box and what it offers.