ZTE has now announced its latest Android TV-powered set-top box.
As the “V2” portion of the B866V2 model number indicates this is a second-generation device although there doesn’t seem to be too much that’s new with the latest version considering its main selling points are 4K, HDR10 and voice assistant support - all of which were present on the previous version.
By all accounts, it would seem the processor, GPU, RAM and storage all seem to be the same as well. Adding to the confusion, the design also seems to be largely identical to the standard B866 box. Which for the record, is just a black box with not much else to report on.
What might be different is that this model is positioned as an Android TV device specifically, considering the previous model was branded as a “dual-ecosystem” option. Also, the previous box was more marketed as a HDR10 solution while the newer version seems to include support for Dolby Vision. A subtle difference, but a notable one if correct.
It should be pointed out that this device should not be confused with the other super-exciting ZTE Android TV solution, the B860H. Especially as there’s even less to differentiate these two product lines than there was with the different generation B866 solutions.
Similar to this announcement, in early 2017 ZTE also announced the second-generation version of the B860H, the B860HV2. Once again, this is another black box solution that comes loaded with 4K and Dolby Vision support main selling points.
The main difference between the two comes at the CPU and GPU level.
Besides the fact consumers are unlikely to want to buy either of these devices, they are not particularly aimed at buyers which is why you are unlikely to really hear about either of them ever again.
Both the B860HV2 and the B866V2 are IPTV and OTT STB products. Which means they are marketed towards companies as solutions they can pick up and use without much fanfare. In some cases, third-parties will even take ZTE up on the opportunity to use the device but with their own logo and branding.
So while there is a chance you might end up with one of these boxes in your living room, there’s an equally good chance that you’ll be unaware it is even a ZTE Android TV box.
For those based in the US, this is even less likely to be the case. As besides the issues the company has recently faced in the US, this is a box that is more likely to be sold and used in other countries. For example, as part of the very brief and generic announcement, ZTE confirmed its STB solutions “have been widely used in many countries, including China, Indonesia, Netherlands and Russia.”
The IPTV and OTT market has been the most active Android TV arm in recent years and in part due to Google and the Android TV team looking to specifically appeal to this market. In many ways, it is representative of the direction Android TV seems to be going in general, where the platform is sold more of a product aimed at device-makers and content-providers than consumers - unlike Google's other TV-based solution, Chromecast.