Sfr Connect Tv Test: a Fluid and Easy to Use Ott Box… But Expensive and Limited…


Time is running out for SFR. In the absence of distribution agreements with its main Internet Service provider competitors (Orange, Bouygues Telecom and Free), SFR had to find a solution to offer football fans, particularly fans of the Champions League and the Europa League the means to watch the two European competitions from August in their first year of broadcasting on the channels of Patrick Drahi’s group. 

  

Indeed, only subscribers to SFR’s ADSL or fiber offers previously had access to the group’s sports channels, including the English Premier League the Portuguese Liga and, as of this year, the UEFA European club competitions: champions league and Europa League

Choosing an OTT Box

SFR ‘s CONNECT TV is an OTT box based on the Android 7.1 operating system that supports both IP-based distributed channels and services specific to the Android environment, namely applications, the Google Play Store (Music, Series and Movies) and voice recognition with Google Assistant The advantage of this OTT solution is that it allows any subscriber to an ISP other than SFR to be able to enjoy SFR channels directly on their TV, provided they have a minimum speed of 3Mb/s.

The Box and its remote control

The disadvantage is that you have to buy the CONNECT TV for 69 euros, first in a SFR shop and then on the internet soon. A solution that is part of the fundamental movement that makes OTT a new weapon of conquest for operators of platforms that are not integrated into telecommunications groups.

The characteristics of Box

The box is small (10 cm x 10 cm x 2.8 cm) and comes with a voice-recognition remote control that has proven to be accurate. It is based on an Amlogic S905X processor, has 2GB of RAM and 8GB Flash memory expandable via USB or a 32GB Micro SD card.

The box can work in wifi (802.11ac /b/g/n 2×2 MIMO 2.4/5.8 GHz), but as for all devices that streame video it is strongly advised to connect via the Ethernet port SFR specifies that the box is “4K compatible” without giving more precision and allows those equipped with a 4KUHD TV to enjoy the RMC Sport UHD channel, the only one available in 4K at the time of the box test.

 
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It should be noted that the box does not offer a direct DTT output, which limits the reception of channels to those Red by SFR It is therefore a closed and controlled environment that SFR markets.

A simple and intuitive interface

The CONNECT TV offers two main modes of navigation: via the menu on the left side of the screen or the main menu that occupies the rest of the screen. The vertical menu includes an entry to the TV guide, i.e. the programme guide of the channels contained in the Box, to the channels via a test pattern, to the on-demand programmes which contains the replay of the channels (SFRPlay, RMC Sport Altice Studio, TCM, Paramount Channel, Sundance).

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The Home screen

SFR Play and the RMC channels can also be accessed directly via a direct menu. Finally a search option and the parameters are accessible via this menu (network, google cast, apps, storage).

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Home page of Box

The main screen offers vertical navigation for the main themes and horizontal navigation for discovering programs: the latest channels viewed, sports channels, movie/series programs, applications and Android TV recommendations (mainly Youtube videos). Redundancy of entries for the same programs, no doubt used to give the impression of a great wealth of content, tends to lose the user who finds himself faced with the same program via different entries.

Channels

Once the CONNECT TV has been purchased for 69 euros including VAT, the user must now subscribe to the channel packages on offer. The basic offer is based on 4 options (3 of which are currently visible at the time of the test):

  • RMC Sport at €9/month for SFR customers and €19 for others (1st month free if subscribed at the same time as the purchase of Connect TV)
  • RMC Sport + beIN Sports at 25€ / month
  • SFR Ciné Séries at €5/month for SFR customers and €10/month for others
  • SFR Entertainment at €10/month

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SFR Series

For the time being, the offer includes a channel package consisting of : RMC Sport (with its numbered event channels RMC Sport 5 to RMC Sport 16), the beIN Sports package, Altice Studio, Paramount Channel, TCM and Sundance.

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RMC Sport Channel 1

As of August 14, the channel line-up will be expanded with the new SFR Divertissement option, adding 63 more channels, including SyFy, 13ème Rue, E! Entertainment, Discovery Channel, Discovery Family, Discovery Science, Discovery Investigation and My Cuisine and DTT channels for which SFR has acquired the OTT rights.

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SFR Play

For 100% digital subscribers, only subscribed channels will be available, the others are marked “Option “. SFR subscribers, such as mobile subscribers, will have access to the intersection between the channels included in the original SFR subscription and the channels available on the CONNECT TV box. In addition to the Live channels, CONNECT TV offers channel replay.

The price to be paid

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9 per month for SFR customers and at the high price of 19 euros per month for others when beIN Sports is sold alone in OTT at 15 euros. A risky gamble for the Altice group, which has very little time to seduce the public in a market that has never been a fan of OTT boxes. 

The question is therefore whether the Champions League exclusivity will be sufficient leverage to convince the millions of subscribers to other ISPs to pay at least EUR 69 for a box, to which must be added EUR 209 per year for RMC Sport i.e. a total of EUR 278 for the whole year.

  • The Connect TV offer in detail
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