A few days ago, GMA Affordabox’s Digital TV Receiver was launched online through the network’s Lazmall and Shopee Mall. ABS-CBN, meanwhile, released its own TVplus five years ago. The sudden rise of the set-top boxes for TVs is part of the local broadcasting network’s compliance with the NTC’s switch of terrestrial television from analog to digital. Although both provide digital signals to previous or outdated TV models, some things separate both devices from one another. So, which one should you get? Is it the newer GMA Affordabox Digital TV Receiver or the ABS-CBN TVplus? Read on to find out.
Author’s note: Specs listed for both models are based on the unit stated on their official website and listing as of writing.
|GMA Affordabox||ABS-CBN TVplus|
|Digital display||Digital display|
|Info Display||Info Display|
|--||Info Plus feature for job posting, traffic updates, price patrol, weather forecasts, and general advisories|
|Auto-On Alert Feature||--|
|RCA and HDMI-ready||RCA-ready, (HDMI model phased-out)|
|AC plug||AC plug|
|Indoor antenna||Alternative antenna|
|Personal Video Recorder||--|
|Free TV channels on digital transmission||Free TV channels on digital transmission|
|GMA, GMA NEWS TV, Heart of Asia||DZMM Teleradyo, CINEMO!, YEY, KNOWLEDGE, Myx, Asianovela Channel, O Shopping, Movie Central, Jeepney TV|
|Metro Manila, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao del Norte||Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Batangas, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Benguet, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Rizal, Davao, Cavite|
|Compatible with TVs with AV input, smart TVs||Compatible with TVs with AV input, smart TVs|
|with remote control||with remote control|
|1 x USB-A port||1 x USB-A port|
|1 year service warranty||1 year service warranty|
|--||Gets regular software updates|
|Lazada, Shopee||Partner stores, Lazada, Shopee|
Summary of advantages
• More affordable
• Slightly covers more areas
• With HDMI port
• Records shows under GMA channels
• More exclusive channels to offer
• Gets regular software updates
• Availability in online and offline stores
• Info Plus feature for general advisories
Table of Contents
Design and Hardware
When it comes to design, the ABS-CBN TVplus looks more compact with a curved squarish body and tactile channel and power buttons on top. There’s an LED indicator on the front, as well as the ABS-CBN TVplus logo on the right. Simply known as the black box, it comes with a 5-meter alternative antenna for receiving signals, remote control for easier navigation of channels, power adapter, and a user’s guide. At the back is an RCA port, a USB-A port for updating software on service centers, an AC jack, and a 100V-240V port for a power supply.
There were listings of TVplus models with HDMI. However, based on ABS-CBN’s website, the models being offered now are RCA models.
UPDATE: According to ABS-CBN, the TVplus with the HDMI port model is already phased out.
Meanwhile, the GMA Affordabox Digital TV Receiver has a glossy rectangular body with a grille on top. It has the power button, along with the channel keys, on the left. On its opposite side is the GMA Affordabox logo printed in white with the USB-A port below. In the middle are the LED display and the sensor for the remote control. In terms of connectivity, GMA offers more with the HDMI, AC, and RCA ports on the rear part of the box.
Apart from Metro Manila, the ABS-CBN TVplus and the GMA Affordabox covers some of the key provinces in Northern Luzon and Southern Mindanao. The GMA Affordabox covers the following 19 locations (as of writing): NCR, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao del Norte. ABS-CBN TVplus, on the other hand, currently lists 16 provinces, replacing Leyte, Quezon, Bohol, and La Union with Iloilo, Bacolod, and Cagayan de Oro.
Even though both TV boxes offer free digital TV channels, ABS-CBN has more exclusive channels to offer than GMA. The former has a total of nine exclusive channels which includes music channel Myx, O Shopping for home TV shopping, Jeepney TV for previous entertainment and lifestyle Kapamilya programs, all-day classic movie channel CineMo!, DZMM Teleradyo for news and current affairs programs, Knowledge Channel for educational content, YEY for kid-friendly shows and cartoons, Movie Central for Hollywood films, and Asianovela Channel for dubbed Asian dramas. Do note that exclusive channels may vary per area.
The GMA Affordabox offers three Kapuso channels: its main channel GMA, GMA NEWS TV for news and current affairs programs, and Heart of Asia for Tagalized version of hit Asian TV series previously aired on the network.
The Kapamilya and Kapuso TV boxes have a fair share of unique features. But for this category, GMA Affordabox takes over with the Personal Video Recorder for recording and watching programs from the exclusive Kapuso channels. It also serves as a multimedia player for viewing photos, videos, and music via USB and comes with support for the nationwide emergency warning broadcast system and functional auto-on alert for notification. Program schedules, as well as other important information on shows you are watching, can be seen through the info display. GMA hasn’t confirmed yet any incoming software updates and patches for the Affordabox since it is still entirely new to the market.
In contrast, ABS-CBN’s TVplus sports an Info Plus feature for job postings, traffic updates, price patrol, weather forecasts, and general advisories. Currently, the digital bulletin board presents COVID-19-related data. It also comes with support on NTC’s nationwide emergency warning broadcast system and gets regular software updates.
To ensure that the devices work properly, both come with a year service warranty.
Price and availability
Priced at PHP 888, the GMA Affordabox DTV Receiver is now available in official stores of GMA in Lazada and Shopee. As for the ABS-CBN TVplus, customers may have it delivered to their doorsteps via authorized dealers on Lazada and Shopee, offline partner retailers, and ABS-CBN TVplus website 14. It retails for PHP 1,499, which is PHP 611 more compared to the Affordabox.
Which Digital TV Receiver should you get?
Let’s make things simple. If you need an all-in-one TV box with special features such as HDMI connectivity and program video recording out of the box, then go for GMA’s Affordabox. Although affordable, keep in mind that it offers less exclusive content compared to ABS-CBN’s TVplus. For those who want to experience more digital content for free and keep up on the latest advisories in one glance, then the ABS-CBN’s TVplus is for you.