Taking Smart's Surf TV for a spin

Taking Smart’s Surf TV for a spin

Was able to borrow a demo unit of Smart’s Surf TV and was testing how the internet TV box really works. Here are my first impressions on how the device works.

Smart Surf TV is primarily for content consumption rather than content creation. As such, it is more usable in the living room than the office or study.

So, what’s inside the box?

The entire package consists of the following — the TV box, a USB keyboard, USB mouse, a wireless remote, Smart Bro Plug-It, Smart SIM card, and VGA cables. So basically, all you need is a TV, monitor or a projector to hook it up to.

What ports are built into the TV box?

At the back of the device, there is a VGA port (monitor), a TV out, RCA (video in), 4 USB ports, a LAN port. There’s an one extra USB port left after the keyboard, mouse and USB dongle has been plugged. The VGA port allows you to hook up the device to an PC monitor, TV set or projector.


The LAN port is also interesting since it could mean you can hook it up to your wired network at home and get it online as well (I need to try this out for the full review).

How does it work?

There’s an embedded OS (Linux-based) into the device that boots up the system. I’d say it’s similar to the Express Gate and all those other quick boot-up OSes that you find in netbooks and ultraportables. The browser used here is Opera.

The SmartBro Plug-It provides internet connectivity to the device although that LAN port could also be an option.

The wireless remote allows you to do some basic navigational features but you have the mouse as well as the keyboard for data input.

There’s no internal storage built into the device but since there’s an extra USB port, I think it’s possible to plug in a flash drive and use it as storage.

I’ll need more time to play around with Surf TV before I can write anything substantial or conclusive but so far, the device is promising.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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31 Responses

  1. Calvin says:

    hehe the remote looks like the one from those cheap china-made dvd players. they should’ve integrated the usb dongle inside to save space. kung kaya ng nokia booklet dapat kaya rin ng smart.

  2. Carl says:

    The initial payment of 4,500.00 is a little-bet higher than PLDT’s internet @home + landline plus. Smart surf TV has no unlimited surf and the TV consumption is pay-per-view for about P 20.00 per hour. Am I right for these?

    Meaning this is not a toy for the masses.

    I rather use analog Aerial free TV and PLDT’s internet @home + landline plus.

    Thank you for reading.

  3. @Calv
    I think they didn’t manufacture that kind of remote, they ordered it from China. lmao

    Okay rin tong smart tv, smart radio kaya next? :D

  4. Pedro says:

    its a little bit hard to connect here in cainta using my smartbro, so i guessing it would also be difficult to use these “gadget”…doesnt it run on the same network-frequency?

  5. Jon says:

    Plain and simple, just for surfing. Nothing much to it. IMO, if I had no computer, I would rather buy those cheap surplus computers widely available today. It is way cheaper (4500 could get you a decent set) and you can use it even without an Internet connection.

    I guess if they packaged this product with an unlimited plan, it would be a hit. 4500 + 999 monthly is not that bad, as long as you have good signal reception and there isn’t much congestion in your area.

  6. whaâ„¢ says:

    yeah. . . it should be bundled with plan 999 unlimited internet. pra mas maka relate ang masses kesa sa prepaid na di naman sulit.

  7. warfab says:

    @yuga: is the tv box hardwired or coded to accept only smart sim based dongles? Can the original brand and model of the box still be identified?

  8. Tustadong Mamon says:

    I was so very disappointed to this box.
    kala ku yun talaga yung nasa isip ku nung unang commercial pa lang. But im impressed *in the first place* dapat nag bundle na lang sila sa wi-fi connection rather using dongle.

  9. eonzerimar says:

    i hope there will be an option for existing smartbro account to bundle it much lower than the announced price!
    oh the funny thing is, manufacturer uses open source rather than propriety software!
    hmmmm maybe their afraid to score another BSOD TV Version? :)
    just noticed!

  10. Jon says:


    Open source software is free, therefore, cutting down costs.

  11. @Calvin – I agree, in fact may ganyan din akong remote na china-made haha, mas sexy pa jan :D joke.
    About the post, too bad that the connection is only RCA, walang option for YpCBr connection ba yun; I have that in my ps2 as a connection to my TV – mas clear ang pictures.
    Pero ok na din kasi ang price ang mas mahalaga dito.haha :D
    nice post sir Yuga!:D

  12. This is interesting.. but I thought the suite include a keyboard as they present the smart surf tv on posters with a keyboard. Just checkout this posters online.


    Or the USB is there for either the keyboard or mouse.. I sure want to do a road test on this baby! :)

  13. Noob says:

    Sir Yuga!

    Paki confirm naman kung totoo lahat ng sinasabi ni ramon bautista dito: http://bit.ly/claiTR
    pwede ba talaga mag chat at gumawa ng documents dito?

  14. loadex says:

    May niche market siya, but this will be a battle between Agua Bendita, Wowowee versus Yahoo/Gmail/Youtube?

    Every household has TV.. but few has more than one. How can they use Surf TV when someone is watching their fave shows?

    Kung this unit is marketed to be used sparingly.. then renting a pc in net cafe.. is cheaper… (babayad ka din naman sa pagload ng Smartbro)

  15. Jill says:

    SmartBro without 3G is so slow. This further limits its market.

  16. L.R. says:

    Can you adjust the resolution with this product?

  17. GadgetMeister says:

    Can it play Farmville? This will be a good computer introduction to kids instead of an intimidating desktop.

  18. virtualstefan13 says:

    How about it screen resolution Abe?

    Planning to buy this for my parents.



  19. Emo22 says:

    Nice try smart. But this shows how left-behind we r. I’ve been a tech support agent of msn for a long time now, and I say US already had this since early 2000 through MSN tv.. Now IP tv like att uverse is conquerng the scene.. i wish we can catch up with them even just a bit

  20. guppy says:

    could you connect this to your land line internet lan without using the smart bro? can you install webcam and video chat at ym or skype here?


  21. dave says:

    i cant wait for sun’s offer :)

  22. Noob …. sa google docs po daw ang paggawa ng documents :D

  23. Anna says:

    I would really love to hear the rest of sir yuga’s review of surftv. can’t make a decision if i want to buy this or not.

  24. hottie says:

    hello everyone..i just want to know if i can plug the webcam on that extra usb port,yun lang need ko po,then bili na ko,hehehe..may unli surf naman ngaun for prepaid eh,hehehe :)

  25. rain says:

    what is the maximum output resolution?

  26. noteither says:

    obviously, it’s a nettop box built-in with tv out module so one can utilize it with a television set. it’s cool if it’s linux. i just wonder if it is capable booting-up othe linux distros from usb?? :)

  27. LichtSabel says:

    If it’s an embedded Linux-based machine, hopefully SMART would do the right thing and release the GPL’ed sources for this unit.

    This thing has nice uses, for it’s an embedded system you could get for cheapies. It doesn’t gobble power, but sip frugally, hopefully.

    If the original brand and model of this box could be identified, this might be a fun unit for hacking!

    Hopefully you’d get your review rolling, Yuga.

  28. noteither says:

    if it got a generic BIOS, most probably it’ll be easy to load other linux OS on it:)

  29. ajka says:

    is it posible to connect the smart tv to old pc?

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