It was football season and I had plans for camping. And I realized, in this world of modern technology why can’t I watch the locally aired games?I had a very old rechargeable LCD TV with a small screen about 4 inches, but the battery was shot and replacing it would cost a lot.
Enter the great new idea of an Android plug in that allows you to receive local broadcast TV. I’d seen an article or two and Youtube videos on these and thought, hmmmm, great idea. Lightweight, small, I could keep things charged with my existing USB supplies when needed.
After hunting online I couldn’t find a retailer that carried them. But when I went through eBay, I found a few and decided to give it a try since it looked like the one I saw in the article. After all, eBay has a buyer’s guarantee and the seller had good reviews at the time. I made sure I researched the details to confirm it was designed to operate in the US. And I had good luck in the recent past with eBay (recently having purchased a bundle of ten iphone cords for $10).
I made the commitment on December 29th.
|Mini Digital ATSC HD Pad TV Tuner Receiver for Android Phone Tablet PC Antenna
|Item # :
||Dec-29-15 13:36:01 PST
It arrived surprisingly quick having originated from China. I believe it was January 5th. Immediately I tried to put it to use. It required you to download an App from the Google play store. And this is where things began to go wrong.
The app in their broken english instructions didn’t exist on Google Play here in the US. I emailed the seller (wuyouguo2110), but would always have to wait at least a day for a response (another part of the world, okay I get it). We went back and forth. They tried sending me a link to an app that turned out to be absolute spam and I had to factory reset my tablet to prevent being hijacked. They made available a demo of a raw apk android file through a file drop service and, although it appeared to install properly, was absolutely useless. It never detected a single station and I have excellent reception of several channels.
I had hoped to do a positive review on YouTube, but no such luck. Here is the actual review.
And that’s where things really went wrong.
According to what the seller says, they never received it, but “no worry friend, we’ll refund you as soon as we see it”. He sounded earnest so I didn’t press right away. After significant delays and ‘no it hasn’t arrived yet’, I opened a case for eBays guarantee to be initiated Feb 28th and it was denied.
I called eBay customer service to understand the entire situation. That’s when I got the explanation about timelines to support everything. Apparently their guarantee is only supportable within 30 days of the original purchase. That’s the only date they care about. Which means if you get stalled even the slightest because your dealing with China, better ask immediately instead of waiting like I did.
So I asked if there is any way I could at least leave a rating on the seller and they said no. That has to be done quickly also. Great (that’s sarcasm of course).
Fast forward to late March and still nothing from the seller (wuyouguo2110) either to acknowledge receipt, issue a refund or forward a replacement that might work.
To sum up: As for eBay, to be fair, I used them in a very limited fashion, with maybe two purchases a year on average. And this has been my very first bad experience. Does it mean I won’t use eBay again? Possibly. Does it mean I learned an expensive lesson? Yes. Does it mean that I will jump onto eBay looking for great idea products that I can’t find via US suppliers? No. I’ll wait for a reputable retailer.
ATSC Tuner via Android for the US summary:
So far, I haven’t seen great reviews on anything for the US. That includes all the retailers I’m aware of including eBay, BangGood and Amazon. Youtube shows a lot of options, but separating it out will take too much time.
My eBay lessons learned:
- eBay is like a garage sale, buyer beware.
- eBay support is limited in time and function.
- Deal with US Only sellers. Less expensive and faster shipping that can be tracked.
- Read return and guarantee’s BEFORE you buy if it’s something important or a service you use regularly. A point for eBay or any online supplier.
- Deal with a reputable retailer before turning to eBay if you can find what you need that way.
17 January 2018: Update – I’ve since canceled my eBay membership. Better reliability and quality support can be found elsewhere.