Saturday, July 7, 2012

TVpad M121S/M121: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

This post will mention the most frequently asked questions about the TVpad M233 (TVpad2), TVpad3 M121S or M121 and it will be updated frequently.

Go to this page for the TVpad3 promotion packages:


1. Do I have to pay shipping costs when I buy the machine on the official website?
The shipping costs are free for a lot of countries. See the table below (source is tvpad official website). Also, you can see your tracking number in the account you have signed up for during the purchase process.

2. Do I have to pay import costs/tax?
The vendor will put a very low value on the package, but there is still a chance that you have to pay import costs/tax if the customs does not believe the low value of the machine. Also, the import duty rule (pay tax if the value is over a certain threshold) can differ for each country, so check your customs website about this.

3. What is the after-sale service when you buy the TVpad on the official TVpad website?
You can return the machine within 7 days or exchange the machine for a new one within 15 days if the machine is faulty. Also, this machine has 1 year warranty. If you want to return the machine, put the return receipt in your package and state the following information: your name, order number, registered ID (e-mail and nickname) and returns reason. Before sending back, I still advice you to make contact first with the customer service.

4. Do all WIFI network adapters/dongles work on the TVpad?
The answer is no, not all WIFI network adapters work on the TVpad. The vendor recommends the Netcore NW360 WIFI adapter. An user reported that the following WIFI usb adapter also works on the TVpad: WIFI usb adapter. The vendor also have mentioned that WIFI USB adapters with RT3070 or RTL8192SU chipset inside will work on the TVpad. 
                                                                                                                                       Note: it's best to use a wired connection , more stable in my opinion compared to a wireless connection, but you can always try the WIFI network adapter first. Please be aware that there is no built-in wifi chip inside the TVpad M121S or in the M121. A low cost RJ45 cable would work if you don't mind the long cables in your house or you could buy  powerline adapters (at least two are needed). I must tell you that some people have some problems with the wireless connection (connection not stable enough), so my advice is really to use a wired connection.

There is a WIFI chipset built-in inside TVpad2 (TVpad M233), so you don't need to buy an external WIFI USB stick anymore.

5.1 How to get TVpad working for the first time (short tutorial)?
First, the following items should be included in the TVpad retail box: TVpad set top box, instruction brochure, power adapter, remote, av cable, hdmi cable and 8GB microSD card. After you have connected the TVpad with your TV and started it up, you will be ask to enter a three digit number shown on the TV screen. Type in that number using the remote control. After that, you will be able to configure your settings. (Edit: there is only 4GB microSD card in stead of 8GB in the M121S package and TVpad2 (TVpad M233)

5.2 How to install/un-install the apps on the TVpad?
No apps are installed when you start the machine for the first time. After you have configured your settings, you can install the apps by going to "App manager" in the main menu. In the "TVpad store"  (first tab)(this can be found in firmware 3.0 or higher), you can find all the apps. Choose the app you would like to install and press "OK" in the remote control. You can un-install an app by going to the "Installed apps" tab. Go to the app you would like to un-install and press "OK" in the remote control. 

Apps can also be installed using an USB-stick. Connect your USB-stick with the apps on it with your TVpad and go to "App manager" in the main menu. Go to the third tab ("Others") and there you will find all the apps you would like to install. If you have TVpad2 (TVpad M233) device, then it is normally not possible to install TVpad apps using an USB-stick (there is no third tab). However, you can use some software to allow apps installation using an USB-stick.

6. Will the TV apps work forever?
No, there is a chance that some of the apps won't work in the future.

7. What kind of Internet connection do I need for the TVpad?
At least a download speed of 2 till 3Mbps is going to be needed, 3-4Mbps is more on the safer side. Be aware that these livestreams also uses your upload connection, so you are downloading as well as uploading at the same time. Thus, this could affect your Internet browsing or gaming experience. Maybe your router has the option to limit the upload speed.

8. Do I have to pay a monthly/yearly fee for this device?
No, you don't have to pay a monthly/yearly fee for using this device.

9. How to switch video output from AV to HDMI and vice versa?
Normally, you can switch the video ouput in "Settings" ---> "Video Setting". You can also switch the video output by pressing F1 button for a couple of seconds on your remote control and wait for a couple of minuts. Try this method when the TVpad is turned on and you are only seeing a black screen on the TV. You can switch between PAL and NTSC by pressing the F2 button for a couple of seconds on your remote control.

10. How is the quality of the livestreams and are they stable (without lags or stuttering)?
Generally speaking, the quality of the livestreams is average (they are not HD quality), but still good enough to watch. In the past 11 months, I haven't experienced lags/stuttering, so the livestreams are quite stable.

11. How much is the data usage when the TVpad is turned on?
Since not all the TV livestreams are of the same quality (bitrate can differ), I can only mention a rough estimate of the data usage when you are watching a TV livestream. Watching a livestream for 10 minutes is about 63MB of data usage. This can be higher or lower depending on the livestream you are watching.

12. How to see the channel list within an app?
Press the "Menu" button on your remote to see the channel within the app. You can also change a TV channel by using the up and down "arrows" buttons on your remote and then press the "OK" button.

13. How to update the TVpad apps?
It does not happen often that you need to update the apps. New TV channels can be added by the TVpad management without updating your app. When there is a new update of an app, you need to download the app again and install it again (un-install the old app first). In firmware version 3.0, the system will notify you to update your app.

14. What are the differences between the TVpad M121S and M121? (TVpad M121S vs M121)
The TVpad management only mentioned that the CPU inside the M121S is the TCC8902 and there is 256M RAM inside the M121S. The CPU inside the M121 is the TCC8901 and there is also 256M RAM inside the M121. Searching the Internet for more information about the CPU, it can be noticed that the CPU core is the same between the TCC8902 and the TCC8901 (see this link and this link). They are both clocked at 800MHz. The GPU is also the same. 

Furthermore, M121S has firmware version 3.0 which allows you to watch more foreign channels (Korean TV streams) and it has more video on demand apps. Current M121/120 owners can update their firmware in the future to 3.0 to have the same features as the M121S. It seems that TVpad M121S has only a newer firmware version.

15. What are the differences between the TVpad M311 and M121S?
TVpad M311 was a device similar to the M121, but it was targeted to Koreans living overseas. Instead of Chinese TV channels, the TVpad M311 has Korean TV channels and Korean on demand content. Some while ago, the TVpad management discontinued the M311 (not for sale anymore) and allowed the TVpad M121S to watch Korean TV channels and Korean on demand content.

16. What is the system interface language?
The following languages are available: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, Korean and Japanese. Korean and Japanese language are only available in firmware version 3.0

17. What kind of video's can be played by TVpad?
TVpad can play video's with the following codecs: H.264, MPEG 1/2/4, VC-1, Real Video 8/9/10, H.263.

18. Can I watch two different live channels at the same time with only 1 TVpad?
No, that's not possible. You will need 2 TVpad units to be able to watch two different live channels at the same time.

19. Is it possible to buy a new remote control when the old remote control is broken?
Yes, that's possible. The market price for the remote control is $15 dollar and you can buy it on the official website. You can also use your Android phone as a remote control by installing the remote control app or you can use an Harmony One remote.

20I am getting a "user does not exist" message (this could happen to TVpad users with firmware 3.0 or higher). What should I do?
It could be your Internet connection. Test whether your Internet connection works or not. Maybe your Internet cable is somehow disconnected (if you are using a wired connection). Also, try to restart your TVpad if you are getting the user does not exist message, this may help. 

If your Internet connection does work fine and you have restarted your TVpad, then you may have a bigger problem. Your TVpad could have been blacklisted/banned. Contact the (online) customer service on the official TVpad website to unban your TVpad by mentioning your problem and the MAC address of your TVpad (this unique MAC address can be found beneath your TVpad)(customer service e-mailaddress: You can also use the chat service for help (see the next question) If you have bought this device from a dealer/reseller, then this dealer/reseller could have reported to the TVpad customer service that the TVpad device (sold to you) does not work (while it could be working fine). The dealer/reseller will then get a new one from TVpad in return. 

There is also a possibility that there are some problems with the authentication server of TVpad (causing the "user does not exist" message), anyway you should still contact the customer service on the official site about your problem if the problem exists for more than 1 day.

21. How can I contact the customer service for help?
You can send an e-mail to the customer service ( or you can chat with the customer service on the following site: Chat with the customer service 

You can type your question/problem in English in the chat box, but they may answer only in Chinese. Use an online translater to understand their response to your question/problem.

22. How to reset or restore the TVpad M121S to factory settings?
You can reset or restore the TVpad M121S to factory settings by going to "Settings" in the main menu. Then, go to the tab "Factory Default" to restore your settings.

23. Can I use the TVpad on my computer (PC)/laptop?
If your PC monitor or laptop has HDMI input connection, then you can use the TVpad also on that device.

24. What are the differences between TVpad M233 (TVpad2) and TVpad M121S?
TVpad M233 (also known as TVpad2) has a better CPU and GPU compared to the older model (TVpad M121S). A better CPU and GPU does not mean that the livestreams or video on demand content of the apps are of better quality compared to the older model. A better CPU and GPU in the TVpad M233 model decreases the start-up time of the machine.

TVpad M233 (TVpad2) has also built-in WIFI chipset inside, so you don't need an external WIFI USB stick anymore. There is no built-in WIFI chipset inside TVpad M121S. Furthermore, you can play games on the TVpad M233 with the game controller (game controller is provided if you fill in the gift code 14696673 in the order form on the official website). TVpad M233 will also have VoIP support in the future.

The amount of TV apps is currently the same for TVpad M233 (TVpad2) as well as for TVpad M121S.