Waipu.tv stick for linear TV in test

Watching TV over the Internet is popular. Waipu.tv now offers its own streaming stick precisely for these users. The focus is on linear television, not the classic streaming providers.

Via cable, satellite, DVB-T2 or the Internet – TV can be watched via various reception modes. Well-known IPTV providers include Zattoo and its competitor Waipu.tv. The latter now also offers special hardware for all users who receive linear TV via the Internet. The streaming stick from Waipu.tv not only offers a remote control with an extensive numeric keypad, but also an interface that focuses on the TV channels.

Waipu.tv stick in the test – the promises

Waipu.tv promises users of the streaming stick several advantages. For one, they can now access their own hardware specifically designed for the TV service and are no longer dependent on apps, which could be a disadvantage, especially with older TVs. Via the streaming stick, they also land directly on the interface after switching on the TV, which displays the TV channels as well as the Waipu.tv media library and the program preview. Thus, a separate app no longer needs to be started.

Cable TV from the Internet
The stick is attached to the TV, the remote in your hand – and you can start zapping away. Photo: Till Simon Nagel/dpa-tmn

Waipu.tv’s streaming stick – which is actually a small adapter hanging from an HDMI cable – is simply plugged into the back of the TV and connected to power via a cable. It doesn’t need line-of-sight contact with the included remote for it to work. It is also advantageous that it can be used to operate not only the stick, but also the TV. Users thus only need one remote control to switch on and off, adjust the volume or change HDMI inputs. Following a customer survey, Waipu.tv deliberately chose a model that has individual numeric buttons for switching. The provider wants to give its users the classic zapping-through-program experience.

Watching TV over the Internet – IPTV offers in comparison

Fast switching times and interface that takes getting used to

During the setup of the streaming stick – through which users are guided step by step within about five minutes – they also have to enter their Waipu.tv account. In principle, the stick can be used with a free account. However, if you want to access the full range of services, you will need a paid account. starting at 5.99 euros per month. With the Comfort package, users have access to around 119 TV channels and additional offers such as the 50-hour recording memory. The full program including HD channels and longer recording memory is available with Waipu.tv Perfect Plus for EUR 12.99 per month. By way of comparison, a traditional cable connection usually costs around EUR 10 per month, and even more with an HD option for the private broadcasters.

Program overview
TV guide was yesterday. The program overview in Waipu.tv is a notch more detailed than the electronic program guide EPG familiar from Digi-TV. Photo: Till Simon Nagel/dpa-tmn

The interface of the Waipu.tv stick is designed for linear TV. Users expecting the classic overview of streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others will be disappointed. They can be accessed as well, but the focus is on the linear TV channels – just like when switching on a TV with a cable connection. Once you get used to the unfamiliar interface, you will quickly find your way around. This is particularly practical: Waipu.tv has succeeded in reducing the switching times via the streaming sticks. The longer loading times per channel, which can be a disadvantage with IPTV, therefore do not exist.

The stick itself is based on the Google platform. This is evident from the remote control, which has a special button for Google Assistant. Users can use it to access the voice search. There are also three buttons that either lead to the Waipu.tv library, Netflix or YouTube.

Channel selection and TV experience

The number of TV channels available via the streaming stick depends heavily on the Waipu.tv package booked. For TV in HD quality, the Perfect Plus package, which we mentioned above, is mandatory. Here you can find all classic TV channels, but also pay-TV offers like Universal HD, Kinowelt HD, ProSieben Fun, Sat.1 Emotions, etc. The complete channel list can be viewed here.

The stick’s software manages to structure the large range of channels neatly. The search, the program with information about movies, documentaries and co. worked without any problems in the test. Even zapping is fun – it’s almost as fast with the stick as it used to be with the analog cable connection. The best function: Press the down arrow once – and a small picture and a short info immediately show what is playing on all other channels. Waipu.tv calls this QuickZapper.

What else is on? The QuickZapper shows this with a clear small bar at the bottom of the screen. Photo: Till Simon Nagel/dpa-tmn

There is even a recording function, but this is linked to paid access. The recordings are not stored on the stick, but in Waipu.tv’s data center. There they are sorted by series, seasons and episodes.

Who the Waipu.tv stick is suitable for

The Waipu.tv stick is available as part of a combination offer consisting of a Perfect Plus package and a streaming stick for EUR 12.99 per month with a term of 12 months. If users commit to the provider for a year, they get the stick for free (one-time shipping costs of 4.99 euros).

But for whom is the stick worthwhile? Perhaps a small sample calculation will help: If you also rent the cable connection in an apartment building, you usually pay more than the smallest Waipu.tv subscription model, depending on the size of the house, location and provider. Those who have a single connection in a single-family home pay significantly more for it. Since most households now have a broadband connection, switching to TV over the Internet could save a few euros a month.

Those who have the dish on the balcony or on the roof may save the HD+ subscription or the new receiver and cable laying for another TV. Depending on the subscription, Waipu allows two to five devices to be operated simultaneously. And those who use Waipu.tv via app so far: The stick simply works better in comparison.

So if you like TV with all its idiosyncrasies and also stream, you’ll find the Waipu.tv stick an HDMI plug that bundles all that together in an easy-to-use way on current TVs and also on TVs that are already a few years old.

Whether the stick really means the end of the cable connection and satellite dish remains to be seen. It is an alternative worth considering for TV fans for reasons of cost and because of the abundance of channels and functions. However, those who have long since said goodbye to traditional linear TV are better off with the streaming boxes from Roku, Fire TV, Apple and others.

With material from dpa