WhatsApp +94 779-052-592
A photograph of the Dialog Television ViU Hub container box.

Review: Dialog Television ViU Hub 2.0

Reading Time: 7 min

I published this post about Dialog Television ViU Hub 2.0 for two significant reasons. Firstly, I found that the existing reviews are biased and unreliable, often resembling paid endorsements rather than genuine user experiences. This raised concerns about their credibility and usefulness for potential buyers seeking honest insights. Secondly, my recent upgrade to the Dialog Television ViU Hub 2.0 [Model No. DV8829-S2] prompted me to share my firsthand experience, believing it could provide valuable information to other Dialog TV users contemplating a similar upgrade. For those unfamiliar with it, Dialog Television ViU Hub 2.0 is a 4K Hybrid decoder exclusively offered to Dialog TV subscribers by Dialog Axiata. It combines satellite and limited IP TV functionalities, allowing seamless switching to IP TV in instances of satellite signal loss. This feature ensures uninterrupted viewing, addressing a common concern among satellite TV users.

Moreover, the decoder operates on Android TV 10, thereby transforming any conventional TV into a smart TV with enhanced functionalities. Users can access over 130 local and international Dialog Television channels, complete with Live TV, Rewind TV, and Catch-Up TV capabilities. Notably, data usage for these services is exempted when accessed through the Dialog Network, which adds value for users concerned about data consumption. Furthermore, Dialog offers the opportunity for existing Club Vision Customers or those subscribed to Gold, Emerald, or Diamond packages to upgrade to Dialog Television ViU Hub 2.0 free of charge. For others interested in the upgrade, the decoder is available for purchase at Rs. 11,990. As a Club Vision Customer myself, I benefited from this complimentary upgrade, allowing me to evaluate the decoder thoroughly and provide an unbiased assessment.

Acknowledgement: Dialog Television and ViU Hub 2.0 are trademarks of Dialog Axiata. All rights reserved. The image of the Dialog Television ViU Hub 2.0 packaging used as the thumbnail is for illustrative purposes only and is the property of Dialog Axiata.

Dialog TV ViU Hub 2.0 Hardware Specifics

Unlike previous models that used the outdated ARM Quad 64-bit Cortex-A53 processor released in 2014, the DV8829-S2 model of the ViU Hub 2.0 features the more recent Amlogic S905C1 processor, released in 2019. However, even the Amlogic S905C1 is not considered modern by today’s standards. It has 4 CPU cores running at 1.9 GHz. The Graphics Processing Unit remains a Mali-G31 MP2 at 850MHz, similar to its predecessors. It comes with 2 GB of RAM and includes an 8GB eMMC card (4GB available) for program recording and playback. The device supports WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for remote and other device pairing (ex: my JBL BT500 Headphones). It offers one Ethernet port, 2 USB ports (2.0 and 3.0 – useful for playing back media from flash drives and portable hard disks), a TransFlash Card reader, an Audio & Video mini-jack IN, and Headphone jack outputs.

Dialog TV ViU Hub 2.0 Software Specifics

The Dialog Television ViU Hub 2.0 supports several streaming Apps and mobile games. The decoder has Google Assistant and Chromecast built into it. However, similar to its outdated hardware components, the device uses Android TV 10 an operating system that is 4 ½ years old. Google ended regular security updates for Android 10 in September 2023. Here are some potential security threats a satellite TV decoder running an outdated Android version (like Android TV 10 in 2024) could face:

  • Weaknesses in older software: Older software can be easier for hackers to break into. Since Android 9 is no longer getting updates, hackers can learn about its weaknesses and take advantage of them. This could let them control the decoder from far away, steal information, or plant harmful software on it.
  • Malware designed for older Android versions: Hackers often create harmful software, or malware, specifically for older Android versions because they know many people still use these outdated systems and they are easier to attack. This malware could steal personal information, and passwords, or even track what shows and movies you watch on the decoder.
  • Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks: Hackers might attempt to flood the decoder with garbage traffic, making it stop working properly. This could be very inconvenient if you use the decoder to watch live TV or stream shows and movies.
  • Sideloading apps from untrusted sources: This can be a security risk if the decoder allows sideloading apps (installing apps from outside the official app store). These apps might not be properly vetted and could contain malware.

Moreover, using a hybrid decoder that runs on an outdated operating system risks not only the decoder but also your WiFi router and any other devices connected to it, creating a vulnerability similar to what happened in the Target hack, where the compromised device was the central hub of the retail store network. If your smartphones, tablets, computers, CCTV network, or smart home hub are connected to the same WiFi router as the ViU Hub, an attacker who gains control of the decoder could potentially access these other devices.

Note: To address these security concerns, I will provide some tips on mitigating such risks later in this discussion. Keep reading for more details.

Everything I wish for in the ViU Hub 2.0

Additionally, aside from the outdated hardware and software in ViU Hub 2.0, Dialog has overlooked some critical features in my view. One significant omission is the lack of Catch-Up functionality for Sony Pix, which happens to be one of my favourite channels alongside CinemaWorld. Another glaring issue is the absence of support for Netflix. This is particularly questionable given that by 2024, there are expected to be over 50,000 Netflix subscribers in Sri Lanka, according to FlixPatrol. Previously, Dialog had actively promoted Netflix, even offering incentives such as a bonus 5GB data quota for streaming Netflix on smartphones and allowing subscribers to add their Netflix subscription to their Dialog bill.

However, these features were discontinued, likely due to the termination of a contract between Dialog and Netflix. Despite this, Dialog still offers an unlimited data plan for Netflix binge-watching. It seems contradictory that Dialog is now promoting Amazon Prime alongside the ViU Hub without providing any data plans specifically tailored for Amazon Prime users. This lack of support for such a popular streaming service like Netflix and the absence of dedicated data plans for Amazon Prime seem out of sync with consumer expectations in today’s streaming landscape. My other two wishes for the ViU Hub 2.0 are Ethernet connectivity and the ability to operate without a network connection which I’ve covered below.

Annoyances I spotted in the ViU Hub 2.0

While WiFi is essential for my daily activities at home and work, I prefer Ethernet for faster network and internet access from non-mobile devices. The ViU Hub 2.0 includes a physical Ethernet port. According to the Dialog Axiata technician who installed the device however, I cannot use it for catch-up TV, Rewind TV, or IP TV in case of satellite signal loss because the MAC ID of the WiFi adapter serves as my subscriber ID, exempting data charges as per Dialog’s policy. (I will confirm this matter with Dialog in the coming days and update you here.) Additionally, an active internet connection is necessary for the ViU Hub to function. This means I can switch to IP TV if the satellite signal is lost, but I cannot use satellite signals without an active internet connection. [Refer to the image below] I find this issue very frustrating and annoying at the same time.

I can switch to IP TV if the satellite signal is lost, but I cannot use satellite signals without an active internet connection.

As I mentioned earlier, unlike previous models that used the outdated ARM Quad 64-bit Cortex-A53 processor released in 2014, the DV8829-S2 model of the ViU Hub 2.0 features the more recent Amlogic S905C1 processor, released in 2019. However, even the Amlogic S905C1 is not considered modern by today’s standards. My tests confirmed the processor’s limitations. I downloaded two different 4K movies and tried to play them on the ViU Hub. The first, a remastered 4K version of “Enter the Dragon” (1973), showed some minor lag. The second, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (2024), originally rendered in 4K, played smoothly without any lag. This lag occured because remastered content requires additional processing to upscale lower-resolution video to 4K, which demands more from the device’s processor. On the other hand, content originally filmed in 4K doesn’t need upscaling, as it is already in 4K resolution.

Final Verdict: My Review – Your Decision

It’s challenging to either recommend or advise against the Dialog Television ViU Hub 2.0 definitively because opinions on it vary widely. To Dialog’s credit, the decoder offers a reasonable hybrid TV (Satellite + IP) experience at a fraction of the cost compared to other options. However, in my view, there is substantial room for improvement. These potential improvements include upgrading to better hardware, incorporating the latest software updates, and adding support for popular stream rewind and catch-up TV for channels like Sony Pix. On a related note, I’ve taken several precautions to safeguard my decoder from potential hacking attempts:

  • See if a software update is available: I regularly check for software updates to ensure the decoder is running the latest version of Android, which may include crucial security patches.
  • Disable features I don’t use: I disable features like WiFi when not in use, preferring ethernet connections.
  • Avoid sideloading apps: I avoid installing apps from unknown sources and only use those vetted by official app stores.
  • Use strong passwords: I employ strong, unique passwords for all accounts accessed through the decoder.
  • Be cautious about clicking on links: I exercise caution when interacting with links in emails or on websites displayed on the decoder, avoiding suspicious ones.

In addition to these steps, I’ve bolstered the security of my WiFi router and all connected devices. For those less comfortable with technology, an option is to connect the ViU Hub to a separate router, a measure that can enhance security further. (It’s worth noting that Dialog offers a complimentary WiFi router when upgrading to the ViU Hub 2.0.) This setup physically separates the decoder from the rest of the home network, ensuring that even if the decoder is compromised, other devices and their data remain protected.

Wrap Up

In closing my sole concern is that Dialog Axiata is promoting a device with an outdated operating system to users unfamiliar with cyber security. Many people don’t know how to protect themselves from online threats, and selling them a decoder with outdated software is irresponsible. This situation makes me question how we can trust Dialog Axiata with their other services, such as Dialog Home Broadband, Smart Home Products, and more. In a previous post titled “My Two Cents on Dialog Suraksha” I highlighted the unreliable nature of the Parental Control Service that Dialog advertises so heavily. Despite their claims, the service falls short in many ways, failing to provide the level of security and control that parents need. If Dialog can’t ensure the safety and reliability of the ViU Hub 2.0 Device and Parental Control Service, it raises serious concerns about the quality and security of its other offerings.

Furthermore, Dialog Axiata has significantly expanded its service offerings to include a comprehensive array of enterprise solutions through its divisions, Dialog Enterprise and Dialog Global. This strategic move aims to cater to the diverse needs of businesses, both locally and globally. However, questions arise regarding the company’s ability to uphold the reliability of these enterprise solutions, especially when considering its historical performance in the realm of home solutions. Dialog Axiata’s past has been marked by instances where the delivery and support of home-based services have not consistently met consumer expectations. This recurring issue of promoting substandard products and services suggests a concerning pattern that reflects a potential disregard for ensuring user safety and satisfaction across its offerings. Consumers rightfully expect higher standards from service providers like Dialog Axiata.

If you found this content helpful, I kindly ask you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Sharing it on social media would also be greatly appreciated. In order to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue, I request that you use your full name when commenting. Please note that any comments containing profanity, name-calling, or a disrespectful tone will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding and participation.

Related Content:
My favorite TV Shows and Films that foresaw the future of AI
A picture of a robotic figure controlled by artificial intelligence, playing the electric piano.

As a boy, I was captivated by movies and TV series like "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" (1968), "Knight Rider" CONTINUE READING

Read me before ordering or upgrading your Dialog TV Subscription
A close-up photograph of a television screen displaying an advertisement for the TV show "NCIS: 10."

According to Wikipedia, Dialog Axiata reached 1.7 million Dialog Television subscribers in 2018. While the company might claim this achievement CONTINUE READING

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments