What is an Android TV box?
An Android TV box is a media player that runs a version of the Androidoperating system (OS). Thereâs actually two versions of Android that areused: * Stock Android: This is the same version of Android youâd see on your smartphone or tablet. Whilst itâs not specifically designed for TV use, most TV box manufacturers include a TV-friendly user interface and youâll get access to a much wider variety of apps compared to Android TV. * Android TV: Googleâs TV-optimized version of the OS. Android TV is designed from the ground up for TV use. This means that its interface is designed to be used with a remote. Youâll also get TV-optimised versions of apps such as Netflix, though the app selection on Android TV is far smaller than stock Android.Theyâre often used to stream movies and TV shows from services like Netflixand Amazon Prime or watching your own content using a TV-friendly frontendsuch as Kodi. However, they can do much more.For more information about Android TV boxes, I recommend reading my detailedintroduction to Android TV boxes.
Android Box vs Firestick Comparison
| Android TV Box| Amazon Firestick —|—|— Processor| Varies (Fastest is Tegra X1)| 1.7GHz Quadcore Processor Connectivity| Typically Wired & Wireless| Wireless Only Portability| Not Portable| Portable Remote| IR/Bluetooth| Bluetooth Voice Remote Support/Updates| Varies based on Manufacturer| Excellent Android TV boxes come from a number of manufacturers with an even largervariety of configurations. This makes explicit comparisons of Android TV boxesvs Firesticks difficult. However, there are some common things that Iâll befocusing on.
Android TV Box vs Firestick for Kodi
When it comes to Kodi support, Android TV boxes win out.ÂAmazon isnât a fan of Kodi and the app hasnât been available on the AmazonApp store for some time so youâll need to sideload it â this is somewhattechnical which might scare off some users.That said, Amazon users can use the MrMC app for a Kodi-like experience thoughincluding automatic framerate switching â though youâll lose the abilityto stream using add-ons as this function isnât supported.Android TV boxes donât have this restriction and can install Kodi directlyfrom the Google Play store. However, support for more advanced features suchas automatic frame rate switching heavily depends on the deviceâs firmware.Better supported Android TV boxes such as the Nvidia Shield or Zidoo deviceswill offer better Kodi experiences.Those who want the ultimate Kodi experience on their Android TV box can bypassAndroid entirely, installing the alternate OS LibreELEC or CoreELEC (thoughthis is typically restricted to a handful of Android TV box processors likethe Amlogic S912 and S905).When it comes to choosing a Firestick or Android TV box for Kodi, I have togive Android TV boxes the edge.
What’s all this about Google TV?
Some of you may be aware of a new ‘Google TV’ platform featuring on the kindsof devices that would traditionally feature Android TV instead.Google TV is essentially a successor with a simplified interface that tried totackle some of the perceived issues of the Android platform, but much of thelayout and app support is carried over direct.There’s even a new Chromecast with Google TV model showcasing the benefits ofthe new platform, with better organization and a personalized recommendationtab, a watchlist and a Live TV menu for folks who subscribe to YouTube TV.We expect to see it rolled out further in the future, possibly on some smartTVs as well as streaming sticks, though it’s unclear whether Android TV isgoing to be shuttered for good – especially given different TV makers usetheir own spins on the base Android platform.It’s worth noting that Google TV didn’t support the Stadia streaming platformat launch, though.4 Best Fire TV Stick Remote Apps for Android and iOSFire TV Stick comes with a remote controller right inside the box. But as thisis 2020, we can expect a bit more user-friendliness. It’s always a task tosearch for anything with the remote controller. So having the TV connected toyour phone is a much better option as we can use the phone’s keyboard for aquick search. You can operate the TV without having to jiggle around for apiece of plastic. But you need Fire TV Stick remote apps for Android to use iteffectively.
Android TV vs. Amazon Fire TV: Specs
As you can see in our comparison of Amazon’s Fire TV devices each haveslightly different hardware specs.Only the Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire TV Cube support ultra HD and HDR 10video output, while only the Cube has an internal speaker and far-field voicecontrol for both the TV and your third-party devices.From a storage standpoint, the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K offer 8GB ofinternal space. The Cube doubles that capacity to 16GB.And if you want to connect the basic Stick or the 4K Stick to an ethernet porton your router, you’ll need to purchase a separate Amazon Ethernet Adapter.It’s one of many great items in the Amazon Basics product line. The Cube hasits own ethernet port.Once again, comparing the specs of Android TV is more difficult, but we’regoing to look at the Nvidia Shield Pro ($300) and the Xiaomi Mi Box ($88).Despite the differing price points, both are among the best Android TV boxesyou can buy.The Shield has a 500 GB hard drive, 4K HDR playback at 60 FPS, Dolby Atmosaudio, and an Nvidia Tegra X1 processor. It runs Android 8.0. The Shield alsohas Plex Media Server capabilities; if you don’t want to use a computer anddon’t have a NAS drive, it is a great option.In contrast, the Mi Box is not as powerful. Like the Shield, it can produce 4Kvideo at 60 FPS. However, it only has 8 GB of storage, 2 GB of RAM, and aquad-core Cortex-A53 2.0GHz processor. There is no support for a Plex MediaServer.Again, remember, that these are just two models. You can find Android TVdevices with a vast variety of specs if you do some digging.
Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV Stick: Who Wins This Round?
As we went through the article, it’s clear that Android TV and Amazon Fire TVStick are similar in many ways, just like Tizen OS and webOS. The onlysignificant difference is in the software department where one prioritizesGoogle services and the other utilizes Amazon’s services. It’s up to you whichecosystem you want to be invested in.Apart from that, Android TV has a much larger collection of apps, supportsseamless casting and the voice assistant is a notch better than Amazon’sAlexa. I would say, Android TV is overall a well-rounded product with supportfor all the essentials and more. However, Fire TV Stick does not lack anyessential features either and brings almost everything to consumers. So byconsidering all the points, you can pick a TV platform of your choice.Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV Stick: The Prime DifferencesEarlier, in our comparison between Android and Smart TV, we had concluded thatsmart TVs are more user-friendly than Android TVs and offer nearly all themainstream apps. Now in a similar fashion, we pit Android TV vs Amazon Fire TVStick to find out what are the unique features of both platforms. In thiscomparison, we also discuss the pricing of corresponding devices at similarprice points so you get a better idea about which one is more value for money.So on that note, let’s go ahead and unpack the article.
Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV Stick: Who Wins This Round?
As we went through the article, it’s clear that Android TV and Amazon Fire TVStick are similar in many ways, just like Tizen OS and webOS. The onlysignificant difference is in the software department where one prioritizesGoogle services and the other utilizes Amazon’s services. It’s up to you whichecosystem you want to be invested in.Apart from that, Android TV has a much larger collection of apps, supportsseamless casting and the voice assistant is a notch better than Amazon’sAlexa. I would say, Android TV is overall a well-rounded product with supportfor all the essentials and more. However, Fire TV Stick does not lack anyessential features either and brings almost everything to consumers. So byconsidering all the points, you can pick a TV platform of your choice.Ematic Jetstream AGT419 4K Android TV BoxThere’s no doubt that the NVIDIA Shield TV dominates Android TV devices.However, the price leaves a lot of people wondering if you can get similarperformance, but at a much more reasonable price.That’s where the Ematic-Jetstream Android TV boxes come in.The Ematic AGT419 and Jetstream AGT418 are two low-cost streaming devicesrunning the official Android TV operating system. Best of all, they’re abouthalf the cost of an NVIDIA Shield TV.So, I picked one up so I could put it through it’s paces and see just how goodit was. Could we finally have a lower-priced Android TV box that could competewith the Shield TV?Let’s find out. But first, let’s look at Ematic and Jetstream and see what thedifference is between them.
Android TV Performance
I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. The Ematic AGT419 was a lotbetter than I was expecting it to be.To be fair, my “daily driver” Android TV boxes are NVIDIA Shield TV’s. I’vegot two of them – one for each of my main TV’s. So it takes a lot to impressme.The Ematic AGT419 did.My baseline for performance on Android TV is my NVIDIA Shield, and the SonyAndroid TV it runs on. So it’s totally not a fair comparison…and that’s what made this box so impressive.The Ematic AGT419 felt like my NVIDIA Shield TV.Now, I’m not saying it’s as snappy as the NVIDIA Shield. It’s slightly slower.There’s a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ delay when you play videos in higherresolution.But when you think that this costs literally half as much as an NVIDIA ShieldTV, you can’t help but be impressed.
Best Android TV Boxes â Top Picks
1. Best Android TV Box â NVIDIA Shield 2. Best for 4K Streaming â Roku Streaming Stick+ | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Device 3. Best 10.0 Box â Transpeed 10.0 Android TV Box 4. Best For Smart Integration â Amazon Fire Cube 5. Best For IPTV â Tanggula 128GB TV Box
What Should I Look For?
There are some âmust-haveâ features you should be looking for in your nextAndroid TV box, so Iâve made this list with those in mind.Note: If youâre wondering, What is an Android TV box?â click on the linkto find out. Each of the devices I recommend will have a list of whichfeatures it supports and which ones it doesnât. Think of it like your ownpersonal shopping checklist.Must-Have Items * 4K Streaming * Minimum Quad-Core CPU * H.265 Hardware Decoding * Android 8.0 Oreo (or higher) * Dynamic Refresh Rate Switching * OTA Firmware Updates * HDMI 2.0 * USB 3.0 * Dual-Band Wi-Fi andor Gigabit EthernetNice-To-Have Items * Unlocks Netflix in 4K * Voice Control * Smart Home Integrations * Dolby Digital Sound optionsNot every device on this list will have all of these features. That would makethings way too easy. But, the way Iâve set this up, you can decide foryourself which of these features is important to you and which you can skipthis time around.Here is the list of the 25 best Android TV boxes:
7. Tanggula Android 9.0 TV Box â Best For IPTV
If you are looking for a âfully loadedâ box that comes with access tohigh-quality content included, then this option from Tanggula is probably thebest on the market.SHOP NOWThe box itself is pretty powerful with a quad-core, Android 9.0 operatingsystem, 4 GB of ROM and 128 GB of RAM, all of which is capable of deliveringnot just 4K but full 8K image quality. However, it doesnât have voicecommand or smart integrations, but it does have a very hand air-mouse.But what most people are looking for when buying this box is access to 4,000TV channels including more than 2,000 local and national U.S. channels, 800 UKchannels, 400 Canadian channels, and many more. While that might sound like alot to navigate, it is actually very intuitive and you can favorite the fewchannels you actually watch.But to say you get free access to these channels when you buy the box is not100% true. The box will set you back about $300 and includes one year ofaccess to all Tanggula content. After that, you need to pay $79 per year forcontinued access to the content.That is still a lot cheaper than a live TV streaming subscription, andTanggula is one of the few brands still offering this kind of IPTV service.Read our full review here.CHECKLIST: * Android 9.0 OS * Cortex-A55 CPU * 4 GB RAM and 64 GB ROM * Supports 8K Ultra HD resolution * Equipped with 2.4G/5G Dual-Band Wi-Fi * BT 4.0 technologyCheck the price options from here.
Are Android TV Boxes Worth It?
If you want to cut the cord to cable and instead stream the entertainmentcontent you want on-demand, then a TV box is a good investment. And an AndroidTV box is a better investment than most because it comes with no restrictions.If you get a proprietary TV Box, like Apple TV, you are restricted on what youcan use and how. You need to use Apple-approved apps through the standardApple interface. That is fine for most people, as Apple has done a very goodjob of creating a sleek and usable interface and all the most popularentertainment content is available.But, while Android comes with a great proprietary launcher and many amazingnative apps, it is open-source, so there is so much more you can do with it.You can download and run third-party apps and even launchers and interfaces onyour device. So, you have the option of customizing your entertainment anddoing it your way.
Are Android TV Boxes Illegal?
Android TV boxes are entirely legal. There is nothing dubious about usingequipment that allows you to stream content directly to your television.If you have heard talk about the legality of TV boxes, it relates to howpeople use them, rather than the box itself. A TV box lets your streamNetflix, TV channels, and movies to your television using the legal apps thatprovide this content, usually for a cost.But, since you can stream almost anything to your TV using your TV box, it isalso possible to play films that have been downloaded illegally or usestreaming services that you might be using illegally, for example, through aVPN to appear like you are in another country.These acts are still illegal.”