Best Android TV box
**Updated on November 20 2015**
Why not stream media on your big screen TV comfortably on your couch? We love our media and can’t get enough of it, but sitting on your computer chair in front of your computer screen or watching through your tiny tablets screen kinda sucks. Apart from SMART TV’s where you would have to buy a whole new TV, media streaming through your TV is now easier and simple with Android TV boxes.
Before trying to find out the best android TV box we should first learn some useful information regarding these devices.
What exactly is an Android TV box?
Android TV boxes are separate devices which connect to your television which allows you to stream media through and internet connection. These devices are categorized as “streaming media players” but what sets them apart is that they run on Android – Google’s mobile operating system. Unlike other stream media players who create and adopt their own operating system, players that run on Android have a clear advantage because Android is an open source operating system which makes the Android user and developer community very large.
What is “Android TV”?
Android TV is Google’s very own version of their Android operating system made specifically for the Television. Based on Android 5.0 (Lollipop), Android TV is the official TV operating system created by Google made for a number of brand name Televisions and set-top boxes. Android TV heavily utilizes google voice search which uses excellent voice recognition software coupled with Google advanced search engine, to search through content and navigate your way around the system. Voice integration is really very convenient and a logical input method since a TV doesn’t have a keyboard or mouse.
Android TV vs. non-Android TV boxes?
Both Android TV set-top boxes and conventional Android TV boxes run on Google Android operating system. The way companies differentiate themselves from the competition is how well their user interface which are just re-skinned versions of Android. Aside from hardware the user interface or how the user navigates through the system is probably one of the most important aspects of a system. Companies like to give their user interfaces a name and it just so happens that Google which developed Android named their platform “Android TV.”
Android TV is the official Android Platform for the Television so it makes sense to choose this over others. To give you a clearer perspective here are a few pros and cons to Android TV.
- Voice Integration – Android TV heavily relies on voice search and voice commands which are really the most logical input method while sitting in front of the TV.
- Official Android Platform – The best thing about owning an official Android device is that you will be the first one to receive Android updates and bug fixes.
- App Support – Google has put a lot of resource and effort into Android TV and it really shows in the available apps which range from Media Apps to Games.
- Google Cast – Much like the popular Chromecast Android TV allows you to cast media from your Apple, Android, Windows or Mac device straight to your TV.
- Exclusively Android TV – With other Android TV boxes you can use other user interfaces or even just use pure Android. With Android TV set-top boxes you are stuck with Android TV.
- Dumbed Down Android – Don’t expect to be able to do everything you can do on your Android Phone or Tablet on Android TV. Android TV is built around media consumption so forget about being productive and editing or viewing documents.
Use this comparison table to help you better compare and review each Android TV box available:
Minix X8-H Plus Android TV Box
Android TV is the official Android platform for the TV although there are still very good non-Android TV boxes on the market. The Minix X8-H plus shines and really stood out even before Android TV existed.
- Amazing processing Power – The Quad-Core CPU ensures stablity and speed. Coupled with an Octo-Core GPU gaming and video playback has no issues.
- 4K XBMC on Android – Minix has put more effort into XBMC/Kodi and has developed their own prject Gotham with delivers 4K XBMC on this android TV box
- Excellent Support – Minix is a company that is known for their reliable customer support and a vast community support
- Infrared Remote Control – The remote control included with the Minix X8-H Plus is quite basic and will get you around the the user interface fine, however when diving into some apps it can get quite tricky.
With true performance and exceptional customer support the Minix X8-H plus provides a very enjoyable experience. The best thing about this well performing TV box is that you are free to fully customize your device as Android is meant to be from using different launchers to rooting and installing apps that require root access.
Google owns Android and when it comes to Android TV boxes it doesn’t get more legit then Androids very own official TV platform – “Android TV.” And when it comes to Android TV set-top boxes nothing is more powerful and more capable than the Nvidia SHIELD.
- Powerful hardware– The SHIELD boasts 3GB of memory, coupled with a quad-core CPU this device is truly powerful.
- Gaming Machine – The SHIELDS performance truly supports gaming whether it’s installed games on the Playstore or streaming Games through GeForce Now.
- 4K Ultra HD and 1080p – Enjoy video at the most detailed and clear resolution of 4K Ultra High Definition.
- No Remote Control – Remote Control is not included in the bundle.
Nvidia is a company that revolves around gaming so you can be sure that the Nvidia SHIELD is a true gaming machine. It includes a very well built game controller that features an audio jack for private listening. You can enjoy gaming either through the games on Android Google Playstore or since its an Nvidia device you can stream games either from games on your PC or through GeForce Now.
Ofcourse, this is a media streaming device and when it comes to media you won’t be disappointed. With its powerful quad-core CPU with 3GB memory, the largets memory among its competitors, you can view video with no jumps or lags only smooth 4K ultra HD video.
The Nvidia SHIELD doesn’t come with a remote control but this isn’t a deal breaker. You can still use the included game controller or simply use your mobile device as a remote and if you really need a remote control the Nvidia SHIELD remote can be purchased separately or you can choose the bundle that includes the remote.
The Nvidia SHIELD shines far past its rivals and is simply the best Android TV box available on the market.