SolidGuides.com may get a commission when you buy through links on our website. Read More.
Are you tired of switching TV channels, barely finding anything remotely entertaining? Why not get an Android TV Box?
Home entertainment has changed over the years. An Android TV Box gives you access to the latest movies and TV shows in Ultra HD.
Have no clue what an android TV box is?
Android TV box is a set-top box that runs an Android TV operating system. It lets you stream media content from the likes of Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Videos. You can take a look at our top 10 picks if you are looking to level up your entertainment.
The NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Edition is by far the best performer both for gaming and streaming. It’s also quite affordable and can be used as a smart hub with other smart devices in your home.
For a premium option, we picked the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server. As expected, it comes with more features including a microSD slot that you won’t find in the Gaming Edition.
If you already have a smart TV at home, you might wonder why you need an Android TV box at all. However, you might just be in for a surprise. The NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Edition offers more functionality than most Android TVs box or smart TVs.
Designed to be a compelling choice for gamers and entertainment fans, NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Edition boasts top-notch hardware straight out of the box.
The unit runs on the latest Android TV software to give you the best of both Google Assistant and Chrome cast. It is compatible with most apps meaning you can enjoy Netflix movies, connect to the entire Google ecosystem and stream 4K videos.
Designed for the ultimate visual experience, this Android TV Box boasts an immersive sound experience. Thanks to Dolby Atmos, NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Editions takes you inside the action.
Add that to its compatibility with a bunch of music streaming apps and you have a full home theater experience in your living room.
This is not just an android TV box, but a fully functional smart home hub as well. It lets you connect to and automate other smart devices. You can use its voice-command-enabled remote to get hand-free operation with other smart devices at home.
For gamers, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Edition features a capacity to stream PC games right from the cloud all thanks to NVIDIA’s GeForce Now. This unit will harness the power of the built-in GeForce GTX graphics card to let you go beyond playing simple android games.
The interface design is very clean and the apps are laid out in the traditional tile orientation, making it very easy to navigate.
Added to its support for most apps is its easy customization. Plus, you can side-load any android app that is not included. You even have the option of bundling together some of your favorite games or movies to browse through content without launching an app.
Also, the unit comes with an HDMI connection that once connected, will turn on your TV to the right settings as soon as you turn on the box. This way you don’t have to reach for your TV remote all the time.
There is no denying that the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Edition (with its speedy 4k streaming) appeals to a scattershot of audiences. However, most people find the lack of a micro SD an inconvenience. Also, compared to other units, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Edition can be considered a bit pricey, however, its features make it worth the while.
The NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Edition is at its best when it comes to streaming high-quality videos and music as well as gaming. With Google Assistant fully integrated, you can use this android TV box to command control over all your smart devices.
If you are already used to Alexa, switching to Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote will be a no-brainer.
This Android TV box is designed to let you enjoy ultra HD 4K streaming at 60 fps which is nothing to sneeze at.
The Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote streams movies with lifelike colors at exceptional levels of clarity.
With the Fire TV Stick, Amazon is further pushing the streaming limits. The remote features IR blasters that let you tune to supported cable boxes in case you want to tune in to EPSN or Channel 4.
The Fire TV Stick is compatible with Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, SHOWTIME, CBS and STARZ, to mention only a few. Since it’s compatible with Amazon Prime Videos, you can stream select movies at 4K HD quality.
Alexa Voice Remote makes the Fire Stick very easy to operate. You can make music request to Alexa and control compatible apps like Spotify, iHeartRadio, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
With 8GB of storage on the Fire Stick, you can download and save most of your music to the stick.
The Fire TV Stick is compatible with most TVs, meaning you can ditch your old TV remote and use the Alexa Voice Remote for hands-free operation.
Setup is also easy since all you have to do is plug the stick into the HDMI port at the back of your TV. Then plug in the power cable and connect it to your wifi to start enjoying endless streaming.
It does not support screen mirroring like its previous versions. Fortunately, you can fix the issue by simply downloading an app called AirScreen.
Compared to rivals, the menu on this unit could do with some upgrade in favor of simplicity. Plus it does not support Youtube TV, however, you can get google play movies which are a decent alternative.
If you are looking for a bargain, this Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote offers a cheaper alternative. It comes with similar functionality although it does not stream 4K ultra HD videos.
For a premium alternative, we recommend the Fire TV Cube. This one features 4K media streaming and boasts a built-in speaker, not to mention compatibility with other home smart devices.
Compared to its previous model, the Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote offers a much better experience. In fact, the remote is a huge upgrade since it allows you to control other appliances with ease.
The retro gaming community has really embraced the Shield TV. Going as far back as 2015, developers have rallied around the Shield TV box making it one of the best emulators for the money. So, if you want to level up your retro gaming as much as you want an all-rounded entertainment hub, grabbing this Android TV Box would be a wise choice.
The NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server is a perfect fit for those looking for immersive sound with gorgeous 4K visuals and gaming at its best. This is a go-to unit for those with a Google-connected lifestyle since it has Google assistant built inside.
The NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server gives you the convenience of a fast and reliable connection to many apps. It supports Hulu, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and other live TV and sports channels.
When it comes to gaming, the unit allows you to stream PC games straight from the cloud thanks to GeForce Now. It also serves as an emulating powerhouse, meaning you can emulate many games and play them at the highest visual and audio quality.
The console controller does a great job since its sturdy and very comfortable for gaming. And even if you are streaming games from a PC without an NVIDIA GPU, you can easily use an app called Kino Console to level up your gaming experience.
With the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server you can use your voice to dim the lights, control the temperature in the room or simply shuffle through your playlist and schedule your viewing.
Simply put, the built-in Google Assistant makes it easy to use such that you can control every inch of your entertainment.
Setup is easy and with zero load time navigating through the menu is snappy.
Compared to the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Gaming Edition, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server boasts a couple of improvement in terms of ease of use. With this unit, the remote is rechargeable whereas in the Gaming Edition it is powered by coin batteries.
Also, compared to the Gaming Edition, the Pro Home Media Server has upgraded I/O ports. You will notice a micro SD slot in addition to the HDMI 2.0 port, HDCP 2.2 and CEC port as well as two USB 3.0 ports.
It does not come with web browser straight out of the box but since it’s easily customizable, you can side-load the chrome browser in no time. Also, the controllers have a dual-shock design that might require some getting used to for those who often use the Xbox for gaming.
From gaming to streaming 4K movies and even controlling other smart appliances, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media is a smart buy. It checks all the boxes related to a reliable home entertainment hub. In addition, NVIDIA constantly updates this unit to make sure it remains future-proof.
With its size and at its price range, the Pendoo X8 Mini Smart TV Box dismisses skeptics who think that a small TV box cannot outperform the larger one. This nifty black Android TV Box only measures 3 inches yet it packs a powerful Amlogic Chipset that delivers faster, efficient and stable processing.
With the professional 2.0GHz Amlogic Quad-Core processor, the Pendoo X8 Mini Smart TV Box will not freeze during streaming. This Android TV box runs on Android Nougat OS and delivers reliable speeds for movie streaming and 4K playback.
For Netflix streaming, you get the standard 720p quality, which is quite good even though it’s not Ultra HD. However, this Android TV box is capable of playing 4K videos at 30fps.
The Pendoo X8 Mini Smart TV Box uses a 750MHz penta-core GPU that handles some light gaming quite well. It can play any game as large as 2GB with high-quality graphics without breaking a sweat.
The Pendoo X8 Mini Smart TV Box comes with a 16 GB memory, although you can expand it to 64 GB for more storage of your favorite movies and apps. The ROM is designed for high-speed storage performance making it perfect for loading games and movies fast.
The Pendoo X8 Mini Smart TV Box can also be plugged into a PC to be used as a computer on the go. You can go as far as plugging in a mouse and a keyboard to enjoy a fast response time thank to the HEVC technology that is integrated into the unit.
Set up is as easy as powering up the box and connecting it to your internet. Thanks to a user-friendly interface, navigating to your favorite apps is straightforward.
This TV box will connect with your Smartphone through the Cetusplay app to allow you the convenience of fast and enjoyable TV control.
It features many I/O options such as HDMI 2.0, USB 2.0, LAN, and a TF card support. The Pendo0 X8 Mini Smart TV Box is a good choice for anyone with a smart lifestyle.
One of the biggest issues that most users encountered is that the interface lacks a navigation bar as well as a status bar. However, this is hardly a deal-breaker considering the price of the unit and the fact that it comes with easy connectivity to your Smartphone.
Compared to rivals such as the Fire Stick and Nvidia’s SHIELD, the Pendoo X8 Mini Smart TV Box offers a pretty decent alternative. Even though it is not as versatile as the competitors, it is a reliable and portable TV box for streaming, and it comes with a warranty cover for a full year.
For years, MINIX has been a reliable manufacturer of high-quality Android TV boxes. Their NEO U1 was among the best performing TV boxes of 2017. However, with the MINIX NEO U9-H, MINIX is not only delivering the ultimate home theater experience but also evolving the reputation of its brand.
The NEO U9-H boasts an upgraded Octa-Core Cortex 64 bit processor coupled by 2GBs of RAM and 16GBs of storage. With support for Android Marshmallow, this unit is constantly updated with firmware releases. Firmware updates fix bugs and keep you connected to the best of what the Google play store ecosystem can offer.
The MINIX NEO U9-H stands out thanks to the ample storage, a smooth response rate, and a capacity to play videos at 60 frames per second.
Tech-savvy consumers will notice the lack of RAM. Fortunately, the MINIX NEO U9-H comes with a slot for an SD card that can be expanded to 64 GB, which is a decent compromise for performance-centric buyers.
If you are upgrading from an older MINIX Box, the MINIX NEO U9-H will leave you feeling right at home. Even if it’s your first time experiencing the MINIX family of TV boxes, the intuitive interface is easy to navigate.
The icons are easy to understand and the overall design is also quite functional.
The MINIX NEO U9-H comes with a micro-USB cable, an HDMI cable and an OTG cable, not to mention a basic IR remote control that works seamlessly.
The unit gives you immediate access to content thanks to the A3 controllers that let you use voice commands with its built-in microphone.
Although the MINIX NEO U9-H delivers full HDR10 support for a picture-perfect 4K display, there have been some user complaints. The most-mentioned problem is the inability of the device to achieve 4K playback in some applications. Surprisingly, Amazon Prime Videos stream and load relatively fast on this unit. Most of the time, you would only expect quality streaming on Amazon Prime with the Amazon Fire Stick devices.
Simply put, the MINIX NEO U9-H is a powerhouse of entertainment. This unit will hold its end with most apps and games you throw at it. With its lightning-fast processor and its responsive GPU, video streaming is way better than what you get with rival units.
With pre-installed Kodi repositories, the [Mega1Comp Exclusive] MXQ Pro HDTV Box is an alternative for those who want to stream live TV on a budget.
The unit comes with a pre-installed player designed for high-speed streaming of Netflix, Skype, Hulu, YouTube, and other apps.
The TV box can be connected to Google Play Store for access to unlimited entertainment in terms of movies, TV, shows and gaming apps. The unit also comes with a wireless keyboard and remote control that add to the convenience.
Although it only has a 1GB RAM, it features a micro SD card slot and a ROM of 8 GB to compensate for the small RAM.
Besides, with a 64-bit Quad-core processor, you can expect it to deliver optimal performance.
Although the [Mega1Comp Exclusive] MXQ Pro HDTV has a clear interface, setup instructions could be simpler. Some users complained that the instructions are a bit confusing. However, once you have it ready, the wireless keyboard and the multiple peripherals make it a pleasure to work with.
This unit does not come with Bluetooth support, therefore, you might not be able to connect it with other Bluetooth devices. Plus, due to the low RAM, you might experience a bit of buffering while loading high-quality videos. This, however, is a small price to pay considering its affordability.
Although the [Mega1Comp Exclusive] MXQ Pro HDTV doesn’t have the best specs on this list, it offers a simplistic design that is backed by reliable technology. At its price range, a TV box with a capacity for picture-perfect 4K visuals is hard to come by.
With its illuminating RGB lights, not to mention the sleek honeycomb finish, the EVANPO T95Z PLUS Android 7.1 TV BOX is one of the most stylish TV boxes out there.
Although the unit only comes with a 16 GB ROM storage capacity, you can connect it to multiple hard drives and boost your storage to a maximum of 1 TB.
It comes with 3GBs of RAM and an Octa-core CPU, and it boasts dual-band Wi-Fi capacity. Its hardware allows it to transmit 4K videos and audio contact without any problems.
The EVANPO T95Z PLUS Android 7.1 TV BOX will also run your apps smoothly while providing ample space for storage of your favorite games and movies. Since it supports the 4K resolution, you will manage to stream movies at the highest quality.
Kodi comes pre-installed with this unit, therefore, giving most users access to the most popular add-ons for streaming live TV.
Apart from its best-in-class viewing experience, the EVANPO T95Z PLUS brings you efficiency with a decoding technology that boosts streaming speed by 50 percent.
The EVANPO T95Z PLUS user interface is designed for simplicity. You get many customization options that allow you to arrange your apps according to your personal preferences.
You can use the remote as a mouse on a PC or use it to change the LED colors on the box. The remote also comes with a shortcut to help you launch Kodi fast and easy.
Although the T95Z PLUS streams well and connects reliably, beginners might have problems updating Kodi repositories. However, with a bit of time and some research, this should not be an issue.
The EVANPO T95Z PLUS Android 7.1 TV BOX comes as advertised with snappy response time, and reliable performance. It is a stylish TV box with ample storage for media content and fast Wi-Fi connectivity for streaming videos.
Roku was one of the few companies to spark the cord-cutting movement even before the Amazon Fire Sticks, and the Apple TVs came to the scene. This manufacturer has a reputation for creating high-quality android TV boxes that make streaming content bearable. With the Roku Ultra, the story remains the same.
The Roku Ultra has had a couple of improvements over the years to keep up with the plethora of competitors who have since entered the market. However, the Roku Ultra remains a go-to option for cord-cutters looking for streaming hardware.
This TV box comes with premium quality JBL headphones that can be used for private listening. The headphones are a great solution for enjoying late night movies without bothering the neighbors or anyone asleep in the house.
The Roku Ultra gives you the option of streaming over the WiFi or through the use of an Ethernet port. Its wired streaming performance is reasonable thanks to fast dual-band capacity.
As expected, Roku gives you a wide range of free access movies and TV shows right out of the box. You can enjoy unpaid channels live news as well.
Roku Ultra is also compatible with many popular entertainment apps like YouTube, Pandora, Hulu, HBO, and Netflix.
Powerful dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity of the Roku Ultra makes it a must-have for those who want to connect and stream in a room away from the router. This unit connects quickly and even if your TV is not 4K enabled, the Roku Ultra will optimize your content for the best picture quality.
The interface is easy to navigate. You can search for your content by the title. Furthermore, the Roku Mobile app can be used as an additional controller for the Roku player with enabled private listening as well.
This unit comes with very few complaints from users, however, there are some things to consider. If you are a heavy user of the Vudu app or often use a TV that supports the highest HDR version, the Roku Ultra might struggle in terms of performance. It lacks Dolby Vision support, which is a deal-breaker for some users. Also, some users noted that it dissipates a lot of heat, however, this hardly affects performance.
The Roku Ultra is by far one of the best streaming devices out there. It offers more features than rival options and even though it slightly expensive, the value you get in return is worthwhile.
As the TV streaming revolution heats up, more people are ditching their cable subscriptions and looking to stream. One of the latest entrants to the streaming market, as a result of the unprecedented industry growth, is Xiaomi. Even with some tough competitors to beat, their Original Xiaomi Mi Box still offers a decent choice for 4K streaming on a budget.
Boasting a quad-core processor, the Original Xiaomi Mi Box will transmit videos and audio files to your TV at speeds as high as 18Gbps. The quad-core processor plus the 2GB RAM enable perfect sound and picture quality. Obviously, MI Box has decent enough hardware for most of your streaming needs.
The Original Xiaomi Mi Box is compatible with multiple apps including YouTube, and Netflix. This unit gives you access to the entire Android TV ecosystem with services like Google Cast and Google Assistant. You can use this android TV box to control your entire entertainment set up.
Granted, the Original Xiaomi Mi Box is not as snappy as the competitors, but it still offers a decent level of performance for streaming.
As expected, setting up the MI Box is a piece of cake. Its interface is easy to navigate and thanks to its voice search capabilities, you can use Google Assistant to navigate through the menu.
You will need to connect the HDMI port that comes with the MI Box to the TV and then connect the power outlet to the MI box to get started. The unit comes with a battery-powered remote that is efficient as it turns on your TV as well as you MI box.
Once you log in to your Google account, you will be able to easily download your favorite apps and set up the box to your personal needs.
You might need to set the video output to 4K since the default is 720p. The remote is easy to use but some users have complained about unresponsive buttons.
Although the Original Xiaomi Mi Box has a lot going for it, it has some niggling issues. The issues are only noticeable if you contrast the performance to the likes of Nvidia’s Shield. Right out of the box the Original Xiaomi Mi Box will not run the Amazon Prime Video app. However, you can still side-load the app to solve the problem.
If you are looking for a small TV box with a subtle design for your living room, the Original Xiaomi Mi Box makes a decent pick. It offers reliable 4K streaming with versatile functionality that is actually surprising. Granted, there are a couple of performance and compatibility issues, but for its price, this is bearable.
SkyStream is not fond of putting out new TV models quite often, but when it does, you can be sure it will be a major improvement to its previous versions. The SkyStream Two Streaming Media Player is certainly no exception.
This Android TV box comes with the Android Nougat operating system configured to improve the performance of the apps it is running. This makes the SkyStream Two Streaming Media Player much faster than other Android TV boxes with lower android versions.
With a fast 3GB RAM coupled with 32GBs of fast DDR4 memory, it delivers seamless streaming and ample storage for movies, apps, and games.
Another rare feature that comes with the SkyStream Two is the Widevine certification, which most Android TV boxes don’t have. Widevine certification is necessary for streaming HD and 4K content from Sling TV, YouTube, and Netflix.
However, while most Android TV boxes use Kodi, the SkyStream Two Streaming Media Player uses SPMC instead. SPMC is a fork of Kodi.
This might be a deal-breaker for those who are not fond of using forks of Kodi. However, the SkyStream Two Streaming Media Player uses a familiar Kodi interface that is quite intuitive. Since Kodi and SPMC are similar, you will still be able to install Kodi add-ons onto this unit.
There is a slight learning curve to knowing your way around the interface, however, that is only because there is too much content to wade through.
Once you tinker with the user interface for a while, you will find that it’s the easiest to use.
You will be able to easily pick programs right from the bar at the bottom. If you buy the SkyStrean Two Air Mouse, you will take full advantage of Google Assistant with voice control.
The SkyStream Two Streaming Media Player comes with a bunch of features and the TV box is compatible with thousands of apps. However, to get the best navigation experience through the content, you might want to get the SkyStream Two Air Mouse. Just remember that the SkyStream Two Air Mouse is sold separately. An unfortunate fact is that this unit is quite expensive.
Although the SkyStream Two Streaming Media Player comes at a steep price, you get a lot of support and hand-holding from the SkyStream Team. This is great for first-time cord-cutters who are learning the ropes. Overall, it is a decent device that proves to be as valuable as its asking price.
Android TV Boxes are popular streaming devices, which has lead to many manufacturers trying to grab a piece of the market. Obviously, plenty of manufacturers cut corners and release sub-par devices.
We have dedicated ourselves to researching Android TV boxes, so you don’t have to. We will teach you how to recognize high-quality products that will satisfy your needs.
The first thing you should do, when buying a new Android TV box, is to check out the product specifications. It might seem daunting at the start, but we will show you what you need to know.
When it comes to processors, there are three companies that create them for Android TV boxes. Allwinner, AmLogic, and RockChip. RockChip does have decent video quality, but it doesn’t support Kodi(media content streaming service). Many users have complained about RockChip processors due to its numerous flaws. Our advice is to avoid RockChip processors.
Last, but not least, are the AmLogic processors. Many Android TV box manufacturers have switched over to AmLogic processors. The reviews show that popularity is definitely warranted. If you take a look at the specs of the best Android TV boxes, then you will notice that most of them utilize the power of AmLogic processors. Our advice is that, if you can, then go for an AmLogic processor.
With memory, the saying “more is always better” holds true. But, you should know that there is a practical limit to the amount of RAM(Random Access Memory) an Android TV Box can use.
At this moment, the best TV Boxes come with two or 3 gigabytes of RAM. This doesn’t mean that a device with 1GB of RAM will not work well, on the contrary.
If you can afford it, then go for a model that comes with 3GB of RAM. But, if you can’t afford it, then there aren’t any noticeable downsides for opting in for a product with less than 3GB of RAM.
Storage space in an Android TV box isn’t as large as in smartphones. There is a good reason why it is that way – the price.
Most of the Android TV boxes come with 8GB or 16GB of storage space. There are some models that buck the trend and offer 32GB of storage. How much you will need depends on what you will be using the device for. Experience has shown us that most people don’t need more than 8GB, but our advice is to go for 16GB of storage. The extra wiggle room might come in handy in the future.
Some of the Android TV boxes support external storage. This means that you can use a microSD card to boost the storage to 64GB and more.
The most useful connection ports in an Android TV Box are the ones that connect the unit to other devices. Basically, the Internet ports and TV connection ports.
If you rely on the wired Internet, then look for an Ethernet port. This won’t be a huge problem, most of the Android TV boxes have it.
If your Internet connection is wireless, then you need Wi-Fi in your Android TV box. Make sure that the Wi-Fi included is at least 802.11 ac. Anything less might ruin your video-watching experience.
HDMI 2.0 is a must-have if you want to watch 4K videos at 60FPS(Frames Per Second). Older HDMI specs are not bad per se, but they limit you to 30FPS, and you might notice annoying jittering.
If you want a device that won’t disappoint you and is future-proof for a while, then you might want to consider the following features.
Android 5.x (Lollipop) or newer is what you need if you want your Android TV box to function properly. Try not to go under the 1080p resolution, leave 720p where it belongs – in the past. Don’t go for lower than USB 2.0, because USB 1.0 is 40 times slower than USB 2.0.
OTA(Over the Air) firmware updating is another useful feature that you should look for. If you want fluid motion and less jitter, then look for a device that supports Dynamic Refresh Rate switching.
These useful features are not a must-have, but they might boost your viewing experience. So, don’t avoid devices that don’t have all of the “other” features.
Yes, you can, but there is a caveat – the TV needs to have an HDMI(High-definition Multimedia Interface) port.
On the other hand, if you own an old TV, then you won’t be able to use a TV Box.
The answer depends on the definition of “fast Internet.” But, most areas of the USA have Internet speeds that are fast enough for an Android TV box.
If you want to make sure that your Internet speed is enough, you can test your speed on speedtest.net. The result should show at least 3Mbps(Megabits per second) of download speed. But, HD content requires at least 5Mbps of download speed.
If you want to use Netflix services, then you will have to pay for their services. But, there is no extra cost involved to stream content to your TV. Netflix isn’t the only option, there are many free alternatives out there. Popcornflix, Pluto TV, Viewster, and Snag Films are some of the alternatives.
Android TV boxes are great for movies, TV shows, cartoons, and more. But, that is not all! Your Android TV Box will allow you to do the following:
There are over 3.5 million apps on the Google Play Store. You can use them all! There are new apps added every day, so you might never run out of the things to do.