8 Best Android TV Boxes | April 2017
- supports most popular video formats
- headphone jack for private listening
- setup can be time consuming
|Model||MINIX NEO X8-H Plus|
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- unconditional 1 year warranty
- rarely freezes or crashes
- remote is hard to navigate with
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
- multi-language support
- supports 3d gaming
- usb ports for a keyboard and mouse
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- has some live sports channels
- qwerty-style air mouse keyboard
- comes with a recovery sd card
|Brand||Stream Team Media onD|
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- silent thermal control system
- clean and well-designed interface
- limited functionality on remote
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
- works anywhere in the world
- convenient 24-hour tech support
- portable size is great for travel
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
- comes with the alexa voice remote
- intuitive home screen
- easy to install kodi
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
- supports 4k video streaming
- 16 gb of onboard storage
- can stream games from geforce now
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
The Androids Are Among Us
In the golden age of television, old fashioned cable boxes couldn't be less popular. The boxes themselves have always been a pain, causing additional rental fees to consumers and coming loaded with inexplicable bugs. Now, even the big cable companies like Spectrum and Comcast are offering their customers streaming-only viewing options that have long been favored by users of third-party TV streaming boxes.
Despite the popularity and ease of use presented by these companies like Roku, Apple TV, and their ilk, more and more Android TV boxes keep cropping up around the market. The demand is understandable; those more popular TV boxes are closed platforms where the Android boxes allow you to make all kinds of alterations to customize your experience. It's rather akin to the argument between users of Android phones and their Apple equivalents.
In addition to streaming 1080p video with the best of them, the Android TV boxes we recommend also allow you to play a number of fantastic games by pairing them with a controller of your choice.
The other great thing about these boxes is that they can be used as internet browsers on your television, pairing with wireless keyboards and mouses to give you a full computing experience in the middle of your entertainment center.
What's In The Box?
To look at them in a police lineup, you might be hard pressed to figure out which of these boxes packs the most punch. Looking inside them won't tell you too much either, unless you know what you're looking for when you crack one open.
If you do know at you're looking at in there, you'll begin to see some of the more important differences among these boxes, like the processors they're using or what version of Android a given box can support. The key here is picking the best system for durability, especially as 4K finds its way over the fiberoptic cable that the cable companies have begun laying all across the country.
A lot of Android boxes use yesterday's processing capabilities to keep their prices low, especially since they're primarily uni-taskers, only needing to run one operation at a time. Still, 4K demands a lot of processing power, and a box outfitted to smoothly stream 1080 will be obsolete faster than one equipped to handle the impending 4K revolution.
There's also price to consider, and since Android boxes often require a mouse interface to navigate the user interface, a box that comes with a wireless mouse–or better yet a mouse and a keyboard–gains significant price points over one that doesn't.
This last point may not be too salient for a lot of you, but there's a certain degree of style to the design of a lot of these boxes, and it's worth taking into account how the boxes on our list look. After all, they are going to become a centerpiece around your living space.
TV On The Internet...in The 90s?
When I was a kid, just as everyone was getting their hands on these increasingly ubiquitous AOL starter discs, a friend of mine had his parents acquire a strange device called WebTV. It was a Microsoft product that connected your telephone's internet signal through a crude computer box that displayed a browser window on your television screen. My friends and I used it for studious research into human anatomy.
That was in the late 1990s, and just before the turn of the millennium, even after Microsoft has stopped selling the device, their user numbers grew to nearly 800,000. There was a demand, but the tech was still struggling to raise to the wants of the consumer.
TIVO showed up after that, introducing for the first time a sense that you didn't have to be in your home in front of your TV at a given moment to watch your favorite shows. Suddenly, Nielsen ratings began to lose their relevance like an old Vegas crooner at the dawn of Rock 'n Roll.
Apple dropped their first TV device in 2007, though it took until January of 2008 for a software update to allow it to run autonomously, disconnected from any other Apple device. The first generation Roku boxes appeared soon after that in 2008, and they were billed as Netflix devices before anything else.
TV studios took notice of the trends, and began desperately trying ways to get people to watch their shows while they aired, as the industry was still desperately clinging to their on-air ratings numbers to sell advertising spots. They even joined forces with Twitter and had their show's stars live-tweet with fans exclusively during live broadcasts.
The irony there, of course, is that most of the live-tweeting took place during commercial breaks, diverting attention away from the very ads for which they were trying to sell spots. Now, Android TV boxes have come to tempt a significant amount of the market toward a more customized experience, and a full compliment of the latest games, apps, and features.