Purchasing and setting up an Android TV box is one of the best ways to improve your TV viewing experience.

There is just one problem…

How do you find the right product that fits your budget and your needs?

I created this Best Android TV Box 2017-2018 guide to answer that question and help you find the device that is right for you.

If you don’t know anything about streaming boxes yet, I suggest you read this Buying Guide before taking a closer look at our Android TV box reviews.

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What is the best Android TV box for 2017-2018?

There are many different brands available so it may seem your choice is endless, but the truth is, not all of them are reputableOur list includes only the most trustworthy brands!

Here are the best Android TV boxes for 2017-2018.

1. Nvidia Shield TV – Best Android TV Box 2017-2018

The Nvidia Shield TV Streaming Media Player is the best Android TV box for 2017-2018. With its killer 4k HDR graphics and voice command friendly interface, it truly is the best Android TV device for all those who wish to get more from their TV.

Read our Nvidia Shield TV review to learn more about this streaming box.

Highlights

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Streams Netflix, Youtube and Amazon Prime Video in 4k
  • Expensive

Setup and Updates

Nvidia Shield TV is just as straight-forward to set up like any other TV box on our list. Once you’ve plugged your unit and started it, you can easily set it up using your Google account. To do this, you can either use an Android phone, tablet, or the remote.

Because it is “the streamer for gamers,” there are some gaming and sharing aspects to consider, but once it’s set up, the interface is extremely easy to use.

Naturally, being a premium streaming device that it is, updates are automatic and offered Over the Air.

There was a major update to Shield TV at the beginning of 2017. The original 2015 Shield TV was upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat and SHIELD 5.0.

Overview

All Shield TV boxes now come with 7.0 Nougat, the latest version of the Android OS. It brings quicker navigation, faster access to recently used apps, and picture-in-picture support.

Among other changes, the Shield 5.0 update brings the NVIDIA Games app, which replaces the previous Hub app, and the Amazon Video app, which gives you access to thousands of TV shows and movies. Nvidia is also a Diamond Sponsor of Kodi\\XBMC.

Netflix is one of the most popular video-on-demand streaming services today, and even though it supports the Ultra High Definition or 4k resolution, not all devices are allowed to get this type of content. Most manufacturers, including some of the more established brands, are not in that Netflix-approved list. Nvidia is an exception to this as it can play Netflix, but also Youtube and Amazon Prime Video in 4k when used with compatible TVs.

Shield TV is also one of the few Android TV boxes with 3GB RAM. It does not, however, come with an IR receiver, meaning your universal remote may not work with Nvidia TV.

Tech Support

With an active online community, the Nvidia website has many FAQs, covering every area of the query, along with a thriving forum section where tech experts and fellow Nvidia owners swiftly deal with all your queries.

Design

The box comes with a Nvidia Shield TV, a remote, a power adapter, a controller, and a charging cable for the controller. 

It’s worth knowing that when the 2017 version of Shield TV was released, the new box came with a refreshed design, improved controllers, and new features. The new compact design is great, but it means that the microSD and micro-USB slots were removed, a move that has angered many.

Shield TV also comes with a new remote that not everyone likes. The company removed the headphone jack and replaced the rechargeable batteries with a 1-year long-life battery.

The Nvidia Shield TV is the best Android box for 2017-2018. It is one of the fastest streaming devices available in the market today and one of the few allowed to stream Netflix in 4k UHR.

SPECS

Android OSAndroid 7.0 Nougat
ProcessorNVIDIA® Tegra® X1
Memory3 GB
Internal Storage16 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac (MIMO)
EthernetGigabit
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes + 7.1
H.265 Video DecodingYes
Expandable storageOver USB
HDMI
1 x 2.0
USB2 x 3.0

PROS

Cons

Faster than its competitors Expensive
High-resolution 4k HDR support No IR receiver
Supports 4k for Netflix, Youtube and Amazon Prime Video The removal of the SD card and mini USB slot
Can access media from other sources through intranet New remote with no headphone jack
Comes with new redesigned controller

2. Nvidia Shield TV Pro – Best Android Box for Gaming

The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro comes with all that the standard Shield TV has got to offer, but it does come with a couple of major differences. Apart from the price, that is.

Highlights

  • 500GB storage
  • IR receiver
  • Original remote with headphones jack

Here’s what’s different between Shield TV and Shield TV Pro:

Design

As mentioned in our Nvidia Shield TV review above, the 2017 edition came with a refresh, which gave it a new compact design. In fact, the 2017 Shield TV is about half the size of the original box.

The Shield Pro was not redesigned and retains the size of the 2015 box.

Features

While the new compact design of Shield TV means the microSD and micro-USB slots were removed, the Pro retains these slots, and many people are happy with that.

Although the microSD port means you can expand the storage of your TV box and the Micro-USB port gives you a direct connection to your computer, you might not actually need these features. Shield Pro offers over 30 times more storage, and PC connections are possible via one of the USB-A ports anyway.

One of the most important differences is the inclusion of the IR receiver on the Nvidia Pro. The receiver gives you the opportunity to use any universal IR remote with the box. Without it, the universal remote you might already own would be useless.

Storage

Another major difference between Shield TV and Shield TV Pro is the storage capacity. The Shield TV comes with 16GB of internal storage, while the Pro offers a whopping 500GB of storage.

The Pro version is a good choice if you intend to download a lot of games, movies, and TV shows on the box. If not, you will be fine with the standard version as the USB ports allow you to connect an external hard drive for extra storage.

Remote and Controller

Both Shield TV and the Pro come with the redesigned Shield Controller, but depending on which version of the box you buy, you get a different remote.

Shield Pro comes with the original remote, meaning it has batteries that you can recharge via the Micro-USB cable and a headphone jack.

When it comes to deciding which Nvidia device to buy, it all comes down to your preferences. Know that the Pro is more expensive, but comes with 30 times more internal storage, the microSD and micro-USB slots, IR receiver and rechargeable batteries. It is the perfect Android box for gamers.

SPECS

Android OSAndroid 7.0 Nougat
ProcessorNVIDIA® Tegra® X1
Memory3 GB
Internal Storage500 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac (MIMO)
IR ReceiverYes
EthernetGigabit
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes + 7.1
H.265 Video DecodingYes
Expandable storageOver USB
HDMI
1 x 2.0
USB2 x 3.0

PROS

Cons

Micro-USB and microSD slots Expensive
IR receiver
500 GB internal storage
Headphone jack on remote
Comes with redesigned controller

3. Amazon Fire TV (2017 Edition) – Best Plug and Play Android TV Box

One of the most popular streaming media players available on the market, the new Amazon Fire TV is the best “plug and play” TV box on our list.

It is one of the highest selling and highest rated TV boxes available, and the new features are sure to attract even more customers!

Highlights

  • 2017 Edition
  • 4k streaming at 60 fps
  • Alexa Voice Control
  • Dolby Atmos Audio

Setup and Updates

Amazon Fire TV is super easy to set up. It is one of the few TV boxes that can be plugged and then played almost immediately. This makes it suitable for you even if you’re new to the world of streaming media players.

Nothing complicated about updates either:

You just need to be connected to the Internet and software updates automatically download and install.

Overview

Already with the old Fire TV, you were able to stream 4k Ultra High Definition content, but the new box brings you improved quality at 60 fps instead of 30 fps. It also now supports HDR or High Dynamic Range content and Dolby Atmos audio on supported apps. 

The new 2017 Amazon Fire TV box is one of the only devices on our list capable of streaming Netflix, Youtube, and of course Amazon Video in 4k UHR!

It runs a proprietary version of the new Android 7.1.2 Nougat, so you still can’t access the Google Play Store. But it does support 7000 plus games and apps, and you can install them from the Amazon App Store.

The Fire TV doesn’t come with Kodi, but you can side-load it anytime.

It also has support for Alexa, the web assistant by Amazon, making the Fire TV voice command operated.

The voice search function is one of the best things about this Android TV box:

It lets you control your TV just by speaking, but it can do much more than just launch apps or find programs. Along with accessing media and games on it, you can also control all the smart devices at your home – adjust the thermostat, turn on the lights, etc. 

If you already own one of Amazon’s Echo devices, you can use the Fire TV hands-free! Instead of activating Alexa by pressing a button, you can just speak out loud to control your TV.

One of the main concerns with the old Fire TV was the remote as other devices using Bluetooth within the range of the Amazon hardware sometimes disrupted the connection with the remote. Resetting the Bluetooth settings on Fire TV usually fixed the issue.

It’s too early to say if this is a problem with the 2017 version, but we’ll keep you updated!

Tech Support

Amazon is known as the king of support. Aftersales services and their support is not just for third-party items that they sell, but also for the items they produce. With a call, email, live chat and forum support, Amazon ensures that your issues are dealt with and fast.

Design

If you’ve seen the old Fire TV box before, you’ll immediately notice the new compact and portable design. You no longer need to find space for a rather chunky box, the new Fire TV plugs directly into your HDMI port and hangs behind your TV. This makes it very easy to move from room to room or bring with you when you travel.

Due to redesigning of the box, there are some changes that may affect you:

– If you want to plug the new Fire TV via Ethernet, you need the Ethernet Adapter by Amazon.

– There’s no option to add external storage, which is it’s biggest flaw.

The 2017 Amazon Fire TV is a great device that provides its users with an awesome hands-free experience. And if you have an Amazon Prime Account*, the Amazon Fire TV is a blessing for you. With 4k Ultra High Definition picture quality and support for HDR TVs, accompanied by Dolby Atmos sound system, the Amazon Fire TV elevates your experience from “Meh” to “Wow!”

*Amazon Prime is a paid program that gives members access to e-books, streaming music, videos, free two-day shipping, and other Amazon services and deals.

SPECS

Android OSAndroid 7.1.2 Nougat
ProcessorAmlogic S905 Quad-Core @ 1.5 GHz
Memory2 GB
Internal Storage8 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps; HDR
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band, Dual-Antenna, 802.11ac (MIMO)
Ethernet10/100 (Only available with the Amazon Ethernet Adapter)
Audio supportDolby Atmos, Digital, and Digital Plus
H.265 Video DecodingYes
Expandable storageNone
HDMI
1 x 1.4
USBMicro USB for power only

PROS

Cons

New 2017 edition Potential remote issues
New compact and portable design No options for external storage
Very easy setup Need a special adapter to connect to Ethernet
Loads very fast Kodi not pre-loaded
Alexa Voice Search No HDMI 2.0
Excellent support No USB ports other than microUSB for power only
High-resolution 4k HDR support
Supports 4k streaming for Netflix and Youtube
Free Cloud Storage (only for Amazon content)

4. Skystream ONE – The Most Popular Streaming Player

The SkyStream One was created with the sole objective of reducing the high cable bills most people pay today and to provide them with a cheaper and faster alternative.

Granted, it is a little outdated now that the new Skystream TWO is coming out, but it is still one of the best Android TV boxes available today.

Our Skystream One review takes a closer look at why it’s so popular among many users.

Highlights

  • Excellent customer service
  • Supports 4k UHDR streaming
  • Open source Android OS

Setup and Updates

Setting up Skystream is extremely easy. You need to plug the power cable and then HDMI to your Android box and TV, and you’re ready to go.

The box is designed to look for updates automatically, but you can also check for updates through the SkyStream Updater App. It is your go-to place for firmware, app, and add-on updates, but keep in mind that you need to periodically update the app itself as well. Through the updater app, you can choose between the “Family Friendly” or Adult version of Kodi.

Overview

Skystream ONE comes with Android 5.1.1. Lollipop and offers access to the Google Play Store. Through that, you can download thousands of apps, games, and subscriptions based streaming services.

The ONE runs the old Amlogic S905 Quad-Core processor and comes with 2GB RAM.

Kodi comes pre-installed on ONE, but you can choose between two versions of it. They are completely identical, but the Family version removes any apps that give access to “adult only” viewing.

Skystream supports 4k Ultra High Definition resolution when used with compatible TVs and Full 1080P HD for others. Unfortunately, Skystream One doesn’t meet Netflix’s strict rules, and videos/movies are only available in standard resolution.

Tech support

SkyStream offers a variety of support options for its customers. The customer service team is based in the United States, and you can contact them anytime through a toll-free hotline. It also offers access to quick and easy FAQs and an official forum, where all your needs and queries are looked after.

Design

With a white color scheme, as opposed to the usually gray/black one finds Android TV boxes to be, the SkyStream One definitely stands out. Its sleek look and modern and bright, colorful packaging is what makes it different from other similar devices. The TV box is 5 inches wide, 5 inches long and about 1.25 inches tall.

Some people are having problems with the universal remote. The customer service team will help you deal with this problem, but you may want to opt for a wireless keyboard with a touchpad for easier navigation.

The SkyStream ONE Android TV Box is a little heavy on the pocket, but with an Android 5.1 OS, 4K UHDR capability, and a great support network, you are getting your money’s worth!

SPECS

Android OSAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop
ProcessorAmlogic S905 Quad-Core @ 2GHz
Memory2 GB
Internal Storage16 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD
WiFi ConnectivityDual Band 802.11 b/g/n/ac
EthernetGigabit
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes
H.265 Video DecodingYes
Expandable storagemicroSD slot
HDMI1 x 2.0
USB4 x 2.0

PROS

Cons

Excellent customer support Doesn't stream Netflix and Youtube in HD or 4k
Easy setup Remote issues
Comes with pre-installed Kodi and other important apps Front light is too bright for some users
Simple-to-use interface No USB 3.0
Supports 4k UHD resolution
Cheaper than the new Skystream TWO

You May Also Want to Check Out SkyStream ONE’s Cable Cutting Package

The SkyStream One Cable Cutting Package is on our list because it offers a little bit more than just the Skystream One Android box.

The package comes with all the same specs and features, but includes Skystream’s new Air Mouse and an HDTV indoor antenna, which will both enhance your television watching experience.

The sole purpose of SkyStream is to reduce your dependency on cable and help you save money. They have done that by adding the HDTV indoor antenna that will give you access to all the local HD channels in your area.

The original remote only comes with eight buttons and a D-pad. The new Air Mouse comes with a full QWERTY keyboard, giving you full control over your Android device and offering even programming ability. The mouse uses infrared not the USB signal to turn your box on and off and works in the 30 feet range.

The SkyStream One Air Mouse can also be purchased separately. It connects to your ONE box through the USB dongle and doesn’t need to be paired.

The SkyStream One Cable Cutting Package is a one-time investment that will save you a lot of money in the future. It’s a must buy for anyone who wants to enjoy HD content at low prices.

6. Skystream TWO – Best New Android TV Box 2017-2018

The Skystream TWO is the newest Android TV box on the market – in fact, it’s still in its pre-order stage! Compared to the widely popular Skystream ONE, the new version comes with many upgrades.

Let’s take a closer look.

Highlights

  • 32 GB internal storage
  • Only available on SkystreamX
  • Pre-order until December

Overview

The Android OS was upgraded to 7.1.2 Nougat for the new model and it’s still open source – you can download all your favorite apps and games straight to your streaming media player.

While the old box was running the now outdated Amlogic S905 Quad-Core processor, the new Skystream TWO comes with the fast S912 Octa-Core processor. The Skystream TWO is the only streaming media player on our list that uses the S912 processor!

Where the Skystream TWO stands out among other popular Android TV boxes is its internal storage capabilities – the new box has 32 GB internal memory versus 16 GB for most other boxes. The only Android box offering more memory than this is the Nvidia Shield TV Pro with 500 GB. RAM was also increased from 2 GB to 3 GB – the only other boxes with 3GB RAM are the Nvidia Shield TVs.

Both Skystream boxes support 4k Ultra High Definition resolution when used with compatible TVs. Unfortunately, neither meets Netflix’s strict rules when it comes to 4k streaming, so movies and videos are only available in standard resolution.

Design

The size and shape of the box haven’t changed but the Skystream TWO is only available in black.

Cord Cutting Package

Just like Skystream ONE, the Skystream TWO is also available in a Cord Cutting Package. It includes a Backlit Air Mouse remote with voice control and a Mohu Leaf HD antenna, which gives you access to all your local channels. You can learn more about this package here.

With the latest Android Nougat operating system, the fastest Octa-Core processor, and twice-than-normal internal storage, the Skystream TWO is definitely the best new Android TV box on the market for 2017-2018!

SPECS

Android OSAndroid 7.1.2 Nougat
ProcessorAmlogic S912 Octa-Core @ 2GHz
Memory3 GB
Internal Storage32 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD
WiFi ConnectivityDual Band 802.11 b/g/n/ac
EthernetGigabit
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes
H.265 Video DecodingYes
Expandable storagemicroSD slot
HDMI1 x 2.0
USB4 x 2.0

PROS

Cons

Android 7.1.2 Nougat Expensive at around $200
Uses the fastest S912 Octa-Core processor No USB 3.0
32 GB internal storage Doesn't stream Netflix or Youtube in HD or 4k
3 GB RAM
Supports 4k UHD resolution on supported TVs

6. Minix Neo U1 – Best Android Box for Kodi

With a 64-bit Quad-Core, the Minix Neo U1 is described to be the “ultimate home entertainment media hub.” It brings web browsing, real-time, and lag-free live streaming and extremely high-definition playback of videos – making it live up to its title.

Our Minix Neo U1 review takes a closer look at this highly rated Android TV box.

Highlights

  • Supports 4k UHD at 60 fps
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Very fast performance

Setup and Updates

Setting up this Minix Android TV Box is very easy, just connect it through the HDMI cable to your TV, and you’re almost set. It takes about half a minute to boot, and you can then choose the type of launcher you want to use.

Minix Neo U1 offers regular Over the Air firmware updates, helping you constantly improve its performance.

You can download the updates in two ways:

– Using the Minix System Update app, which checks for new updates and automatically prompts you to download and install them.

– Using the update section in your device settings.

Overview

Looking at the specs, you’ll notice that this Android TV box by Minix uses the old Amlogic S905 64-bit Quad-Core 1.5GHz processor. Even though the processor is older than many other Android boxes use, the Minix’s performance tops most other streaming players using the new S912 processor.

Along with the old S905, Minix also comes with the older (but full version) of the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS, which means you have access to thousands of apps and games from the Google Play Store.

Some users have had problems with accessing the Google Play Store, but it has only affected a few people.

The 4k Ultra High Definition video plays at 60 frames per second (fps) and supports up to 10-bit color format. This increases the range of colors displayed, adds new depths and vibrant picture quality not offered by any of the previous Media Hubs.

Unfortunately, Minix doesn’t run the official Android TV OS, meaning it’s not able to stream Netflix in HD or 4k. The same goes for Amazon Prime Video.

Minix Neo also comes with its own custom version of Kodi called the “XBMC MINIX Edition”. They are Kodi’s Diamond Sponsors and one of the best Kodi streaming boxes available today!

Tech Support

Minix offers support over email, has an official forum where all your queries are taken care of by their tech support team, as well as other Minix Neo U1 owners.

Design

The Neo U1 comes with a small, but highly efficient remote. The Minix Neo U1 is 16.5 inches wide, 12.5 inches long and 13 inches tall. The product is lightweight and weighs about 1 pound.

Manufactured by Minix, a Hong Kong-based company, the Neo U1 is one of the fastest and smoothest TV streaming boxes available, despite the outdated hardware it uses. It comes with a pre-installed version of Kodi (Xbox Media Center), making it extremely easy for first-time users to watch and live stream their favorite TV shows, movies or sports events.

SPECS

Android OSAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop
ProcessorAmlogic S905 Quad-Core @ 1.5GHz
Memory2 GB
Internal Storage16 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac (MIMO)
EthernetGigabit
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes + 7.1
H.265 Video DecodingYes
Expandable storagemicroSD slot
HDMI3 x 2.0
USB3 x 2.0

PROS

Cons

Excellent tech support Expensive
Supports 4k at 60 fps Remote doesn’t work with certain apps
Built-in custom version of Kodi HD streaming unavailable on certain apps
Regular updates No USB 3.0 port
HDMI 2.0 Doesn't stream Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in HD or 4k

7. Matricom G-Box Q3 – Matricom’s New Generation TV Box

The G-Box Q3 is a step above the previous version, with a faster processor, latest 7.1 Nougat Android OS, and Amazon Prime Video support. 

Read our Matricom G-Box Q3 review to learn more about the features of this popular Android TV box.

Highlights

  • Supports Google Play Store, Amazon Apps, and Kodi
  • Supports 4K at 30 fps and 3D content
  • Android 7.1 OS

Setup and Updates

The G-Box Q3 is easy enough to set up with a simple HDMI connection to your TV. Updates are done Over the Air (OTA) automatically, and you can check for them in the system settings too.

Some people are experiencing problems with firmware installation and updates. It’s true that the technical side is a little bit more complicated than with other boxes and that the company has had difficulties in addressing these issues in the past. Users also complain that there are no instructions on how to use the box.

If you have any problems with the new G-Box Q3, check out their active forum where customer support answers all questions you may have.

Overview

The Matricom G-Box Q3 supports 4k Ultra High Definition streaming and 3D video content.

The New Generation Matricom box comes with AmLogic S905, a newer but still not the latest version processor. The upgraded S905 CPU paired with the Mali-450 Octo Quad-Core graphics processor offers much faster streaming than the old version.

The G-Box runs the full, unrestricted version of Android 7.1 Nougat. This means you have full access to the Google Play Store and most of the apps that work on your smartphone will work on your G-Box too.

Matricom also fully supports Amazon Prime Apps and Video and comes with a built-in Kodi Media Center. This means you pretty much get a 3-in-1 device at the price of one.

Some users mention having problems with Internet connectivity. The G-Box works best when connected via Ethernet as download speeds on WiFi can be pretty poor.

Tech Support

Matricom provides tech support in the form of in-store support (in Florida), email support, and has a new public forum where their tech experts and community members assist people and answer queries.

Design

The box is 4 inches long, 4 inches wide, 1.5 inches tall and weighs about 8.8 ounces.

Compared to the old Q2, the Q3 comes with a new user interface that lets you categorize your apps into individual sections, so you’ll find your favorite apps more easily.

The Matricom G-Box Q3 is a handy device and is ideal for you if you want your games, movies, TV shows or videos to be Ultra High Definition without compromising on the speed your device works at.

SPECS

Android OSAndroid 7.1 Nougat
ProcessorAmlogic S905 Quad-Core @ 2GHz
Memory2 GB
Internal Storage16 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 30 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual Band 802.11
Ethernet10/100
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes
H.265 Video DecodingYes
Expandable storagemicroSD slot
HDMI1 x 1.4
USB2 x 2.0

PROS

Cons

Android 7.1 Nougat OS Runs an older CPU processor
Supports Google Play Store and Amazon Apps Some people experience problems with firmware updates
Comes with Kodi pre-loaded Issues with Internet connectivity
4k Ultra High Definition picture quality No HDMI 2
Supports 3D content No USB 3.0
New easy-to-navigate interface Doesn't stream Netflix or Youtube in 4k
New remote can be glitchy

Best Android TV Box 2017-2018 – Buyer’s Guide

In case you don’t know what an Android TV box is, here’s a small summary:

An Android TV box is a small device that can be plugged into pretty much any TV to turn it into a fully customizable Smart TV. You can find great smart TV reviews on top7.tech.

Although they are mainly used to stream TV shows and movies, they also support most of the apps and games available in the Google Play and/or Amazon App Store, turning your TV into a multi-functional device.

Android boxes come with different types of hardware, memory, specs, support network, etc. so before you can pick the right Android TV box, let’s take a look at some of the factors to consider.

OS Android 5.1 or Higher

When taking a closer look at the specs of a potential TV box, make sure to check which version of Android it runs. Even some big manufacturers still offer devices with the older Android 4.4 version, so make sure your chosen device comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop or higher.

Devices running the older version may be cheaper, but they won’t come with improved performance, bug fixes or support for the future.

Updates

Make sure the manufacturer of your chosen model offers regular firmware updates. Without them, you may end up with an outdated box sooner than you expected!

Additionally, make sure those they offer those updates over the air (OTA). Some brands still require manual updates, which may end up being too complicated for most people.

Technical Support

Depending on your budget and personal needs, you may opt for a box with a pre-made build or choose to set up your box from scratch. If you do decide to customize it yourself, you need to have at least some technical knowledge as most boxes are not “plug and play.”

Some brands offer technical support over the phone, some brands have built support forums or thorough Frequently Asked Questions pages, but you won’t have these options with many of the cheaper models on sale.

Connectivity

Android TV boxes require the use of the Internet to connect you to some of your favorite apps. There are three things to pay attention to in this regard:

First, your Internet connection needs to be fast enough to support the resolution of the video you intend to stream. Most manufacturers recommend a minimum of 4-5Mbps for HD content.

Secondly, some boxes need to be set up with an Ethernet cable; others also support wireless Internet. Keep in mind that there can be significant differences when it comes to how well video is streamed over WiFi versus over a cable. If you intend to use your box over WiFi, check how it’s meant to stream over a wireless setup and make sure it comes with a dual-band router for more power.

Third, if you do run higher speeds and use Fiber Optic Internet, you need to make sure your TV box supports that. Some models use Fast Ethernet, which supports speeds up to 100Mbps, while others come with Gigabit Ethernet which can handle speeds up to 1000Mbps.

Audio Passthrough

Audio passthrough allows you to send the signal from the box to another device without affecting the quality of it. Some sources recommend the box to have a minimum of 5.1 audio passthrough, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have a Home Theatre System and don’t mind using regular (TV) speakers.

Most Android boxes these days come with some sort of passthrough capability anyway, and many are 5.1 surround sound capable.

HDMI 2.0

This is something you should pay attention to if you intend to stream a lot of 4K Ultra High Definition content. Services like Hulu, Netflix, and even Youtube are already offering movies and TV shows in UHD, but these can only be enjoyed uninterrupted if your chosen Android box has the HDMI 2.0 port.

The 2.0 version offers higher bandwidth compared to the older version and is the only way you’ll be able to play 4K videos at a consistent 60 frames per second.

USB Ports

If you plan to use a keyboard/mouse for easier navigation or plug in an external hard drive/a microSD card reader, you might need more than one USB port. Make sure your box comes with a couple of ports, and at least one of them is USB 3.0. The newer version is much faster and more powerful than 2.0.

Devices like speakers, keyboards, etc. don’t require higher speed to work effectively, but if you want to stream movies from a hard drive, you’ll need the 3.0 port to ensure the quality of the video is not affected.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does an Android TV box work?

An Android TV box runs an Android operating system and works just like a smartphone, with the exception of better input/output options and additional add-ons like an air mouse, wireless keyboard, remote control, etc. The box needs to be first connected to your TV via an HDMI cable and then to the Internet via WiFi or Ethernet. After set-up is complete, you can proceed to download apps and games.

How to set up an Android TV box?

Setting up an Android TV box is very easy. You first need to plug all the cables and then connect the box to the Internet via Ethernet or WiFi. The process is basically the same as connecting your phone to your chosen network.

The next important step is checking for any firmware and software updates. Then, you’re ready to install your favorite apps and media players like Kodi or Plex.

Please refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for additional information.

How to use an Android TV box?

An Android TV box works very similarly to Android smartphones. If you’re new to this Operating System, you might need some time to get used to it, but it is very simple to understand. The exact interface you have to work with depends on your chosen device.

Which Android TV box is the best?

Many companies manufacture Android TV boxes, but nothing beats devices produced by Nvidia. The Shield TV and Shield TV Pro come with Nvidia’s latest Tegra X1 processor, Android 7.0 Nougat, the ability to play Netflix, Youtube and Amazon Prime in Ultra High definition, and much more. Amazon Fire TV is the best “Plug and Play” TV box and easy to use even if you don’t know much about technology.

Wrapping It Up

As you can see, there are quite a few things to look at when choosing your streaming box. Since some of them are pretty expensive, you want to make sure you buy a device that lasts longer than a couple of months.

I hope you got all the information you need to purchase your first TV box. If you have any questions or comments, let us know below.

About the author

Max is a 28-year-old French blogger, passionate about new technologies, outdoor activities and travelling.

He is an online marketing professional, currently working as a Head of SEO in a web agency..

Best Android TV Box 2017-2018 – Buyer’s Guide
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