An Android TV is a smart TV by Google built with the Android operating system. It allows users to stream content on the TV via inbuilt and downloadable apps and using your internet connection.
Reading this article, you will learn about the best Android TV and the best Android TV Box. Buying one or the other depends on your personal budget: smart TVs, no matter what operating system they run, are quite expensive.
Android TV boxes are a lot cheaper, sometimes below $100, and they turn your regular TV into a smart device to see your favorite content from your favorite applications for a small investment so far.
Functions and features
Android TV ships with the Google Assistant system. You will only need to say “Ok Google” clear and loud, or press the mic button on your remote, and ask Google to find for you the latest action flick, the best-rated series, the newest Hollywood drama or even to dim the TV lights.
Google Assistant allows you to control every feature of the smart TV by voice and also helps you with recommendations coming straight from Google’s top- notch search engine.
What Google Assistant can do for you is the following:
• Plan your days
• Play content
• Discover content
• Get answers
• Control other home devices
• Search and download apps
• Price compare different apps
Depending on what you watch and on what kind of content you spend the most time, Android TV will tailor the home page for you as it will display your favorite things front and center so far.
So, if you’re looking to binge watch a new series or continue where you left or watching Theo james movies, you will always find it on your homepage.
Android TVs come with a built-in Chromecast device (Google Cast), which will allow you to project photos, videos, and music from your phone, laptop or tablet to the smart TV.
The apps you love
Google Play Store for Android TV
In the Google Play Store for Android TV, you can find your favorite apps, and games. Some of the most downloaded apps are Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, CNN GO, Fox Go, Ted, Spotify, and YouTube.
You can also follow sports and other events by downloading live TV apps like Watch ESPN, NBA, NFL, Fox Sports Go, Bloomberg TV, CBS All Acces, Twitter, PlayStation Vue, and the video game streaming platform, Twitch.
As for games, you can download them and play them with the remote control. Top games include Minecraft Story Mode, Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars, NBA Jam, and Final Fantasy IX.
Where to get one?
If you’re interested now and wish to get one, you can start by checking Android’s official page, where you can find a list of the best Android devices available. Head over to www.android.com to start your quest and keep reading to learn, first, about the best Android TV boxes.
Top 3 Android TV boxes
Android TV boxes are devices you can connect to regular TVs via an HDMI connection to turn it into a smart TV with Android operating system simply by changing the source to whichever HD connection you chose.
Remember that choosing the best Android TV box for you means knowing where you’re going to watch most of your content: while YouTube and Kodi can stream in 4K almost in any smart TV, Netflix has a small list of devices that can do it and Amazon will force you to buy their own machines to get the best quality.
Before we start, here’s a list of what you should be looking for on Android boxes:
• The latest Kodi version
• Dual-band Wi-Fi
• 5.1. audio
• H.265 Hardware Decoding
• Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS (or higher)
• Dynamic Refresh Rate
• HDMI 2.0
• USB 3.0
Kodi is a free, open-source media player software and the app made by a non-profit company.
Android TV Box
1) NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Box
NVIDIA, creators of powerful GPU’s (graphics cards and graphics processors for PC, laptops and mobile devices) has expanded its market and allied with Android to build may be the best Android TV box in the market.
The NVIDIA SHIELD transforms your ordinary TV experience with 4K advanced gaming and streaming.
Not only does it offer countless apps straight from the Google Store, but it also has thousands of NVIDIA-powered games. More so, the kit comes with a gaming controller for you to enjoy a complete experience. Or, if you’re not a fan of video game controls, you can also play with your SHIELD remote.
With the power of GeForce GTX graphic cards, NVIDIA SHIELD will give you the ability to cast games from your computer to the TV via an internet connection and enjoy smooth 4K graphics in a bigger, better screen.
However, not all PC games are supported by SHIELD’s custom controller. You would have to check here to see what games are fully controlled or you could use the mouse and controller to play on the smart TV.
The SHIELD system ships with hundreds of free games. Otherwise, you can purchase the new Android game.
It is also the only platform with a 360-degree viewing experience for YouTube with exclusive NVIDIA technology.
Xiaomi Mi Box, made by Android, allows you to connect to endless 4K Ultra HD content on your old living room TV. This device is a sleek, small and squared black box with HDR video support and a Bluetooth-enabled voice remote.
Mi Box runs on the latest Android TV OS (Android TV 6.0), which is easy and intuitive, supports Google Cast (Chromecast) and voice controls.
The device uses the newer HDMI2.0a connection, which sends audio and video to your TV faster and better. With over 18Gbps speeds, it improves the quality and makes Mi Box a perfect device for casting 4K Ultra HD and HDR videos.
The machine effectively turns your TV into a smart Android TV where you could play games, find and play content, hear music, switch to radio, follow sports and more just by talking to it.
Mi Box will also recommend YouTube videos based on your own personal preferences, which includes what you choose on Google Play.
*Watching HDR content on the TV connected with Mi Box requires HDR TV and HDR content*
Amazon Fire TV doesn’t like an attractive Android device, but after the first glance and once you get used to Amazon’s custom interface, you will realize that it even beats Google’s operating system.
And because it also runs on Android, you can still download and play all of the apps we have talked before and enjoyed endless content from your regular TV only with an internet connection.
You can also install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV, which is an amazing alternative to platforms like Netflix and Hulu.
Fire TV comes with Amazon’s own artificial assistant, Alexa, instead of Google Assistant. However, Alexa will perform the same tasks and talk to you at the same time.
Amazon Fire TV supports up to 4K video output and Dolby Atmos audio, but by downgrading the quality you can also get the cheaper models.
The best Android TV 2018If your budget can afford it so far, rather than buying an Android Box, you can choose to buy a brand-new Smart TV which will give you better resolution, better quality, and an overall better experience.
Commonly, Sony smart TVs run on Android OS, while LG, its main competitor, runs on Web OS. Other big players are Roku TV, Apple TV, and My Home Screen.
Here’s a list of our top Android TVs:
Android and Sony worked together to make you experience the ease and the smoothness of a high-end mobile device on a bigger, better screen.
The BRAVIA A1 combines a sleek design with innovative engineering to turn it into the all-around best TV to support Android TV. However, it is inevitably expensive. Picture and sound quality is breathtaking. The screen is a Triluminos wide color display with a 4K Reality Pro picture processor to enhance image detail.
The gorgeous video quality is all about Sony’s new image engine, the HDR X1 Extreme, which remasters regular images to make everything look like HDR quality. It looks great, sounds great, and works great. It doesn’t have a soundbar, instead, it has a couple of sonic actuators on the rear of the panel that vibrates to create stereo sound. To rack it up so far, the bass borns from an 8cm subwoofer on the TV’s stand.
The Android smart TV has built-in Chromecast to make it easy for you to cast your videos, photos, and music from other compatible devices. BRAVIA, by default, has YouTube and Netflix already installed, both in 4K.
$2689 on Amazon.
There are other models of the BRAVIA coming with Android TV for cheaper prices. The lower prices will get you lower screen resolutions, smaller screens, and less audio quality. However, the BRAVIA line is the overall best series of Android smart TVs available in the market.
2) Sharp AQUOS
A 55-inch 4K smart TV shipping with Android TV. It has a 60Hz refresh rate, a LED screen, 2 USB inputs, 4 HDMI 2.0 connections and a very elegant design. It also ships with a 60-day guarantee.
With its AQUOS 4K Ultra HD UB30 technology comes various features that enhance picture and audio quality and give you a superb experience. One of its top-notch technologies is the ability to always give you 4K UHD quality, no matter what the original source is.
The TV is equipped with SmartCentral, a feature that enables consumers to browse cable and satellite content from a single screen. SmartCentral even offers live streaming and personalized recommendations.
$1000 on Amazon.
3) Sony X900E
The Sony X900E smart TV is by far the best budget smart TV, and it still ships with 4K resolution. The device is packed with a lot of features to make it easier to run the Android 7.0 OS. Its screen can either be 49’’, 65’’ or 75’’.
The smart interface is rather simplistic, even slow, but it has a great selection of built-in apps to find your content and play most of your files.
The smart TV has a great picture and sound quality and is great for any kind of rooms: small, big, dark, illuminated,…However, picture quality may not be as good when you watch it from an angle.
Currently unavailable on Amazon
Another Sony example of a pretty great smart TV with loved Android features.
It has a top-quality LCD display, superb audio and a beautiful design. What you will love the most about this model is that it has an optimized version of the operating system that offers an even better interface, a bigger number of in-built apps and its Google Chromecast supports Amazon Alexa and Google Home integration.
It also packs 4 HDMI ports, which will make your life easier.
While Android TV has its flaws and while there are other competitors (Roku TV, Hisense, Tizen, Web OS, Apple TV, …), Google’s operating system for smart TVs is already familiar to you: everyone has seen an Android device and everyone has enjoyed Google’s countless cloud apps and services like Gmail, Keep, Calendar, Photos, or Drive.
Android smart TVs are surely expensive but, for its buck, they offer the best audio and video quality available on the market. For Android TVs, you should check Sony’s different models, as well as the AQUOS brand.
For an investment of $1000 or so, you can get a budget smart TV. Otherwise, you can buy an Android TV box for about $100 to $200.
The NVIDIA SHIELD is a perfect device for gamer-enthusiasts and people who already know the power of NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphic cards.