This post was most recently updated on April 24th, 2019
The rave of the moment is IPTV media sticks and boxes. So long as you want to enjoy the best of TV programs, you must join the IPTV/Streaming media boxes’ train. Also, especially now that we have so many below par IPTV boxes, an android box purchasing guide by an experienced satellite TV/IPTV personality like myself is a must. I won’t be happy if you go out there to buy an underpowered IPTV box for an amount as big as what can equally give you a better one.
The world over, people are streaming video contents from their television via either IPTV sticks or boxes. In the USA we have very popular IPTV boxes like Amazon fire stick, Roku stick, NVidia shield, richino, nexsmart, and so on. Moving forward, I will be talking about the hardware and software features(mainly hardware) you should look out for before buying any Android tv box.
What is Android TV Box or set-top box?
By way of description, you can call An Android TV box or streaming media player is a small media center that connects to a TV to play apps that stream TV contents, other videos and games.
Apparently, Android TV boxes are popular items these days and allow a user a wide range of uses from surfing the web to streaming video straight to your TV.
In a layman’s language, an Android TV box is simply a TV set-top box running the Android operating system.
One of the greatest advantages of these boxes is that they can turn even the most basic TV into a smart TV with a wide range of options. Most people use them to stream movies or TV shows from their favorite streaming sites, such as Netflix or Hulu.
How do I connect and use an Android TV box?
You can connect and get started with any brand of any Android TV media box in three simple ways. These steps are enumerated as follows:
- Connect your HDMI cable to your tv and the other end to your box’s HDMI port
- Next, connect your internet. The most reliable happens to be LAN internet as it is largely free of interruption. You can also use Wi-FI or modem. Your internet must be fast and stable.
- Open your box and navigate through the installed apps to start enjoying the device. Additionally, download more apps to increase your viewing scope.
Categories of classification of Android TV set-top boxes/streaming devices
- Satellite receiver and IPTV box combo: The type of Android boxes classified under this group can perform both a decoder and a and android media player function. The only example that comes to mind at the moment is “Tiger star(t3000, t3000 mega and t3000 extra) Android IPTV decoder. You can also call this type of IPTV boxes hybrid.
- Special-feature Android TV box: This type of media player is not only a full-fledged Android tv box, but it also doubles as a dedicated Gamestation/console. It has outstanding support with a game controller without the need for an OTG. In addition, it auto-optimizes android games so much so that the clarity is beyond comparison with that of mobile. an example of a box that falls under this category is Anmax pro IPTV box and “the nVidia shield“gamestation
- The 3rd and final category is actually the most popular the regular Android IPTV boxes: They are every other category of Android TV boxes that don’t fall within the two described above. In effect, they are those boxes that basically play video contest locally or via IPTV. Of course you can also play games on them, however, you won’t get the quality of the nVidia shield or the Anmax pro if you choose to play mobile games on them. However, they do not support satellite TV installation like the hybrid IPTV boxes.
Android TV Boxes by Nomenclature
It is not so surprising to know that different people call an Android tv box by different names. Below are some of the the names by which android tv boxes are called. Therefore, when next you come across such a name, know that they all mean one and the same thing. I mean, they are all referring to the Android TV box
- Android set-top boxes
- Media box or Android media box
- Streaming devices or android streaming devices
- media player or IPTV media player.
- IPTV box, Android TV or Android IPTV box
- Android streaming media player,
- Android IPTV Box
- Internet TV box
Android box purchasing guide: 11 things to look out for
1.The price must harmonise with the Usefulness
Let’s take an example of someone who is not a core gamer that went to pay as much $388 to buy an Nvidia android tv pro streaming box. Such a person has not done well from the price department. if your intent is to use your Android IPTV box fro watching only IPTV channels, then no need to buy a hybrid IPTV box except you are getting it at an exceptional discount. Summarily, know your budget and what you want out of the box.
2. Get Box that is capable of installing via USB drive any kind of Apk
Some applications like Netflix, youtube should come standard with any good Android TV box. In addition to this, your box should be rooted or at least be unrestricted so that it can run any 3rd party application f your choice. Boxes nowadays no longer come preloaded with Kodi 3rd party plugins as you can get many APKs that are better than Kodi that you can install on your own. Additionally, your box should have hardware support to be able to receive files sent to it via Wi-Fi App such as Xender. Personally, I would choose a versatile android tv box over a preloaded one.
3. Watch out for IPTV Boxes that comes loaded with illegal/pirated plugins
Purchasing an IPTV box is not made easier with the fact that you can purchase one that will get you into a legal battle with your local or international law enforcement agents. In a nutshell, avoid any android IPTV box that is preloaded with apps or accounts that can open popular paid tv programs illegally. If a box is sold and you are told it will open all beIN sports channels, then know that such box was sold to be used as an illegal device to bypass Py-TV bills. If you are confused about what constitute illegal IPTV services, please read this post.
4. The Android Operating system(OS) Version
The minimum Operating system for modern contents should not be less than 6.0 Android marshmallow. The higher the os, the better for you. we have many android tv boxes now coming preloaded with Android OS V8.1 marshmallow
5. The Build Quality
This is equally very important as no one loves a device that can die suddenly or die when accidentally touched. The box must be built in a firm and compact way. it must not be fragile, not too big, not too heavy and not too small. The material used must also be durable.
6. Ram(Memory) and Rom(Storage)
Initially, we used to have as low as 1gb of ram and 4gb of rom. Luckily things are better now and by memory, I mean “RAM” please do not go for a 1gb ram android box unless you are ready to leave with the frustration. As for storage, look out for SD card, USB and external HHD support. reasonable internal memory will also be appreciated. In all, a good “ram” of a minimum of 2gb(4GB is better). The Ram, on the other hand, makes your UI runs smoothly and hold up especially when you launcher multiple applications simultaneously.
7. CPU(Processor) & GPU(graphics processing unit)
this goes hand in hand and their performances can be enhanced or impeded by the size of the ram. Nowadays, a “QUAD CORE CPU IS THE NORM“. Also, look out for the maker of the CPU chip. Cortex A53 and some Amlogic CPUs are currently the go-to destinations for many who seek good android tv boxes. Your CPU is responsible for how fast your application’s startup. GPU is what would define your the quality of your video. Mali GPUs are great for Android TV Boxes.
8. User interface and a good launcher
If you buy a cheaply manufactured Android IPTV box, you shouldn’t expect a smooth and intuitive user interface. Also, the UI could be pathetic. That notwithstanding, a good and expensive IPTV set-top box can also come with a launcher that you are not comfortable with. In such a case, there should be an option to uninstall the stick launcher and install any one of your choices. Personally, I love A launcher.
9. Android box purchasing guide-Network Connectivity & Ports
The best Android IPTV boxes come with adequate some very useful network protocols and connection ports. Allow me to mention some required and optional ports and network connectivity protocols include:
Useful Internet protocols
- LANN/Ethernet connection(required in some)
- Wi-Fi network connection(this is a must)
- 3G Network(useful but optional)
- VPN Service(very useful for apps that won’t run outside the USA E.G NetFlix)
- Bluetooth connects (required good for connecting certain accessories).
Use cable connection and ports
- HDMI Cable-port(required for all modern decoders and IPTV boxes)
- AV/RCA port(hugely obsolete optional)
- LNB/Coaxial IN Double tuners preferable( very useful in attaching a satellite dish to the set-top box but this is optional)
- SD/SDHC/MMC cards slot( increases your storage option)
- At least 2 USB ports(required)
- OPT Aux port(optional)
10. A Scalable Display is also part of the necessary android box purchasing guide
We are already in the 4K UHD display era. You can look out for this in the next time you are shopping for an Android TV box. Not only that, there should be an option to downscale or upscale your display resolution from with the device’s settings. For example, a 4k UHD box may not be useful to someone having a Full HDTV. In which case changing the resolution to 1920 x 1080 would be much beneficial to such an individual. Aside from this, the display quality is also key. So, please go for a good one with a good GPU. You can learn more about displays here
11. Options for 3rd party accessories
A good Android TV box should have full hardware and software supports for computer accessories such as a mouse, keyboard and game controllers. In addition, you should also be able to use the remote control unit as a mouse.
12. A reputable manufacturer with positive reviews
At the end of the day, after sales service and support is everything. If you can get a product line from reputable manufacturers, you will know that it is a priceless asset. However, 99.8% of the android tv boxes out there are made in China so, manufacturer reputation matters a little here. However, you can search for the unbiased reviews about a particular android tv box before buying it. More than 50% of the android boxes available on Amazon are very good.
13. Special features that you can expect on Android TV Boxes
Soe special features come default on certain streaming media players. Notable among such is the full desktop optimization for Android mobile games. In addition, you can look out for an IPTV box that supports DLNA Airplay mode which a feature that enables you to cast your video toTV set.
14.A good Android TV box must support many videos and audio formats/codecs.
Notable among these are:
- for Video: HDR-10. H.265, H.264, VP9-10 Profile 2, MPEG-4 ASP, AVS-P16,
- Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC) e.t.c
- Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF and so on
Top Android TV Boxes based on our android box purchasing guide
The number one spot goes to the online giant Amazon. It is also none other than the Amazon fire TV cube. In terms of Support security reliability, while not forgoing performance, I give it up for Amazon fire tv cube.
Amazon Fire TV Cube, hands-free with Alexa and 4K Ultra HD (includes all-new Alexa Voice Remote), streaming media player: Read more and you will be convinced. They are currently running a discount which makes the product to be available for a sum lower than $100 at the moment.
2. For the best CPU an GPU you can find in any Android media box, you should consider the Nvidia Shield TV. Nvidia is originally designed for gaming with some awesome exclusive apps. However, it also doubles as a basic IPTV media player. learn more about: NVIDIA Shield TV | 4K HDR Streaming Media Player
4. for special features like IPTV and gaming combo, get the Anmax X10 Pro Android TV box and game station. If you don’t mind reading further, click here