What is an Android TV box?

This is certainly the question that comes up most often when I tell people that I run an Android TV box: But, what's an Android TV box? What's the point ?

It turns out that the answer to this question is quite simple to understand. An Android TV box is simply an Android device that plugs into the TV to turn it into a "Smart TV". It's the same operating system as your Samsung phone or tablet and it will be as simple and intuitive to use. Often we do not find the latest version of Android but rather a version like Kit Kat (Android 4.4), Lollipop (Android 5.1) or Nougat (Android 7.0). These versions, although they are not the most powerful, allow to run almost all applications on an Android box.

What's the difference between an Android Box and a Roku box or an Apple TV?

You have probably extended a lot of different terminologies as you search the internet: Media streaming box, TV box, IPTV, media streamer, Kodi box and my favorite Android Tv box (or Android TV box). These are basically all the same types of devices - they allow you to retrieve media content from the internet to broadcast on your TV.

If you are not familiar with streaming boxes and TV boxes, you are on the right page to inquire.

The terminology may seem confusing, but do not worry: I am here to guide you and explain the important concepts to make a thoughtful choice. My goal with this page is to set up a good starting point for people who want to know more about these devices.

And to start what better than talking a little MP3 players?

What do MP3 players have to do with it?

Do you remember MP3 players?

Some time ago I was working in an electronics sales company. At the time I had hundreds of customers who came to the store to find an iPod (They had just come out). However, as usual Apple did not produce enough to supply everyone, so we had to sell what we had left. And what we had left was generic brand MP3 players. People were coming into the store asking for an "iPod" and the first question I asked them was "Do you want an Apple iPod or are you just looking for an MP3 player?"

And that's where the confused looks appeared, for a very simple reason: People thought it was exactly the same thing!

I remember telling hundreds of confused customers what made the difference between the two. Often, it was indeed an iPod of the Apple brand that they wanted but many people, hearing my explanations on the MP3 players, realized that what they really needed was actually a Classic MP3 player (A few dozen euros cheaper).

And that's what I'm trying to do right now with you and the Android tv box. A TV box is similar to a Roku or an Apple TV, just as an MP3 player is similar to an iPod. I'll tell you what's best to choose but let's get some of the terminology to start with.

Why so many names?

Looking at this picture, how would you call the device represented? A clue ... it certainly depends on where you come from.
Here in Europe we call them Kodi box, IPTV box or Android tv box. Kodi because this is the name of the application that must be installed to watch streaming programs on the internet (Not always legally for that matter), IPTV because it is much easier to find a protocol Internet TV ( IP-TV) here in America where these devices come from. By and large IPTV is a way of viewing television via the internet.
In the United States where I spent a few years for work, they call these boxes "Streaming devices" or "Streaming device" in English or "Streaming media player". Some North Americans call them "Roku box" even if they are not produced by Roku (as people called an MP3 player an iPod some time ago). Unless the case is assembled by Roku, you should avoid this call.
In Asia, people will call these boxes simply "TV boxes" or "TV box" in French. I must confess: This is the name I prefer, simple, short and clear it can understand in 2 words the usefulness of the device. The term is more generic, of course, but you can do so much with these devices that the fuzziest name is also the most suitable.
One last thing. You might also hear about "Mini-PC" on some sites. Certainly the TV boxes can be compared to a PC since they are made up about the same (CPU, GPU, RAM, ROM ...) However, the limitation of use of the TV boxes removes the right to use this name. 'after me. A real mini-pc embeds in a very small box the same components as a real computer. They can do just about anything a desktop can do and most often run on Windows.

What is an android tv box?
OK, now that it's clear in everyone's mind, we will use the generic term "Android tv box" on the whole site. So, what is this Android tv box?
Different companies can create different themes and customize their Android menu. In general they try to adapt it to make it easier to use from a living room couch or they try to make it look like the Netflix menu (which makes sense after all). Netflix is ​​one of the world's best streaming services, so copying their interface is likely to help many people navigate in an instant.

Since the customization of Android is quite advanced, if you do not like the basic menu it will be easy for you to change. In most cases you can simply add a new theme from the internet and start using it right away.
There is one important point to remember though:
There is a big difference between an Android tv box and an Android tv
Wait ... what ?!
Follow well because that's where it can get a little confused ...

Android tv box Vs Android tv
At the I / O conference in 2014, Google launched the Android TV. This is a system that organizes your fuchuers on a platform for easy organization and search, they even integrate Google voice search.
If this is a little familiar, it's normal.
Android TV is one of Google's test products for managing your media hub at home. We have already seen such tools at the competition with Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (Playstation and connected Blu-ray players), Roku, Apple and the list continues ... In fact Android TV is the second test of Google to manage your Media Hub, the first date of a few years ago, it was called Google TV (Original!) and it never really took.
The difference between an Android TV and an Android TV box is actually the operating system itself. Android TV uses a special version of the Android core. Android TVs can not run all applications because of this, at least not without a root kit. That said, the applications you can use have been created specifically for this type of screen and use and not for a small touch screen for the majority of Android applications.

Why is it important? Well, let's take Netflix for example. If you have already used Netflix on mobile or tablet you must remember that you had to slide a finger up or down to browse the list of genres. Once you've found the genre that's right for you, just swipe right or left to start the video.
How do you plan to use these touch features on your TV screen?
The Netflix app for Android TV has been completely redesigned so you can use a remote on a TV screen instead of a touch screen. It's the same for all Android TV apps.
So I should choose an Android TV rather no?
In fact it is possible to access Android TV only on newer TV models (The smart-tv post 2015). These apps are however also available on the upscale Android TV box like the NVidia Shield 2017 .
Not everyone can afford a latest-generation high-tech TV or a device as powerful as the Shield. The more classic Android TV box are just as powerful with few features and for a price much more interesting.

Android TV box, Roku or Fire TV?
Normally there should be only one question to ask yourself: What should I buy?
Well, it depends mostly on you.
Streaming devices like Amazon's Fire TV, Roku or Apple TV are great. I have nothing against them ... well, maybe against the Apple TV, but that's understandable, right? Anyway, these devices are very simple to use. I offered a Roku 3 to my mother who is not at all used to such devices (80 years) and I was able to teach him to use it in a few minutes. Can his Roku 3 do everything I do with my Shield? Not at all. Can it run all Android apps like my Minix TV box? No more !
The Android TV box gives you flexibility.
With a streaming box like a Roku you have to live in their world: their ecosystem, their apps ... You will not have much choice if the application you are looking for is not available. Fortunately, Plex is available on most systems. However if you want to run a Kodi on your Roku ... Good luck! And it's the same for the Apple TV. While if I want to install Kodi on my Android tv box, I just have to go on the Google play store find the app and click "Install" ...
And it's the same for hundreds of applications.
The Android tv box also have their disadvantages. They can take a long time to configure properly and they may need adjustments from time to time when an update requires it.
If you are the type of person who loves to set all the little options to have a product set to perfection for you then this is an Android box that you need. If you're not the DIY guy do not worry, you can make basic adjustments quickly to enjoy his box all the same.
I also propose another article to start with the Android TV box .