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What is an Android TV box? [TV box 101]

What is an Android TV box? [TV box 101]

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Individuals ask me questions on a regular basis: what is an Android TV box?

What can they do?

It seems, this a part of the query is truly quite simple. An Android TV box is merely a TV box operating the Android working system. This is the identical working system because the one operating in your smartphone, pill and hundreds of thousands of different units all through the world. Often it’s a barely older model like Lollipop (Android 5) or Marshmallow (Android 6). However, if you understand how to make use of your pill or smartphone, you possibly can often run most (if not all) of these apps on an Android TV box.

What’s the distinction between an Android box and a Roku or Apple TV?

You’ve in all probability heard a number of totally different terminology being thrown round totally different websites, boards and Fb teams: Streaming media gadget, TV box, IPTV box, set prime packing containers, media streamer, HTPC, Kodi box, and my private favourite the Android TV box. They’re all principally the identical sort of gadget – one thing that will get content material from your property community or the Web to your tv.

Should you’re new to streaming units and TV bins, then this is the place to start out.

The terminology could seem complicated, however don’t fear: I’m right here to information you thru a number of the fundamentals. My aim is to make this a great start line for anybody who needs to study extra.

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To start out issues off, I’m going to inform you a narrative about MP3 gamers.

Keep in mind MP3 gamers?

A very long time in the past, it appears, I labored in a “big-box” electronics retailer. No, not the blue one. I labored on the purple one which closed it’s doorways again in 2009. Again then, we had hundreds of individuals coming within the retailer on the lookout for iPods. However, like Apple will do, they didn’t make sufficient to go round, so we needed to promote what we had. And what we had was a number of generic MP3 gamers. Individuals would are available asking for an iPod and the primary query we might ask is “do you want an Apple iPod, or are you looking for an MP3 player?”

That often resulted in a confused look. Most individuals thought they have been the identical factor.

We needed to take the time to teach individuals to all the different choices that they had. Lots of occasions, an iPod actually was what they needed, and that was cool. However, a number of different individuals simply needed the most effective gadget and of their case, the perfect system didn’t include an Apple sticker within the box.

That’s what I’m doing now. A TV box is just like a Roku or an Apple TV, identical to an MP3 participant is just like an iPod. I’ll let you recognize how one can determine what’s best for you, however let’s get some terminology out of the best way first.

MXQPro-AmlogicS905-1000MbpsLAN-BT4.0.cdrOnce you take a look at this image, what do you name it? Trace…it in all probability is determined by the place you’re from.

The place I’m in North America, these units are usually referred to as Streaming units or Streaming Media gamers. Typically, they’re mistakenly referred to as Roku bins, despite the fact that they could be made by Amazon, Apple or one of many many different producers I cowl on this website. Let me offer you an instance of one thing comparable. Relying on what a part of the nation you’re in, you name that sugary, carbonated beverage Pop, Soda and even Coke (even when it’s not Coke). So, until it’s truly a Roku that you simply’re speaking about, please don’t name it a Roku box. It could create confusion for you and the one that you’re speaking to.

In Europe, they’re usually referred to as Kodi bins because of the reputation of putting in Kodi and a number of the streaming addons which might be out there. They can be referred to as IPTV packing containers as a result of it’s a lot simpler to seek out an Web Protocol TV (IPTV) service on that aspect of the Atlantic than right here within the US. To place it merely, IPTV is a solution to get stay TV over the Web.

When you’re in Asia, then likelihood is you’ve heard them referred to as TV packing containers. Personally, I favor calling them TV packing containers. It is a extra generic time period, positive, however the system can achieve this many issues that it simply makes extra sense.

One final thing. You may as well see the time period mini-PC. TV packing containers can definitely be thought-about a mini-PC, however I feel that lumps them right into a class that they don’t fairly belong in. A mini-PC also can embrace any small-format pc like an Intel NUC (Subsequent Unit of Computing). They will often do all the things that your desktop PC or laptop computer can do. Some TV bins can exchange your desktop, however they’re the exception, fairly than the rule.

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OK, so the generic time period is the one we’re going to be utilizing, not simply on this article, however all through this website as an entire. So what makes it an Android box?

Totally different corporations can create totally different skins or launchers to offer it a custom-made appear and feel. Usually they’re making an attempt to make it simpler to make use of out of your front room sofa, or have it look extra like Netflix, which is sensible. Netflix is one of many world’s most greatest streaming providers, so imitating their interface makes it simpler for brand spanking new customers to familiarize themselves with their new TV box.

Since Android is an extremely customizable working system, in the event you don’t just like the launcher that got here together with your system, normally, you’ll be able to merely add a brand new one and begin utilizing that launcher as an alternative.

There’s one essential factor to recollect right here, although:

There is an enormous distinction between Android TV and an Android TV box.

Wait…what?

Comply with alongside, as a result of right here’s the place it might get a bit complicated.

On the I/O convention in 2014, Google launched Android TV. It’s a system that organizes your content material into one platform for straightforward group and looking – together with Google’s personal voice search performance. You will discover out all concerning the official Android TV right here.

If that sounds acquainted, it ought to.

Android TV is Google’s try and run your media hub. We’ve seen comparable efforts through the years from Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (Ps and related Blu-ray gamers), Roku, Amazon, Apple, and the record goes on and on. Android TV is the second try from Google on this area from Google – the third when you rely the Chromecast. Google TV, which was their first try at ruling your front room, however by no means actually caught on.

The distinction between Android TV and an Android TV box, lies within the working system itself. Android TV is a particular model of the core Android OS. Android TV can’t run each app, no less than not with out rooting your gadget. However, the apps that it may possibly run are particularly designed to be run in your tv relatively than a touchscreen.

shield-android-tv-homescreenWhy is that essential? Properly, lets use Netflix as an instance. When you’ve used Netflix in your smartphone or pill, you then’ll keep in mind swiping up and right down to scroll by means of the listing of genres. When you discovered what sort of film you’re on the lookout for, you possibly can swipe left or proper to see what’s in that style.

How precisely do you swipe in your TV set?

So, the Netflix Android TV app was constructed from the bottom up to make use of the distant management slightly than a touchscreen. It’s the identical for each different Android TV app.

What’s the catch? You possibly can solely get Android TV on a higher-end, newer Sensible TV, say 2015 and later. It’s additionally obtainable on a handful of high-end TV bins just like the NVIDIA Defend.

Not everybody can afford a brand new high-end TV or want one thing as highly effective because the Defend. Android TV packing containers supply comparable efficiency, minus a number of options, for a fraction of the fee.

There’s often just one query left by this level: What ought to I purchase?

Properly, that is dependent upon you.

Streaming units just like the Hearth TV, Roku and Apple TV are nice. I’ve nothing towards them…nicely, perhaps towards the Apple TV, however that’s comprehensible, proper? Anyway, they’re extraordinarily straightforward to make use of. I gave my eighty-year-old mom a Roku three and she or he was capable of discover ways to use it in a couple of minutes. Does it do every little thing that my NVIDIA Defend does? Completely not. Can it run each app like my MINIX Android TV box can? Nope.

Android TV packing containers offer you flexibility

With a streaming system like Roku, it’s a must to stay of their world, their ecosystem and run their apps. You don’t have a lot of a selection if the app you need isn’t out there. Fortunately, Plex is out there on most techniques. However, if you wish to run Kodi in your Roku, robust luck. Similar goes in your Apple TV. If you wish to set up it in your Hearth TV, you’re going to have to leap via some hoops and sideload the app manually.

If I need to set up Kodi on an Android TV box, all I’ve to do is go to the Google Play Retailer and click on set up.

That goes for a whole lot of different apps as properly.

Android TV bins might have their drawbacks. They are often time-consuming to arrange appropriately, they usually might must be tweaked regularly as new firmware comes out.

However in the event you’re the kind of person who loves having the choice to put in no matter you need and tweak your system to actually make it yours, then you definitely’re simply the one that ought to get an Android TV box. Should you’ve simply purchased your first box, you then’re going to need to see our Android TV box setup information to get you up and operating quick.

Unique Bonus: Like this text? Obtain a PDF model of this text so you possibly can learn it on the go or use it for reference.

 

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