What To Know
- Android TV boxes turn regular TVs into smart TVs on the cheap, offering lots of apps from the Google Play Store.
- Android TV boxes can sometimes have issues like frequent updates, and reduced performance over time, and are not ideal for gaming.
- Both Android TV boxes and Roku let you stream shows, but many find Roku is easier to use.
Thinking about an Android TV box for your old TV?
You’re in the right place.
I’ve used Android TV boxes for years, and I’m here to share my insights on their pros and cons.
I’ll also give you a rundown on another worthy choice: the Roku player.
Let’s get started!
- What Is an Android TV Box, and How Does It Work?
- Overview Table
- Pros of Using an Android TV Box
- Cons of Using an Android TV Box
- Is an Android TV Box Worth Buying?
- FAQ: Do I Need an Android TV Box if I Have a Smart TV?
What Is an Android TV Box, and How Does It Work?
An Android box is a remarkably low-cost invention that enables all TVs lacking smart TV capabilities to stream movies and shows, browse the web, play games, and utilize other apps.
They basically turn older TV sets into smart TVs with full Android capabilities.
As the name suggests, an Android box is powered by an Android operating system—the same OS that runs Android smartphones.
If you’ve heard of the Kodi box, TV box, or Streaming box, all these names refer to Android TV boxes.
They go by so many brand names, but the backend in all of these is the Android operating system.
For a clear picture, let’s dive into an overview table showing the pros and cons of an Android TV box.
|Pros of Using an Android TV Box||Cons of Using an Android TV Box|
|1. Affordability: Less expensive than buying a new smart TV.||1. Frequent Updates: They can sometimes cause problems.|
|2. App Variety: Access to a wide range of apps from the Google Play Store.||2. Potential Slowness: Cheaper models might be sluggish or slow to respond.|
|3. Voice Commands: Integrated with Google Assistant for easy searching.||3. Gaming Limitations: Not ideal for high-end games, especially on budget-friendly models.|
|4. Broad Streaming: Enjoy popular platforms like Netflix and YouTube, even on older TVs.||4. Wi-Fi Issues: Some might have unstable connectivity.|
|5. Offline Viewing: Download shows and use external USB storage.|
|6. Easy Setup: Quick to install.|
|7. Versatile Control: Compatible with remotes, keyboards, and mouses.|
|8. Diverse Selection: Available in different designs, sizes, and features for everyone.|
Pros of Using an Android TV Box
After checking out the overview, the Android TV Box has some clear benefits:
One of the primary advantages of the Android TV box is its cost-effectiveness.
Instead of investing in a brand-new smart TV, users can acquire the same smart capabilities by simply connecting the Android TV box to their existing television set.
This makes it an attractive option for those who are budget-conscious but still want to enjoy the latest in entertainment technology.
2. App Variety
Moreover, the Android TV box comes equipped with the ability to access the vast Google Play Store.
Users can easily download various Android apps on their TV, covering both entertainment and education. There’s an app for everyone.
3. Voice Commands
Adding to the list of conveniences is the Google Assistant feature.
Some Android TV boxes come with an added convenience feature – a Google Assistant button.
This voice-activated feature makes it simple for users to streamline searches, control their TVs, and perform other tasks without manually typing or scrolling.
4. Broad Streamings
Modern viewers love streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
With an Android TV box, even old TVs can access these services, giving a wide choice of content.
5. Offline Viewing
What if you’re not in a streaming mood or stumble upon internet connectivity issues?
The Android TV box has you covered.
It’s not wholly internet-reliant, giving users the freedom to download shows and films for offline viewing or utilize external USB storage devices for their viewing pleasure.
6. Easy Setup
For the most part, setting up an Android TV box is a breeze.
Typically, it’s a matter of connecting it to the TV, linking it to the internet, and then diving straight into app downloads and viewing.
7. Versatile Control Choices
In today’s digital world, flexibility is key.
Android TV boxes offer various control options, from remotes to keyboards or mouses. This lets users customize how they navigate their entertainment.
8. Diverse Selection
Rounding up its merits is the variety the Android TV box brings to the table.
Android TV boxes are not one-size-fits-all. They come in various designs, sizes, and price points, catering to a broad spectrum of preferences.
Whether one is looking for a basic model or a high-end box with advanced features, there’s likely a suitable model in the market.
Cons of Using an Android TV Box
After diving deep into the Android TV box’s advantages, let’s shift our focus to its limitations.
1. Frequent Updates
With technological advancements come frequent software updates.
The Android OS, which powers these boxes, often releases updates to enhance functionality and security.
However, not all boxes receive these updates promptly, leading to potential compatibility and performance issues.
2. Potential Slowness
While Android TV boxes promise to convert standard TVs into smart ones, not all deliver optimal performance.
Particularly, cheaper models might suffer from slower startup speeds and lagging, which can affect the overall user experience.
3. Gaming Limitations
For gaming enthusiasts, the Android TV box might be a tad disappointing.
Especially on budget-friendly models with outdated Android versions, the gaming capabilities are limited.
They aren’t built to handle complex, graphics-intensive games, making them suitable mainly for basic gaming.
4. Wi-Fi Issues
A seamless entertainment experience requires a stable internet connection.
However, some Android TV boxes, especially the more affordable ones, can sometimes struggle to maintain a consistent connection to Wi-Fi networks.
Is an Android TV Box Worth Buying?
When looking for a streaming device, most people want easy access to popular platforms like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify.
The Android TV box offers many features and options, but it can be complex for those wanting simple streaming.
Roku has become a popular alternative. It’s user-friendly and connects easily to top streaming platforms.
Also, Roku’s regular updates and strong support make it reliable.
In short, if you want a simple device for top streaming services, Roku is a better choice. Below is a side-by-side comparison between the Android TV box and Roku:
|Aspect||Android TV Box||Roku|
|Operating System & User Interface||Runs on Google’s Android OS and gets apps from the Google Play Store.||Uses Roku OS with an easy-to-use design showing apps as tiles.|
|App & Channels Availability||Offers a wide range of apps, including games and educational content from the Play Store.||Provides over 5,000 channels, including top streaming platforms.|
|Voice Assistance||Many models come with Google Assistant for voice controls.||Newer models offer voice search but aren’t as advanced as Google Assistant.|
|Price Point & Varieties||Prices vary based on brand and features.||Devices range from affordable Roku Express to high-end Roku Ultra.|
|Updates & Support||Some might not get timely OS updates, leading to potential issues.||Provides regular software updates for all devices with good support.|
FAQ: Do I Need an Android TV Box if I Have a Smart TV?
If you already own a smart TV, purchasing an Android TV box may not be necessary.
The primary function of an Android TV box is to transform older, non-smart TVs into smart ones, bridging the gap between traditional television and internet-based streaming.
If your TV is already equipped with smart capabilities, adding an Android TV box would be redundant and might even complicate your viewing experience.
It’s always best to assess the features of your current devices before considering additional purchases.
Hai Huynh, an Electrical & Electronics Engineering graduate from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, is a passionate technical editor. He discovered his love for technology when he started playing Pokemon on a Gameboy as a child. Now, he writes and edits technical articles, focusing on smart TVs and streaming devices, to help readers solve problems.