Android TV Boxes
Streaming devices and set-top boxes are becoming major staples in the homes of those who wish to cut the cord or augment their current television viewing experience. While there is no real shortage of available set-top boxes and streaming sticks on the market, there are quite a few that are heads and shoulders above the rest, especially in the Android TV market. Here are some of the best available Android TV boxes on the market.
The NVIDIA Shield is a pure powerhouse in the Android TV ecosystem. With hands-free operation, courtesy of either Google Assistant or the Alexa ecosystem, as well as GeForce NOW game streaming, 4K HDR video streaming with Dolby Atmos audio, and access to the full Google Play Store, the NVIDIA Shield is a top pick for anyone looking to bring the Android TV experience home.
$150 at Amazon
Xiaomi’s Mi Box S isn’t the most powerful Android TV box, but it makes up for it with its 4K HDR streaming capabilities. The Mi Box S also has full access to the Google Play Store and Google Cast capabilities, making for a serviceable entry-level Android TV box for anyone.
$40 at Walmart
Ematic’s Jetstream is one of the newer boxes on the market, and it’s a great middle-of-the-road box. Released in mid-2018, the Jetstream supports Android Oreo right out of the box, and it is one of the few certified Android TV set-top boxes with Netflix certification, and 4K UHD playback.
$70 at Walmart
The VANKYO MatrixBox X95 Max doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but this Android TV box comes with Android 9.0 out of the box. There is also a great combination of 4GB of RAM along with 32GB of storage, which can be expanded to 128GB. Plus, the X95 Max supports 4K UHD content with HDR 10+ and 3D video playback, all in a small and compact package.
$60 at Amazon
The difference between the standard model NVIDIA Shield TV and the Shield TV Pro is the classic look comes to the Pro, along with the addition of some extras. These include two USB ports to connect your favorite peripherals for gaming sessions, along with the ability to use the TV Pro as your Plex Media Server. With the Tegra X1+ chipset, you even get AI-powered upscaling for a better experience when viewing HD content on a 4K television.
$200 at Amazon
What’s up with the limited options for Android TV set-top boxes?
Before we get to that answer, let’s clear one thing up first. There are several Android TV boxes available on the market. However, there are only a few that are Google certified, and even fewer certified for Netflix. Beyond that, there is only one certified for Amazon Prime Video — the NVIDIA Shield TV (2019).
Going a bit further, Android TV’s start was extremely rough, leaving sour tastes in the mouths of many. The Nexus Player by ASUS was severely under-powered with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage and overpriced, making many interesting balks at buying the device….