If you do not have a smart TV or are not satisfied with its functions, an Android TV box will come in handy. We have described its functions and selected the best models.
The best Android TV boxes in 2022
What is an Android TV box?
Android TV box, or multimedia centre with Android TV, can be simply described as a box that turns a good TV into a smart one. It is similar to a set-top box, but instead of a TV signal, it adds the Android operating system to the TV. Thanks to this, you get access to a wide range of applications and many multimedia functions, moreover, in a proven environment. At the same time, you can watch IPTV Internet TV, for example using O2TV or Kuki. Also, Read – How to connect Bluetooth headphones to Chromecast
For fans of the “apple” company from Cupertino, there is an analogue in the form of the Apple TV. The multimedia centre can either take the form of a stand-alone box or a so-called TV stick that plugs into HDMI as a “flash”.
Why buy an Android TV box?
An Android TV box is useful if you don’t have a smart TV and don’t want to invest a lot of money in a new device. At the same time, it is practical if you own a smart TV but are not satisfied with its functions. This most often happens with cheaper TVs, which do offer certain smart functions, but there are not many of them and the operating system is not very convenient.
How does an Android TV box work?
The multimedia centre is a small computer with the Android (Google) TV operating system, which you connect to the TV using a cable. This subsequently serves as the screen of this minicomputer and enables all kinds of functions. One of them can be the Chromecast technology, thanks to which it is possible to stream content – that is, to transfer the screen – from applications from Google on your mobile. In newer iterations, it can directly transfer the phone’s screen. A similar but less reliable competing technology is Miracast. Also, Read – Can a VPN be installed on Apple TV?
It should be noted that Android TV began to be renamed Google TV in 2021. So on new devices, you will come across this new name, while on older devices you will still find Android TV. The “box” itself, in the vast majority of cases, contains its own storage, where you can download content. But if you are looking for the cheapest possible option, you can buy a Google Chromecast device. It does not have its own operating system or storage and can “only” stream content.
How to choose an Android TV box?
When choosing a multimedia centre, it is worthwhile, in addition to price, to decide according to three basic factors. The first one is resolution. The bigger the better, however, it is not necessarily worth paying extra for a box that supports a higher resolution than your TV supports. The same applies to the lower bound. However, most boxes today support 4K resolution anyway.
It is also good to consider the storage size. However, the standard across the range is 8 GB, of which roughly half is taken up by the operating system. So there are about 4.5 GB of space left for your content. Supported inputs and formats are also important – different models may or may not support .mkv video files, individual types of USB connectors or a memory card reader. Support for the already mentioned Chromecast and Miracast technologies is also different. Also, Read – Samsung Crystal UHD 4K TV Review
The best Android TV boxes in 2022
Xiaomi Mi TV Box S
China’s Xiaomi doesn’t just make phones. The Xiaomi Mi TV Box S also offers a decent price and performance ratio with its multimedia centre. For a price of around 1,500 CZK, it can play content in up to 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, while it also supports HDR or MKV format. Sufficient performance is ensured by 2 GB of RAM, although you cannot avoid occasional crashes. In addition, this box runs on the old version of Android 8.1.
The connector equipment is not among the richest, but the essentials are not missing. You will have to do without a slot for memory cards, but there is a USB connector and the 8GB of internal storage can also fit quite a lot. Voice control is also practical, which you will appreciate in conjunction with Google Assistant. There is also Chromecast technology and an elegant remote control will come in handy. Design is generally a strong point of this box, Xiaomi’s inspiration from Apple paid off here.
TESLA MediaBox XA400 (8GB)
Popular multimedia centres are also produced by the traditional Czech company Tesla. The MediaBox XA400 (8 GB) has the same parameters and functions as the Xiaomi above. So it has 8GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, 4K HDR and MKV support. There is also Chromecast and voice control. However, for a few hundred crowns more, it adds a second USB connector, a memory card reader and Android 10. The small controller is rather impractical, the box is not very elegant and the system can crash.
Google Chromecast 3
If you’re content with just YouTube, Netflix and other apps that can be mirrored from your mobile, the Google Chromecast 3 is a great choice. Although it does not contain its own operating system, it can transfer any audiovisual content from your phone or computer to the TV in a flash. So you don’t have to worry about having your mobile with you when watching – Chromecast doesn’t have its own remote control. It can handle it at a maximum resolution of 1080p (Full HD), which is a decent minimum.
Voice control with Google Assistant support is practical. If you also own other products from the American technology giant, the Chromecast 3 can be connected to the Google Home smart network. The limitation is the lack of support for some video formats. But for a price under 1,000 CZK, it is a great buy. Also, Read – Android 13 Eligible Devices List: Xiaomi, Samsung, Realme, Oppo Phones
Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick RMV2105
Although it hides in the HDMI slot behind the television, its functions are comparable to large multimedia centres. The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick RMV2105 runs on Android 11, supports Chromecast, and has 8GB of storage and enough power. It can therefore handle content up to 4K resolution. Both the remote control and the Google Assistant ensure pleasant control. For logical reasons, this centre lacks any input to any external storage, which can be limiting both in terms of space and monitoring content.
Although this multimedia centre from Thompson is one of the more expensive Android TV boxes, it will offer a very fast Android 10 environment, which is not a given among the competition. In addition, you get every imaginable function including two USB slots and a MicroSD input. As for memory, the Thomson THA100 relies on the usual pair of 8GB of storage and two GB of RAM. The image here can be in 4K resolution, and thanks to HDR support, you will also get great colours.
Xiaomi 26919 Mi TV Stick EU
A cheap and unobtrusive solution is this TV stick from Xiaomi. Although the maximum resolution is Full HD and compared to multimedia centres, it only has 1 GB of RAM, but it performs the basic smart functions reliably. Xiaomi 26919 Mi TV Stick EU runs on Android 9.0 with support for voice control and Chromecast. The content can then be stored on the 8GB built-in disk. There is a remote control, but it must be said that it is not one of the best. The device does not support the MKV format, but the MicroUSB input will please. Also, Read – Asus laptops and their serial models
If 8GB of storage is not enough for you in the competition, the Evolveo HBX-T2 offers twice as much. The RAM capacity is also higher, which is 3 GB. A big bonus of the device is that it is a so-called hybrid box, so it also works as a DVB-T2 set-top box.
In terms of image quality, this model achieves 4K resolution. It also got a slot for MicroSD cards, unfortunately, but MKV support is missing. The “smart half” of the device runs on the proven Android 9 operating system, but the set-top box part falters in the area of the user interface. The disadvantage is the lack of Chromecast support, but the phone can be mirrored using Miracast.