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In case you didn’t already know, people barely watch cable television anymore because you can find most of your favorite movies and TV shows on different streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max are some of the most famous streaming platforms, and your TV needs to be a smart TV with an app store in order to access them. These high-tech TVs are usually on the pricier side, but if you want to save money, you can always invest in an Android TV box to plug into your regular TV. These boxes let you access the Android TV system, which contains the Google Play Store, wherein you can download a wide range of streaming apps. The best part is that they won’t cost you a fortune to acquire because most of them have reasonable price tags. Naturally, every company seems to be trying to find the right combination of specs, features, and prices for the market at large. It would be best if you did your research beforehand because the last thing you’d want is to invest in a box that doesn’t deliver a snappy and responsive performance. Some of these devices also make it convenient for you to cast content from other mobile devices to your TV because they have Chromecast built-in. Whatever your budget is, there’s no doubt that you will find an appropriate Android TV box for you. Here are some of the best options on the market in 2022.
There’s no denying that the NVIDIA Shield TV is among the best Android TV boxes on the market. NVIDIA has moved away from its classic angular box to a tube-shaped streaming stick designed to hide behind your television. You can expect the device to be snappy and responsive because of its NVIDIA Tegra X1+ processor, which is about 25% faster than its predecessor. The processor does a fantastic job upscaling any content to 4K in real-time. Users can expect to watch their favorite content in the best quality possible because of its Dolby Vision capabilities. You can also expect an elevated cinematic experience at home because of its Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus support that brings you immersive surround sound audio. The device comes with a voice-enabled remote you can use to access the built-in Google Assistant. Users also have the option to use a Google Home or Alexa-enabled device to control the device. The NVIDIA Shield TV also has Chromecast built-in, so you can cast your smartphone or tablet’s screen onto your TV. One added feature it has is its NVIDIA GeForce NOW support that allows you to play games right from the TV box, but you’ll need to purchase a controller separately.
For those who don’t want to spend too much on an Android TV box, your best option would be the Google Chromecast with Google TV. While it technically runs “Google TV,” don’t be fooled—this is an Android TV box through and through. It combines the simplicity and low cost of Chromecast with the clean interface and huge app selection provided by Android TV. This fourth-gen Chromecast features a revised design, taking the rounded design of the third-gen Chromecast to its fullest extent yet. It almost looks like an egg that plugs into your television and comes in three fantastic colors: Snow, Sky, and Sunrise. Of course, the appearance of a device designed to plug into the back of your television doesn’t matter if it can’t hold its own against Nvidia’s Shield, which still edges out as our top pick for this category due to its sheer power. With the device in our hands though, we have great news: it’s smooth, fast, and makes for a fantastic way to watch all of your favorite entertainment through the web. It’s not the most powerful device on the market, but it’s more than capable of outputting 4K video with Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+ support. More interesting than the performance, perhaps, is the remote. Although it may seem like Google took inspiration from Apple’s TV remote, it feels far better in the hand than Apple’s controversial remote. A sleek color-matching design with minimal buttons gives access to home, back, pause and play, mute, and a circular D-pad that looks straight from an old iPod. Below these buttons, you’ll find shortcuts to Netflix and YouTube, and the Youtube button can be set to launch the usual app or YouTube TV. The remote has an integrated microphone you can use for voice commands via Google Assistant. Users can rest assured that they will get to access all their favorite streaming apps, and the Google Chromecast with Google TV will even give you personalized recommendations. It even organizes all your content for you, so you don’t need to keep switching apps. As expected, the device has Chromecast built-in for casting compatible iOS and Android devices.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube is a streaming device that runs on Fire TV OS, which you can consider as a variation of Android. It’s among the more high-end options on the market because it’ll cost you around $119.99. Users will have a smooth time navigating the device because of its powerful hexa-core processor. You will undoubtedly have a cinematic experience when you use this device because you can stream all your favorite movies and TV shows in 4K Ultra HD. The depth, detail, and colors of your content will even take a step further because of its Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+ support. The device will also give you an immersive audio experience because of its Dolby Atmos capabilities. Of course, you’ll need to ensure that your TV has excellent built-in speakers or invest in a valuable soundbar. Since Amazon makes the Fire TV Cube, you shouldn’t be surprised that it comes with Alexa built-in. You can tell Alexa to play a movie, adjust the volume, and more. The device comes with a voice-enabled remote, but the HDMI cable needed for connecting it to your TV is sold separately.
If you’re on a tight budget but still want a fast and reliable streaming device, you won’t be disappointed with the TiVo Stream 4K. It’s powered by Android TV, but its interface is arranged differently than other Android TV systems because of the TiVo UI. With the number of streaming services available today, finding the show or movie you want to watch could get time-consuming. Fortunately, this device will eliminate your need to constantly switch apps because it keeps all your content in a centralized place. The TiVo Stream 4K is also intelligent enough to learn what type of content you love watching, and it will give you recommendations for what to watch next. The device allows users to stream films or series from different streaming services in 4K UHD, and its Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos support ensure that you get a satisfying cinematic viewing experience at home. One of the unique things about the device is the remote included with it because it has more buttons compared to its competitor’s remotes, and its larger size feels comfortable in your hand. Like most Android TV boxes, the TiVo Stream 4K also comes with Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in.
The availability of the Xiaomi Mi Box S in the United States has been inconsistent over the years, but it looks like you can grab your hands on one again in 2022. This device is a step up from the Xiaomi Mi TV Stick, and it’s a perfect accessory to have when you want to stream 4K Ultra HD content with HDR capabilities that give you a jaw-dropping level of smoothness and clarity. You can rely on the performance you get from its processor and GPU, but you can still experience lag from time to time. Since the Android TV system is built-in, you can access a wide selection of apps from the Google Play Store. We know typing on an on-screen keyboard using a few keys from your remote can be a hassle, but you’ll love how the Xiaomi Mi Box S comes with a voice-enabled remote. You can search for movies, shows, or apps using your voice and ask Google Assistant to do basic commands. Whenever you want to browse through Tiktok or Instagram on your TV, you can easily cast your mobile devices using Chromecast. If there were features we wish the Xiaomi Mi Box S had, it would be Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR10+, and HLG support.
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