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With traditional cable and satellite television services becoming more and more obsolete by the day, people are figuring out new and innovative ways to cut that costly and impractical cord once and for all. Whether it’s through Netflix, HBO GO, Apple TV, or some variety of the multiple on-demand streaming services the Internet now offers, more and more people are finding that they no longer need to be at the mercy of the cable company. One such device at the forefront of this revolution is the Kodi box—a free-to-use, open source media player that brings an unprecedented level of freedom to your streaming experience, acting as a single, go-to hub for all your favorite entertainment. And since this device is open source, there are countless add-ons and plug-ins to choose from.
In the simplest terms, Kodi is just a media center that allows you to stream content on your HDTV, not unlike Apple TV or Roku. The difference, however, lies in the fact that Kodi is open source, and therefore far more malleable. (Be careful not to use Kodi to stream any paid service you haven’t paid for, however, since that would technically be illegal.) The Kodi box itself is simply a vehicle from which to run the Kodi software, and can take many forms. Here are the Top Five Kodi-compatible boxes around.
At TechJunkie, we’re huge fans of the entire line of Fire TV devices, but for just $50 for the 4K version, you absolutely cannot beat the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Though you can no longer install Kodi natively from the Amazon Appstore, it’s still easy to get the software up and running on your device. Even if you opt not to install Kodi—and you definitely should—the Fire Stick is still a capable media streaking. The 4K model supports, as you might imagine, 4K Ultra-HD streams, complete with HDR support for the truest colors and deepest blacks, but even if you don’t have a 4K television, you’re still better off getting the improved 4K model. A newer remote with volume and power controls for your television, plus a more powerful processor, makes this a killer Kodi companion.
To get Kodi up and running on your Fire Stick, you’ll want to check out TechJunkie’s guide here, which walks you through exactly how to set up the app for the best experience. It takes about fifteen minutes, but once you’re set up and ready to go, you’ll have access to thousands of apps and add-ons for Kodi that make easy to watch anything under the sun. Plus, since the Fire Stick has native support for VPNs like ExpressVPN, it’s easy to stay safe and secure while using Kodi. Ultimately, the Fire Stick is a fantastic value at just $50 for the 4K model with enough power to bring Kodi, Netflix, Hulu, and anything else you would want to stream right to your TV.
Although not as well-known as the Amazon Fire TV unit, the NVIDIA Shield has carved out quite a reputation for itself in the streaming world. It allows you to stream movies, TV shows, and practically anything the mind can imagine in crystal-clear 4K HDR. The Shield even utilizes Google’s voice command technology, which allows you to summon your entertainment without lifting a finger. One of the benefits of the NVIDIA Shield regarding Kodi software is that it’s much easier to install—unlike with the Amazon Fire TV, which requires a separate, third-party installation. And since the Shield is already fully loaded and ready to go with a number of top-notch streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, HBO, Showtime, Pandora, Spotify, and Sling TV, you’ll never be without your favorite entertainment.
Of course one of the first things you may notice about this device is that it comes with a game-controller, which should catch the attention of all you gamers out there who want to integrate you streaming entertainment and a vast collection of Android and PC-quality games. An obvious variable to consider with the Shield, however, is its high price relative to the Amazon Fire TV. We would therefore recommend this device primarily to gamers and entertainment enthusiasts who may not want to deal with the hassle of separately installing the Kodi software.
Next up, we have the YAGALA T95 Box, which is perhaps the best Kodi-compatible box around for Android enthusiasts. This unit comes loaded with a 1.5GHz Quad Core Cortex A5 GPU, and is significantly faster and smoother than its predecessor, the MX2. There’s also 1GB of built-in DDR3 RAM and 8GB of flash memory, along with the option to expand using a micro SD card. The Google Play store comes pre-installed, and loading the Kodi framework is a breeze. You’ll also have access to full web browsing, picture viewing, social networking, online video chat, and much more without having to install any third-party plug-ins. Another undeniable perk of this device is that it’s incredibly cheap, given its power and range of functions.
The Emtec Gem Box came out a bit under the radar. It was overshadowed by similar devices that seemed to have a better marketing campaign, and therefore didn’t enjoy the same success as some of its gadget peers. Yet overlooking this compact and powerful device was a mistake, since it can do a surprising number of cool things at a super low price. With the Gem Box, you get immediate access to thousands of Android games and apps via Google Play, and you can even stream arcade-quality video games using GameFly streaming services. Four free, full-version Gameloft games come pre-loaded (Asphalt 8, GT Racing 2, Wonder Zoo and My Little Pony), and you can stream your growing collection of games from your PC to your TV. Of course this box was built with gamers in mind, but with a simple Kodi installation you can turn this box into a full-blown entertainment hub.
This Pendoo X6 PRO TV Box has more than just a funny name. It comes with a brand new Amlogic S905X chip and Android 7.1 that let you run countless games and play unlimited movies, TV shows, and music without having to worry about freezing or buffering issues. This box also boasts 4K Ultra High Definition streaming capability, which means you won’t have to sacrifice quality regardless of what you’re streaming (as long as you have a compatible 4K Ultra HD TV, of course). Installation is incredibly easy, and the box even comes pre-installed with Kodi v16.1, which is the go-to Kodi software for streaming the most content with the least headaches. The package even includes an HDMI cable, which is always a welcome addition.
If you don’t see an app that should be here, let us know what it is