Not too long ago, buying a Smart TV would have been a very expensive purchase. Now, due to the speed with which technology is advancing, Smart TVs do not cost much more than a regular TV and have become a standard on the market. Thanks to this, customers have easy access to televisions that support internet connectivity, allowing for the use of many content-related applications, such as Netflix or HBO GO.
But what if we are the owners of an older television without this technology? While Smart TVs are not as costly as they once were, buying a brand new TV when yours still has many years left in it may seem like an extravagant expense. Is buying a new television really the only option? Thankfully, the answer to that question is no, as there are many ways that our old TVs can gain access to Smart TV functions.
One such option is the purchase of an Android box. An Android box is a small media centre running the Android operating system that connects to a TV and has a wide range of uses, from surfing the web to streaming video straight to your television set. It connects to the internet via WiFi or Ethernet cable and is equipped with its own memory, which allows you to install applications and games. With the use of these small boxes, almost any TV can become a Smart TV.
What, exactly, can an Android box do? Once it has been connected to the internet you are able to download and install Apps from the Google Play Store. The available library is extensive, running the gamut from video streaming to weather information to games. It has the ability to play high-quality material such as music, photos and 4k movies. There are many free IPTV apps that will allow you to stop the currently watched program, as well as to record it. Models with a Bluetooth module can connect with smart phones or tables and exchange content and files. Many will support external drives which allow you to install more applications and record longer programs. It is worth noting that there are also models primarily focused on game support which are often sold with a game pad instead of the usual remote control.
Before delving into the world of Android box apps, you need to have two basic points clear: the first is that, despite all the different Android boxes, there are few that have obtained the official Google certification. This is important for the operation of some particularly widespread and famous apps. For example, even if your subscription to Netflix includes streaming HD, Full HD, or 4K content, the Netflix app does not go beyond the SD resolution on non-Google certified Android TV boxes. Furthermore, NowTV and Infinity work exclusively on Google certified devices.
The second is that while rooting your box may be good for personalizing your android experience, numerous “official” streaming apps do not work on rooted Android TV boxes as to avoid unauthorized reproduction/recording of the contents. Rooting your Android TV box gives you full access to the system files, allowing you to change anything you want. It is like jailbreaking an iPhone, you can customize your device to do more advanced things and install apps that wouldn't normally be compatible with you TV box. It can also leave your TV box more vulnerable to viruses and may void any warranty that came with it.
Having said all of that, the choices are nothing short of endless for apps available in the Google Play Store. Almost all Android boxes come with the Store already installed so you can download Android apps (yes, the same ones that can be used on smart phones and tablets) simply by signing in to a Google account. A popular app for customizing content is the Kodi player. Using APK files sourced from creators on the internet you can “jailbreak” Kodi to be as customizable as you want. There are plenty of good tutorials on places like YouTube that can help with setting up your device and getting the most out of any apps you choose.
Now that we know what the Android box is capable of, how do we choose which one to buy? With such a wide variety of boxes out there, all with different specs and features, it is best to figure out what is most important for you and then go from there.
How do you want to connect your box to the internet? Do you need it to be able to connect to other devices? You will be looking for WiFi or Bluetooth enabled devices, depending on your preference.
Will you be downloading a lot of apps, games, or other content? You will want to find a unit with enough storage for your needs. Fortunately, many Android boxes have slots for additional memory cards or support external hard drives. You will also want to make sure your Android operating system is up to date so that you wont have any issues downloading or updating newer apps.
Are you going to be streaming in HD or 4K? You want to make sure your device supports the resolution you need. RAM is responsible for the speed of your hardware operation, so the more there is the faster your box will run. This is especially important if you're streaming higher quality programming.
Lastly, how much are you willing to spend on your Android box? There are budget boxes, higher-end expensive boxes and everything in between. Most new models start at around $100 and can run up to two or three times as much. After deciding which features are most important to you, finding something in your price range should be relatively easy.
Purchasing an Android box is an inexpensive and relatively easy way to enjoy Smart TV capabilities on any regular old television set.Read More