Best Android TV Box 2020

Best Android TV Box 2020

There’s a good possibility that your new smart TV is running Android, WebOS, Roku or some other software that will allow you to connect to the internet and download apps. If your TV doesn’t have all the features you want, the next solution is to get an Android TV Box.  This is a device that will run Android, using your TV as a display. You will have the ability to watch movies, video, play games, download apps and do anything else you’d be able to on your phone. Most of the time these Android TV boxes will have much better hardware than a system built into smart TVs. This means you’ll end up with a significant boost in performance as well.

In 2020, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to Android TV boxes. But for the absolute best option, one company has consistently put out a great solution for Android TV. The Nvidia Shield  TV Pro is the best Android TV device in 2020.

Nvidia Shield Pro

NVIDIA is billing this as a device “built for enthusiasts.” They say it was built for the most demanding media and gaming consumers. This is the SHIELD you want if you’re interested in storing a media collection, playing demanding games, or having a smart home hub. The SHIELD TV Pro has all the features mentioned earlier, but it’s in a more traditional set-top box form factor.

On top of all that, though, the Pro model has a few upgrades. RAM is bumped up to 3GB, storage is bumped to 16GB, and there are two full-sized USB 3.0 ports. You can use these to plug in a SmartThings Link to turn the box into a smart home hub. The SHIELD TV Pro also has Plex Media Server built-in and it supports 1080p transcoding. You can easily record gameplay, broadcast gameplay to Twitch, or play a bevy of high-end titles from NVIDIA’s catalog of AAA ported games, including Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Borderlands 2, Resident Evil 5, etc., exclusively for the Pro model.

You can get the SHIELD TV Pro for $199.99 starting today both online and in retail stores in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. There’s no 512GB storage model because NVIDIA points to the ability to adopt external storage as internal storage (a native feature of Android), the added NAS support, and low demand for high local storage.

Tegra X1+ – A Minor Refresh

Both new SHIELD TV products are powered by the Tegra X1+ chip with a 256 core NVIDIA GPU. This new SoC isn’t a huge upgrade over the Tegra X1, which was found in the 2015 and 2017 SHIELD TV models, though NVIDIA promises up to a 25% bump in performance. The newer SoC is built on the same architecture as the previous generation, but thanks to a die shrink, NVIDIA managed to eke out more performance.

The Tegra X1+ (model number t210b01) is manufactured by TSMC on a 16nm process. It has an octa-core CPU consisting of 4 ARM Cortex-A57 and 4 ARM Cortex-A53 cores. The GPU features the Maxwell microarchitecture in a 16×16 core configuration. The exact CPU and GPU frequencies weren’t disclosed by NVIDIA before launch, but it’s unlikely to be underclocked like the Nintendo Switch.


New Remote, Bring Your Own Controller

If you’ve used a SHIELD TV before, you probably understand why I saved the remote for last. The old remote was arguably the worst thing about the SHIELD TV. It was flat, very small, and didn’t have many buttons. Thankfully, NVIDIA has completely redesigned the remote this time, and it comes in-the-box for both the SHIELD TV and the SHIELD TV Pro.

The new SHIELD remote looks a lot more like a traditional TV remote. It’s thicker and kind of triangular. It also has many more buttons and it takes 2 regular AAA batteries. There is a microphone for voice controls, motion-activation to activate the backlight on the buttons when you pick up the remote, an IR blaster for controlling TVs, Bluetooth, and a lost remote feature. The buttons include power, play, record, pause, forward, reverse, volume, Netflix, voice commands, a circular direction pad, and on the top right, a customizable button with up to 40+ actions.

NVIDIA confirmed to us that they considered the possibility of selling the stick model without the remote for a lower price, but they ultimately decided against it because of the strong desire for folks to have a physical remote. For those of you with an older SHIELD looking to buy this remote separately, it’ll go on sale later this year for $29.99. Again, it comes in-the-box with the SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro, so you won’t have to buy it separately if you buy either of the new devices.

Last but not least is the controller, or rather the lack thereof. There’s no included SHIELD Controller this year. You can buy the existing SHIELD Controller from NVIDIA to use as a game controller, or you can use your existing XBOX One Wireless, DualShock 4, or other Bluetooth controllers. NVIDIA says the new SHIELDs support a range of controllers, but there’s no guarantee every controller will work. There’s no built-in controller remapper, either, so it’s recommended you stick with a more popular controller for guaranteed support.

Read XDA’s full review of the Nvidia SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro