The Best Android TV Boxes and Sticks: Chromecast with Google TV, Nvidia Shield TV, and more!
Although smart TVs have managed to make their way into many households, there are still a lot of consumers stuck with the non-smart or ‘dumb’ TVs. Fortunately, there is a quick and easy way to make these ‘dumb’ TVs smart. All you have to do is attach an Android TV Box or Android TV Stick and you’ll get all the features that televisions running on the Android TV platform have. Note that there is no real difference between an Android TV Box and an Android TV Stick, other than the form factor and the fact that Sticks are generally budget-oriented and lacking some premium features.
- Best Android TV Boxes in the US
- Best Android TV Boxes in Europe
- Best Android TV streaming devices in India
Best Android TV Boxes in the US
There are quite a few Android TV boxes and streaming sticks on the market. To make your task of choosing an Android TV box easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best Android TV boxes and streaming sticks available right now.
Chromecast with Google TV
Chromecast with Google TV is arguably one of the best Android TV sticks that you can buy in 2021. Unlike previous iterations of the Chromecast, it runs on the full Android TV operating system, along with the new Google TV experience on top. So until the existing Android TV models get the Google TV update, this Chromecast will actually provide you with a slightly better experience on content discovery.
It supports up to 4K HDR streaming at 60 fps as well as video formats such as HDR 10, HDR 10+, and Dolby Vision. So if you’re streaming content that supports these formats, you’ll get the best viewing experience. The device also packs a dedicated remote with voice input, so you won’t have to mess around with a phone app to control things.
The one drawback of the Chromecast with Google TV is its live TV integration. While it deeply integrates with YouTube TV, other live TV apps don’t get the same treatment (at least for the time being). On the specs front, the device is powered by the Amlogic S905X3 processor and packs 2GB of RAM as well as 8GB of storage. It also includes Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz) connectivity.
Nvidia Shield TV
If you’re looking for something a little more powerful than the Chromecast with Google TV, Nvidia Shield TV is a good option. It includes everything you’ll get with the Chromecast, barring the new Google TV experience (at least for now). Apart from that, Nvidia Shield TV supports AI-enhanced upscaling to 4K.
In terms of the specs, it’s powered by an Nvidia Tegra X1+ processor and comes with 2GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard storage, and a microSD card slot for storage expansion. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 LE, and an Ethernet port.
Other features of this Android TV box (or should I say Android TV tube) include Dolby Atmos and DTS-X surround sound support, and a robust remote with voice control. Lastly, it can run the Nvidia GeForce Now game streaming service, something that you won’t get on streaming devices from other brands.
Nvidia Shield TV Pro
The Shield TV Pro is even more powerful than the Nvidia Shield TV. It comes with all the features of the Shield TV, like 4K upscaling, Dolby Atmos and Vision, 4K streaming, GeForce Now support, and a remote with voice control. Plus, you get 3GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. There are two full-size USB 3.0 ports on the device as well that can be used to plug USB flash drives or external hard disks for storage expansion.
Among other specifications, it is powered by the Nvidia Tegra X1+ processor and includes connectivity options such as Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 LE, and an Ethernet port.
If you’re looking for a really capable Android TV box that can also help you stream video games, this is it. Moreover, Nvidia Shield TV Pro can act like a fully-featured SmartThings Hub after being connected with a SmartThings Link.
TiVo Stream 4K
If you’re looking for a budget Android TV box or streaming stick, the Tivo Stream 4K is your best bet. It’s one of the most affordable devices among our picks for the best Android TV boxes. The lower price tag doesn’t mean this TiVo streaming player is lacking in any department. It supports 4K streaming as well as video and audio standards such as Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Moreover, you get a remote with voice control.
In terms of the specs, it’s powered by an Amlogic S905Y2 processor and packs 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2.
TiVo Stream 4K also allows you to search across all your installed apps and create watch lists in one place so that you don’t have to stumble around multiple apps. Moreover, it offers recommendations for content from all your apps.
Dynalink Android TV box
Dynalink Android TV box is another affordable device that offers all the basics of a capable streaming media player. It supports 4K HDR streaming and comes with Dolby Audio support; however, it lacks Dolby Atmos and Vision support that is present in other popular streaming boxes. You do get the full Android TV experience and a remote with voice control. Like all other Android TV boxes, it also includes built-in Chromecast support.
On the specs front, it is powered by an Amlogic S905Y2 processor and packs 2GB of RAM as well as 8GB of storage. Additionally, there is Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity.
Best Android TV Boxes to buy in Europe
Xiaomi Mi Box S
Xiaomi’s Mi Box S is a decent Android TV-based streaming player despite being a few years old. It was originally launched with the Android TV 8.1 version but has since received the Android TV 9 update. It supports 4K HDR streaming and packs Dolby Audio and DTS support. Further, it comes with a full-size USB 2.0 port to connect external storage devices.
In terms of the specifications, you’ll get an Amlogic processor, 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of onboard storage. For connectivity, there is Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2. It also comes with a remote with voice control. Mi Box S is also known as Mi Box 4K in India.
Mi TV Stick
The Mi TV Stick is a budget streaming media player from Xiaomi. Unlike most other options in this list, it doesn’t support 4K streaming but if you have a full-HD or HD TV lying around, Mi TV Stick is a rather good option to make it smart. The device is powered by an unnamed Cortex-A53 quad-core processor and packs 1GB of RAM as well as 8GB of onboard storage. For connectivity, you’ll get Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz). Moreover, the Mi TV Stick comes with a remote with voice control.
Best Android TV streaming devices in India
If you’re living in India, you won’t find the Nvidia Shield devices or the new Chromecast with Google TV; but you can purchase the Mi Box 4K and the Mi TV Stick. Further, there are a couple of other good options for Android TV boxes available in the country that you can choose from.
Motorola Media Stick
Motorola Media Stick is a 4K media streamer that is offered by Walmart-owned Indian e-commerce site Flipkart. Despite the Motorola branding, it’s not made by Motorola. Instead, Flipkart licenses the brand from Motorola. It’s a quite capable device and comes with 4K HDR streaming support as well as 4K upscaling capability. You also get Dolby Audio support as well as a remote with voice control.
It’s powered by an unnamed Cortex-A53 quad-core processor and packs 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. For connectivity needs, the company has added Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz) and Bluetooth.
Nokia Media Streamer
Same as the Motorola Media Stick, the Nokia Media Streamer is also offered by Walmart-owned India e-commerce site Flipkart. It only supports up to 1080p streaming and the Dolby Audio standard. The specifications of the Nokia device are fairly standard – you get an unnamed quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/ 5GHz).
There is built-in Chromecast support as well. So if you’re short on budget, Nokia Media Streamer or the Mi TV Stick are two of the decent options out there.
These are some of the best Android TV boxes and streaming sticks that you can purchase in the US, Europe, and India. Chromecast with Google TV is clearly the best value streaming device with Android TV, whereas if you want something powerful and gaming-focused, you can go for either of the two Nvidia Shield TV devices, depending on your budget. If you don’t plan to spend too much, TiVo Stream 4K offers everything that you need in a modern streaming player.
What are you planning to buy to make your ‘dumb’ TV smart? Let us know in the comments.