Although smart TVs have managed to get into many households, there are still many consumers who are stuck with the non-smart or ‘stupid’ TVs. Fortunately, there is a quick and easy way to make these ‘stupid’ TVs smart. All you have to do is attach an Android TV Box or Android TV Stick, and you get all the features like TVs running on the Android TV platform. Note that there is no real difference between an Android TV Box and an Android TV Stick, apart from the form factor and the fact that the Sticks are generally budget-oriented and lack some premium features.
Best Android TV Boxes in the United States
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 have compiled a list of the best Android TV boxes and streaming sticks available right now.
Chromecast with Google TV
Chromecast with Google TV is without a doubt one of the best Android TV sticks you can buy in 2021. Unlike previous iterations of Chromecast, it runs on the entire 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 give you a slightly better experience of 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 stream content that supports these formats, you get the best viewing experience. The device also has a dedicated remote control with voice input, so you do not have to mess with a phone app to control things.
The one downside of Chromecast with Google TV is its live TV integration. While deeply integrated with YouTube TV, other live TV apps are not getting the same treatment (at least for now). On the front of the specification, the device is powered by the Amlogic S905X3 processor and packs 2 GB of RAM as well as 8 GB of storage. It also includes Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz) connection.
- Chromecast with Google TV is a media streaming device provided by Google.
Nvidia Shield TV
If you’re looking for something a little more powerful than Chromecast with Google TV, Nvidia Shield TV is a great option. It includes everything you get with Chromecast, and excludes the new Google TV experience (at least for now). Apart from that, Nvidia Shield TV supports AI-enhanced upscaling to 4K.
As for the specs, it is powered by an Nvidia Tegra X1 + processor and comes with 2GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot for expanding storage. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz), 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 control with voice control. Finally, it can run the Nvidia GeForce Now game streaming service, which you do not get on streaming devices from other brands.
- Nvidia Shield TV runs on Android TV 9 and comes with built-in Chromecast support.
Nvidia Shield TV Pro
Shield TV Pro is even more powerful than Nvidia Shield TV. It comes with all the features of Shield TV, such as 4K upscaling, Dolby Atmos and Vision, 4K streaming, GeForce Now support and a remote control with voice control. In addition, you get 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage on board. There are two full-size USB 3.0 ports on the device, which can also be used to connect USB flash drives or external hard drives 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 (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 LE and an Ethernet port.
If you’re looking for a really good Android TV box that can also help you stream video games, this is it. Furthermore, Nvidia Shield TV Pro can function as a full-fledged SmartThings Hub after being connected to a SmartThings Link.
- Nvidia Shield TV Pro runs on Android TV 9 and was launched in 2019.
TiVo Stream 4K
If you are looking for a budget Android TV box or streaming stick, Tivo Stream 4K is the best option. It is one of the most affordable devices among our choices for the best Android TV boxes. The lower price tag does not mean that this TiVo streaming player is missing in any department. It supports 4K streaming as well as video and audio standards such as Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Furthermore, you get a remote control with voice control.
In terms of specifications, it is powered by an Amlogic S905Y2 processor and packs 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2.
TiVo Stream 4K also lets you search all of your installed apps and create watch lists in one place so you do not have to stumble across multiple apps. Furthermore, it offers recommendations for content from all your apps.
- TiVo Stream 4K is an Android TV-based media streaming device that was launched in 2020.
Dynalink Android TV box
The Dynalink Android TV Box is another affordable device that offers all the basics of a skilled media player. It supports 4K HDR streaming and comes with Dolby Audio support; however, it lacks the support of Dolby Atmos and Vision found in other popular streaming boxes. You get the full Android TV experience and a remote control with voice control. Like all other Android TV boxes, it also includes built-in Chromecast support.
On the front of the specification, it is powered by an Amlogic S905Y2 processor and packs 2 GB of RAM as well as 8 GB of storage. In addition, there is Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity.
- Dynalink TV Box is a media streaming device launched in 2020.
Best Android TV boxes to buy in Europe
If you live in Europe, you can go to Chromecast with Google TV, Nvidia Shield TV or Nvidia Shield TV Pro. Or you can choose one of the following two good options.
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. It also comes with a full-size USB 2.0 port for connecting external storage devices.
As for the specs, you get an Amlogic processor, 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of built-in storage. For connectivity, there is Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2. It also comes with a remote control with voice control. Mi Box S is also known as Mi Box 4K in India.
- Xiaomi Mi Box S runs on Android TV 9 and was launched in 2018.
My TV pin
Mi TV Stick is a budget streaming media player from Xiaomi. Unlike most other options in this list, it does not support 4K streaming, but if you have a full HD or HD TV lying around, the Mi TV Stick is a pretty good option to make it smart. The device is powered by a named Cortex-A53 quad-core processor and packs 1 GB of RAM as well as 8 GB of built-in storage. For connectivity, you get Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz). Furthermore, the Mi TV Stick comes with a remote control with voice control.
- Xiaomi Mi TV Stick is an Android TV-based streaming device that was launched in 2020.
Best Android TV Streaming Devices in India
If you live in India, you will not find the Nvidia Shield devices or the new Chromecast with Google TV; but you can buy Mi Box 4K and Mi TV Stick. Furthermore, there are a couple of other good options for Android TV boxes available in the country for you to choose from.
Motorola Media Stick
Motorola Media Stick is a 4K media streamer offered by the Walmart-owned Indian e-commerce website Flipkart. Despite the Motorola brand, it is not made by Motorola. Instead, Flipkart licenses the brand from Motorola. It is a fairly capable device and comes with 4K HDR streaming support as well as 4K upscaling feature. You also get Dolby Audio support as well as a remote control with voice control.
It is powered by a named Cortex-A53 quad-core processor and packs 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. For connectivity needs, the company has added Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz) and Bluetooth.
- Motorola Media Stick is an Android TV streaming device launched in 2021 by Flipkart.
Nokia Media Streamer
Like Motorola Media Stick, 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 pretty standard – you get a named quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage and Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz).
Chromecast support is also built-in. So if you have a small budget, Nokia Media Streamer or Mi TV Stick are two of the decent options out there.
- Nokia Media Streamer was launched in 2020 by Flipkart.
These are some of the best Android TV boxes and streaming sticks you can buy in the US, Europe and India. Chromecast with Google TV is the best streaming device with Android TV, while if you want something powerful and game-focused, you can choose one of the two Nvidia Shield TVs, depending on your budget. If you do not plan to spend too much, TiVo Stream 4K offers everything you need in a modern streaming player.
What are you planning to buy to make your ‘stupid’ TV smart? Let us know in the comments.