Android TV boxes are popular items these days and allow a wide range of uses, from surfing the web to streaming video straight to your HDTV.
Android boxes were Introduced a few years ago, and now there are many options available.
These small boxes can turn almost any TV into a smart TV with a wide range of features. Most people use them to stream movies or TV shows from their favorite streaming sites, such as Netflix, Disney, YouTube, or Hulu.
Videos can also be stored locally, such as an extensive video library, and played on-demand.
How Does an Android TV Box Work?
For example, a YouTube app can be installed to stream YouTube videos.
Android is an Operating System, like Windows or iOS, that was created by Google mainly for mobile phones. It runs on ARM-based processors, which makes it portable to any device that runs the same hardware.
Since the Android Operating System is open source and free, it is much cheaper to manufacture hardware based on it and sold.
The Android Operating System keeps the cost down, making Android TV boxes good low-cost media centers.
While Android is mainly used on smartphones, it can also be installed on small boxes that run the same hardware but give better input and output options.
For example, Android TV boxes can output HDMI to a TV giving it HD viewing ability. They also can use a remote control, keyboard, or mouse for input.
Initial Setup for an Android TV box
An Android TV box is quick to set up by connecting it to a TV, WiFi, and downloading apps.
Alternatively, an Ethernet cable can be plugged into the unit.
Once the box is powered on and connected to the WiFi, it is ready to be used.
How To Install Apps to an Android TV Box
The primary way to install Apps on an Android TV box is to use the Google Play Store.
A Google Gmail email address will be needed to sign in and download Apps.
Alternatively, Apps can be installed from other locations such as websites.
Android uses files called APK, which like an EXE file for Windows, can be installed from anywhere.
For example, Kodi is a popular Android App that can be downloaded and installed from the Google Play Store or straight from the Kodi site.
What Can an Android TV Box Do?
An Android TV box can be used to play music, stream videos, play games, or even check the weather.
While that is their main use, they can also do almost anything a standard computer can do. As with Android-based smartphones, apps can be installed from the Google Play Store that can do almost anything that can be thought of.
A very large variety of apps can be installed that can do everything from creating a document to checking the weather.
What Movies and TV Shows Can You Watch on an Android TV Box?
Android TV boxes are great at playing videos that are locally stored and from online sources.
This means that unless the videos are stored at your home, a provider for the videos is needed, usually with a service such as Netflix, Hulu, or Disney Plus.
Each provider is competing with the other and will have different movies and TV shows to watch.
They also have different pricing, with a monthly fee ranging roughly from $20-$70 a month.
There are also free streaming options that will not have the latest movies and TV shows but do have a lot of content.
Videos that you own can also be played from internal storage.
This means a large video library can be stored on the unit and watched at any time.
Each unit will have different hardware but usually limited internal storage.
Large video libraries are usually stored on an external hard drive or flash drive which are plugged into a USB port on the box.
Can You Watch Normal TV on Android Box?
Yes, depending on the service subscribed to, any TV shows or movies can be watched.
Every service will have different movies and TV shows or other on-demand services such as sports.
For example, if you want live sports, FuboTV currently has many options for sports packages.
Netflix is another service widely known for having many movies and TV shows.
Researching each service is best to see which one will match your viewing habits.
How Do You Watch Movies and TV Shows on an Android TV Box?
Find the best service for the types of movies and TV shows you want to watch.
Download the app for the service from the Google Play Store or the provider website.
Sign in to the app and start streaming.
A good place to start since they are free and have many movies and TV shows is Tubi TV.
Go to the Google Play Store and download the app or open a browser such as Chrome and go straight to the Tubi TV website.
Tubi TV can be watched from the app or a web browser such as Chrome.
Do You Need the Internet to Use an Android TV Box?
If you plan to stream videos from online sources, yes, an internet connection will be needed.
If you plan to store videos locally and stream from a home video library, no internet connection will not be needed.
Since an Android TV box is just a small computer like any computer, it does not need the internet to operate.
The internet can greatly enhance a TV box’s capabilities, and most will need an internet connection.
If you have a large video library stored on an external hard drive or flash drive, the internet is not needed to play local files.
What Type Of Video Streaming Services are Available for an Android TV Box?
There are many paid streaming services available with top ones, including Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus, and more.
There are also free streaming services also which often play commercials but are free such as Tubi TV, Roku Channel, Pluto TV, and more.
All the streaming services will have an app or can be watched with a web browser such as Chrome.
With any paid provider, researching the service to see which TV shows and movies they have is always best.
Free providers can be used any time and are a good place to start.
What Type Of Boxes are Available?
Units come in all shapes, sizes, and pricing formats.
Like all things, computer-related better hardware is introduced constantly by many manufacturers.
Low-cost budget boxes are available, along with high-end units packed with the latest fastest hardware.
Each box will come with its own setup as manufacturers modify the Android code to fit their machines.
Which box is right for your setup very much depends on what fits your need and price range.
The best way to see what is best for your setup is to read reviews on units within your budget.
Android TV boxes are here to stay and are a nice fit into any home entertainment center.
Android smartphone users will have no problem quickly moving about the interface and finding what they want. As with any computer, those that are new may have a slight learning curve as to how things work.
Most units are different and will have different features and hardware. Most do not come with much internal hard drive space and use micro-SD cards or flash drives to give more storage space.
Some high-end units give large internal hard drives, which of course, will cost more.
Low-end units are popular since they are cheap and a nice place for many to feel comfortable starting with. While many cheap units work well, keep in mind, they often require some skill to set up and operate.
If you have some knowledge of Android-based systems, using a low-end box will likely be fine. If you have never used one before, having a unit with technical support may be best, which low-end boxes do not usually offer.
Reading reviews and watching YouTube videos on the different units available is best to see which one would fit your skill and home setup.
Also, keep in mind how good the WiFi the box has. Streaming video over WiFi can be challenging at times, even with good equipment. Running a wired Ethernet cable is always best but sometimes not feasible.
If you do need to use WiFi, be sure to read how well it streams video content over a wireless setup.