There are a LOT of choices when it comes to Android Media Devices. Whether it be a cheap no-name Chinese box that you can buy on Ebay, or a high end box like the SkyStream TWO Streaming Media Player. If you are just starting out with streaming media devices, it can be confusing.
In this article we are going to go over some of the choices available, and offer up our suggestions.
An Android Streaming Media Device, or Android Box, is a device that connects to your TV using an HDMI cable. It runs Android as an operating system and comes with a remote control. Some of the devices come with a wireless keyboard, or a remote with a voice search feature such as the Fire Stick or Fire TV. Some of these devices offer 4K UHD video streaming, but all at least support HD.
One of the best reasons to use an Android Box, is that you have access to the Google Play Store in most cases. You can install most any application that you have on your phone, as well as some that were designed specifically for your TV. The selection of games is much better on the Google Play Store than the Amazon App Store. While the Amazon Fire Stick is one of the most popular devices on the market for streaming movies and TV with Kodi, the Amazon App Store is limited. Not to mention that you cannot install Kodi as a native application on the Amazon Fire Stick. Any device that has access to the full Google Play Store can install Kodi as an officially supported app.
When it comes to Android Boxes, the technical specs are the most important. They come in all shapes and sizes, and some people have favorites. But the better the processor, the better and smoother your video streaming experience will be. And, if the device has a GPU, then that will ensure that the video is rendered in high quality. Here are some of our favorite Android Streaming Devices, and why we think they are the best.
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Our Pick for Number One Streaming Media Player
All-new Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD
The Amazon Fire TV is an Android device that runs a modified version of Android with the Amazon Fire TV interface over the top. It offers true 4K UHD streaming. It supports Amazon Video, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and more.
The all new Amazon Fire TV supports Dolby Atmos audio for breathtaking 3D sound. Your movies will come to life.
The voice remote uses Alexa. You can use Alexa to search for your favorite movies or TV shows, as well as command other smart home devices. You can play music, check the weather and more. Visit Amazon.com to learn about all of the Smart Home.
The Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Player is powered by an Amlogic Quad-core 1.5 GHz | ARM 4xCA53 CPU and renders high quality 4K UHD graphics using a dedicated Mali450 MP3 GPU. That combination delivers more than enough power to stream even the highest resolution media. In addition, it comes equipped with 2GB of RAM that is plenty to run Kodi smoothly. And, with the addition of the optional Amazon Ethernet Adapter for Amazon Fire TV Devices you can attach up to 200 GB of extended memory and connect an Ethernet cable
If you have an Amazon Prime account, you will have access to over 300,000 movies and tv show episodes. The downside is that if you travel out of the country, you may find that much of the content is geo-restricted, so you can’t watch much of the Amazon Prime Video content outside the US. That explains why the Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick are only available for purchase in select countries. While this is inconvenient, it can be overcome by using a VPN. We recommend using IPVanish VPN to get around the geo-location issue. We have negotiated an insane 57% discount on IPVanish VPN service for our readers. This is a limited time offer, so act soon. IPVanish VPN is a top rated VPN with tons of other benefits. Read our article What is a VPN? Why do I need it? to learn more about the benefits of using a VPN.
The interface on the Amazon Fire TV device is simple to use and very intuitive. Even the most inexperienced users will have no problem setting up this device and getting started right away.
- Stunning 4K UHD image quality
- Integrated with Amazon Prime
- Use Alexa Voice Remote to control the device with your voice
- Alexa Voice Remote can also be used to control other smart home components
- Extremely powerful processor ensures great performance
- 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage
Top Performing Android Streaming Box
NVIDIA SHIELD TV Streaming Media Player
Nvidia is well known in the graphics world for designing and manufacturing high-end video adapters. You can be sure that this unit delivers a great streaming experience. It supports 4K HDR video. The Nvidia Shield is capable of supporting many of the most common video streaming services including Amazon Video, Showtime, HBO, Netflix, etc. It also supports streaming music from popular services such as Spotify and Pandora. Not to mention it’s an awesome choice for installing Kodi. Don’t forget to check out our tutorial How to Install Kodi on Android While we list this device as a video streaming media player, it also does a great job with games. Nvidia has always been at the forefront of gaming with their powerful graphics cards. They don’t disappoint with the graphics capabilities of the Nvidia Shield. The remote control/game controller included with the Nvidia Shield is impressive. This is certainly a gaming rig. And you can play games that are exclusive for the Nvidia Shield, of course. The Nvidia Shield also allows you to issue voice commands. The results are very good due to the fact that it uses Google’s Voice Search which is fast and accurate. So, when you want to watch a movie, just ask the Nvidia Shield to play it for you. This device also has full access to the Google Play Store. So, not only can you enjoy the many pre-installed applications, but you can choose from Google’s entire library of apps. That is a very strong feature for the Nvidia Shield The Nvidia Shield comes complete with a remote control as well as a Shield Controller, which has been all redesigned. The Shield Controller is Voice Enabled. Features
- Stream HDTV shows and movies from the internet directly to your TV
- Supports all the various streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.
- Uses Google Voice Search to allow you control your TV with your voice
- Plays exclusive Nvidia Shield games
- Works with Amazon Prime for 4K HDR videos
- Comes complete with a remote control and a Voice Enabled Shield Controller
Best Value TV Streaming Device
Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is actually a powerful Android device in its own right. With a value price and great features, this device certainly make it our top pick for best budget Android TV Device. While the version of Android running on the Fire TV Stick is heavily modified and skinned out to push Amazon services, it still has the capability of running lots of different Android Apps, albeit from the Amazon Appstore ONLY. This is not a problem if you just want to Install Kodi on Android or if you don’t mind side-loading apps onto the stick. The Amazon Fire TV Stick is one of the best streaming devices on the market with full HD streaming. It’s small form-factor and easy to use remote control with Alexa are a powerful combination. It comes with pre-installed apps like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and other programs. And don’t forget that you can install Kodi. Check out our guide to Install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick The Amazon Fire TV Stick is running a modified Android version and is one of the best Android TV Boxes with HD support. The picture quality is true-to-life as you can watch 1080p HD videos using this device. It supports Amazon Video, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and other popular streaming services. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you will have access to over 300,000 movies and tv show episodes. The downside is that if you travel out of the country, you may find that much of the content is geo-restricted, so you can’t watch much of the Amazon Prime Video content outside the US. That explains why the Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick are only available for purchase in select countries. While this is inconvenient, it can be overcome by using a VPN. We recommend using IPVanish VPN to get around the geo-location issue. We have negotiated an insane 57% discount on IPVanish VPN service for our readers. This is a limited time offer, so act soon. IPVanish VPN is a top rated VPN with tons of other benefits. Read our article What is a VPN? Why do I need it? to learn more about the benefits of using a VPN. Both the Amazon Fire TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick come with a simple to use remote control. Not only is it simple to use, but you can actually talk to it. Search movies, TV shows, games and more, just by talking to your remote control! It uses the Amazon Alexis service, which, if you are not familiar with it, opens up a whole world of possibilities for your home. Hear the weather or your schedule, you name is, Alexis is there for the asking. With apps available from the Amazon Appstore, you can watch all of your favorite live channels. You can also subscribe to some of the pay services right from the app, so you can get DirectTV, HBO and many others without a cable subscription. The interface is fast and easy to use. It is intuitive and you will get the hang of it quickly. And under the hood there is a fairly beefy processor. The Amazon Fire Stick is running the MediaTek Quad-core ARM CPU at 1.3 GHz with a dedicated Mali450 MP4 GPU for a smooth streaming experience. The Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with 8GB of storage and 2GB of memory. It is not directly expandable, in that it doesn’t have additional USB ports or means of connecting external devices such as keyboards or mice. But you can access network storage devices or other network shares on your network to add virtual storage. Here is a short list of some of the features we liked about the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Features
- 8GB of Storage and 2GB of RAM
- Up to 1080p HD image quality
- Works with Amazon Prime
- Supports streaming services such as YouTube
- Download apps and games
- Use Alexa Voice Remote to control your device with your voice
- Powerful processor ensures great performance
- Dedicated GPU for smooth video playback
Best High End Android TV Box
EVANPO T95Z PLUS Smart TV Box
The EVANPO Smart TV Box makes our list because of it’s high end features, notwithstanding its powerful Amlogic S912 Octa-Core processor. And it runs the latest version of Android 8.0 Oreo. With a processor like this, you will never have problems watching ANY video at any resolution. As a matter of fact, the EVANPO Smart TV Box streams 4K video at 60 frames per second! It takes some horsepower to pull that off. The EVANPO Smart TV Box offers a wide range of connectivity options. Connect a USB keyboard and mouse for a near desktop experience. This device offers Bluetooth and both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz WiFi. There are so many ways to connect to this device, here is a list:
- 1 X HDMI Port
- 1 X RJ-45 LAN Port
- 1 X Optical Port
- 1 X AV Out
- 1 X DC Input
- 2 X High speed USB 2.0 ports with support for USB Hard Disks
- 1 X TF card slot
Obviously this means that you can add more memory via the TF card slot, or connect an entire Network Attached Storage device to the EVANPO Smart TV Box for a complete home theater solution. The device comes with built-in decoders for all the latest audio and video files. As a result, you can play just about any format using it. Features
- Super High-quality video and ultra rich sound
- View 4K videos at 60fps
- Utilizes an H.265 decoder for outstanding video quality
- Powerful GPU renders excellent results
- Powered by Amogloc S912 Octa Core processor
- Comes with Dual WIFI 2.4G and 5G
- Includes bluetooth for easy connectivity with any device
- 2GB RAM and 16GB Storage
- Comes with a wireless keyboard
Best Mid-Range Android TV Box
2018 Model Android 6.0 T95X Android TV Box
The T95X is one of the best Android TV boxes in the market. With a mid-range processor that delivers impressive performance at a great price point, the T95X makes our list. Solid 4K UHD streaming and a wide range of pre-installed software, makes this Android Box easy to set up and get going quickly. This Android TV box is not just for playing movies and TV shows. You can also use it to play games. Android games are very nice and with a powerful Android TV Box like the T95X, you will have no trouble playing even the most graphically intensive games. And, with full support for the Google Play Store, you can pick and choose any game or app, and install it with a couple clicks. The T95X Android Box uses the Amlogic S905 processor that streams like a champ. It offers HLG and HDR processing for Wide Dynamic Range. The T95X also uses EMMC memory just like a PC that can communicate very rapidly with all the other components for additional speed. This speed allows you to watch beautiful 4K Video Streams. Features
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Turns your TV into a smart streaming device instantly
- Powerful Amlogic CPU with blazing performance
- Play games, run apps or stream video content from your favorite apps and TV channels
Best Kodi Android TV Box
KUKELE Android TV Box with Android 6.0 Marshmallow
The KUKELE Android TV Box is a top performer that deserves a mention. With its Octa-Core processor and 3GB of RAM, this Android TV box outperforms many other streaming boxes in its price range. The KUKELE Android TV Box streams 4K UHD video with ease. You can also watch 3D HD Video with this powerful box. This is our pick for the best box to run Kodi, due to the huge 3GB of RAM available on this system. So many other boxes with less memory have to buffer video. But not this box! The KUKELE Android TV Box includes an instruction manual and an easy-to-use wireless keyboard/remote which makes this device very easy to control. It is powered by Android Marshmallow 6.0. This isn’t the latest version, but it is still a solid version to use for a streaming media device. With full access to the Google Play Store, you can install any of the apps or games you want. And with 3GB of RAM, those games and apps will run very smoothly. The KUKELE Android TV Box connects to your TV using an HDMI cable. It is practically plug-and-play. With the addition of other Android Apps, you can watch premium HD channels such as HBO and Showtime, as well as access Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and more! The KUKELE Android TV Box uses Android’s automatic upgrade feature. This allows all the apps to automatically upgrade themselves so you will always have the latest versions. This includes Kodi, since Kodi is a fully supported native app on Android, and is available in the Google Play Store. Another strong point of the KUKELE Android TV Box is that it has a physical Ethernet port. If you are able to connect this unit directly to the Ethernet port on your router, it will give you a much more solid connection that is free from the potential interference that can occur with WiFi. But, with 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi, you shouldn’t have any trouble going wireless, either. This device is accompanied by a comprehensive warranty, and really solid tech support. So, even the most novice users will be able to set this up and start streaming movies and TV. Features
- Modern design
- 1080p HD, 3D, and 4K UHD video support
- Octa-Core processor
- Easy to setup
- Excellent customer support
- Automatic software updates
This is just a sampling of our favorite Android TV Streaming Devices. There are so many to choose from, and there are a lot of great products out there. We hope we were able to give you some insight into the various specs that are important when choosing an Android Box.
Now that you know about the Best Android Streaming Media Devices of 2018, be sure to secure your connection with a VPN to keep your ISP from slowing you down, spying on you or blocking you. For more information, be sure to check out our article What is a VPN? Why do I need it?