An Android TV box is simply a TV box running the Android operating system. This is the same operating system as the one running on your smartphone, tablet and millions of other devices throughout the world. Usually it’s a slightly older version like Lollipop (Android 5) or Marshmallow (Android 6). But, if you know how to use your tablet or smartphone, you can usually run most (if not all) of those apps on an Android TV box.
You’ve probably heard a lot of different terminology being thrown around different sites, forums and Facebook groups: Streaming media device, TV box, IPTV box, set top boxes, media streamer, HTPC, Kodi box, and my personal favorite the Android TV box. They’re all basically the same type of device - something that gets content from your home network or the Internet to your television.
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TV boxes can certainly be considered a mini-PC, but I think that lumps them into a category that they don’t quite belong in. A mini-PC can also include any small-format computer like an Intel NUC. They can usually do everything that your desktop PC or laptop can do. Some TV boxes can replace your desktop, but they’re the exception, rather than the rule.
Android TV is Google’s attempt to run your media hub. We’ve seen similar efforts over the years from Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (Playstation and connected Blu-ray players), Roku, Amazon, Apple, and the list goes on and on. The difference between Android TV and an Android TV box, lies in the operating system itself. Android TV is a special version of the core Android OS. Android TV can’t run every app, at least not without rooting your device. But, the apps that it can run are specifically designed to be run on your television rather than a touchscreen.
In order to have smooth standard definition video, it's usually recommended to have a connection that is more than 2 Mb/s. For HD, 3D, or 4K, that speed is much higher.
Great resource for folks just learning about TV boxes. I’ve been reading, and learning, for the past hour or so. I sincerely say thank you so much for the time and effort you put into educating those, like myself, that could use the help.
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