Literally, Android TV Box or Smart TV Box are devices with Android TV in a box/box so you can connect it to any screen with HDMI and "use" its functions, while if it's only Android TV, the system will be installed on the TV and will be the one who will directly manage the entire entertainment platform without having to connect any additional devices.

Now we'll tell you what Android TV is, what it is for and how to get this operating system installed on your television and why Android TV Box is a revolution, above all, if you like to consume content like YouTube on your TV.

What is Android TV?

Before starting to explain the virtues and flaws of Android TV, we'll find out what Android TV is. As the name suggests, this is a television service based on the same Android installed on smartphones, but with some adaptations to make it more convenient to use on certain devices where there is no touch screen, such as a monitor or a television.

When an Android TV Box is connected to a monitor or TV that does not have Smart TV, Android TV Box or Smart TV box acts as a bridge to access these connected functions, allowing you to install apps from the Google app store to watch the Netflix or YouTube series when connecting the TV to the Internet. However, Android TV is much more than a couple of applications for streaming video consumption. It is a complete operating system optimized for televisions that allows us to install applications on the device as if it were a mobile phone.

Usually, Android TV is based on the latest Android version available at that time (Nougat, Oreo, Pie, etc.). It has a specific interface to use from a remote control or keyboard and mouse. Furthermore, all data is processed directly in the SoC (system on chip) included in the motherboard of the TV or in the Android TV Box. In short, it is as if the motherboard of a mobile phone were connected to a television set, to be understood in a few words.

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Before seeing what the advantages of Android TV are and why TVs are smarter thanks to Android TV, we need to see what options we have and what we need to make a good experience with this system.

What do I need to have Android TV?

Once you see what Android TV is, it's time to see how you can have Android TV on your TV. The short answer would be no, there is no way to have Android TV without buying a box. What you don't know is that there are several options if you want to have Android TV on your TV. The simplest and most basic is to connect a Chromecast to your TV.

Chromecast is an economical solution for having Android TV on a TV that does not have a smart TV platform, since all the connectivity work falls on the mobile hardware or tablet that sends the information to Chromecast and, via HDMI, the content arrives On TV. Simply connect the Chromecast to the same Wi-Fi network as your phone... and enjoy your favorite series.

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However, even if Chromecast is the easiest way to convert a conventional TV into a smart TV, it's not the best Android TV experience you can do, since you won't be able to use all the features offered by Google's operating system. Therefore, you need to choose one of these three options:

  • Android TV Player: The Nexus Player was a Google attempt to compete against Apple and its Apple TV device, and it was the first Android TV Box capable of bringing Android TV to TVs other than the smart TV. With a device of this type, like the one proposed by Xiaomi with its Mi Box, for example, you can convert any TV into a smart TV with Android TV.
  • TV Nvidia Shield: Another option to have Android TV on your old TV, allows us to play with some streaming games (provided you pay the subscription of course).
  • TV with Android TV: there are several producers who have opted for Android TV to manage their smart TV platform like Sharp, Philips or Sony, who bet on TVs with Android TV operating system. It is the most convenient way to enjoy Android TV, since it is implemented directly on the TV and it is not necessary to buy a separate device or occupy another HDMI port.

In addition to this, it is necessary to have an Ethernet cable connected to the TV, although it is also possible to connect via Wi-Fi. Therefore, it is more than advisable to have a broadband connection and a good position for the television, making sure that the signal arrives correctly so that the streaming video content does not suffer lag or decreases in resolution, very annoying when consuming content on screens Full HD and 4K in size.

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As we have seen, with Chromecast we can achieve an experience close to that with an Android TV, but it is not the same thing, not even remotely. The main difference is that the phone has information and applications, and the Chromecast device transmits information to the TV, instead Android TV takes care of everything.

In fact, it is not necessary to have an Android phone to enjoy Android TV, a TV with Android TV and a Google account is sufficient. Once you start the TV and connect it to the Internet, as happens in the first configuration of a mobile phone, you will be asked to enter your Google username and password. Once this is done, you will have a range of pre-installed applications that you can use and others that you can download, to start enjoying a real smart TV with Android TV.

Kodi a great ally

The history of Kodi is curious as it was born as an operating system to manage the multimedia contents of Microsoft's XBox consoles. In fact, his name was XBMC (Xbox Media Center) and was adapted to use it as a multimedia center for home computers (Home Theater Personal Computer). He later changed his name to Kodi, a free software project that any user can use.

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Currently, Kodi is one of the best media center applications. It reads all types of formats, creates a private network and, in addition, we can expand it practically as we want thanks to additional components. Android TV is already, in itself, a great multimedia center, but the big advantage is that we can install complementary applications, and Kodi is, without a doubt, mandatory in this sense.

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Integrated Chromecast

At the beginning of this article we told you that Chromecast is a simple option to have Android TV on a TV without a smart TV platform. However, the Android TV system built into the TV already works like Chromecast. It may seem strange and even redundant, but having Chromecast on an Android TV is something that can greatly facilitate the consumption of content and allows you to use it quickly and easily.

With this feature, instead of having to watch videos saved on the phone on a 5 or 6 inch screen, you can send them to the living room TV and conveniently watch the same video on a 50-inch screen.

To use Chromecast integrated on Android TV, all you need to do is download the Google Home app. If we have an Android device, we can do the mirroring, which consists of sending the contents of the mobile screen to the TV. If we don't have an Android device, the options are limited and we can only watch TV content broadcast by YouTube, Netflix or photo applications.