What Is An Android TV Box [TV Box 101]

What Is An Android TV Box?
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, Android TV Box Price In BD and millions of other devices throughout the world.

Usually, the operating system is slightly older than the OS running on your phone; it might be Oreo (Android 8) or Pie (Android 9). But pretty much all of the apps you can run on your Android smartphone, you can run on your Android TV box.

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OK, But What Is A TV Box?
You’ve probably heard a lot of different terminology being thrown around sites, forums, and social media groups. These may include:

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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If You’re New To Streaming Devices And TV Boxes, Then This Is The Place To Start.
OK, But What Is A TV Box?The terminology may seem confusing, but don’t worry: I’m here to guide you through some of the basics. My goal is to make this a good starting point for anyone who wants to learn more.

Think about the differences between these devices as the differences between MP3 players.
Remember MP3 players?

A long time ago, it seems, I worked in a “big-box” electronics store. No, not the blue one. I worked at the red one that closed its doors back in 2009. Back then, we had thousands of people coming in the store looking for iPods.

But, like Apple, they didn’t make enough to go around, so we had to sell what we had. And what we had was a lot of generic MP3 players.

People would come in asking for an iPod and the first question we would ask was, “Do you want an Apple iPod, or are you looking for an MP3 player?”

That usually resulted in a confused look. Most people thought they were the same thing.

We had to take the time to educate people on all the other options they had. A lot of times, an iPod really was what they wanted, and that was cool. But, a lot of other people just wanted the best device and, in their case, the best device didn’t come with an Apple sticker in the box.

All these boxes and streaming devices are pretty much the same thing. A TV Box, a media streamer, and a set-top box are all pretty much the same thing, just with different names.
Why So Many Different Names?
When you look at this picture, what do you call it? Hint…it probably depends on where you’re from.

Where I am in North America, these devices are normally called streaming devices or streaming media players. Sometimes, they’re mistakenly called Roku boxes, even though they may be made by Amazon, Apple, or one of the many other manufacturers I cover on this site. Let me give you an example of something similar.

Depending on what part of the country you’re in, you call that sugary, carbonated beverage Pop, Soda, or even Coke (even when it’s not Coke). So, unless it’s actually a Roku you’re talking about, please don’t call it a Roku box. It can create confusion for you and the person whom you’re talking to.

In Europe, they’re generally called Kodi boxes due to the popularity of installing Kodi and some of the streaming add-ons that are available. They can also be called IPTV boxes because it’s much easier to find an Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) service on that side of the Atlantic than here in the U.S. To put it simply, IPTV is a way to get live TV over the Internet.

If you’re in Asia, then chances are you’ve heard them called TV boxes. Personally, I prefer calling them TV boxes. It is a more generic term, sure, but the device can do so many things that it just makes more sense.
One last thing. You can also see the term mini-PC. TV boxes can certainly be considered a mini-PC, but I think that lumps them into a category they don’t quite belong in. A mini-PC can also include any small-format computer like an Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing). They can usually do everything your desktop PC or laptop can do. Some TV boxes can replace your desktop, but they’re the exception, rather than the rule.

What Makes It An Android TV Box?
And how is it different from Apple TV or a Roku Box?

So, it should now be pretty clear what the difference is between an Android TV Box, Apple TV, Roku Box, and other brands. They are hardware produced by different companies that run different operating systems but to deliver broadly the same services.

It is just pretty much just like the difference between the latest Samsung phone running an Android OS, iPhone running an iOS, and a Windows Phone using a WP-OS. They all achieve pretty much the same thing but use slightly different hardware and software approaches.

The purpose of the TV box is to make it as easy to access your favorite content on your television as it is on your cell phone. You can access the likes of Netflix through its native app for Android, making it a more seamless and enjoyable experience.

Netflix is one of the world’s best streaming services, so having their interface work seamlessly on your big stream is a priority.
The different TV Box operating systems have different launchers, which have a different look and feel when it comes to using your favorite apps and navigating between them.

Android TV Boxes come with the MINIX launcher as standard. But since Android is an incredibly customizable operating system, if you don’t like the launcher that came with your device, in most cases, you can simply add a new one and start using that launcher instead.

There’s one important thing to remember here, though:

THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANDROID TV AND AN ANDROID TV BOX.

Wait…what?

Follow along, because here’s where it could get a little confusing.
Android TV vs TV Box
At the I/O conference in 2014, Google launched Android TV. It’s a system that organizes your content into one platform for easy organization and searching – including Google’s own voice search functionality. You can find out all about the official Android TV here.

If that sounds familiar, it should.

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.

Android TV is the second attempt from Google in this space – the third if you count the Chromecast. Google TV was their first attempt at ruling your living room, but it never really caught 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.

Why is that important? Well, let’s use Netflix as an example. If you’ve used Netflix on your smartphone or tablet, then you’ll remember swiping up and down to scroll through the list of genres. Once you find what kind of movie you’re looking for, you can swipe left or right to see what’s in that genre.

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