TV boxes were first introduced in 2014 and have since become widespread. With a TV box you probably don’t have to buy a smart TV, especially if you can’t afford one. The reason is, TV boxes, to a good extent, include features you’d find on a smart TV.
So, what are TV boxes? What do they do? Should you buy a TV box? Continue reading for the answers to these crucial questions.
What Are TV Boxes, and How Do They Work?
A TV box is a streaming device that you can plug into any TV to view Netflix and other streaming services that are usually only available on devices like laptops, tablets, and phones, or smart TVs. TV boxes are also called streaming players.
There are other uses for TV boxes, and we’ll explore them in detail later on.
TV boxes are usually attached to the back of the television via an HDMI port. Once connected, the TV box will give you access to functionalities found on smartphones or smart TVs.
Essential Components of a TV Box
A TV box requires two essential components to function correctly:
An Operating System
An Operating System is software that enables the essential functions of a device to work, and it helps a device carry out its tasks.
The majority of TV boxes use an Android operating system called Android TV.
Android TV is based on the operating system used to operate smartphones. Only that, they have been adapted to working on televisions.
Other popular operating systems found in TV boxes are the Apple TV, based on iOS.
Fire TV runs on the Amazon operating system and instantly connects you to Alexa.
Note that although operating systems defer, they all run on the same basic principle – to essentially transform your TV into a larger but less powerful version of your smartphone or computer.
Many TV boxes depend on the internet to function effectively.
You can connect them to the internet using Wifi or Gigabit ethernet cables.
Gigabit Ethernet cables are often recommended because they can improve network connectivity.
Connecting a TV box to the internet is crucial for performance, and you can easily do it by following these simple steps.
What Are Some Uses of TV Boxes?
TV boxes have a variety of uses. The most dominant ones are:
Video and Music Streaming
This is one of the essential functions of a TV Box.
Once you connect your box to the internet, you will be able to surf the internet and access the most popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and YouTube.
You can then enjoy the content on these platforms and even store some of them in customized video libraries.
You can also play songs online and download them into specialized folders to view later.
Browse the Web and Watch Live TV Channels
You can surf the net with your TV box, which is more convenient than having to turn on your computer all the time.
Some TV boxes also enable you to access many TV channels for free. You don’t have to pay huge sums for cable TV.
Play Video Games
Some TV boxes, such as the Nvidia Shield TV, which runs on an Android OS, are popular for their gaming capabilities. Nvidia was initially promoted as a gaming console.
Its new Nvidia Shield TV has an excellent controller and provides Bluetooth support for other gaming controllers.
You can play some games free using the Shield box, including Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham City, and Saints Row 3.
It is guaranteed to give you a fair gaming experience.
App Download and Smart Voice Assistant
Since TV boxes mostly run on operating systems designed for smartphones but adapted for televisions, they are essentially larger versions of smartphones.
They can download apps (mostly streaming apps) and use Google Voice Assistant.
Some TV boxes using the Google Assistant can even help you control other smart gadgets in your apartment, creating a comfortable smart home experience.
What Are Some Limitations of TV Boxes?
Despite their many benefits, there are still some limitations to TV boxes:
Limited Gaming Experience
Although some TV boxes offer a fair gaming experience, it is not as immersive as more advanced gaming consoles.
There is a limit to the graphics displayed or the kind of game a TV box can support.
Poor Processor Speed
Many TV boxes come with a smaller processor, so they are generally slower than most smart TVs and computers.
TV box developers are, however, trying to rectify this issue.
Monthly Subscription Fees
Most streaming sites compatible with Android TVs are not exactly free, and some of them, like Netflix and Disney+, require monthly subscription fees.
And if you are in countries where internet costs are high, streaming online content would cost you more eventually.
Best TV Boxes in 2022
Nvidia Shield TV Pro
Nvidia Shield TV Pro is arguably the best TV box you can find in the market.
In addition to its video streaming and browsing abilities, it is well adapted to multiple gaming options, and it boasts high-definition graphics.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
Following The Nvidia Shield Pro, the Amazon Fire TV cube has one of the fastest processors in the TV box market.
You can stream videos in multiple HDR formats and has Dolby vision, making it one of the sharpest streaming boxes out there.
The Turewell T9’s major selling point is lower data consumption while streaming due to its H.265 decoding system.
You can also play thousands of Android games on a 4K screen with less buffering.
TV boxes have a lot of uses and advantages, and they also have their limitations.
If you own a smart TV, you will have no use for them as their services are similar to those available on a smart TV.
However, if you don’t have a smart TV, you should consider getting a TV box.
Their ability to stream online content and play music and games means that you can transform your old TV into a smart TV.
Generally, TV boxes are cheaper than a brand new smart TV and sometimes have more functionality. TV boxes are worth it, and we recommend you buy any of the options above.