Are you looking to enjoy all the features that digital television has to offer, but unsure whether to choose a Smart TV or an Android TV Box?
Indeed, while the two products may seem quite similar at first glance, there are still significant differences between them.
Let’s go through various questions you might have to help guide your choice between a Smart TV and an Android Box.
1. Which is the Better Choice: Smart TV or Android Box?
It can be challenging to make a definitive choice between the two devices.
The price of Smart TVs is not always justified: updates to their operating systems are often slow to arrive, delaying access to new features. Additionally, manufacturers strike their own deals, limiting the available app selection.
In contrast, with an Android TV Box, you can access over 5,000 apps, making it a compelling argument. As for the box’s price, it is far more affordable, ranging from a few tens of euros to 150-200€, depending on your choice.
2. What are the Differences between Smart TVs and Android Boxes?
Image and sound quality
First and foremost, image and sound quality are the main differences between Smart TVs and Android TV Boxes. Although the latter are compatible with Full HD or even 4K, you will still need access to a television (even if non-smart) capable of displaying a compatible image. The same goes for sound, be it Dolby Atmos or Dolby Surround; your TV’s speakers must be able to handle the audio quality.
Smart TVs have the advantage of already being equipped with these features. You can play games, watch videos, listen to music, and take full advantage of your television’s capabilities.
RAM and Storage Memory
A key difference between the two devices is, of course, the random access memory (RAM). For users looking to download numerous apps or save videos and songs on their device, a smart TV is the better option.
Connected TVs have the advantage of offering larger storage capacity, in addition to USB ports that allow for storage expansion with a hard drive or USB flash drive. Android boxes have a smaller storage capacity, and not all of them feature a USB port for storage enhancement.
As for RAM, smart TVs and Android boxes have relatively similar specifications. Some TV boxes will have more RAM than certain connected TVs, and vice versa.
Android boxes feature the well-known Google Play Store, which offers a wide array of apps. Not all smart TVs run on Android TV, meaning some of them have a different app catalog, often less extensive than an Android TV box.
Android boxes have a price advantage, ranging from $30 to $150 for the more expensive models. In contrast, connected TVs start at a minimum of $300 for the most basic models and can climb up to several thousand dollars for the highest-performing smart TVs.
3. Why Buy an Android Box if I Have a Smart TV?
The question is quite valid.
However, you may have noticed that some features are not available on your smart TV, either because it doesn’t run on Android TV or because your TV requires an update.
If your connected TV doesn’t have the Google Play Store, allowing access to Android’s app catalog, this means you won’t have access to certain apps or games exclusively available on the Android platform. Therefore, having an Android box as a complement to your smart TV can be beneficial to enhance and expand your TV’s features.
4. Do Android Boxes Work on All Smart TVs?
To connect an Android TV box to a television, simply connect it to an HDMI port. It’s important to note that all modern flat-screen TVs are equipped with these ports.
Thus, it is entirely possible to connect any Android box to a smart TV, as long as one of its HDMI ports is available.
5. Smart TV or Android Box: What’s the Best Solution for Streaming?
For simple streaming, the Android box offers access to a multitude of streaming services (SVOD) that will satisfy your needs. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Salto (and many others) are all available on the Google Play Store.
However, for exceptional viewing quality and immersive experiences, it may be worth considering the purchase of a smart TV with matching image and audio quality.
6. Smart TV or Android Box: Which Is the Cheaper Option?
The Android TV box option is undoubtedly the cheaper one. While you need to spend a few hundred to several thousand dollars for a smart TV, only a few dozen dollars are required for an Android TV box.
In short, for watching series and movies with access to a wide range of services and apps, an Android TV box is more than sufficient.
If, however, you want a viewing experience comparable to a movie theater, a smart TV may be more convincing than a box. You’ll then have to be willing to pay the price.
7. Do I Need Internet to Use an Android Box?
To fully enjoy an Android box, it is necessary to connect it to the internet.
Internet is essential for accessing most of the apps on your box. However, you can use your box without the internet, for example, for gaming.
8. Can I Use an Android Box on a Non-Smart TV?
That’s the whole principle of the connected box: adding new features to a TV that has few or none. It is, of course, possible to use an Android TV box on your TV if it’s not a smart TV.
However, you need to ensure that your TV has an HDMI port to connect the box to your television.
9. How Do I Connect My Android Box to My Smart TV?
As we have seen throughout this article, some features unique to Android TV boxes may not be available on smart TVs. Therefore, it can be beneficial to combine these two devices for an enhanced experience.
On all smart TVs, you will find one or more HDMI ports on the side or back of the device. Similarly, your Android TV box will have an HDMI port. To connect the Android TV box to your television, simply use an HDMI cable (often included with smart TVs or Android TV boxes).
10. What is the Best Android TV Box?
There are many options to choose from when selecting an Android TV box that suits your needs. However, in our opinion, the Nvidia Shield TV Pro offers the best performance, features, and price ratio. This Android TV box model is highly versatile, catering to avid gamers (with cloud gaming support), movie and series enthusiasts, and app lovers.
This box supports 4K 60p image quality, Dolby Vision, HDR10, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X, providing a superior audiovisual experience. The only downside is its relatively high price, which might not suit every budget.
For those looking for a quality alternative at a lower price, we recommend considering Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick as affordable options.
Note: We advise choosing an Android TV box that matches your television’s capabilities. If you have a lower-end or older television, even the best TV box on the market won’t optimize your experience. On the other hand, if your TV has excellent features, opt for a TV box that complements its potential for maximum enjoyment.
Smart TV or Android Box: Which one is Better?
Why choose an Android TV box?
An Android TV box is a practical choice when you already have a TV with good video and audio quality, and you want to expand its app and service offerings.
Android TV boxes are generally more affordable and user-friendly, making budget a determining factor as well.
Why choose a smart TV?
A smart TV is an appealing option when looking to purchase a new television with stunning quality or desired features.
Many apps come pre-installed on a smart TV, simplifying the user experience for those unfamiliar with configuring settings or downloading popular apps (such as YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon Prime Video).