What Is the Android TV Box?

Android TV boxes are digital media players designed primarily to stream digital video and audio to a television from a high-speed Internet connection. They are so named because they run on the Android operating system.

Rather than subscribing to a traditional cable or satellite television provider, an Android TV box streams television and movies through apps for digital services, such as Netflix, Hulu and free television broadcasts that are hosted online.

There are a wide range of different Android TV boxes. Some of the more popular brands are Razer, Nexus and Matricom. NVIDIA's handheld gaming device "Shield" is also capable of acting as an Android TV box. The primary difference between players is how much storage capacity and memory they have and whether or not they have Ethernet connectivity. Some may also come bundled with video game controllers for playing Android games on the TV. Some devices also offer the ability to stream game video from a PC to the TV. The quality of the CPU is only a major factor if the device is also going to be used for gaming.

Android TV boxes are functionally identical to Android mini-PCs. The only major difference is that a product marketed as a TV box may come with accessories, such as a remote and AV cables.