TV Boxes

6 Top TV Boxes to make your TV a Smart TV for 2017

A lot of comments have come people who read my article on TV box buying decision consideration, if you haven’t read that article yet, you may want to read it because it introduces the concept we are basing our selection criteria on. However, it is not a pre requisite for reading this article. Each of these boxes will be reviewed on the basis of the following considerations:

  • Technical Specification
  • Display resolutions
  • Kodi Preinstalled
  • Auxiliary features

TV streaming boxes are designed to be used as televisions without an aerial, satellite or cable connection because they allow access to thousands of movies to rent or buy and lots of TV episodes and box sets. They connect to your broadband router and to the TV via an HDMI or USB socket and all recent TVs have these. The content available on each of them varies widely.

  1. Nvidia Shield
  2. Amazon Fire TV
  3. Amazon Fire Stick
  4. Google Chromecast Ultra
  5. Roku 4
  6. Roku Stick

Nvidia Shield

Acclaimed by industry experts as the king of the jungle, the Nvidia Shield is the first on our list. It is a power TV android box in the market designed with viewer’s entertainment in mind. Boasting of a 1.9GHz quad core Tetra X processing, the Nvidia’s Shield is shielded from the slow loading speeds that some other TV boxes are known to suffer from. The processor is also able to handle the Ultra High Density (UAD) 4k display without motion pictures hanging. With more and more content being produced with 4k display resolution, the Nvidia Shields already puts you ahead of the game in terms of the crisp clarity of content on display. It even manages 4K UHD compatibility.

The Nvidia Shield is also home to a lot of quality viewing content that makes it very easy to share your TV and not miss a thing. Netflix, Hulu, HBO are all available on the Nvidia Shield. Installing kodi on it is also very easy and can be done almost the same way you would install an app from the play store.

The Nvidia Shield also has a good user interface which can contribute to making the overall user experience a breeze. It is also very easy to set up and does not require high technical skills although some basic knowledge of electricity and networking can be very useful. It also allows you watch Amazon Prime Content but you will need to have a prime account. it boasts of over 3000 stations spanning across sports, movies, music, live shows, entertainment, news, religious documentary, and cartoons. The search for programs is also very easy and even accepts voice commands. (Click here to purchase)

If all you require is to be able to play games, the guys at Nvidia must have probably had you in mind when they built the shield and is designed as a gaming machine primarily – it even comes with a gamepad as standard. Highly graphics games can also take advantage of the power processor to have a superb gaming experience with your games pad and other accessories.

The Nvidia Shield really makes TV viewing a really worthwhile experience having been in the business for more than 5 years.

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Amazon Fire TV

Another strong member of the jungle, as acclaimed by industry experts is the Amazon Fire TV. Produced by the technical department of the e-commerce site, Amazon, the Amazon Fire TV runs on Fire OS built on the Android Operating System backbone and boast of a media tek (MDI) 2GHz Quad Core processor. The speed of the processor enables it to display pictures to up to 4k meaning that the image quality on the screen will always crisp, clear and sharp. With such picture quality, you are allowed to forgive yourself if you get lost in a program while watching your TV.

The Amazon Fire TV comes with the Alexia voice remote control that accepts voice commands through its microphone so you can search for shows and movies by voice, which is very handy and works perfectly – because the microphone is on the remote, it hears everything. The user interface is also very easy to use. The Amazon TV is sleek, portable and allows you watch the Amazon prime programs with your prime account. The box tends to favor Amazon related contents though than other contents. Actually, to get the best from this box you should subscribe to Amazon Prime, which offers lots of movies and shows including many high-quality originals. You can, however, watch contents from Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, ESPN and NBC with apps for BBC iPlayer and other catch-up channels, Sky News and Curzon Home Cinema.

The Fire TV has 802.11ac Wi-Fi built in, which allows you to join your local wireless network and an Ethernet port for your wired connectivity option. Although built as a streaming box, it has a micro SD card slot that allows you load and play your videos. Although small, this small square box is deceptively powerful. Giving its small size of 115 x 115 x 18mm, it is easy to take along with you when traveling.

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Amazon Fire Stick

Another major player in the TV box industry is the sister device of the Amazon Fire TV. Unlike the Amazon Fire TV which is actually a TV box, the Amazon Fire Stick is fashioned as a USB flash drive and is plugged in exactly the same way to the TV. This is the stick version of the Fire TV box. It’s much cheaper and even more portable. You can simply unplug it and take it along to a friend’s house. This device comes with a quad-core processor, a display of 1080p HD and a rich surround with Dolby audio. It doesn’t have the Fire TV’s 4K capabilities and only comes with a standard remote. Installing Kodi on the fire stick takes a little more technical effort (download free guide here) as Kodi is not listed on the Amazon app store. The Fire Stick can also be used in playing games although the games are not high graphics processor draining games. The Fire Stick is a sleek, useful and simple device to have.

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Google Chromecast Ultra

If you’re looking for powerful, fast streaming in a device the size of a wafer for your brand-new UHD TV, there’s no better place to find it Google chromecast Ultra. It offers one of the best values for streaming video devices for 4K TV owners. It’s great, easy to set up and simple to use. With Google’s Chromecast, rather than control the device directly with an included remote, you instead select content on a smart phone or tablet before ‘casting’ it to your television. It also includes apps like Netflix and BBC iPlayer however, it does not include a lot of games. The Google Cast app guides you to which other apps are available. Google’s Chromecast is one of the easiest ways of getting video streams onto your existing non-smart TV. The puck plugs into an HDMI port on the rear of your TV and is powered by micro-USB and controlled by your existing smart device. You can immediately start enjoying a world of entertainment with Google Chromecast

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Roku 4

I had considered stopping with Google Chromecast Ultra and but then any review of TV boxes without a fair representation from the Roku family cannot be said to be complete. Roku claims to have a Roku product for everyone and every budget and if you own a 4K TV, the Roku 4 is definitely one of the best video streaming devices in the market and offers far more options than any of its competitor. It prides itself on having more than 3,000 channels, or apps with contents that people really want. Some of which include; Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Vudu, Crackle, HBO Go, HBO Now, Showtime, YouTube, Vevo, GoPro, casual games, cable authentication apps that allow you log in using your cable credentials and stream your cable through the Roku interface.

Yes, it is that good…

With a faster quad-core ARM processor with 1.5 GB of RAM, support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and an optical audio output in addition to the usual selection of HDMI, Ethernet, and USB ports, It is able to streams 4K, or UHD, video effortlessly.

Roku 4 has an easy-to-navigate interface and is able to send you updates when certain contents become available or go down in price or even free by following any program. This enables such information to show up on your feed like in your social media account. It also uses its remote or mobile app for its voice search which is quite advanced, smart and contextual search features. You can even search using an actor’s name.

If you own a 4k TV, you should not be hesitating about getting the Roku 4 TV right now.

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Roku Stick

Similar to the Amazon Fire Stick, the Roku Stick is a member of the Roku family of quality TV boxes in the market. Just like the Amazon Fire Stick, it is not a TV box but a small stick like a flash drive that you plug directly into the HDMI port of your TV. This device comes with a Bluetooth remote, so you don’t need line of sight between the stick and the remote. Just like other members of the Roku family, the number of channels it boasts of is one of the selling points of this device. It works by offering over 1,400 of different app-like channels including many not found elsewhere. Armed with a quad-core processor and a display of 1080p, the Roku Stick is easy to set up and like other members of the family, you have to set up your account and link to your device before you start using it. NOW TV is also available on the Roku. There is some capability to stream video from an Android phone or tablet, too though this is limited to particular apps. There are also lot of free stuff to also enjoy. The Roku Stick interface is also very easy to navigate around and move around to get programs you want to watch.

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