Android TV box brands have come a long way since the whole Smart TV concept launched a few years ago with new and advanced features that are prepped to blow the minds off anybody who’s not prepared to get what they wished for. No one from a decade ago can guess that the Smart TV boxes of today would have the features that were only dreamt of back then.
Additional features are only just the tip of the Android TV box iceberg; well-known standard features have also improved to become more reliable and flexible, especially when it comes to reading different file formats and running new applications from the Google Play store. With all these talked about features, how will they benefit your watching experience?
Benefits of Having Up-to-Date Features
- Less Hassle
Newer Android TV box models have apps and features that automatically do things for you, so you don’t have to; hence making life easier.
- High-Quality Videos
The most current Smart TV Boxes offer better 4K performance, which lets you enjoy your favorite programs and shows without loss of quality.
- Clear Sounds
This goes hand-in-hand with high-quality videos, Android TV boxes can provide crisp sounds without suffering from loss due to compression and signal waste.
- Saves Time and Money
Having updated features on your Android TV box means that you would not have to find a new box within the next couple of years, which does save you on time and money if you think about it.
- Better Stability
Newly released Android TV boxes have the better computing power and a more stable GPU, which translates to faster processing and a more stable connection to your Internet service.
Must-Have Features From the Top Android TV Box Brands
H.265 Hardware Decoding
Also known as High-Efficiency Video Encoding or HEVC is a compression standard for video files that makes them smaller and easier to send over a secured network.
What does this have to do with Android TV watching? Video files are, by nature, huge and hard to transmit over the Internet without affecting the Internet traffic around the house. What H.265 does is it segments the video into smaller pieces with less detail to get better compression efficiency.
Dynamic Refresh Rate Switching
Video files are set-up with different refresh rates which can sometimes cause some problems especially when the Android TV box you have runs at a different rate than the videos you are playing. What dynamic refresh rate switching does is that it automatically adjusts the rate between the TV and the video source, resulting in the best picture possible.
In essence, DRRS adjusts the video refresh rate for every video file you play so that you don’t have to. Imagine having to scour the settings for the refresh rate and checking what the file you will be playing has so that you would have flawless pictures.
Over The Air Firmware Updates
Newer Android TVs come pre-installed with an OTA application that automatically checks if there are any firmware updates available for your device. Not only does it check for updates, but it downloads and installs the upgrade as well.
This would save you a lot of trouble, especially if you are not fluent about technical stuff. The instructions for manual updates is hard enough to make a rock sweat blood.
High Definition Multimedia Interface, more commonly known as HDMI, is the medium that transmits data from the audio or video source, the Internet or a USB, to the output, which would be your Android TV. Most Android TVs come with an HDMI 1.0, but newer models would come with HDMI 2.0 which has a higher bandwidth.
How does this affect your viewing? Ultra high definition 4K video takes up a lot of bandwidth, and if your Android TV box has the bare minimum bandwidth, chances are you missing out on details. And even though 4K videos are not that rampant yet, you know that the technology is just dawning and pretty soon it will be as common as 720p.
While most computing and storage systems are still using USB 2.0 as their connectivity option, the USB 3.0 is slowly taking over its rightful domain. Newer Android TV boxes would have one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port, preparing you for what lies ahead.
But what is the difference between the two? The USB 3.0 has ten times the processing capacity than the 2.0, and it also has twice the power-handling capacity. This effectively makes transferring and reading files faster, which is perfect if you plan to hook-up an external hard drive to Android TV box. It’s not too much of a deal breaker but faster technology is strictly better, don’t you think?
Streaming TV shows and movies are now a valid entertainment option, and it is just right that your Android TV box should be able to do so. Most Smart boxes can stream videos, but only a select few come pre-installed with streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu.
Some boxes say they have the streaming capability, but their operating system and graphics processor are just not built to handle the bandwidth that streaming requires. Newer boxes have better GPUs and higher memory, as well as faster CPUs that make streaming HD movies seem like you’re watching it inside a movie house.
Updated Android Operating System
Most Android TV boxes claim that they run on the latest and most stable version of the Android operating system, but if they are not running on Oreo or even Nougat, then they’re just misleading you.
It’s not that anything before Nougat is terrible and slow, it’s just slow and has a high chance of not having the features and updates that the more updated one has. OTA Firmware helps keep you up-to-date with the latest software and ensures that you are not left behind.
These features may be impossible to find in most Android TV box brands, more so in a single Android TV box, but newer models would have more than half of the ideal features and offer something else in place of those that they are missing. The most important thing is that you should never stop asking questions and scrutinize every detail of the Android TV box that you fancy.