Smart TV Vs. Android Box? 14 Answers (For Beginners)

If you are choosing between getting a new smart TV or an Android TV Box, read on!

These two devices differ a lot when it comes to price and operation, but at the end of the day, they can provide the same quality of content.

With all things considered, it would be good to know what you are getting into, especially if you choose the Android TV Box, which is cheaper but needs more hardware to work.

Here’s What You Need to Know about Smart TVs and Android TV Boxes:

Smart TVs have taken over living rooms by connecting your TV to the Internet for video-on-demand streaming content from various platforms, while an Android TV Box can turn any TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV with streaming capability.

1. What Is the Use of the Android Smart TV Box?

An Android Smart TV Box is a device that can convert any TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV.

It can stream content onto your TV using the Android platform.

You can also take a good look at the BT TV Box – we have an article also on Smart TVs & BT TV Box.

2. What is the Difference between a Smart TV and an Android TV?

A smart TV is a general term used for televisions that can connect to the Internet to stream video-on-demand content.

Android TV is an operating system used by some smart TVs. It serves as the host of the apps that you download for streaming.

The Android TV system is hosted on a smart TV.

3. Do I Need an Android TV Box if I Have a Smart TV?

If you own a smart TV that is outdated, you might enjoy having an Android TV Box.

For those using old and unsupported smart TVs, having a newer Android TV Box can breathe new life into your smart TV.

You can use the Android TV Box to serve as the main platform for your outdated entertainment system.

If you are using a newer smart TV, you can use an Android TV Box if you don’t like the default operating system of your smart TV.

Instead of buying another smart TV, you can buy an Android TV Box and plug it into an HDMI port on your TV.

A good way of using the Android TV Box with a smart TV is to pair it with smart TVs that do not have many apps available, such as those made by Vizio.

You can take advantage of the powerful hardware that Vizio uses for its smart TVs and pair it with an Android TV Box for a more pleasurable viewing experience.

If you are considering buying an Android TV Box for your smart TV that’s a bit more recent, check what operating system your smart TV uses.

A large percentage of smart TVs on the market, like Sony’s Bravia, already use Android for their operating system.

4. Can You Use an Android TV Box with a Non-smart TV?

You can use an Android TV Box with non-smart TVs, as long as the TV has an HDMI port.

With a streaming box like an Android TV Box, your old TV becomes a smart TV for less than $100.

5. How Do I Connect My Android TV Box to My Smart TV?

You can connect your Android TV Box to your smart TV through any vacant HDMI port on your TV.

Android TV Boxes must be connected to the Internet to work.

The Box does not get connected to the Internet when plugged into the HDMI on a smart TV—you will need to set up the network connection for the Android TV Box.

6. What Channels Can You Get on an Android TV Box?

Android TV Boxes do not have channels. Instead, they have apps that you can download, such as Netflix and Hulu, that allow you to watch content from the web.

The app selection on Android TV Boxes is the same as those found on smart TVs that run Android.

7. Can I Use an Android TV Box without Internet?

An Android TV Box needs to be connected to the Internet to stream content from platforms like Netflix or YouTube.

Some Android TV Boxes have USB ports that can open files. This can be done without an Internet connection.

The main features of Android TV Boxes still need an Internet connection to work.

8. How Does an Android Smart TV Box Work?

An Android TV Box connects to any TV through an HDMI port and links to the Internet for video streaming.

Like smartphones, an Android TV Box needs apps so that you can watch videos or play games. You then get these apps through the Google Play Store.

To download these apps, you need to have a Google account. You can choose to use your existing one if you have one, or you can make a new one, which is separate from your existing account.

Some apps are free, others have a monthly payment, and there are a few that have a one-time payment. Make sure your Google Account has your updated payment credentials for easy transactions.

Some of these apps do not have their payment scheme linked to the Google Play Store. You will have to update your payment scheme in the Account Settings of the app.

9. Which is Better, Fire TV Stick or Android TV Box?

The Fire TV OS is based on the Android TV system. It might seem that these two systems would be almost identical since they are based on the same Android system.

But there some notable differences.

  • First, an Android TV Box comes with Chromecast built into it, while the Fire TV Stick does not have it.
  • The second point to consider is the interface. The Fire TV Stick has an Amazon Prime Video-centric home screen, which is not surprising since the Fire Stick is also owned by Amazon.
  • The Android TV Box has a cleaner home screen, which makes it easier to navigate. For the most part, you can opt-out of ads, which you cannot do with a Fire TV Stick.
  • There are also few choices when choosing models for the Fire TV Stick. There are currently four models: Fire TV Stick Lite, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Fire TV Cube, which has an Amazon Echo Speaker built-in and goes for around $120.
  • Meanwhile, the Android TV Box comes in many variants, ranging from Chinese-made set-top boxes that retail for as low as $20 to the Nvidia Shield Set-Top Box that goes for hundreds of dollars.
  • If the availability of content is the primary consideration, the Android TV Box wins, as it has the largest number of streaming platforms available for download.

Considering all this, determining which is better depends on your preference.

10. Is an Android TV Box Better than Roku?

Like the Fire TV Stick, determining which is better between the Android TV Box and Roku Streaming Sticks is a matter of preference.

  • When looking at their interfaces, Android wins with its sleeker interface that makes navigating easier.
  • When it comes to compatibility with smart homes, Roku wins with its compatibility with Google Assistant and Alexa.
  • When it comes to content, both Android and Roku have major players like YouTube, Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Philo, among others. But Android TV Boxes still have more streaming platforms.
  • On top of that, Android TV Boxes usually come with Chromecast built-in, which gives more options for streaming.

Thus, Android TV Boxes generally come out as a smarter choice.

11. Which is Better, Android TV Box or the Apple TV?

Android and Apple have long been competing for a lion’s share of the technology market, and it comes as no surprise that it has reached the smart TV sector.

So which is better among the two?

  • For one, the Android TV Box and Apple TV are both set-top boxes. You can use either to convert your non-smart TV into a smart TV.
  • The Android TV Box has Chromecast, which can be used with iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows devices, while the Apple TV has AirPlay 2, which can only be used by Mac OS and iOS devices.
  • When it comes to user-interface, the Apple TV wins for its consistency with its neat design and layout, while the Android TV Box can be inconsistent with its interface.
  • When it comes to content, the Android TV Box has more options.

Due to the limiting nature of Apple TVs, the Android TV Box comes out as the better choice.

12. Is an Android TV Box the Same as a Cable TV Box?

Android TV Boxes and Cable TV Boxes are both set-top boxes that provide content, but they function differently.

Android TV Boxes provide TVs with smart TV capabilities and connect to the Internet to get content.

Cable TV Boxes, meanwhile, provide content on your TV through regular cable channels. You need to subscribe to cable TV for you to get these channels. You cannot access streaming platforms like Hulu or Netflix through cable channels.

Many people in the US have been shifting to devices such as Android TV Boxes in a bid to rid themselves of cable TV subscriptions that are sometimes overpriced.

Check also: stats on on Cable TV demographics in the U.S..

13. Is an Android TV Box the Same as a Digital TV Box?

Android TV Boxes and Digital TV Boxes are different from each other.

Android TV Boxes turn your non-smart TV into a smart TV by plugging into the HDMI port.

Digital TV boxes turn old TVs into digital TVs by acting as a receiver for HD transmissions. Older TVs did not have HD capabilities and hence needed a Digital TV Box to receive and convert these signals into a compatible format.

14. Is an Android TV Box the Same as TiVo?

The Android TV Box is different from TiVo.

TiVo is a digital TV recorder that lets you catch up on programs that you may have missed out on while away from the TV. An Android TV Box provides users with content on-demand so you can watch your favorite programs anytime you want to.

Final Thoughts

An Android TV Box is a viable option for upgrading your home entertainment setup, given the cost and its content accessibility.

It has the same content available from the Google Play Store as its smartphone counterpart. It is also competitively priced, with a variety of options that fit your budget.



What is an Android TV Box and How Does it Work?

Android TV vs Smart TV – What is the Difference & Why it Matters

Android TV vs. Amazon Fire TV: Which Is Best?

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