Android TV Box: Make Your Dumb TV Smart The CHEAPEST WAY!

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

Don’t have the budget to upgrade your living room’s TV to a smart  TV from Sony or Samsung? Fret, not as you can still enjoy the advantages of a smart television without having to replace your old set. All you need is an Android Internet TV box.

Why Android

To date, the “smart” tag is best associated with devices that come with full-blown operating systems for mobile devices. These major operating systems happen to be as follows: iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. Other operating systems such as Firefox, Sailfish, Bada OS, and Tizen are still not available to the mass market, much less common.

Android and iOS, so far, are the only operating systems that have made it to set top boxes for TVs. As everybody knows, iOS is highly exclusive to Apple products and you can’t get an Apple TV box with a cheap price tag similar to the options you have with Android. There are many Internet TV boxes or set top boxes that bear the Android operating system. It is even possible to get one for less than $40. Just search for options on Amazon.


Image courtesy of Victor Habbick /


  • Price  – One of the advantages of an Android TV box is the price. With the multitude of options available, it is not difficult to find a great deal that comes with good quality and a very affordable price.

  • Customizability – Because it is Android, you don’t have to worry about how the interface looks like. You can easily replace the way everything looks and behaves by installing a new launcher from the Google Play store.

  • Versatility – It does not matter what brand or model your TV is. Your Internet box will work as long as you have RCA or HDMI slots. You can also bring the box with you and use it with another TV in a different location without having to configure anything. Most Android TV boxes are designed to be “plug n play.”

  • Extensive Functions – With an Android TV box, you can get almost all of the functions of a tablet or smartphone right into your TV. Surf the Internet. Send and receive emails and instant messages. Browse websites. Get news feeds. Interact with your friends on social media. Post tweets or get the latest updates on the web by searching Twitter posts. You can even play games. Also, don’t forget that you can bring YouTube into your big TV screen with an Internet TV box.

To maximize the functions and features of your Android TV box, you can attach a wireless keyboard and mouse. These boxes usually have a remote control unit with them but you can do more and work with the interface more conveniently with the help of a keyboard and mouse. Game controllers may also be attached although this does not work with all models.


Android TV boxes, however, are not perfect. They also have their limitations although these are unlikely to discourage you from getting them. One of these disadvantages is the hit and miss nature of accessory or peripheral compatibility. Some wireless keyboards and mouse work with some units but not with other units. In some cases, cheap Android TV boxes easily break down. You have to be very careful in choosing the product to get. Also, it may take time before you can get used to handling the interface. If you have been accustomed to using your Android tablet, you will miss the touch interaction. You’d wish you could just swipe screens on your TV by hand gestures.

Recommended Specs

When buying your Android TV box, it is recommended to have a processor that is clocked at a minimum of 1 GHz and a RAM of at least 1 GB. If you plan to use it only for media consumption, a lower RAM may suffice. However, if you want it to act like a bigger version of your tablet, you can’t expect snappy or even decent performance with inferior specs.


Images courtesy of Robert Scoble /

Additionally, choose a box that has USB ports, support for USB OTG, slots for SD or microSD cards, an ethernet port, and wi-fi. The wi-fi feature is a convenient way of making your TV interact with your Android smartphones and tablets, and even with your Apple devices. Through DLNA technology, interacting with your now-smart TV becomes easier and conveniently wireless.

Internet TV boxes with Android as the operating system may not be one of the most anticipated tech products of 2014 but they are certainly not something you should not consider. If you want to make your living room more alive, consider getting an Android box and experience how convenient it is to interact with your TV in ways similar to how you would with a tablet or smartphone.