A good Android TV box is a must-have for anyone wanting to improve their TV viewing experience.

The only problem is:

How do you know which Android TV box is “good?” There are so many products to choose from!

Well,

New Nividia 2019 Shield Tv Pro

To help you pick the right one, I put together this Best Android TV Box 2019-2020 buying guide.

If you don’t know much about streaming media players yet, I recommend you read our Android TV Box Buying Guide before diving into the reviews.

What is the Best Android TV Box for 2019 – 2020?

The choice of streaming media players today is seemingly endless, but don’t think that all companies you come across are reputable. There are many ‘brands’ that buy generic boxes from Chinese wholesalers, slap their logos on, and sell them at five times the price.

My advice is to stick to only well-known brands, which you will find from our Android TV box list below:

Preview
Editor's Choice
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro | 4K HDR Streaming Media Player, High...
Best Alternative!
Best Android TV Boxes in 2019 - 2020 3
Cheapest!
Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player
Product
Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019
SkyStream 3 Plus
Amazon Fire TV
Storage
16 GB (expandable via USB)
64 GB
8 GB
Memory
3 GB RAM
4 GB RAM
1 GB
Rating
Editor's Choice
Preview
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro | 4K HDR Streaming Media Player, High...
Product
Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019
Storage
16 GB (expandable via USB)
Memory
3 GB RAM
Rating
Best Alternative!
Preview
Best Android TV Boxes in 2019 - 2020 3
Product
SkyStream 3 Plus
Storage
64 GB
Memory
4 GB RAM
Rating
Cheapest!
Preview
Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player
Product
Amazon Fire TV
Storage
8 GB
Memory
1 GB
Rating

1. Nvidia Shield TV (Pro) 2019 – Best Android Box for Gamers

Nvidia has finally done it! After a long 2-year wait, the highly-anticipated Shield TV and Shield TV Pro are out.

With a 25% faster Tegra X1+ processor and 4k upscaling, Nvidia has, once again, delivered a box that leaves its closest competitors far behind. The new Nvidia Shield TV Pro is, without a doubt, the best Android TV box for 2019-2020!

Let’s take a closer look at the upgrades.

The Best Streamer Just Got Better.

Forbes

Highlights

  • New, 25% faster processor
  • AI upscaling for visibly sharper images
  • Still the best Android TV box for gaming

Features & Specs

The old Nvidia Shield TV was already a top-notch product, but the improved Tegra X1+ chip and upgrades in its software make it the best of the best when it comes to streaming media players.

The new X1+ processor is 25% faster compared to its predecessor, although the old X1 chip still beats everything else on the market. The box comes with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

The 2017 Shield TV Pro had 500GB onboard storage, so you might say that 16GB is actually a downgrade. The 2019 Pro comes around $100 cheaper though, and you can extend storage via one of the USB 3.0 ports or through network-attached storage.

The box runs on Android version 9.0 Pie and is the only one out of the two third-generation Shields that can be used as a Plex Media Server.

The most significant upgrades in 2019 are in its software:

  • Shield TV now supports Dolby Vision HDR (on supported equipment) on platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix to offer the best audio-visual experience you can get.
  • The AI-powered “upscaling” feature turns lower-quality 720p and 1080p resolutions into visibly sharper 4K-like images.

Besides being one of the few devices that are allowed to stream Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video in 4k, it’s still a Diamond Sponsor of Kodi/XBMC as well.

Being an Android device, the Shield gives you access to the Google Play Store that you can use to download all of your favorite apps, including games. It works both with Google Home and Amazon Echo in selected languages and countries.

It is still the best Android TV box for gaming as well as it offers seamless game-streaming and access to Nvidia’s GeForceNOW service for free.

Setting Up and Updates

Setting up the Nvidia Shield is super easy: just plug your unit, turn it on and set it up using your Google account. You can do that either through your Android phone, tablet, or the Nvidia remote.

Because the Shield is known as “the streaming device for gamers,” there are some sharing and gaming aspects to consider. Other than that, the interface is very easy to use, more so now after the latest OS updates.

Naturally, being a premium Android TV box that it is, updates are automatic and offered OTA (Over the Air).

Specs

ProcessorNVIDIA® Tegra® X1 with a 256-core GPU
Android OSAndroid 9.0 Oreo with Chromecast 4K
Internal Storage16 GB (expandable over USB & micro SD)
Memory3 GB RAM
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K HDR playback at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
EthernetGigabit
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes & 7.1
UpdatesSHIELD Experience Upgrades directly from NVIDIA
USB2 x 3.0
HDMI1 x 2.0

Design

While the standard Shield TV takes the shape of a small compact tube (more on that later), the design of the 2019 Shield TV Pro is unchanged from the previous version.

A game controller is no longer included in the package, but both Shield versions come with the new and improved remote.

It’s got a modern pyramid-shaped body and automatic backlighting, which makes it comfortable to hold and use in the dark.

The lack of buttons on the old remote made it pretty annoying to use, but that’s not an issue anymore:

The new one comes loaded with buttons like volume, play/pause, forward/rewind, back, etc. There’s a dedicated one for Netflix and another one you can program for a variety of functions on it as well. It runs on AAA batteries and can control things like power and volume via infrared and HDMI-CEC on compatible TVs.

The best thing is the new lost remote finding function that you can activate from the new Shield mobile app on your phone, the Shield unit itself, or asking Alexa/Google Home to find it.

As usual, the back of the Shield Pro is loaded with ports: two USB 3.0s and an HDMI 2.0 port plus wired Gigabit ethernet.

Support

Of course, Nvidia is also the best when it comes to customer support. The website is full of useful information with descriptive FAQ pages and an active online forum where fellow Nvidia owners and tech experts help with any technical issues you may face.

Verdict

The 2019 Shield TV Pro is the best Android TV box for 2019-2020 for those who want a top-notch streaming experience in their living room!

It runs on the new, lightning-fast Tegra X1+ processor, comes with the new AI upscaling feature that visibly improves 1080p images, can be voice-controlled by both Google Assistant and Alexa, and it is still one of the few devices allowed to stream Netflix in 4K quality. Compared to the standard Shield TV, it gets more RAM, advanced Android gaming support, and the ability to transcode lower-quality streams when used as a Plex Media Server.

WE DON’T LIKE

  • No HDR sound for YouTube
  • Only 16GB of storage compared to 500GB of the 2017 model

2. Nvidia Shield TV (2019) – Best Android Streaming Box

The standard Shield TV is the second new device Nvidia launched at the end of October. It’s got all the same cool new features as the Pro version but is more geared towards the mainstream audience.

Let’s see what’s different between the two new devices and what has changed since 2017.

Highlights

  • New compact design
  • Superfast performance
  • Comes with the new remote

Features & Specs

One of the major differences between Shield TV and Shield TV Pro has always been the storage capacity. The standard Shield still comes with 8GB of storage while the Pro now comes with 16GB of space. The Pro has two USB 3.0 ports that you can use to expand the storage, but the standard Shield only has a MicroSD slot for that.

Although both the standard Shield and Shield Pro can run the Plex client app, only the Pro can act as a Plex Media Server too. If you’re a die-hard Plex user, you might want to invest in the Pro version.

Other than that, the standard Shield TV is just as great as the Shield Pro:

  • Uses the new 25% faster X1+ processor
  • Now also supports Dolby Vision HDR on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime
  • AI-upscaling significantly improves video quality
  • Plays Amazon and Google Play Music straight from the box
  • You can use Amazon Echo or Google Home to control it hands-free
  • Streams Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video in 4k HDR

Specs

ProcessorNVIDIA® Tegra® X1 w/ 256-core NVIDIA GPU
Android OSAndroid 9.0 Oreo w/ Chromecast 4K
Internal Storage8 GB expandable via microSD
Memory2 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac MIMO 2.4 GHz,5 GHz Wi-Fi
EthernetGigabit
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes & 7.1
UpdatesDirectly from NVIDIA
Voice AssistantsBuilt in + Google Home + Amazon Echo
HDMI1 x 2.0

Design

The second significant difference between the two devices is in the design:

While the 2019 Shield TV Pro still looks like a classic set-top-box, the new standard Shield TV comes in the shape of a tube. At over 6 inches long, it’s too heavy to be a self-supporting dongle, so the best location for it is somewhere behind your TV.

The different ports are located at both ends of the tube:

The HDMI port, MicroSD slot, and remote finder button on one side, the Gigabit Ethernet port and power connector on the other.

The standard Shield doesn’t come with any USB ports, so it seems to be aimed more towards the general audience. The USB ports come in handy if you want to plug external hard drives for things like running the Plex Media Server, but you don’t really need them if you’re an average user wanting to stream shows and movies from Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The standard Shield TV comes with the new and improved remote as well:

  • Built-in mic for voice search and voice commands
  • Automatic backlit buttons (motion-activated)
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • IR blaster for volume and power control on compatible TVs and soundbars
  • Remote locator for lost remote

Support

Of course, Nvidia is also the best when it comes to customer support. The website is full of useful information with descriptive FAQ pages and an active online forum where fellow Nvidia owners and tech experts help with any technical issues you may face.

Verdict

The standard 2019 Nvidia Shield TV is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a simple yet premium-quality streaming device. With high-end features like Dolby Vision/Dolby Atmos surround sound, AI-powered image upscaling, and the new and improved remote, you get the best elements of the top-of-the-line Shield TV Pro at a lower price.

WE DON’T LIKE

  • Only 8GB of storage
  • No USB ports
  • Can’t be used as Plex Media Server

3. SkyStream Three Plus – Best Alternative Android TV Box on the Market

SkyStream Three replaces the already powerful SkyStream TWO, which was one of the most popular streaming media players of 2018.

The new SkyStream Three Plus was released in January 2019 and here is our review.

Highlights

  • Replaces the popular SkyStream TWO
  • Double the storage – 64GB for Plus
  • Android 8.1 Oreo OS

Features & Specs

Before we get into the details, you should know that SkyStream released two new boxes at once: Skystream Three and Three Plus.

Both SkyStream Three boxes come with Android 8.1 Oreo – an upgrade from Nougat 7.1 of SkyStream TWO. The new line is much faster than the old one using the lightning-fast S905X2 chip.

One of the main differences between the Three and Three Plus is their storage capacity – the Three Plus has 64GB internal memory while the standard Three has only 16GB. The Three Plus is clearly a better choice here if you want to save a lot of media on the device.

The second difference comes from system memory: the standard Three has 2GB of memory while the Three Plus doubles that to 4GB of RAM.

The SkyStream Three is the perfect Kodi box as Kodi comes pre-installed on it. Naturally, the Three and Three Plus also support 4k streaming when used with compatible devices.

Perhaps one of the most important upgrades from the TWO though is the WideVine certification, which allows the new box to stream YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video in HD.

And on top of all of that, SkyStream Three works with Google Voice Search if you opt for the Air Mouse Package!

Specs

ProcessorAmLogic S905X2 Quad Core @ 2.0 GHz
Android OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Internal Storage64 GB
Memory4 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11 b/g/n/ac (MIMO)
EthernetGigabit
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes
Expandable storageOver USB; mini SD
USB1 x 3.0 & 1 x 2.0
HDMI1 x 2.0

Setting It Up & Updates

Setting up SkyStream Three is super easy: just plug the HDMI cable to your Android box and TV, plug the power cable, and you’re ready to get started.

Like all modern set-top boxes, SkyStream too looks for updates automatically, and everything is done Over the Air. You can also use the SkyStream Updater app if you want to be sure your box is up to date but remember to update the app itself regularly as well.

Like with SkyStream TWO, the Updater App lets you choose between two versions of Kodi – Adult or Family Friendly.

Cord Cutting Package

Like the previous SkyStream versions, the Three and Three Plus are also available in a Cord Cutting Package. These premium packages include the new voice-controlled Air Mouse and a Mohu Leaf 50 or Leaf 65-mile HD antenna.

The mission of SkyStream is to help its customers save money by reducing their dependency on cable, and this is what the Cord Cutting Package is for:

The Mohu Leaf HD antenna will provide free access to your local live TV channels. Check the channel list here.

Support

SkyStream has one of the best customer support teams available. For one, there are an official forum and FAQ pages that address all the most common issues. Secondly, SkyStream’s customer service team is based in the US, so you can contact them at any time through a toll-free hotline.

Verdict

There’s a lot to love about the SkyStream Three: it’s fast, it’s powerful, and most importantly – it comes at a great price. Choose between two boxes and six packages depending on your budget and your needs. Rivaled only by the Nvidia Shield TV, the SkyStream Three is definitely a great alternative TV box today!

WE DON’T LIKE

  • No 4k streaming for Netflix or YouTube

4. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – Best Price for a Streaming Device!

If you’re new to the world of streaming media players, then the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k might be just what you’re looking for. It’s very easy to use and offers high-quality 4k streaming for Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video – all at an unbeatable price!

Highlights

  • Great price
  • Streams content in 4k, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube
  • Voice control by Alexa

Features & Specs

Just to be clear, the Fire TV Stick 4k is not Amazon’s only new product of 2018. They also came out with a Fire TV Cube in June, which replaces the wildly popular Amazon Fire TV.

The thing is:

The Fire TV Cube lacks one very important feature that the significantly cheaper Fire TV Stick has – Dolby Vision.

If you’re just looking for a cheap device to stream content now and then this might not matter to you. But if you want to buy something that lasts a good while, Dolby Vision is an important feature to consider. It is thought to be the better standard for delivering high-quality HDR content, and there’s no reason why you should pay 3x the price for something inferior.

As the name says, The Fire TV Stick supports 4k streaming, and that includes Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The YouTube app is not available on any Amazon device due to an ongoing feud between Amazon and Google. However, you can still stream content from YouTube though, even in 4k, when you access it through the Firefox or Sling web browsers.

The operating system for the Fire TV Stick is Fire OS 6.0, which is based on Android 7.1 Nougat. Because of this, there’s no access to the Google Play Store, which means you are limited when it comes to apps you can download. You can use the Amazon App Store to choose between 7000+ apps and games.

The 8GB Fire TV Stick comes with an Alexa Voice Remote, which is one of the best things about it:

You can use your voice to search for shows or movies to watch, play music, control volume, check the weather, control smart home devices, and so much more.

Specs

ProcessorMediaTek MT8695 Quad Core @ 1.7 GHz
Operating SystemFire OS 6 based on Android 7.1 Nougat
Internal Storage8 GB
Memory1.5 GB
Supported ResolutionUp to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
WiFi ConnectivityDual-Band 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO /td>
Ethernet10/100 Mbs
H.265 Video DecodingYes
5.1 Audio PassthroughYes & 7.1
Expandable storageNone
USBMicro USB for power only
HDMI1 x 1.4

Setting It Up & Updates

The Fire TV Stick 4k is not exactly a box, it’s got the shape of a memory stick, and it plugs straight into your TV through an HDMI port. (To improve Wi-Fi reception, Amazon recommends to plug the stick into an HDMI extender.)

Once that’s done, attach the USB cable and run it to the nearest power outlet to get it up and running. 

Updates are not complicated either:

As long as your device is connected to the Internet, it will search for software updates and install them automatically.

Support

Amazon’s got a great reputation for providing good customer service for third-party items they sell as well as for the items they produce themselves. You can contact them by calling or emailing the customer support team or by initiating live chat.

Verdict

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k is a good product if you’re looking for an easy to use streaming device with modern features. You can watch all of your favorite shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video* in 4k (on compatible TVs) and use your voice to control it with the Alexa Voice Remote. It is the best choice for anyone on a budget!

* To watch Amazon Prime Video, you need to be a member of Amazon Prime, a paid program that gives you access to TV-shows, movies, music, videos, e-books, free shipping, and other Amazon services.

WE DON’T LIKE

  • Can only be used for streaming content
  • No native YouTube app
  • No access to Google Play Store
  • No USB or SD card slots

How to Choose An Android TV Box? The Buying Guide

Android Tv Box Buying Guide

If you’re not familiar with Android TV boxes yet, you might be wondering what exactly is this thing that everybody’s talking about.

Well, the definition of an Android TV box is very simple:

It’s a streaming device that runs on the Android operating system. It usually comes in the form of a small box or in some cases a stick, and you can plug it into almost any television via an HDMI cable.

These devices are mainly used to stream movies and TV shows from platforms like Hulu, Netflix, HBO, etc., but you can also download most of the games and apps you find in the Google Play or Amazon App Store.

Like all gadgets, Android TV boxes come with different firmware, hardware, specs, customer support, etc. so you might be wondering how to choose an android tv box?

Before you can find the right Android box, here are some factors you should consider.

Android 6.0 OS or Higher

When looking at the specs of any TV box, be sure to check the version of Android it’s running on. While most manufacturers are updating their products regularly, there are still some that use the older OS versions.

Devices running the outdated operating systems are usually cheaper, but newer OS come with bug fixes, improved performance, and support for the future.

In 2019, make sure your chosen box comes with at least Android 7.0 (Nougat) or higher.

Support

There are lots of generic devices on the market that come with seemingly good specs but non-existing customer support. That may be an issue if you pick a TV box you have to set up and customize yourself.

If you don’t have any tech knowledge, it’s best to choose a reputable brand as they offer active support forums, FAQ pages, and tech support over email, live chat, or the phone.

Nvidia and Skystream have very good support teams according to their existing customers.

‘Over the Air’ Updates

Regular firmware updates are important to keep your TV box running smoothly. Surprisingly, even in 2019, not all manufacturers offer firmware updates! Or if they do the process is too complicated for most non-technical users:

You would need to download the file to your computer, transfer it to a USB key or SD card, then copy it to your streaming device and update it manually. For many people, that’s just too much.

To avoid the hassle, make sure your chosen model offers firmware updates over the air (OTA).

Connectivity

You’ll need an Internet connection to get your box up and running, access your favorite apps, and stream content.

There are three things to consider:

  • Connection Speed

Make sure your Internet connection speed matches what’s required to stream content in your desired quality. To stream standard definition content, you need at least 3Mbps of download speed. Streaming HD content requires minimum 5Mbps, and for 4k UHD streaming, your connection needs to be at least 25Mbps.

If you are not sure of your Internet connection speed, either ask your Internet services provider or do a speed test.

  • Ethernet vs. WiFi

Depending on your chosen TV box model, you either have to hook it up to an Ethernet cable or use WiFi to get it to work. As I mentioned above, streaming higher resolutions requires a faster Internet connection, but video quality can still vary greatly if you stream it over WiFi vs. an Ethernet cable.

The best option is to use the cable, but if this is not an option make sure your WiFi box comes with a dual-band router for more power.

  • Gigabit Ethernet

If you’ve got the latest Gigabit Ethernet router and you want to plug your box into it, make sure this too supports Gigabit Ethernet. Most models on the market today only support speeds from 10 to 100Mbps. Only newer (and better) boxes can handle Gigabit Ethernet’s speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

5.1 Audio Passthrough

Not to make things too complicated, audio passthrough is simply a feature that lets you send the audio signal from your streaming box to another device without affecting its quality.

If you have set up a home theatre system and want the full home cinema experience, your chosen box should have at least 5.1 audio passthrough. If you intend to only use your TV speakers, this feature is not that important.

Anyway, most Android TV boxes these days come with some kind of passthrough ability, and many are 5.1 surround sound capable.

USB Ports

If you think you might want to plug a wireless mouse or keyboard for easier navigation or watch movies from an external memory device, you’re probably going to need more than one USB port. Make sure your chosen box comes with 2 or 3 ports and that at least one of them is USB 3.0.

USB 3.0 is much more powerful and faster than USB 2.0. While speed is not an issue when it comes to devices like keyboards and speakers, you’ll need the USB 3.0 port if you plan to stream content from your external hard drive.

Only the 3.0 port can deliver consistently good video quality.

HDMI 2.0

Whether your box comes with HDMI 2.0 is important if you want to stream lots of 4k UHD content. Streaming platforms like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and others already support 4k streaming on certain devices, but you’ll only get smooth buffering-free quality if your Android box supports HDMI 2.0 too.

The newer 2.0 has more bandwidth than the old HDMI 1.4 and is thus able to play 4k content at a consistent 50-60 fps.

What is an Android TV Box?

An Android TV box is a simple box that you can use to watch videos and play games. It is running on the same operating system that many smartphones run on – Android. Inherently, an Android TV box is a lot like a media center that can turn a regular TV into a Smart TV.

How to Set Up an Android TV Box?

Setting up your new Android box is super easy. First, plug all the cables as instructed and then connect it to the Internet via WiFi or Ethernet (basically the same process as connecting your phone to your network).

Next, check for software and firmware updates if they don’t launch automatically. Then, you’re ready to start installing apps and games from the Google Play Store and/or Amazon App Store and media players like Plex and Kodi.

For additional information, please read your manufacturer’s instructions.

How to Use an Android TV Box?

Android TV boxes are very similar to Android phones and tablets, so they work in the same way. If you haven’t used this operating system before it will take a bit of getting used to, but it’s very easy and straightforward to use. Depending on your TV box and the Android OS it runs, the interface may differ.

Besides downloading apps from the Google Play Store, you can also use Android boxes to watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, play games, browse the Internet, and so much more.

How Does an Android TV Box Work?

An Android TV box runs on an Android OS and works just like a tablet or smartphone would. Compared to mobile phones, it has better input/output options and the ability to connect other devices such as a keyboard, air mouse, speakers, wireless remote, etc.

You first need to connect the box to your TV via an HDMI cable and then to the Internet via Ethernet or WiFi. After set-up is complete, you can start downloading games and apps.

Which Android TV Box is the Best?

The best Android TV box for 2019-2020 is the Nvidia Shield TV. It’s also available in a Pro version, and both come with Nvidia’s flagship Tegra X1 processor, Android 8.0 Oreo, and are capable of streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube in 4k UHD quality.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k is the best “easy set-up” and also cheapest android box. It is suitable for those who only want to watch movies and TV shows in 4k quality.

Wrapping It Up

As you can see, there are definitely a few things to look at when choosing your streaming box. Since some of them are pretty expensive, you certainly want to make sure you buy a device that lasts longer than a couple of months.

I hope these reviews were helpful and you now know which Android TV box is the best choice for you. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below.

Best Android TV Boxes in 2019 - 2020 5

About the author

Fred is a 30-year-old blogger who loves writing about new technologies, spending time outdoors, traveling, and music.He launched this website with Karen after growing tired of looking for reliable information about new products to buy.

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