What is Android TV? It is a smart TV platform introduced by Google. In other words, it is a version of Android OS that is specifically designed to work on a TV or you can look at it as Google’s version of Apple TV. It has been around for a few years now and the current version of Android TV is actually pretty good with great features like voice search. How do you get Android TV? You can either purchase a TV with Android TV support or purchase a set top box like the Mi TV Box that adds Android TV support to just about any flat screen TV.
Surprisingly, there aren’t many Android TV set top boxes available currently. Do not be confused by the myriad of Android set top boxes that are commonly sold. These are just set top boxes that run on a version of the Android OS for smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, you cannot install Android TV on such devices. If you go to the official Android TV site, you will only find 3 official Android TV boxes and one of them is the Mi TV Box.
If you are unfamiliar with Android TV, it is one of the easiest and best ways to add smart TV capabilities to your TV. While internet enabled smart TVs are no longer expensive, not all smart TVs are made the same. Some have horrible interfaces that are almost impossible to navigate using a TV remote. Others are mind numbingly slow and take ages to respond to your inputs.
Android TV is designed to run quickly and work well with a TV remote. While the Mi TV Box runs on Android TV which is a version of Android, not all apps run on it due to difference in hardware between a TV and a smartphone or tablet. The biggest difference is the lack of a touchscreen on a TV. Nonetheless, many apps do run on the Mi TV Box including the ones that really matter on a TV like Netflix, YouTube, Plex, Spotify and Pandora.
One of the biggest problems with navigating on a TV using a remote is the lack of a proper keyboard. For example, if you want to search for a particular video on YouTube or a movie on Netflix, you will probably end up pecking out the title using an on-screen keyboard. This is both tedious and prone to errors. The Mi TV Box comes with a remote that has a built-in microphone. To search for your favorite movie, all you have to do is say it out. Most of the time, it works pretty well and is much, much faster than using the remote.
The Mi TV Box is not just great for watching video and listening to music. It can also be used for playing games. Quite a number of games on the Google Play Store do actually work well on the device although some may require the addition of a Bluetooth game controller or two (for multiplayer games). A full list of supported games can be found here.
If you have yet to jump aboard the smart TV bandwagon yet, the Mi TV Box is both a budget friendly and easy way to join in the fun.