There are a number of advantages to adding the power of Google Android to your TV. The most obvious is video. In addition to a number of apps that will play your own videos, if you have a Netflix account or Hulu Plus account you can stream HD movies and shows directly to your TV. And then there’s YouTube, and all the video on demand services as well. Plus, you can show off your pictures on the big screen. With some devices, you’ll even be able to play games. Best of all, it costs less than you might think.
How do you get an Android TV? It’s quite simple, and as easy to set up as plugging in an HDMI cable. Below we’ve found some of the best devices. In most cases you simply need to plug the device into your TV, set up your wireless network, install the apps you want, and you’re ready to go. Because it’s Android, there’s not much difference in the functionality of each device. Almost all the devices are HD capable. The biggest differences are 1) some devices must be used with a mouse and keyboard, while some have remote controls (and some remotes have keyboards built in) 2) some devices are 3D capable while others are not 3) a few devices allow you to connect to the internet via an Ethernet connection, and 4) storage space varies.
So have a look below and see which devices fit your budget, and start thinking what you could do with Android on your TV. The websites at the links all ship internationally and have free shipping.
MINIX NEO X5 Android 4.0 Dual-Core 1.6GHz Quad-Core GPU 1GB/16GB Mini PC Android TV Box with WiFi, Bluetooth, SD Expansion Slot
At $121, this device is the most expensive of the the lot, this one also has the largest memory. It has a simple remote control, but you’ll need to plug in a keyboard to use it easily. With the addition of Bluetooth, you can connect them wirelessly, and you may be able to connect a Bluetooth audio device as well. This device also supports 3D gaming, and has an Ethernet port. There is also an OTG micro USB port into which, using an adapter, you can plug in a USB drive.
Click the link for 10 more options:
With its nice thumb operated keyboard and touchpad, this device may be the best bargain of the lot at $89. It’s lacking in that it only has a 1GHz processor but it has a fairly standard 4GB storage drive.
The same device as above with a different keyboard and a slightly lower price, $85.
Not much different from the device above, the keyboard included with it has a trackball. This one does not plug directly into the TV, you’ll need an HDMI cable. It’s significantly cheaper at $76.
Mini Xplus Allwinner A10 1.2GHz 1GB RAM, 4GB Android 4.0 Smart TV Box with WiFi AV-out, HDMI, Remote Controller
With a slight bump up in price (to $85) and processor speed, the Xplus may have better WiFi pickup with its external antenna. The Allwinner A10 processor isn’t top of the line, but it’s standard in many Chinese made tablets. This TV box had two USB ports and also features an AV out port for older, non-HDMI TVs. It will work with some USB webcams to function with Skype. Includes a basic remote control.
FreeLander AP10 Android 4.0 Dual-Core 1.6GHz 1GB/16GB Mini PC Android TV Box with WiFi, Bluetooth, Air Mouse
This device, made by long term Chinese device-maker FreeLander, is your best budget for storage. At $83 for 16GB of storage space, you’ll have plenty of room for movies and music. This TV box comes with a basic remote and has a full sized USB port for a keyboard. You can also use a Bluetooth mouse/keyboard with the included Bluetooth adapter.
This sleek Android TV box had dual USB ports, an Ethernet port, and AV-out for older TVs. The remove looks at though it may have a trackpad, but no information is provided in the description. With a slower processor than other boxes (1.2GHz), this device drops the price to $71.
MINIX NEO G4 Android 4.0 Dual-Core 1.6GHz Quad-Core GPU 1GB/8GB Mini PC Android TV Box with WiFi, HDMI, TF Card Slot
Small and fast, this Android Mini PC stick is small and quick. It has a mini-USB port, but no remote is included. It’s yours for $80.
This Android TV box only runs 2.3, so it may not run certain apps. It should run the most popular video apps, though. It also has only 2GB of storage. The only reason I’m including it is that it’s your cheapest option if you need an Ethernet (non-WiFi) connection at $70. It also comes with a decent remote and an SD card slot.
Android 4.1 RK3066 Dual-core 1.6GHz Quad-core GPU 1GB/8GB Mini PC Android TV Box with WiFi HDMI Bluetooth
The fastest stick of the Android Mini PC models, this $69 device comes with a nice 8GB of storage space. No remote, though. It comes with an adapter cable to plug in a mouse or keyboard. There’s also a slot for a miniSD card.
This Android Mini PC stick looks much like some of the sticks above, but without the keyboard. This one is the cheapest at $50, grab it and plug in a keyboard and mouse if you’re on a budget.