The 10 Best TV Boxes – January 2018
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Learn More About TV Boxes
First of all, you should know that a TV Box is actually a type of mini-computer that can be connected to a TV Monitor through an HDMI cable. Once connected, a user can transform any monitor or TV monitor into a Smart TV without having to break the bank or sell the house.
The first big company to launch this service was actually Apple, with their Apple TV Box. Once the online streaming sites like Netflix and Pandora started to gain more new customers it was only a matter of time for other brands to start producing various types with a wide range of features.
Today, TV Boxes are powerful and even support 4K video resolution which is a huge improvement. Read on to see why and if it is worth to invest in a high-quality TV Box.
Smart purchase: understand the differences between top TV Boxes on the market
As a consumer it is only normal to want to purchase the best products on the market, regardless of the niche. Sadly, this is easier said than done. Each niche has a wide variety of products that implement a series of advanced features creating confusion among consumers.
The same thing happens with TV Boxes right at the very moment. If a consumer would be interested to buy one of the top TV Boxes on the market, would he/she know which type and model to choose? Well, it is difficult to say considering that TV Boxes are divided in 3 main categories, each category having its specific models. These 3 main categories are as follows:
- Traditional TV Boxes that respect the rectangular shape
- TV Boxes that look like a bigger stick and can be easily confused with one
- TV Boxes that combine the characteristics and features of a mini-laptop and a tablet
There are two main differences between these three categories and these are size and portability.
Traditional TV Boxes
This category usually contains the best TV Boxes as there is enough space inside the case to fit a fantastic hardware configuration. Thus, in this category a user can find products that are equipped with Octa Core processors, lots of RAM memory and high-quality GPUs, and high speed internet connectivity. Also, the storage space can be extended by connecting an external hard disk.
The main problems these TV Boxes have are their size and the control mode. They can be a bit bulky and this doesn’t usually fit with an elegant indoor setting. Still, they can be easily hidden besides furniture and in drawers. But now the second problem arises: most of them are controlled using an IR remote. This type of remote requires line of sight with the sensor, so if the remote can’t actually see the device, it will not work.
Stick TV Boxes
Products in this category have the advantage of size and most of them implement a WiFi controller that doesn’t require line of sight. Their main problem is getting proper ventilation (given their size) and this usually leads to thermal throttling which leads to low performance. Besides this, they tend to pack the same hardware configurations and are more portable.
Mini-PC TV Boxes
Products in this category seem to have everything: from a high-resolution touch screen to a powerful configuration and amazing connectivity speeds. Still, most of them lack portability and they are poorly cooled so they tend to overheat. If you are the type of user who doesn’t ever want to take the TV Box outside the house, this may be a good product for you.
Why should I buy a top rated TV Box?
TV Boxes are a pretty advanced piece of equipment and they promise to evolve even more. With the new Chinese competitors entering the European and American market, the prices are dropping and features are more and more complex, in order to offer the user a better and memorable experience. Still, the prices with the top TV Boxes, produced by top names on the market remain pretty steep. So why should a user consider buying a top TV Box over a Chinese product that offers the same characteristics?
The support service
A top rated TV Box is most likely created by a reliable producer who knows that offering support for the product after the purchase is just as important as selling the product. This is why some of the high-quality TV Boxes are more expensive. If you are a user from Europe and you buy a TV Box produced by the Chinese producer PIPO, where would you call in case of a malfunction? No one can assure you that the customer support is going to be responsive.
The science of materials has also evolved with the rapid development of technological products like smartphones and tablets. Still, a high quality plastic, that won’t break at the first more powerful shock, is more expensive and this is shown in the final price of the product.
The hardware & software configuration
A top rated TV Box will definitely implement an efficient hardware configuration that handles periods of intense usage very well. This is where a low-quality TV Box would overheat and start tripping by either displaying errors or freezing during functioning.
The connectivity speed
Given the fact that most TV Boxes are used to access video and audio streaming services like Netflix and Pandora, a fast internet connection is absolutely necessary. These days, all the top TV Boxes are equipped with both Bluetooth 4.0 and high speed WiFi.
Unlimited access to any type of content
Most low quality TV Boxes are equipped with either proprietary operating systems or an edited, limited version of the original OS. This limits the possibilities a user has to access the Internet just like when operating a PC or a laptop and confines him/her in using only the accepted apps and video content.
The possibility to connect other devices
Each TV Box offers the possibility to connect other devices like a keyboard, a mouse or an entire hard disk. These make the operation of the device easier and the navigation more fun. They are also equipped with various types of remote controls that help the user select apps and programs from the distance.
Features to consider in choosing the best TV box
Given the fact that we live in the new technology era, TV boxes have become very popular among people who own one or more TV Monitors. These boxes are portable, accessible as price and pretty great to have around. Because there is a wide variety of TV Boxes available on the market, users should know and understand the features that differentiate a regular TV Box from a high-quality one.
The hardware potential
The best TV Boxes nowadays are equipped with powerful processors and advanced GPUs in order to offer a fantastic experience. So, the best way to choose a great TV Box is to take a look at the hardware specifications. Make sure that the box you choose packs at least a Quad Core processor that runs at around 1.5 to 2 GHz. Also, the GPU must be able to display at least Full HD videos if not 4K ones (most top TV Boxes support 4K).
Storage Space and RAM memory
The RAM memory is important because it is the element that helps the box run smoothly, so the more it’s got the better. Also, the storage space is important. Usually, a high-end product would be equipped with about 16GB of storage space and at least 2GB DDR3 of RAM. It also helps if other storage devices can be connected to the box in order to extend the available space.
TV Boxes are connected to the TV Monitor using an HDMI connector and they don’t need to be mounted as they are usually pretty small. A high-quality TV Box must be easy to disconnect, pack in your luggage and re-connect to a new destination.
In this area, TV Boxes are usually divided in two: those that run a clean operating system and those that run proprietary software. The ones that run a clean version of software are more permissive and will allow the user to completely transform their TV Monitor into a Smart TV. The user will have access to apps, internet browsers, the home network and more.
Ease of use and installation
The TV Box should be easy to install, or at least follow the installation instructions. Also, it should be easy to use once the installation is completed. Each product will be delivered with a user manual, but the process should be intuitive.
Most TV Boxes follow a traditional, rectangular shape and a one-color style. The latest technological discoveries allowed producers to change this and create new and exciting shapes and colors that occupy far less space and are more impressive in terms of design. Still, this doesn’t mean that smaller is better so, the classical TV Boxes are still the most popular on the market.