How to choose an Android TV box low-cost

How to choose an Android TV box low-cost



You've probably crossed the corner of a sheet, a coupon or ticket, Android TV Box multiply and invade the salons of old Europe after conquering China. But how to navigate these particular products? How to find the right solution for your use?

Why talk about Android TV box Low-cost?
After testing the Nvidia shield  TV, probably the best TV Box Android Market, I received a lot of emails from readers interested in the concept but not enough to spend € 185 requested by Nvidia for its solution. Because they did not necessarily have the means to do first, because they did not want all the features of the other Shield. A solution under € 50 for a multimedia oriented mainly use seemed to be much more to their liking.

It also seems appropriate to take stock as the situation becomes critical in this market with great products available that a lot of solutions to avoid. Should take stock saved the day for novices.

How to choose an Android TV box Low-Cost?
First point to consider, how will you transfer data to your solution? Plug in a USB key or hard drive? Using Wifi? Via an Ethernet connection? Depending on your usage, you should choose the most suitable solution. In general, today, all the Android TV box offer a type of Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n sufficient to read content from a NAS, network drive or another machine. The proposed rate also will play movies from the Internet via Google Play, Netflix or Youtube or video streaming applications such as those offered by some TV channel.
The presence of an Ethernet port, 10/100 even make the same services and allow you to disconnect the wifi actiité your TV box. A solution that can be interesting to consider.
Finally, you can connect USB USB key or external hard drive on almost all the solutions on the market today. If the latter option is not preferred, it has the advantage of playing videos or personal pictures easily. Also note that an SD or MicroSD card reader can be useful for this purpose.

What choose hardware solution for decoding


 
The chips integrated on board each TV box are many and it is difficult to select one over another. In that moment, I clearly advise you to steer you to a Amlogic S905 solution has the advantage of being inexpensive, efficient and compatible with an important element of the world of Android media what the media player Kodi formerly known as name of XBMC.


Present at the heart of many solutions, this chip is not necessarily synonymous with quality within an Android TV box. Just because it takes that applications can draw proper part. The fact that Kodi is pre-installed on the machine is a good melt flow for multimedia use but it is not necessarily sufficient security. Many manufacturers tend to confuse the installation of the application and optimize it for their hardware. It may, for various technical reasons, a TV box with a chip Amlogic S905 can not take advantage of the functions of the latter in Kodi and only has very low performance. Usually the manufacturer delivers also its own video player that does not have all the qualities of a universal player. It may be limited in the formats supported or incompatible with some others. Other manufacturers use old version of Kodi, sometimes even abusively renamed Kodi XBMC, or variations encoded more or less correctly to support their chips. The latter option with a dual problem: It will not be updated and will not necessarily do as well as the original solution.

The concern is that it is very difficult to see the difference between a machine announced in a functional chip with an effective Kodi another that does not have a true optimization of its components. No manufacturer will specify that it has more or less cobbled together its software or such video format is not read correctly. At best it will fail to clear.

The easiest way is to turn to online tests, to users testimonials or videos of the machine in action. The fact of focus to chips Amlogic S905 is a good start but it is not a panacea in this complicated world.

The rest of the items on board the TV box is less important. 1GB of RAM is enough well to a video playback software to support the most complex formats, once your movie launched, one or two gigabytes will make more difference. The move to 2GB of RAM will allow heavier use and can be more fluidity in the use of your applications. Do not expect too take the opportunity to turn a TV box low cost in additional computer or game console, you would be quickly disappointed. The transition from theory to practice often meets ergonomic weakness of Android without touch support, controlled just with a remote control. With 2GB of ram you will however enjoy smoother transitions in interfaces especially complex extension in Kodi, additions that may be useful to sort and enjoy your data. These extensions are demanding more RAM for really fluid.

The storage is not an important factor for this type of solution, if the 8GB base some machines are clearly very fair, especially as the price gap with solutions 16GB may not be huge, it goes without saying that the use of this storage is usually very limited. The contents will be read mostly streamed or imported via USB. Store your movies on the craft has little interest knowing that the smallest piece of a PC on the same network directory can be seen and used by the TV box to come and pick your content. In parallel a NAS or network storage, this type of solution can certainly happen to use its local storage.

If you are interested in a solution 32 or 64 GB, it is usually for use evolved from the TV box, with the idea of ​​installing games or applications. It is doable, even quite amusing for some titles, provided you have at hand a USB or Bluetooth controller. But do not lose sight of the qualities of the chosen SoC, affordable chips as the S905 Amlogic are certainly suited to multimedia use but will not necessarily be more effective in terms of 3D. The other use of internal storage can be in the selection of films or images you want to always have on hand: Personal to spend with family photos or favorite movies and cartoons smaller that will appear immediately under Kodi without access to the rest of the network.

Last, to monitor the presence of a sufficient connection to enjoy the things you go decode. Able to read files UltraHD is one thing but if your Android solution does not know the show and is limited to a simple FullHD you will be quite disappointed with your purchase.

So check the presence of an HDMI 2.0 port minimum on your future TV box. Only this will ensure a distribution of your images UltraHD. If the seller or the manufacturer fails to clarify this point, it's probably because the solution is stuck in HDMI 1.4 and it can therefore broadcast in FullHD. This can be quite sufficient for your use but remains a perennial little option. The difference in price between an Android TV box that will carry a HDMI 2.0 connection and one HDMI 1.4 is only a few euros. Therefore prefer an investment in the longer term with this embedded option.The sound will pass through the HDMI, some Box will offer more analog audio output and / or S / PDIF optical and coaxial. You decide if an interest in your audio video solution.

Last points on this output processing, few Android Box with a real steering effective CEC, so do not look for that side unless you want to invest in a solution as the shield portable TV. Finally, little box, apart from the solution of NVIDIA would offer DRM management. DRM, you will not access certain content that are protected against copying. Netflix is ​​a good example, with a TV box without DRM management the service content is available but only in low definition, impossible to see movies in High Definition with gear under Amlogic classic S905 ...

What TV box then choose?
I have no answer to this question, especially as the models come in shambles right now and no response can be set in stone. I spotted some interesting models one in particular who seems to stick to all the above tips.





This is the Beelink MiniMXIII which is available currently at 44€ on GearBest. This TV Box embarks all the specifications of a good Android low cost solution. It is equipped with a SoC Amlogic S905 that will be able to handle any type of file, it comes with Kodi and builder told me it was a full version of the software. Its RAM climbs to 2 GB for comfort, storage is 16 GB expandable via a MicroSD card reader. The solution connects both with a type of WiFi 802.11b / g / n standard and Gigabit Ethernet. Its HDMI 2.0 format and is a S / PDIF optical output is available on its box.


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