If you’ve decided to bring the power of Google to your TV, there’s a good chance that you’re looking for an Android TV device. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about your operating system. However, there are still plenty of options for you to consider. Here are our picks for the best Android TV boxes on the market.
We’ve done our best to spread the love in this post. It includes picks from a select few top manufacturers, each with its own set of pros and cons. You won’t necessarily get the full picture right here, but we have reviews for each device listed.
Buying the right Android TV device for your needs
Not all users come to the table with the same needs, and not all devices are created equally. You’ve already settled on Android TV, which takes that factor out of the equation. However, you’ll still want to pay careful attention to the remote control that comes bundled with your remote. Some are better than others, with more buttons and more comfortable designs.
You may also want to consider what you’ll use your device for. Like the Nvidia Shield TV, some are better for gaming, while others, like the TiVo Stream 4K, are great for live TV. Google Nest users will also probably find themselves drawn to the Google Chromecast with Google TV to keep things uniform.
Best overall: Nvidia Shield TV
Nvidia has long been known for its gaming chops, and now you can get a taste of them on your Android TV. It’s not the newest device on this list, having launched back in 2019, yet it remains the best example of Google’s operating system. The tube-shaped streaming device packs Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and AI-powered content upscaling into a $149.99 package.
Nvidia blended Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and AI upscaling to create the top Android TV device.
One of the more unique aspects of Nvidia’s device is the Toblerone-shaped remote. It’s unlike any others on the market, and it fits comfortably into your hand better than you might expect it to. The remote offers your standard array of controls and a dedicated Netflix button for good measure.
Even though Nvidia’s hardware is ticking towards two years old, the platform still receives regular updates. That means you’ll find support for all of your favorite streaming systems, and the Shield TV remains a top option for bingers and gamers alike. If you’re hoping for a few more advanced gaming options, you’ll have to splash out an extra $50 for the Nvidia Shield TV Pro.
- Still receives frequent updates
- Comfortable triangular remote
- Dolby support and upscaling
- On the expensive side
- Two year old hardware
Check out our full review to learn more about the Nvidia Shield TV.
Looking for other recommendations? While the Nvidia Shield TV is our top recommendation, keep reading below for other choices worth considering.
Other Android TV boxes worth considering
- Google Chromecast with Google TV: The latest Chromecast is one of the best media streaming devices out there. It comes with a slick new remote and sports the Google TV skin.
- Xiaomi Mi TV Stick: If you want to keep costs low, Xiaomi is the way to go. This stick keeps a low profile, though it tends to come with some lag under heavy stress.
- TiVo Stream 4K: For those of you not committed to cord-cutting, the Stream 4K is a winner. It packs great Sling TV integration, even if the UI seems to have a split personality.
- Xiaomi Mi Box S: The Mi Box S keeps the same simplified remote as the Mi TV Stick, adding better streaming quality to the mix. You’ll run into a few of the same shortcomings, but it’s the best Xiaomi device around.
Google Chromecast with Google TV: The best general streaming device
We gave the Google Chromecast with Google TV our title of the best media streaming device you can buy, and we stand by it. However, it’s only a close second when it comes to Android TV boxes. The Nvidia Shield TV performs better overall, which is why it takes the top spot. Google’s Chromecast with Google TV offers incredible value for your money, though, as you’ll only have to shell out $49.99 to bring it home.
When we refer to Google TV, we’re talking about Google’s new UI skin. Under the hood, the Chromecast with Google TV is still working with Android TV, and it offers all of the streaming platforms you could ask for. It even comes with Google’s first-ever Chromecast remote right there in the box. Unfortunately, the remote’s volume and input controls don’t always work with some TVs, so you may need to hold onto two remotes simultaneously.
- Comes with Google’s first remote
- Offers support for almost all streaming services
- Google TV skin is great
- No Google Stadia support
- Peripheral controls don’t always work
- Only one user profile per Chromecast
Check out our full review to learn more about the Google Chromecast with Google TV.
Xiaomi Mi TV Stick: A great way to save some money
The Mi TV Stick is a rarity among Xiaomi devices — it’s readily available in the United States. Even better, it’s a true value pick among Android TV boxes with a retail price of just $44.99. Both the remote and the stick are designed with simplicity in mind, offering just the controls you need to navigate Android TV. Mentioning the operating system, Xiaomi seems to have left it as close to stock as possible, making for a great experience.
However, it’s not all good news with the Mi TV Stick. This Android TV device is limited to 1080p streaming while most of the competition comes 4K-ready. The remote itself isn’t bad, but there are certainly better options out there. We like the Xiaomi mi TV Stick’s low profile design, but it’s not easy to justify over top of a more powerful device like the Chromecast with Google TV for $5 more.
- Affordably priced
- Simple, low profile design
- Nearly stock Android TV
- Limited to 1080p streaming
- Occasionally laggy processor
- Not the best remote, and no batteries included
Check out our full review to learn more about the Xiaomi Mi TV Stick.
TiVo Stream 4K: The best for live TV
TiVo built the Stream 4K to be a Chromecast killer, complete with a matching $49.99 price point. It offers one of the most powerful remotes on our list of Android TV devices, and it’s easily the best if you want to watch live TV. TiVo teamed up with Sling TV to bring plenty of live channels that you can surf with the remote’s NumPad. Overall, it’s a solid choice if you’re not entirely committed to cutting the cord.
On the other hand, TiVo seems to find itself in competition with Android TV. It added a second UI on top of Android TV, which essentially offers the same set of apps and features, just arranged differently. We wouldn’t mind it much as the only UI, but it can be confusing to switch between them. If you can choose between Jekyll and Hyde, you’re in for a solid streaming experience.
- Easy to set up
- Live Sling TV integration
- Large remote with plenty of buttons
- TiVo’s UI competing with Android TV
- Less appealing design
Check out our full review to learn more about the TiVo Stream 4K.
Xiaomi Mi Box S: A decent price and a bit more power
The last Android TV device on our list brings us back to Xiaomi with a kick. The Mi Box S is readily available again in the States and sticks with the familiar low-cost approach. You’ll only have to shell out $49.99 to add it to your smart home setup, and it brings 4K HDR support into the Xiaomi mix. The 4K HDR support is no joke, either; we found that it got pretty close to the Nvidia Shield TV in our testing.
Xiaomi’s Mi Box S also offers a clean Android TV skin, essentially skipping all of the add ons you find with the TiVo Stream 4K. The included remote bears the same simplified design as you’ll find with the Mi TV Stick, right down to the button layout. Unfortunately, you won’t get the necessary AAA batteries included in the box, and the device’s overall performance can be laggy under heavy loads.
- Excellent 4K HDR support
- Clean Android TV experience
- Reasonable price
- No batteries for the remote
- Laggy under heavy loads
- More expensive than the Chromecast with Google TV
Check out our full review to learn more about the Xiaomi Mi Box S.