With all the new devices on the market today, people can quickly become overwhelmed trying to pick the right ones.
It’s hard to know which devices you need, which ones you can do without, and which ones are the same as other similar devices.
If you’re asking yourself, “Do I need an Android box if I have a Smart TV?” then you’ve come to the right place for an answer.
You don’t necessarily need an Android Box if you have a smart TV. That’s because smart TVs connect to the internet and have multiple online and streaming apps built into them. And Android boxes often have the same streaming and online apps as Smart TVs. However, some Android Boxes come with extra features.
In this article, I’ll break down Smart TVs by their various operating systems.
I’ll also outline some of the most common features found on Android Smart TVs and units with other operating systems.
By the end of the article, you should have a better idea of whether or not you need both devices.
Do I Need an Android Box if I Have a Smart TV?
Whether or not you need both an Android box and a Smart TV depends on which features your TV has and which features you want.
Plenty of Smart TVs already use the Android operating systems, and those TVs should have most, if not all, of the same features you’d find on an Android box.
Smart TV Operating Systems
However, Android isn’t the only available operating system Smart TVs use.
Other Smart TV operating systems include:
- Amazon Fire
- Vidaa U
Different television brands use these various operating systems, and each one has its own specific features.
For example, the INSIGNIA 50-Inch Smart 4K UHD from Amazon.com is built on Amazon Fire. So, it connects directly to Amazon Video on startup.
The Panasonic 64.5” Smart LED-LCD TV from Amazon.com, on the other hand, uses the MyHomeScreen operating system, and it doesn’t provide users with access to Disney+.
For the longest time, Android Smart TVs didn’t allow you to access Hulu.
That changed in 2019, but until then, users of Android Smart TVs had to have a separate device to use their Hulu accounts.
Which TVs Use the Android Operating System?
The following television brands build their devices to work with Android:
If your Smart TV is one of these brands, you already have a TV that uses the Android operating system.
In that case, it’s unlikely that you’d need an Android TV box unless you have a “special circumstance,” such as one of the reasons I’ll talk about a little later on in this article.
What Features Do Android Smart TVs Have?
Android-based Smart TVs have tons of preloaded apps you can use, including all of the following:
- Disney+/Disney Channel
- Bloomberg TV
- HBO Now
Additionally, you can download plenty of other apps, including gaming apps like Minecraft or social media apps like Facebook, using the included Google Play Store app.
These are the same features included with an Android TV box.
Do Other Operating Systems Have the Same Features?
Except for TVs working with MyHomeScreen – mostly Panasonic units – most other operating systems have these same features.
What’s more, the other systems may not have the same apps pre-downloaded.
That means you may not see them when you first turn on the television, but you can still download them using whatever the equivalent of the Google Play Store is on each device.
In short, most Smart TVs provide users with access to the same apps and features.
Check out: What Do Smart TV Cameras Look Like? 4 Real Life Examples
So Why Would Anyone Need an Android Box?
Strictly speaking, you don’t need an Android Box if you already have a Smart TV.
However, the device could come in handy in a few scenarios.
You Prefer the Android Interface
Some people are creatures of habit.
They have Android phones, Android tablets, and they like the way Android looks.
They enjoy the user interface, and they know how to operate it without too much trouble.
For these people, it’s worth the additional cost to purchase an Android TV box so that they don’t have to learn to operate a totally new system.
They would have access to all of the same apps and features if they didn’t purchase the TV box.
However, since they’re already comfortable navigating around an Android device, they prefer to keep using a similar interface.
You Want Access to Jailbroken or Rooted Content
Initially, people used the term “jailbroken” exclusively when speaking about Apple products.
For example, an iPhone, iPad, or another iOS device could be jailbroken, allowing users to access apps and other software that would have usually been unavailable on the device.
The equivalent term for doing the same thing to an Android device is “rooted.”
Although “jailbroken” is used more often than “rooted,” the terms are now used almost interchangeably for devices using either of the two operating systems.
What Can I Do With a Jailbroken Android TV Box?
A jailbroken Android TV Box allows users to download apps like Kodi or Stremio.
These apps give users access to hundreds of thousands of movies and television shows they can watch without paying.
These movies and shows come from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+.
Many of them are still playing in theaters and haven’t been released on television or streaming platforms yet.
Is That Legal?
The answer to whether or not streaming movies and shows through apps like Kodi is legal varies depending on where you’re getting your information.
Technically, downloading an app like Kodi isn’t illegal.
However, third-party users upload much of the content that’s available on Kodi. (Remember Napster, back in the day? Kodi uses a similar principle, only it’s meant for visual media instead of audio.)
The uploading of some of this content is a violation of copyright laws, so you must be careful when using these types of apps on jailbroken devices.
Couldn’t I Just Jailbreak My TV?
In theory, yes, if you have a Smart TV, you can jailbreak it.
However, jailbroken devices open themselves up to all kinds of security threats and risks.
As a result, it’s easier for people to hack them. Having an inexpensive Android TV box destroyed by a malicious hacker isn’t the end of the world.
Having your $900 TV destroyed by that same hacker is another story entirely.
You Need More Up-to-Date Software
Another common reason for purchasing an Android TV Box is to upgrade your software.
Some users have older Smart TVs, and while most companies regularly provide updates for their older models, they eventually stop.
When that happens, you either have to purchase a new Smart TV or continue using your current TV without the updated apps. But there’s also a third option: buy a new Android TV Box.
Because TV Boxes are generally less expensive than new Smart TVs, many people choose to buy them instead.
It’s a relatively inexpensive way to keep receiving all of the latest updates without actually having to purchase a new Smart TV.
Read also: How Often Do Smart TVs Update Their Software? 5 Examples
You’re Looking for More Innovative Features
Finally, some people buy Android TV Boxes because they offer better features than a standard Smart TV.
For instance, some of them provide 4K Ultra HD with HDR viewing capabilities, while many Smart TVs don’t.
Although it isn’t an Android streaming box, Roku recently released a streaming device that also doubles as a soundbar.
If an Android TV Box offers a feature that you want but doesn’t have on your Smart TV, you might consider spending a little extra money for the box.
In short, Android TV boxes aren’t necessary if you already have a Smart TV.
However, there are plenty of compelling reasons to purchase one anyway.
Whether you’re hoping to view jailbroken content, need a cheaper way to update your apps, or just like the Android interface, an Android TV box might be something that could improve your overall viewing experience.
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