Update: We have updated several points in this article, as well as the structure, to make it easier for you to read. We have dedicated a section to Chromecast with Android TV as a perfect device to turn a normal television into a powerful Smart TV.
Smart TVs can enjoy Android apps and features thanks to the adaptation of the operating system for smart TVs, but what about old TVs that can’t run it?
thinking of them, Google created a new Android device that can work autonomously and with which it is possible to access all that entertainment in a simple way by connecting it to any type of screen. This is how the Android TV Box or Smart TV.
When we talk about Android TV, there are usually many doubts since the name can be misleading. Both the Smart TV platform built into Android-based televisions and Android-based external multimedia devices use the same name. They are all Android TV. The key is found in the surname that perfectly defines its use: Box.
Literally, the Android TV Box or Smart TV Box are devices with Android TV in a box so that you can connect it to any screen with HDMI and “unpack” its functions, while, if it is only Android TV, the system will be installed on the television and will directly manage the entire entertainment platform without you needing to connect any additional device.
Next, we will tell you what is Android TV, what is it for, how to get this operating system for tv and why the android tv box They are quite a revolution.
Android TV vs Smart TV
What is AndroidTV?
First things first: before launching into explaining the strengths and weaknesses of Android TVwe are going to describe what is android tv exactly.
As its name suggests, it is a television service based on the same Android that is installed on smartphones, but with some adaptations to make its use more comfortable on certain devices that do not have a touch screen, such as the case of a monitor or television.
When connect an Android TV Box to a monitor or TV that does not have Smart TV functionsthe Android TV Box or Smart TV box acts as a bridge so that you can access these connected functions, allowing you to install apps from the Google application store to watch Netflix or YouTube series when connecting your television to the Internet.
However, Android TV is much more than just a couple of streaming video consumer apps. It is a complete operating system optimized for televisions that allows us to install applications on the device as if it were a mobile.
Habitually, Android TV is based on the latest version of Android available at that time and it has a specific interface to be used from a remote control or from a keyboard and mouse.
In addition, the processing of each and every one of the data is done directly in the SoC (system on chip) included in the motherboard of the television or in the Android TV Box. In a few words, it is as if you attached the motherboard of a mobile to a television, to understand us in a few words.
before seeing What are the advantages of Android TV? and why televisions are smarter thanks to Android TVwe must see what options we have and what we need to achieve a good experience with this system.
What do I need to have Android TV
now that we know what is android tv and why it can give you so much joy to lovers of on-demand content, it’s time to see how can you have android tv on your tv. If you have tried to find how to install Android TV on your Smart TV, we regret to tell you that you cannot do it if it is not factory installed on your television.
However, that does not mean that you cannot use Android on your TV: you still have different options if you want have android tv on tv. The most basic and simple is connect a Chromecast to your TV.
Chromecast is a cheap solution to have Android TV since the latest model that the big G has launched comes with the integrated operating system and makes it easier for your television to have it.
You also have to choose one of these three options:
- android tv player: The Nexus Player was an attempt by Google to compete against Apple and its Apple TV device, and was the first Android TV Box capable of bringing Android TV to non-Smart TVs. With a device of this style, like the Nokia Streaming Box, for example, you will be able to turn any TV into a Smart TV with Android TV.
- Nvidia ShieldTV: Another option to have Android TV is to opt for the Nvidia player that, in addition to Android TV, allows us to play certain games in streaming (as long as we pay the subscription, of course). On Amazon, Nvidia Shield TV is available.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick: although with Amazon’s own customization layer, we can say that this device offers us the same thing, but all from the point of view of the largest online store in the world. Android is also what you will see in the image, even if it doesn’t seem like it, being able to perform the same tasks that you would do in any of the other examples.
- Television with Android TV: There are different manufacturers that have opted for Android TV to manage their Smart TV platform, such as Sharp, Philips or Sony, which opt for televisions with the Android TV operating system. It is the most comfortable way to enjoy Android TV, since it is directly implemented on the television and you do not have to buy a separate device or use another HDMI (which is so popular in the living room among consoles, PCs, and other devices).
In addition to this, you need to have an Ethernet cable connected to your television, although you can also connect it via WiFi.
For this reason, it is more than recommended to have a broadband connection and a good location for television, guaranteeing that the signal arrives correctly so that streaming video content does not suffer cuts or drops in resolution, which are very annoying when you consume content. on sizable Full HD and 4K displays.
The power of Google on television
When we have Android TV on a television, it becomes a device with a number of options and applications that make it so extremely versatile that it will even be difficult to get the most out of it.
Google TV is, after all, as if we had Android, but on a television, which gives you an idea of how far you can go with this operating system and the number of options that are presented before your eyes, not just platforms streaming, but in many more areas.
It is clear that having Google TV on a television, either through an external device or because it is installed from the factory, is an incredible revolution compared to a normal television and a good step forward with respect to other competitors with other operating systems.
Kodi, that great ally to consume content
The history of Kodi is still curious since it was born as an operating system to manage the multimedia content of the xbox consoles from Microsoft.
In fact, its previous name was XBMC (Xbox Media Center) and it was adapted to be used as a multimedia center in living room computers (Home Theater Personal Computer). Later changed its name to Kodia free and open source software project that any user can use.
Currently, Kodi is one of the best media center type applications. It reads all kinds of formats, allows you to create a private network and, what’s more, we can expand it practically as we want thanks to add-ons.
The best thing is that you don’t have to do anything weird to install kodi on android tv; since it is an application that is in the Google Store. And yes, where we say Kodi, we can also say Plex to mount a local server at home.
Games and apps on Android TV
Android TV or Smart TV Box it also offers us something quite juicy: the possibility of installing games and applications on your Android TV or Android TV Box.
Android is becoming more and more powerful as a gaming platform and there is a huge variety of games that you can install on your television with Android TV or on your Android TV Box. Did you imagine that you could turn your TV into a complete game console? Well Android TV has made it possible!
Playing on Android is increasingly important, companies take this section very seriously and we are seeing more and more quality games on mobile phones.
This opens two possibilities for play video games on your tv: Either you install the game on your mobile by running it from it and sending the image to the television, or directly install compatible games on your Android TVand that you can play without having to have your mobile nearby.
Also, you can connect different types of game controllers to the TV or mobile, similar to what we have on consoles to enjoy games on TV without… well, without the console. It’s not that they’re games to spend hundreds of hours on, as happens in other systems, but to get rid of the itch and have fun for a while, they’re perfect.
Also, being Android, we can install other types of applications that are not in the Android TV Google Store. The only thing we need for this is to have the application’s apk installation file, a file explorer and activate unknown sources on the TV. Exactly the same as you would do on your mobile
The problem is that, if it is not a native Android TV application, the interface will not be adapted and you will need to connect a keyboard or a mouse to be able to navigate. Once this problem has been solved, we can use it without any problem, as long as the app is compatible with the television’s hardware. Something that happens exactly the same as on mobile phones.
Now, Do you know what Android TV is? and what you can do with this type of system, it is up to you to assess whether it is worth investing in a television or a device to turn your TV into an Android TV… or continue using Chromecast.
Chromecast with Android TV
When it comes to transforming any television into a Smart TV, the fastest way to achieve it has been to have a Chromecast and a released model is the most effective solution: Google Chromecast 2020.
With a new design, this device that has a new layer of Android TV customization It integrates the best functions to be able to enjoy all the content you want on practically any television.
It is a Chromecast that is available at Various colors and that it can be chosen in two configurations where they differ by resolution, since one of them is 4K and the other HD.
Thanks to having the operating system for Google televisions you will be able to manage the applications of your favorite streaming platforms like Netflix or Disney+in addition to being able to install other types of applications such as podcasts, radio or whatever you want.
This does not mean that the ability to send content from the phone has been lost, not in the least, even with this Chromecast you can control smart home devices, not only what has to do with Android TV.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism