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How to Choose a new Android TV Box

So, you've decided to look into getting yourself an Android TV Box. An excellent choice if we may say so! You'll be joining the ranks of an ever-expanding revolution of South African and worldwide users that see the real-world benefits of taking their Home Entertainment online. Enough waffling though, let's get started!



The question that we get asked most on a daily basis is, "With so many makes and models available, how do I choose the right the TV Box for me?" It seems like a straight forward enough question, but providing an adequate answer depends on establishing a couple of base-points from the prospective user before we can properly advise them further. It's also unfortunately not as easy as it all sounds on the surface of it all.


“Choosing the right Android TV Box for your own personal needs can be a tricky business. There is information that you need to be aware of before purchasing. Contact us for advice and further assistance if you are unsure.”

The first piece of advice that we always give to customers is, "Decide what your specific needs are and work from there." This will inevitably determine the type of Android TV Box best suited to your requirements, as you weigh up the pros and cons of each type available on the market against your needs. For example, "What is your budget?", "Do you require Mainstream Streaming APP's on the devices?" (DStv Now, ShowMax, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.) "Do you require being able to seamlessly and automatically update your APP's using Google services?" As you see it can all get quite tricky, technical and overwhelming - quite fast! With that said, let's dive into what you should take into account when choosing a new Android TV Box.


What You Need to Know


There are three (3) basic types available on the market today. They range quite significantly in price, hardware specifications and software capabilities. Here are the main differences between them in order of hardware quality, end-user cost and device capabilities.


1. Genuine Google Certified

2. Firmware Modified

3. Non-Certified


1. Genuine "Google Certified" Android TV Boxes


Genuine Google Certified devices, as the name suggests have been officially certified by Google. As you may have noticed from your own investigations - these devices are typically more expensive, but generally have better quality hardware components. Google charges manufacturers for the certification, which in-turn gets added to the end-users final purchase cost. You do get all the benefits of Google's seamless integration of it's services for your money.


PROS : The upside of these devices is that they do support all official Google PlayStore APP's, official versions of the Android TV operating system and all of Google's peripheral services. These Android TV Boxes do ensure a future hassle-free user and streaming experience as they are compliant with all the major mainstream streaming services, APP's and Google's services.


CONS : They downside is that they are nearly double the price of a similar or higher hardware-spec Non-Certified device. You do see the value from a user perspective though, so it's worth the additional cost in our view.


OUR RECOMMENDATION : If you aren't very tech-proficient and require using/updating APP's like the DSTV Now, ShowMax, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime on your device from the Google PlayStore indefinitely, we strongly recommend purchasing a Google Certified Android TV Box. The above mentioned APP's all require the Google certification in order to function, operate and update successfully. Therefore, genuine Google Certified will always be the best possible purchase that you could make. (See Mediabox or MeCool.)


2. Firmware Modified "Certified" Android TV Boxes


A software modification has been applied to these devices, so as to appear to Google that the certification exists and is genuine. They have basically been "Cracked" by means of firmware changes or tweaks that were installed by suppliers post-leaving the factory.


PROS : The upside with these is that they are obviously much cheaper than the genuine articles and function nearly as well with the modified software. Firmware Modified Google Certified devices also support most official Google PlayStore APP's, as well as official versions of the Android TV operating system.


CONS : The downside is that they are not genuine Google Certified. Why does this matter? If using/updating APP's like the DSTV Now, ShowMax, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime on your device from the Google PlayStore is a primary concern, then Firmware Modified devices will also do the job. They may however, experience future limitations. Google may discover the "Crack" and take steps to restrict the devices access to it's PlayStore and other peripheral services. This will mean that functionality and updates to certain APP's will cease rendering them unusable thereafter. Thus, these devices are significantly cheaper than genuine Google Certified devices, because their certification is not genuine and could potentially expire at some stage.


OUR RECOMMENDATION : If you are slightly more tech-proficient and still require using/updating APP's like the DSTV Now, ShowMax, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime APP's, on your device from the Google PlayStore, but budget is your main driving factor then one of these devices would be the logical choice. These are the second best purchase that you could make. (See X96, TX3 or MXQ.)


3. Google "Non-Certified" Android TV Boxes


As the name suggests, these devices have not been officially certified by Google, nor have they had any "Crack" software tweaks or modifications applied to them by any suppliers or distributors post leaving the factory.


PROS : The upside with these is that they are much cheaper than genuine Google Certified or Firmware Modified Certified Android TV Boxes and you do get much better hardware specifications for your money. Albeit, on potentially lower quality hardware components.


CONS : The downside with these is they will not support any Google PlayStore APP's, nor official versions of the Android TV operating system or any of Google's peripheral services. You also need to be quite tech proficient in order to install or update your APP's from un-official APP Stores on the internet. These devices do not support DSTV Now, ShowMax, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.


OUR RECOMMENDATION : If using and updating APP's like DSTV Now, ShowMax, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime from the Google PlayStore isn't a concern for you, one of these devices would be the logical choice. These are the third best purchase that you could make and are best suited for use only with IPTV and peripheral services/APP's, for users not using any mainstream streaming services or APP's and/or for some business related purposes. (See TX3.)


Conclusion


We hope that this has been an informative post that helps you choose your next Android TV Box wisely. As always we're open to your questions, comments and/or concerns and look forward to being of service to you soon!


The MyDroidBox Team


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