How Android TV Box Mini PCs work

To make any TV (even non-Smart) multimedia immediately, we have repeatedly recommended the Chromecast, the Google device capable of projecting what you see on your smartphone via compatible apps onto the TV.
But if we wanted a device on which to install our favorite multimedia apps or streaming apps, without going through a PC connected via Chromecast, what can we use "> Best Android TV BOX
1) Low cost and high performance
What we like about Android TV Boxes is that they are relatively cheap, especially those of Chinese origin (there are also very expensive TV Boxes like the NVIDIA Shield, mainly thought of as a more expensive game console).
With less than 70 Euros for example we can buy the Xiaomi Mi BOX on Amazon, according to many the best TV Box in circulation at the moment.

This TV Box has a Quad-Core processor, 2GB of RAM, 8GB internal memory, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1, support for 4K HDR resolution and Android MIUI.
This small TV Box connects to our TV via HDMI cable and you can conveniently control it with the supplied remote control, also equipped with voice commands (to open apps and type addresses with your voice); alternatively we can buy a mini wireless keyboard or use the same phone as a remote control (as we will show you later).
2) Installation of any app and APK
Compared to the Chromecast, we can install all the multimedia apps that we want to exploit on a TV Box, so that we can manage them without always having the phone in our hands.
Among the recommended apps that we can install through the integrated store (or already present by default in the original equipment of the TV Box) we find:
- Kodi
- Plex
- Firefox
- Chrome
- YouTube
- Netflix
- Amazon Prime Video
- RaiPlay
All apps that we normally find on Smart TV but that in this case we can take advantage of for a long time, given that they receive the same updates released for Android smartphones (on Smart TVs instead the manufacturer manages the updates. If we want to install the apps available as APK, with an Android TV Box we can do it without any problem, since the installation from unknown sources is often already unlocked, we will only have to download our APKs from the browser or load them onto a stick and read them from the TV Box file manager .
Among the apps pre-installed or to be installed immediately we could not mention Kodi, with all its plug-ins and installable extensions it is without a shadow of a doubt the best app to be exploited on a TV Box! We can deepen the discussion on Kodi by reading our dedicated guide available below.
READ ALSO -> Guide to get started with Kodi: configuration and content addition
3) Video games
We can use the TV Box to play Android video games on the TV screen. All recent TV Boxes have good graphics capabilities and are capable of running many games even in 3D. Unfortunately some games ask to turn or tilt the device (like running ones that ask for the movement of the smartphone) so they won't work. Furthermore, even if the hardware is capable of reproducing 3D graphics, the control system is not so good (because it is not a touchscreen). To remedy this we can use a remote control app, as I will show you in the next chapter.
4) Remote control with DroidMote Server
To really express the potential of the TV Box in the best way, even for playing games, we recommend installing the DroidMote Server (paid) app on our miniPC, downloadable from here -> DroidMote Server .
Thanks to root permissions (already unlocked on many TV Boxes), we will be able to control the TV Boxes with our smartphone and even play, using the convenient virtual joypad offered by the app.
To control the TV Box via smartphone we will have to install the sister app, called DroidMote Client and available here -> DroidMote Client .
5) Playing files on the home network (DLNA)
If we have installed DLNA servers on the home network, we can read our multimedia collection using Kodi or any other app that can read network streams. In this way, we no longer have to manually move the downloaded films and TV series, but we can immediately play them in the living room via the TV Box.
READ ALSO -> Guide to DLNA servers
6) Conclusions
In conclusion, the TV Boxes offer many advantages over the Chromecast or other similar sticks: they can be used as a local and independent media center, suitable for playing streaming content from the internet and adding support for Android apps on any TV (Smart and not Smart). Honestly, since the cost is low, I would recommend the TV Box to anyone who has never had a media center, who do not have a laptop or tablet to connect to the TV or have a TV with HDMI but without any functionality modern multimedia: you will not be disappointed!
If you are a geek and love to experiment with new things, we recommend that you build your TV Box yourself, using the Raspberry PI with a dedicated Linux distribution: there will be greater satisfaction and potential in making the most of these small devices. For video streaming from the Internet or through dedicated platforms we can always connect the old laptop with Windows or take advantage of Miracast to add the TV as an additional screen for Windows (always if the TV supports Miracast).
READ ALSO -> Connect mobile phone or tablet to TV (Android, iPhone or iPad)

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