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Streaming is on the rage right now. More than ever it has never been easy to catch up with your favorite TV shows. 52% of households in the U.S own up to 3 devices to stream videos to their TV sets.

There are tons of streaming devices in the market that provide smooth streaming of your favorite music and video files. With the numerous options available, it can be quite mind-boggling having to pick the ideal box for your TV.

A random TV box won’t make the cut. Here you can take a look at the best Chinese TV boxes. We feature a comprehensive guide to help you pick the right set-top box.

The Top of Mind Features to Consider when Buying a TV box

Are you going shopping for a new tv box? What are the must-have specs you can’t afford to ignore? This guide presents a list of features you should look out for in your next streaming device.

Service Gallery

TV boxes offer numerous streaming services to watch your favorite media. These streaming services are compressed into the interface of your smart TV as apps or buttons.

The streaming device allows you to download your favorite apps like Netflix, HBO, HULU or YouTube. Using your preferred streaming service, you can stream or download and watch your favorite music videos and series.

Choose a TV box that will allow you to access your favorite streaming services. If you are an HBO lover, you want to make sure your streaming device can connect you to HBO.

Keep in mind the service provider’s support services and warranty policy. Great support services are vital more so if you intend to keep the TV box for quite some time.

Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet Connection

Choose a TV box that is compatible with your home network. Does your streaming device rely on in-built Wi-Fi or you need a Wi-Fi adapter? Wi-Fi connects you to your home network without a wired connection. If your set-top box lacks inbuilt Wi-Fi, you will need to purchase a Wi-Fi adapter to connect you to the internet.

Some TV boxes rely on a wired Ethernet connection. Ethernet-enabled devices are faster and reliable in streaming quality HD videos. Ethernet is popular with gamers because of zero ping. You enjoy excellent gaming experience with swift reaction times. Speed is also consistent when downloading large files.

To watch a quality video with the Wi-Fi connection you need at least 802.11 ac. Wi-Fi tends to struggle with interference from environmental factors. Wi-Fi is superior to Ethernet in terms of speed. Wi-Fi speeds are up to 3200 Mbps while Ethernet speeds are limited to 1000 Mbps. unless you are a gamer, Wi-Fi connection is sufficient for everyday use.

File Compatibility

Go for a set-top box that can play the specific format of media files in your personal computer. If your music and video files are apple fashioned, your tv box should play back H.264 and AAC files. If your media is windows based, your media should play back WMV and WMA files. Check the specs of your tv box to confirm since not all devices are configured to play all formats.

Storage Space

Think of the internal storage of a tv box like the hard drive of a computer. It carries your internal files like apps, cache, thumbnails, and the Android OS. The Android OS occupies between 3 to 5 GB.

The market is flooded with 8 GB TV boxes and a few 32 GB boxes. The ideal TV boxes are those with 16 GB internal storage space. Most Android TV boxes are for streaming purposes. Unless you are downloading files for internal storage or you are a gamer, storage space is not such a big deal.

To be on the safe side, opt for 16 GB TV boxes. More than that and it’s a total waste of space. Instead get an external hard drive or flash drive.

Output Resolution

Many affordable TV boxes are flooding the market. Few offer high-resolution output via HDMI. Older versions and cheaper models are limited to 720p output which gives you poor image quality. For high-quality, media opt for set-top boxes between 1080p and 4k output via HDMI.

A 4k output is suitable for LCD or UHD TV and gives you maximum screen capabilities. You will need a VDSL connection. 5 to 7 Mbps is ideal for content in SD resolution. To stream content in high definition HD with zero interruptions, you need 10 to 24 Mbps. Your tv box should support at least 64 GB MicroSD card.

Processing Power and RAM

The processor and random access memory are vital when choosing a TV box. You should opt for a TV box with at least 2 GB ram and 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU. Memory is the engine of the OS.

More is better, but in this case, there is a limit to what is useful. Memory is the most significant value for your dollar. And more than 4g is a total waste. There are set up boxes with internal rams of up to 128 GB.

Android 5.1 lollipop (or greater)

When buying a new device, you expect it to come with the latest components, right? There are tons of devices in the market still running on android 5.0. Good luck with updating these devices.

You miss out service apps which require the newest android versions before installation. These android 5.0 Chinese boxes are rarely up to date. Buy an android 6.0 lollipop or better still an android 7.0 nougat. The advanced android run time (art) you give you high real-time performance.

USB 3.0 Devices

USB 3.0 devices have speeds averaging 10x faster than USB 2.0. They are ideal for charging and give you twice as much the power handling capacity compared to USB 2.0.  If you are using devices such as a keyboard, microphone, speakers and SD-card adapter which do not rely on speed, USB 2.0 is more than enough.

If you are a gamer or plugging in an external flash drive to stream movies you want at least one USB 3.0 port on your streaming device, or else you’ll have to contend with slow USB speeds and low-quality videos.

Bottom line:

Even though there are many options for tv boxes in the market. With each having unique features and capabilities some offer superior qualities than others. How do you choose the ideal tv box? Which specs are a must-have? When you consider the aspects covered in this article and of course your budget you will make a suitable choice.

There are several options for set-top boxes in the market. Each device has unique features and capabilities with some offering superior qualities than others.

Making the right pick can be a source of headaches for most buyers. Keep in mind what your needs are to make the right choice.

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