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Not all Smart TVs are made equal; it’s sometimes a compromise between great specs or a comprehensive OS.

An Android TV box can address some of these issues; simply plug it into your existing TV and you’ll get full Android TV OS functionality.

Of course, it’s not always a clear-cut upgrade, which is why in this article, we’ll be talking about the Android TV box VS Smart TVs, and figure out which option is better for you!

Let’s dive right in.

What is a Smart TV?

Smart TVs are high-resolution, flat-screen televisions with internet functionality and connectivity, and are essentially Smartphones or tablets on a much bigger screen.

As such, you can use them to connect to social media, watch your favorite streaming services, or even use voice commands to search for items on the net.

Of course, there are also different operating systems, which can range from the ubiquitous Android OS to other offerings such as webOS or Tizen.

For a brief overview of what your standard, high-quality smart TV should have, check out this page by World Wide Stereo here.

What Is An Android TV Box?

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro Android 9.0 Pie Smart Android TV Box
The Nvidia Shield TV Pro – An Android TV Box

An Android TV Box is a device that you can connect to any television set (so long as it’s a relatively recent model).

You can consider it to be a portable Smart TV, with all the usual features as mentioned above.

More specifically, however, Android TV Boxes run on the well-established Android OS, which means it has access to the Google Play Store, Google Assistant, and Chromecast.

A quick explanation of the Android TV OS

One of the major benefits of the Android OS is the frequent developer updates and app support, so you’re streaming apps can consistently work into the future (I.e. future proofed).

Android TV Box VS Smart TV

When it comes to the question of an Android TV Box VS a Smart TV, you can’t directly compare the two as they’re completely different devices.


You should think of the TV box as an additional device you can attach to your TV, such as a gaming console.

This means that unless you already have a regular or Smart TV present, getting an Android TV Box isn’t going to do you any favors.

However, if you’re dissatisfied with the built-in OS of your Smart TV, or simply want Smart TV functionality on an older generation screen:

Getting an Android TV box is a great economic investment, as you won’t have to spend money on a whole other TV for software upgrades.

Do I Need An Android TV Box If I Have A Smart TV?

If the Smart TV you own has amazing specs but a generic OS, getting an Android TV box can make it a more well-rounded package.

Android TV Box Benefits Over A Base Smart TV

Android Box With A Smart TV
Android Box With A Smart TV – Image Credits To Jonas Leupe (Unsplash)

On the other hand, there are multiple advantages of pairing an Android TV box with a base-level Smart TV!

1. Speed And Performance

Having a dedicated Android TV Box running the OS ensures that you’ll have a smoother, faster, and more responsive experience.

This means faster load times for apps, as well as less lag when scrolling through the UI in comparison to the built-in OS.

You’ll also be able to run more intensive apps, such as games, due to the TV Box’s dedicated CPU and GPU, which is something a base smart TV may struggle with.

2. Extensive App Library

While you may be limited to a handful of proprietary apps with a base Smart TV:

With an Android TV box, you’ll get access to the Google Play Store and its vast library of apps, games, and streaming services, all optimized for the big screen.

3. Better Developer Support

Moreover, with an Android TV Box, you’ll get consistent firmware and app updates, so you’ll never have to worry about your device becoming overly obsolete on the software front.

This is in comparison to proprietary Smart TV operating systems, which may not get consistent (if any) updates. So in the long run, this may render some of their streaming apps outdated and unusable.

4. Access To Google Services

If you’ve already bought into the Android/Google ecosystem, getting an Android TV Box is a no-brainer, as it gives you access to Google Assistant, Google Home, and Chromecast functionality for your TV.

This allows you to seamlessly integrate your TV to your phone, tablet, or other Google-related devices, with voice commands and Chromecast at your fingertips.

Should I Get An Android TV Box With A Smart TV?

Getting an Android TV Box in tandem with a Smart TV can open up a lot more options and flexibility when buying a new or replacement TV.

Firstly, you can focus more on TV specifications, such as screen quality, speaker quality, and size, without having to worry if the OS is any good.

Secondly, you can upgrade your TV while retaining all the applications and settings you have set up since they’re stored in the TV box and not the TV itself.

Thirdly, the mobility of a TV Box allows you to plug-and-play it on just about any screen, so you can have it work on the hotel TV, so long as you have internet connectivity.

Is An Android TV Or Android TV Box Better?

An Android TV Box Or Just The TV?
An Android TV Box Or Just The TV? – Image Credits To Dario (Unsplash)

If the Smart TV you own already runs on the Android OS, getting an Android TV Box isn’t as efficient an upgrade as with other Smart TVs.

This is because an Android TV nullifies the main reason to get an Android TV Box, which is access to the Android TV OS.

Granted, this isn’t always the case; if you find an Android TV box that can run better than your Android TV. In that case, you can consider using it instead of the built-in Android OS.

Of course, this depends on the specs of both the Android TV and the TV box, so be sure to do your research when contemplating this!

Note: If you’ll like to know what differentiates an Android TV from a regular Smart TV,  check out our article on Android TV VS Smart TV for a full breakdown of the two.


All in all, if you feel like your Smart TV could use better software, an Android TV box can solve plenty of your problems at an affordable rate.

That being said, the Smart TV itself is equally as important; And getting the best Smart TV spec-wise can save you a lot of hassle if TV boxes aren’t your thing.

Just remember to do adequate research before purchasing either, and you’ll be on your way to having the TV setup of your dreams!

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Guan Hong

Guan Hong is the tech writer for He grew up loving stories so much he did a degree in English. Currently works as a content writer and has written far more listicles than he’d like to admit. His interests include tech, music, video games, and animation.

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