Are you looking for the best smart TV boxes NZ has to offer? We've taken a deep dive into these smart TV boxes to give you a full run down on the very best ones you can buy today.
What are Smart TV boxes?
Smart TV boxes are a convenient way to turn a regular TV into a smart TV, allowing you to access a wide range of online content and services without the need for a separate device.
They are typically small, portable, and easy to set up, and they can be controlled with a remote or a mobile device. Some smart TV boxes also have additional features, such as the ability to play games, access social media, or run other apps.
However, as most people already have TVs that come with smart functionality these days, the smart boxes add extra features in one package, and thanks to their powerful processors, are much faster and more reliable than the operating system that your smart TV is using.
Some smart TV boxes can also be customised to allow for accessing IPTV streams and other membership sites that offer the latest movies and TV shows at a considerable discount to official apps. This is often called side loading apps or using streaming apps like Plex to bypass traditional subscription models by downloading and streaming through a private media collection.
Best Smart TV Boxes
1. Xiaomi: TV Box MI Box S Media Player
The Xiaomi: TV Box MI Box S is an Android 4K Ultra HD streaming media player.
With built-in Chromecast and SmartCast capabilities, is allows the user to access a wide range of entertainment content across thousands of apps, including Netflix, Google Play, Pandora and Hulu.
The Xiaomi MI Box S features the latest in 4K HDR technology to allow for playback at up to 60 frames per second.
The 4K output image resolution is 3840 x 2160, creating vivid visuals for a lifelike viewing experience. Video formats supported include RM, MOV, VOB, AVI, MKV, TS and MP4.
The Xiaomi MI Box S provides a top quality, three dimensional audio experience through the use of Dolby and DTS technologies.
The device operates on the Android 8.1 system and features a Cortex-A53 Quad-core 64bit processor, with a Mali-450 GPU. It has a storage size of 8GB (eMMC) and RAM of 2GB (DDR3). The Xiaomi MI Box S supports both wired and wireless connections.
It is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB compatible to allow for fast transfer speeds.
It is compatible with Google Assistant, which is accessible via the remote control. The device is black, weighs 147g and measures 95.25 x 95.25 x 16.7mm.
2. NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV
The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV is a high performance streaming media player. Using the device, viewers can enjoy Netflix, Amazon Video, Disney+ and Vudu in 4K HDR as well as YouTube, Hulu and Google Play in 4K resolution.
Chromecast is also a built-in feature, so users are able to stream content directly from their phone, laptop or tablet to their television screen.
The NVIDIA SHIELD operates using Dolby Vision HDR and supports a wide variety of visual formats including Xvid, DivX, ASF, AVI, MKV, MOV, M2TS,MPEG-TS, MP4 and WEB-M.
Dolby Atmos surround sound technology delivers an immersive audio experience, complimenting the HD visuals.
The device operates using a powerful NVIDIA Tegra X1+ processor and 256-core NVIDIA GPU. It comes with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage which can be expanded using a microSD.
It runs on the Android 9.0 system and is powered by Android TV with Ethernet, wireless and Bluetooth connections available.
SHIELD is compatible with a wide range of AI technologies including Google Home, Alexa and Amazon Echo. It includes a remote control with motion-activated backlit buttons, voice control and Bluetooth control.
The device weighs 137g and measures 40 x 40 x 165mm, designed to slot unobtrusively behind your television.
3. Apple TV 4K
Apple TV 4K is a digital media player that streams high quality visual, audio and gaming content straight to a television in 4K visuals and with Dolby Atmos surround sound.
Consumers are able to access movies and TV shows from iTunes and Apple TV+, as well as downloading apps including Netflix, Hulu and ESPN. Photos and videos from an iPhone can also be viewed directly on a TV screen using the device.
The device is 4K compatible and supports a variety of image formats including HEIF, JPEG, GIFF and TIFF as well as H.264/HEVC SDR, HEVC Dolby Vision, MPEG-4, .m4v, .mp4 and .mov video formats.
Apple TV will automatically play content at the highest audio quality available to your streaming device, and supports Dolby Atmos audio technology.
Apple TV runs on a A10X Fusion chip with 64bit architecture. It comes with an internal storage size of either 32GB or 64GB and holds 3GB RAM.
The device operates on Apple’s tvOS system and Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth connections are available.
Apple TV comes with a voice controlled Siri Remote for hands-free access and is compatible with HomeKit-enabled Apple accessories. It measures 35 x 98 x 98mm and weighs 425 grams.
4. DishTV Smart Vu 4K
The Smart Vu 4K is Dish TV’s first ever Freeview Streaming Device, allowing users to access content, apps and games on their television without an antenna or satellite.
The device is partnered with Android TV, making entertainment apps such as Google Play, Netflix, YouTube, Spark Sport and Disney+ easily available.
The Smart Vu 4K is also Chromecast compatible, allowing movies, TV shows, games and more to be cast from an Android, iOS or Windows device straight to a television.
The DishTV Smart Vu has a resolution of 4K Ultra HD with HDR to deliver high colour dynamic range and realistic visuals. Unlike some other Smart TV devices, no additional audio enhancements are available to the user.
Operating on the Android TV system, the Smart Vu runs on a Quad Core processor and an ARM Mali-459 GPU. It comes with 1 GB RAM and 8GB of storage and is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible.
Included with the device is a Bluetooth remote control and Voice Search is available for hands-free experience. The SmartVu is magnetised, so can be easily concealed at the back of a television. It measures 50 x 50 x 10mm and weighs 40g.
5. Google Chromecast Ultra
The Google Chromecast Ultra allows viewers to cast their favourite content straight from their android phone, tablet or laptop to their television in full 4K Ultra HD.
The device works with thousands of popular Cast-enabled entertainment apps including Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, Pandora and many more.
The Google Chromecast Ultra provides 4K UHD high resolution (1080p), with HDR display projecting rich colour visuals. The device will automatically optimise content to enable the best possible picture quality.
It is compatible with a wide variety of video formats, including H.264 1080p, H.264 720 x 480, MPEG-4 and VP8 files and supports surround sound audio.
The minimum operating systems the device will run on are Android 4.1, iOS 8.0, Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.9.
It compatible with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections, allowing users with slower wireless connections to still enjoy optimum streaming quality.
The Chromecast Ultra can be controlled directly from the phone, laptop or tablet from which the viewer is streaming their content. The device itself plugs neatly into a HDMI port. It is 58 x 58 x 14mm and weighs 47g.