May 21, 2016
This guide will help you decide if you need to buy a new smart TV or a smart box.
Originally called “connected TVs,” these sets were later branded by companies such as Panasonic and Samsung as “smart TVs.” The term has come to denote any television that can be connected to the Internet to access streaming media services and that can run entertainment apps, such as on-demand video-rental services, Internet music stations and Web browsers.
In the last few years has seen a big surge in usage and sales of Smart boxes or media TV Boxes they are (usually) compact little devices you connect to your TV or projector. These boxes can be used for gaming or to stream media from either local storage or from internet services such as Netflix, YouTube or BBC iPlayer. As the years have gone by, technological advances have meant that these dedicated media players are now able to playback Ultra HD 4K video – as well as 3D – and some are even capable of hi-res audio playback too.
Advances in chipset manufacturing have also meant media streaming Smart Boxes now run on more operating systems than ever, including Android, Windows, Linux and Apple’s new TVOS which is based on their, wildly successful, mobile operating system, iOS. In fact, if you own a smartphone or tablet you will already have a good idea of what these things can do but instead of swiping or tapping on a small screen, you’ll be controlling the apps using a TV style remote. Also, If you already own (and use) a Smart TV at home, you will be familiar with a lot of the features a streaming media device can provide but there can be advantages in a dedicated player.
You do not need a smart TV to get streaming Netflix movies or YouTube videos on your screen. Many smart boxes can stream those services and more to an HDTV. The leading models are The EBox T8, Amazon, Apple, Minix with cheaper versions like the EBox H5, EBox M9
As an example, the EBox H5, just £35, delivers thousands apps. You have 8gb of built in memory (which is can be increased via an SD card). USB ports and a easy custom menu interface. Best of all though, as it’s on an Android operating system you get all the benefits that being on Android brings you. So if you don’t need to buy a new TV but want smart-TV services, a separate, inexpensive Smart box is the prudent choice. In addition, smart boxes, such as the EBox T8, are able to stream 4K content.
If you’re an Apple household and want your iTunes collection on the big screen, only the Apple TV 4 can deliver that. No smart TVs have an app for iTunes. The latest iteration of Apple TV and includes Siri support for finding programs. However, it does not offer 4K ultra-HD support and has a limited number of streaming services.
As more and more people buy smart TV’s they are starting to realise they are not that smart at all. Nearly every smart-TV maker uses different software and a different graphical presentation. Some companies install different operating systems and interfaces on their low-end versus their high-end sets. The manufacturers also offer different assortments of online services and apps. These smart TV’s are no match for the something like the T8 smart box with an Octa Core GPU running @600MHz.
Looking for a new TV, go ahead and buy a smart TV if you want one. In fact, it may be hard to avoid buying a smart TV today. Even if you do not like the smart TV features of your new TV, you can always add a smart box to the mix later.
Finally, If you have a TV you’re happy with, then save your money and just buy a smart box. Unless the display technology itself has fallen way behind (i.e. if you’re getting 720p instead of full HD or 4K). There’s no reason you must buy a new smart TV as they don’t do anything a regular TV plus a smart box can’t do.
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