Android TV on the rise?

Android TV. You might have heard of it, and you might not. I first mentioned it way back in 2015. Back then, it was sort of a hobbyist/pirate’s dream: an easily customizable box that would run pretty much any Android app, of which there are millions. I think it’s fair to say that in the last three years, Android TV hasn’t been at the top of most people’s minds. That could be changing.

Android TV’s gotten mature

What started out as an incomplete package has gotten a lot better. Android TV was always designed as a platform for other manufacturers. That’s why you don’t see an Android TV-branded streaming device. We’ve sold them for years under the MyGica brand, but we’re now starting to see more mainstream manufacturers pick them up.

What can Android TV do?

Let’s start with pretty much anything that any other streamer can. After using an Android TV box recently, I found that pretty much every app I could think of was available, and worked perfectly. I’m talking Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, ESPN, HBO, Starz, Showtime… pretty much everything I searched for was right at hand on the Google Play store. Android TV works just the same as any other streaming box.

The setup experience worked perfectly, especially with an Android phone in hand. Seriously, if you have an Android phone, you say “OK Google, set up a device.” It finds the device, it copies Wi-Fi, Google Account, and other data, and you’re really about 90% done already. Because it uses your Google account, a lot of your passwords come with it. Seriously, it’s just that easy. If you don’t have an Android, you use the onscreen keyboard or any USB or Bluetooth one. You have a lot of options here.

Chromecast Built-In

You’re probably familiar with Chromecast. It’s a little, inexpensive device that lets you find content on your phone and use it on your TV. It’s dead simple if you have an Android phone and that’s why they’ve sold millions of them. Chromecast is sort of the magic potion for Android TV, too. Chromecast functionality is built into every Android TV box so even if there’s an app that you can’t get on Android TV, you can project it to your TV using your phone. Wizardry, I tell you.

The kicker is…

Take a look at this bundle with the Android TV-based AirTV Player and its OTA adapter. It even comes with a free antenna. You get a lot here for about half the price of an AppleTV. You get all the apps, even ones AppleTV doesn’t have, plus you get the ability to “cast” from your phone, and even better you can get free live TV channels integrated into the Sling app’s guide. Don’t want Sling TV? Sign up for a free account and you get the local channels without paying for the national ones. Add a flash drive or hard drive (64GB or higher) and you’ll be able to use the device as a DVR. So you’re getting a streaming box, a cast-type device, and an over-the-air DVR all in one for about half what one of those devices costs. Sign me up!

I’ll say this: Android TV has matured a lot in three years. I’m a lot more impressed than I ever thought I’d be. I think you will be too, and I think you owe it to yourself to check out AirTV products at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.