The competition is fiercer in the media streaming industry than ever before. If we were to buy every other media player out there, we would go broke. So, a significant omission is a must to find the best cookie (OTT TV box, that is) in the jar. So, here’s the list of the finalists.
The beauty of this list is that only five of them made it to the final showdown. Before we get to the 4k OTT TV box finalists, here’s a short intro on OTT TV boxes.
What is an OTT TV Box
OTT stands for over-the-top content and refers to the way content is distributed to users. OTT TV boxes use the Internet infrastructure to receive media content, essentially bypassing satellite, cable and broadcast television service providers. As such, there is no control by any of these providers over the content or its distribution. The most popular OTT TV boxes are Android-based TV streaming devices and IPTV set top boxes. As the former are much more versatile and give you access to the same OTT content as the latter, we will focus on Android devices. You can, however, check out our reviews of the leading IPTV STBs, MAG 256 and Formuler Z7+.
Android TV boxes are a relatively new smart TV platform. Users can purchase a standalone set-top box to hook it to their existing TV to invite all the Android apps and other functionalities that users generally enjoy on a smaller device to the big screen. There are thousands of channels, apps, and games to choose from for limitless entertainment possibilities. All the required accessories generally come with the package.
The best way to use your OTT TV box to stream live television, movies and TV shows is by using them in conjunction with an IPTV service. These act as the content providers and offer monthly subscriptions that give your access to more content than any cable television provider.
So, a user just has to plug the OTT TV box in, provide power and Internet to enjoy content on a bigger and better platform. The good news is that these streaming players do an incredible job of showing 4k video playback without lag or stuttering. This combined with stunning audio, generous storage, and other features make them a no brainer choice in today’s age and time. So, here’s the best OTT TV boxes ranked below:
1. NVIDIA Shield TV
NVIDIA Shield TV Android Box
- Incredibly powerful
- Aesthetic appeal
- Ideal for gaming
- 4K streaming on Youtube & co
- Android TV Oreo 8.0
The NVIDIA Shield TV is the pinnacle of what is available for streaming and gaming on the Android TV OS platform.
This Android TV box gives a good first impression with a build quality that is worthy of its high price tag. The box itself feels a bit flimsy and lightweight. But the remote and certainly the gamepad have a high-quality feel to them. Gaming and game emulation is what sets this box apart from the competition. I am not a hardcore gamer, but for most, this will be a worthy primary gaming console. Add to this out of the box streaming and support for 4K HDR streaming, and you have yourself the ultimate entertainment box.
The Nvidia Shield also allows you to stream your games from your PC or from the cloud. This works really well if you are on a wired network.
Internal storage is a bit limited at 16 GB. This is especially true if you intend to install a bunch of games (which you should). You should definitely consider getting a 128 GB memory stick to use as storage.
The Voice Search works quite well but still has some quirks. The good news is, though, that NVIDIA constantly rolls out new updates to improve the device.
Getting up and running with the NVDIA Shield couldn’t be easier. Upon starting the unit, you are prompted to enter your Google account and the rest is automatically set up.
Once you are on the main interface, you will quickly fall in love with the Shield. The interface isn’t full of advertisements like some of the other Android boxes (we are looking at you, Amazon Fire). Navigating the device feels very responsive and all the popular streaming apps are readily available or can be installed.
Unlike some of the no-name Android TV boxes, the NVIDIA Shield has all the DRM and licensing requirements in place to stream in crisp 4K on all the popular streaming services. Being able to watch Youtube videos at this resolution vs 720p on most other Android boxes makes a HUGE difference and is well worth the higher price tag of the Shield TV.
It goes without saying that gaming is as good as you could imagine given the powerful specs of this box. Games load quickly and, more importantly, don’t lag or stutter even when things get hectic. Of course, Kodi runs super smooth and handles any video file you throw at it.
It’s not one of those devices that ships directly from some far-flung corner of Taiwan or Hong Kong. This NVIDIA Shield TV is built to last and it comes with a genuine product warranty. Software support and constant updates ensure this TV box is future proof, as shown with their recent update to Android 8.0.
4K streaming on all major platforms is a clear advantage over cheap and generic Android boxes from the far east.
Finally, having the flexibility of streaming shows or movies, playing games from the Android play store, or streaming games from the PC or the cloud is great. It is unlikely that you will ever run out of entertainment options with the NVIDIA Shield TV.
Identifying any real cons for this TV box is difficult. In part, because there isn’t another comparable Android TV box. So what it really boils down to is the price. The NVIDIA Shield TV is not cheap. But, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still great value for money. With some of the best high-quality streaming and the ability to provide high-end gaming capabilities, the Shield TV combines an Android TV box with a more traditional gaming console. With this in mind, the price for this device is very competitive.
If you can afford the NVIDIA Shield TV you should get it. It is as simple as this. There isn’t really any scenario where this device will let you down. Plenty of power, a fantastic gamepad for gaming, continuous support and development, and 4K HDR put the Shield TV ahead of its competitors.
2. Minix Neo U9-H
This is a good streaming machine that puts your regular TV on steroids. You can do plenty of things with this device. It’s loaded with content and thoughtful features to offer you countless hours of entertainment. It offers full Android experience with the inclusion of Google Play Store and several other popular apps. Powered by Android Marshmallow OS and Octa-Core processor combined with 4k video and Digital Dolby support, Minix Neo U9-H is built to scare all the competition.
At first shot, I thought I had a lemon as the sound gave up on me almost immediately. However, I traced the problem and found out that the inferior HDMI cable was to be blamed over here. Once I replaced it, everything worked like a breeze. Frankly speaking, I found the device very easy to use despite being a guy who has been spoiled by Apple for all these years. It’s easy to set up, and it boots fast. Also, it has a nice launcher, and the apps start pretty quickly. The entire operation is very smooth.
In a relatively short amount of time, I was adding apps, customizing things, watching movies, listening to music, and playing games on their interface. In short, the product configuration of this Android box is right on the money to deliver impeccable performance. For instance, it has a faster dual-band Wi-Fi connection and also the option of Gigabit Ethernet. Everything works pretty fast with no buffering. Believe it or not, video streaming doesn’t buffer even at 4k. Overall, it was worth pulling the trigger on this unit.
The build quality of the unit itself and the remote is pretty good. It’s not one of those units that have been rushed into the market to make a quick buck or two. This is apparent from the product features and the attention to details. The 4k resolution is as good as it can get. The interface has some pre-installed apps such as Kodi, Youtube, Google Play, Skype, and others that are commonly used by the masses. Also, it features a large mouse pointer which makes the Minix Neo U9-H easy to use even from several meters away.
If you want to enjoy a buffering free life with this unit, be prepared with a high-speed Internet connection. At low speeds, you can expect some lags and buffering. So, a high-speed Internet connection is a must to make the most of this Android box. Furthermore, it would have been nicer if they had 4GB RAM instead of 2GB RAM. Also, the A2 remote works great for searching and navigation, but it’s not a gaming remote. So, gamers will have to get a separate gamepad over here. Also, we would have loved to see the inclusion of a USB 3 port. Especially considering this device was only recently released.
All things considered, if you are in the market looking for a dependable OTT TV box, you can’t afford to cast a blind eye on the Minix Neo U9-H device. From its features and performance, it’s pretty clear that someone actually took the time and efforts to craft a high-quality product. It’s hands down one of the best OTT TV boxes out there. You can definitely look at this Android box as your next purchase unit. Personally speaking, I use this unit heavily with complete satisfaction.
3. Kingbox K3
- Great user interface and performance
- Comes with keyboard remote
- Preloaded Kodi
- Easy to install with wizard and help button on the remote
- As with most Android boxes, the standard remote is not great
The Kingbox K3 set-top box connects to your TV and transforms it into an Android-based smart TV. It supports Wi-Fi as well as Ethernet connection. Like any other Android-based unit, you can install all your favorite apps from Google Play Store. That being said, the majority of the useful apps are already preloaded on their interface, so users can get to streaming almost immediately.
The product specs are a killer too. With an 8-core S912 processor, 2+16GB memory, and the latest Mali T820MP3, they let you run a host of games, play endless movies, music, LIVE shows, and TV channels without buffering or freezing. Better yet, it delivers 4k resolution content on the screen.
Right off the bat, I could tell that all the apps were compatible with this device. It arrived with a lot of pre-installed apps including Kodi. Talking about the physical components, it includes two remotes, an adapter, an HDMI cable, and an instruction manual. Nothing groundbreaking, but it has everything one would require to get started. I love the fact that the unit has a nice sophisticated design to it with glossy black finish.
All the USB slots and insertion ports are kept on the back of the unit, so the sides always look clean and smooth. Whether it’s gaming, streaming, or simply surfing, the unit has always outperformed. It comes with two remotes. The standard remote works flawlessly, but there is nothing exciting about it. The remote with the touchpad and keyboard is actually built to impress. It made navigating, surfing, and everything else so much easy.
I also found the user interface to be pretty easy and simple to use. It almost feels like home. Users are provided with a setup wizard to ensure that they don’t miss out on anything during setup. There are no complex menus, and everything is spontaneously accessible from the main screen. Playing 4k content on the Kingbox K3 was an absolute joy as well.
It’s one of the affordable OTT TV boxes on the market today. In fact, it’s a mid-range product and not necessarily a low range product. Furthermore, the unit is quite light and thin as well. With powerful hardware and user-friendly interface, nothing really slows down the performance of this unit. It streams content with no stuttering. Coming from a reputable company by the name of Leelbox Tech definitely gives this little device an extra edge in the race. After all, the company has delivered many well-received products on the market over the years.
Not all games are compatible with this unit. For instance, some of the games on Android app are not properly optimized for non-touch screen interface. That being said, you will still find plenty of compatible games to play. Also, the standard remote doesn’t support all the screen commands. The free wireless mini keyboard that arrives in the package is a must-have tool. Moreover, the unit does require a fair amount of maintenance to keep the memory use in check for continuous TV streaming.
Overall, it’s a great little box with excellent features. So, if you are looking for a fantastic entertaining hub with all the bells and whistles at an affordable price point, the Kingbox K3 OTT TV box won’t leave you in tears. It will keep you pleased by offering you more than what you pay for it.
4. Roku Ultra
- Huge variety of content
- High-quality image
- Powerful search feature
- Customizable user interface
- Great remote
- Never lose your remote again!
- Voice search can be hit or miss
Roku Ultra is a user-friendly, fast, and entertainment loaded OTT TV box. It comes with a fast processor that makes it a breeze to navigate through menus and to search content on their platform. In fact, it changes your entertainment gear without the high price tag. It offers overwhelming choices of free channels and others at a nominal cost. Of course, the paid services are optional. The unit by itself doesn’t carry any recurring fees. It’s a one-time investment for years-worth of enjoyable content at 4k resolution. With Roku Ultra, a cable connection might actually seem like a beginner’s mistake.
This Android box is nicely packaged to avoid cosmetic damage. It was quick to install, easy to use, and I did not encounter any performance or stability issues. Also, it’s noticeably cooler and quieter. There were occasions when the Internet dropped, but these instances were rare. Given the price point for the Roku Ultra, I won’t bitch about the minor hassles. The box itself was not a bottleneck for the most part.
The RF remote has a headphone jack. So, it comes handy for watching TV when my family goes to bed. The enhanced remote also features a voice command option. Furthermore, it has many shortcut options to easily find a service of your choice without throwing an arm and a leg. Above all, you don’t have to point the remote directly to the player to make it work. With Vibrant HDR, fast processor, dual-band wireless connection, digital audio output, and many inputs, the Roku Ultra doesn’t fail to impress. Be it gaming, media streaming, or playing music, it had my back covered at all times.
It offers a blazing trail of entertaining content to be enjoyed on 4K Ultra HD at 60fps. I have watched consecutive shows on this unit with hardly any frustrating moments. Better yet, the product manufacturers have housed the unit in a beautiful and sturdy body. If it was a person of opposite gender, you could have sex with it. This Roku device has also received a lot of glowing reviews from previous customers. Above all, the company backs this OTT TV box with a generous 90-day warranty.
Coming to the unfortunate side of things, I am not a fan of their customer support. My only interaction with them proved to be a turnoff. I found their response quite slow. By the time they responded, my problem was fixed. It was an oversight on my end, and I just had to change the cables to make it work. Also, there were times when a couple of channels went unresponsive. So, I had to reboot the device to get them to work. In the hindsight, I appreciate the fact that they get new channels very often.
The other thing worth mentioning is that the voice control can act up a bit at times. However, I am sure Roku will continuously improve that feature with software updates.
Given the affordable pricing, attractive features, and usability, it won’t take a fortune teller to vouch for this OT TV box. If you value your wallet, you can set the wheels in motion by ordering this unit. For its price point, Roku Ultra is definitely the best in the class. You will mostly find smiles among previous users.
5. EVANPO T95Z Plus
Evanpo T95Z Plus Android 7.1 TV Box
- The 3GB RAM, Octa-Core processor, and 32GB storage capacity ensure a smooth user experience
- Attractive design
- Shipping with Kodi along with some add-ons and wizard that altogether makes the device user-friendly
- Easy-to-use launcher that makes the process of customization easy
- Nice remote that comes with dedicated Kodi launcher and volume buttons with LED lights
- Flawless streaming even for large files
- No automatic framerate switching in Kodi
- Audio glitches when Dolby Digital 5.1 is activated
The T95Z arrives with Android 7.1, which is the latest version for all Android devices. It’s also loaded with Kodi. Moreover, it has 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage space. It has the usual ports such as the Ethernet, HDMI, SPDIF, USB, SD Card, Power button, etc. It comes with several assorted apps, which are perpetually used by the masses. More can be easily added as per one’s need and preference. Basically, it’s a low-cost, high-powered Android box.
4K 60 frame per second video is smooth as silk. Over here, the credit goes to the Octa-Core CPU and the H.265 video decoding. Better yet, it has plenty of RAM for streaming videos and live TV shows. It also works great with Youtube and Netflix. The stock launcher is good as well. I made it great with a launcher of my choice. The box runs nice and smooth. It comes installed with all the latest software, and the Internet runs fast as well. The Wi-Fi connectivity is also a blast. Everything combined, it streams perfectly with no glitches. It’s compact, affordable, and solid. So, this unit definitely takes the prize.
Even if you are lacking in computer skills, it would be easy to set up and use this unit. You could be watching movies and TV shows in just about no time. The free wireless mouse controller is a great bonus too. It makes screen navigation a lot easier. I also liked the keyboard backlight. It helps me use the unit conveniently even in low lighting. The connectivity of the keyboard and the controller is quite good. Moreover, the system supports online upgrade, so one can get latest version on the go anytime.
The box by itself is fantastic, but I had my share of tussles with the free accessories. For instance, I would have preferred the keyboard to be of better quality. It does work though. So, I am not flared up over this thing. Also, I am not happy with the length of the HDMI cable. It would have been nice if it were any longer. My power adapter failed after several months of use. So, I had to pay a visit to the local store to get a replacement. Also, the unit is a tad bit pricey too, but the performance makes up for the cost.
There are also some issues on the video playback side. I kept noticing issues with framerate switching while using Kodi that I haven’t been able to fix yet. Moreover, I experienced audio glitches when enabling Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. However, this may be Kodi’s fault.
The specs of this product are well-worth the asking price. This device has everything that you could expect from a dream-come-true OTT TV box. With the tech industry always on the move, this unit has been able to catch up pretty well. Overall, it’s a splendid device. I am a heavy streamer, and the T95Z truly met my expectations. Therefore, I would recommend this product without any reservations.
As they say, “Buy the best, and it will last you a lifetime.” If you take the cheap road, the product will end up in the garage sale sooner than you think. On the unfortunate side of things, the entire Internet is filled with crap reviews. Fortunately, I didn’t believe in the manufactured nonsense found across the web. For the many people reading this, all the above recommended products were personally tried and tested to help crystallize their actual value. Along the same lines, tens and thousands of people have fallen head over heels for these OTT TV boxes too. So, these media players are definitely worth a shot!
Last update on 2023-05-28 at 02:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.