Android TV: Where do I Start?

The “10 Foot Experience”

Introduction

Android TV, A result of the mobile giant Google Adapting Android bringing it in all its glory to the big screen. No this isn’t some USB stick you stick behind the TV, no it doesn’t run the “Traditional Android” But it does run Full Android behind a new launcher called “Leanback”. Leanback is a Library and Launcher tailored to the “10 Foot Experience”. This Experience describes the way we watch Movies and TV and videos in general. Simple enough to navigate by Remote, Voice and Game pad Leanback aims to provide a fluid and simplistic resolution to the future of television.

Devices

Now that you know the software behind the platform, next comes the hardware that it runs on. Currently there’s 4 devices that support the platform, 3 consumer boxes and 1 developer kit(Not including TV’s With it built in). The first device released was the ADT-1 the developer’s kit for the platform, it was sent out to developers to get started populating the platform with apps in time for the launch of Google’s very own Nexus Player powered by an x86 Intel chip starting at $99. The second consumer device announced was the Razer Forge TV which was a bit more beefier and gaming focused. It is how ever the last device to launch in stores due to an unknown delay of a couple of months. Last in the group and the current flagship of the platform, the Nvidia Shield, powered by the X1 processor that’s the most powerful chip on the market.

What’s Right For Me?

Nexus Player

Pros

  • Intel powered
  • It’s developer friendly
  • Updates first

Cons

  • Small Storage
  • One USB port
  • Weakest device of the 3

Razer Forge TV

Pros

  • Powered by a Snapdragon 805
  • Forge TV Remote App for both Android/iOS
  • Unique controller/Lapboard
  • Razer Cortex: Stream

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Stuck in mid range, more powerful then the nexus player and weaker then the Shield.
  • No 4K Support

Nvidia Shield 

Pros

  • 4K Support
  • X1 Chip is the most powerful on the market
  • Many exclusives because only the X1 chip can handle it
  • Nvidia GRID
  • Best Looking
  • Many ports.

Cons

  • $200 is an expensive entry for a set top box
  • No M preview build.

Conclusion

So in the end what do you choose? If you want affordable and developer friendly then go for a nexus player. If you don’t have enough for a Shield but want something powerful go for the Razer Forge TV and if you want to invest in the top of the line product get your hands on the Shield and the sky will be the limit.

Anthony Garera

Anthony is a 4th year student attending Western Carolina University studying Computer Information Systems with a passion for technology and being an early adopter, also an Android Enthusiast. Devices - Nexus 6P, Huawei Watch, Nexus 7(2013), 13' Retina Macbook Pro, NVIDIA SHIELD TV, Google ADT-1, and Nexus Player.

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