Smart TV vs Android TV vs Android TV Box: What are the Differences?

Just, how smart is a Smart TV? What is an Android TV? What is an Android TV Box? If these questions kept you wondering for some time, this article has the answers for you. In this article, we will review what a Smart TV is and compare it with an Android TV and also with Android TV Box. So, let’s get started and see how Smart TV vs Android TV vs Android TV Box spans out towards the end.

Smart TV vs Android TV vs Android TV Box

Smart TV vs Android TV vs Android TV Box

Before we start looking how Smart TV vs Android TV vs Android TV Box turns out to be, let’s get a very quick basic overview of what these three are in reality and then we will review the important differences between them.

Smart TV

A “Smart TV” is a device that has all the functionalities of a traditional TV and much more. Here, the word “Smart” means that the TV is able to connect to the internet and access a variety of online services that otherwise, would be possible only if you have a Computer/laptop/tablet/Smartphone with an internet connection.

So, think of a Smart TV as a cross between a TV set and an internet connected device. To summarize, a Smart TV is a TV set that can be connected to the internet and avail lots of benefits that internet has to offer. Some of the other services that be accessed by a Smart TV are apps like Facebook, Twitter, etc. websites such as YouTube, ESPN, etc. play games such as Solitaire, etc.

Its worth noting that not all apps can be run on a Smart TV. Only the apps that are pre-installed and/or allowed to be downloaded by the Smart TV manufacturer can be used. You can read a lot more in detail by visiting our article: Beginners guide on Smart TV.

Android TV

The term “Android TV” refers to a TV that is running Android as its Operating System/Platform. This Android Operating System was developed by Google. Yes, the very same company that was responsible for building the Android ecosystem.

The OS is used to power the content on Smart TVs manufactured by other companies. As far as the TV/device goes, any company could manufacture their Smart TV and use Android TV OS in it. Currently, Sony is one of the companies that manufactures Smart TVs powered by Android TV.

An Android TV lets you do anything from streaming your favorite shows, listening to music, watching movies and also playing games, from the comfort of your couch. Just imagine it as a bigger and wider device (read TV) that can pretty much do anything that you do using your Smartphone and more.

Android TV Box

The term “Android TV Box” refers to a device that is used to instantly convert any TV into a Smart TV and also provide a wide range of options in the process. In other words, it can also be considered as a set-top box which runs an Android OS and can be plugged into TV.

Some of the functions of an Android TV Box are to stream video content (from sites such as Hulu, Netflix, etc.), surf the internet and also install pretty much any other app that would be able to install from the Google Play Store and run it. You can also install games from the Google Play Store and enjoy them.

To be able to use an Android TV Box, you will need an active internet connection and a TV. The core functionality of the operation of this box revolves around voice control feature.

Differences between Smart TV, Android TV and Android TV Box

Let’s see those differences below:

Smart TVAndroid TVAndroid TV Box
What is it in principle?It is basically a TV at its core with additional capabilities.It is basically a TV at its core with additional capabilities.It is a device/box that needs to be plugged into a TV so that it turns pretty much any TV, into a Smart TV.
HardwareIt is a TV that you can setup anywhere. Some of the TV models are also wall-mountable.It is a TV that you can setup anywhere. Some of the TV models are also wall-mountable.It is a Set-Top Box (STB) that can be connected to a TV.
OS SoftwareDifferent manufacturers choose to install an Operating System as per their liking. For example, Samsung uses Tizen OS, LG uses webOS, Google uses Chromecast, Sony uses SmartCentral.For a TV to be considered as an Android TV, it has to use Android OS as the software. So you will find Android as the OS, regardless of the manufacturers.Android OS
ManufacturersMany companies manufacture it. For example, LG, Sony, Samsung, etc.Some companies manufacture it. Examples: Sony, Sharp, Nvidia, Philips,  Samsung, Haier, etc.Many companies manufacture it. Examples: FomoStream, SCS ETC, Yagala, Viden, etc.
What can it do?It lets you watch all your favorite channels that you watch over a regular TV and along with it, provides you with certain apps that you can use over the internet, such as Facebook, Twitter, stream audio & video, etc.It lets you watch movies, stream audio & video, install most of the apps that you would like from the Google Play Store.It lets you stream audio and video, conect to the internet and also install pretty much most of the apps from the Google Play Store and run it, including games.
Main AdvantageTV + Some main apps just in a single TV with no other physical add ons.TV + Most of the apps can be run on this TVTurns pretty much any TV into a Smart TV + Most of the apps can be run on this box.
LimitationsOnly apps installed by the manufacturer can be run. Cannot install new apps.Need to learn the Anrdoid interface to operate the TV. Calls cannot be received.Needs a TV to be attached to, so cannot work on its own.
Stream MusicYesYesYes
Stream VideoYesYesYes
Play GamesYesYesYes
Require other devices to work?NoNoYes

Conclusion

In this article, we went through the simple basics of a Smart TV, Android TV and Android TV Box. We also compared Smart TV vs Android TV vs Android TV Box in a tabular format which gives us more insight as to what could be an appropriate device depending upon your needs.

What is your favorite device? Is it a Smart TV, Android TV or an Android TV Box? Share your response by leaving a comment below.

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