While conventional TV set top boxes would come with a handful of restrictions, the emergence of third party set top boxes, particularly those running Android have somewhat made them obsolete today. Leveraging the power of Android, set top box manufacturers have a bigger field to play in and thus offer more features than older providers. However, Android set top boxes (known as Android TV) have seen multiple changes since it was first launched. Today, we see Android TV boxes with state-of-the-art hardware and unparalleled streaming abilities.
We highly recommend the SkyStream Android TV Box
Two of the best streaming boxes going around right now are the SkyStream Two and the NVIDIA Shield. If you’ve recently done some research online for the best Android TV box, it’s likely that these two names would have come up. Keeping that in mind, we’re going to compare the two Android TV boxes to help you pick out the model best suited for you.
|SkyStreamX||SkyStream 3 Plus Streaming Media Player | Android TV Box||Check Price on Amazon|
|NVIDIA||NVIDIA SHIELD TV||Check Price on Amazon|
SkyStream Two vs NVIDIA Shield Best Android TV Box
The SkyStream Two is an incredibly attractive streaming box and comes with Android 7.1.2 on board. Since it uses Android and the Play Store, your possibilities are endless here. You can stream your favorite content from all the major providers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others. All it needs to work is a TV with an HDMI port. That’s it. Once done, you can setup your Google account for Play Store access, and you’re set.
Pros and Cons
I personally love the fact that it offers 4K streaming support. However, this is a standard feature among streaming boxes. The design is simple and somewhat futuristic, which will make it an excellent addition to your living room. As far as set top boxes go, this is among the top products available in the market right now. The latest updates make their way to the device via the SkyStreamTV Updater app.
The con, especially in comparison with the NVIDIA offering are plenty. There’s no dedicated gaming support, while NVIDIA offers games on Steam along with some exclusive Play Store titles for Shield owners. So if gaming is your requirement, you probably shouldn’t go with the SkyStream Two. It will support a variety of games from the Play Store however. And since it comes with a dedicated remote, gameplay is relatively comfortable as well.
The SkyStream Two is not an inexpensive set top box. Given that it comes with Android 7.1 and all the latest Android TV features on board, the device is available on Amazon right now.
NVIDIA’s new Shield console comes with an equal focus for gaming as much for TV. Its design is incredibly modern, and in line with previous Shield models. The company even offers a gaming controller as well as a standard remote with the Shield. There are a lot of things that we like about the Shield, and we’re going to talk about it below.
Pros and Cons
An unexpected feature on a device like this is Smart Home compatibility. You can use your Shield TV to dim the lights, use switches, and more thanks to this feature. You will require a SmartThings Link to get this feature, however. My favorite part, however, is the fact that it comes with Google Assistant built in, so you’re getting one of the best voice assistants around.
The Shield also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS-X surround sound pass through on compatible speaker systems, giving you the best sound quality you can expect from a set top box. Another key feature with the Shield (or even the SkyStream Two for that matter) is that it doesn’t come with any additional wiring barring the connection to your television and the power supply. The Shield also comes with Chromecast 4K built-in, allowing you to cast apps onto your TV.
As far as gaming is concerned, the Shield has been designed for this purpose. In addition to the exclusive Play Store titles, you can also stream games from your GeForce powered PC at 4K 60 fps. Steam content can be accessed as well, so if you’re a PC gamer, getting a Shield makes a lot of sense.
What we don’t like about the Shield is the fact that it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable inside the box. So make sure you have an HDMI cable lying around if you want to start using the Shield with your TV. But given that HDMI is commonly found in every home with an HDTV, we don’t expect this to be a major concern for the buyers.
This is perhaps the only significant con that we can think of. Simply put, the NVIDIA Shield is a remarkable device, and definitely one of the best home set top boxes available in the market right now. The gaming controller offered with the console is of high quality and doesn’t strain the user even after prolonged gaming sessions.
The Shield will set you back a fair amount on Amazon. This bundle includes a gaming controller as well as a Shield Remote to browse content. The company is offering several combinations here, including a variant without the gaming controller a bdundled up price. However, we feel the gaming controller combo for an additional fee makes a lot of sense. If you want an additional controller, you’ll have to add more money to your tally. So if you want a Shield console with two gaming controllers and a remote, the price will go up.
When it comes to streaming boxes, the choices are plenty. But if we’re comparing these two offerings, there’s no doubt that the NVIDIA Shield will take the cake. Not only does it cost the same as the SkyStream Two, but it also offers a gaming controller and a selection of massive games and titles, some being exclusive to the Shield.
The SkyStream Two, on the other hand, falls behind significantly when compared with the Shield. There’s no support for Smart Hubs, putting it in a different segment altogether. Google Assistant is available by default, however, since it’s an Android 7.1 product.
While it seems like gaming is an area where the SkyStream Two is lacking, it must be noted that the console can still play high resolution games (in 4K) from the Play Store. The advantage that NVIDIA enjoys here is the on-demand cloud gaming service, GeForce Now. This includes some exclusive Android titles that are designed for the Shield.
So if you’re torn between the two products, we can say quite comfortably that the Shield is the winner. But it also largely depends on your usage preferences. If you’re comfortable just streaming 4K content from popular services and playing games that are offered on the Play Store, the SkyStream Two is not a bad option at all. But if gaming is your prerogative, the Shield has to be the best pick.