Updated December 2020
One of the things I am most proud of about this website is that it is not just a publication, it is a community. Lots of people get in touch to ask questions, and also help others by sharing their thoughts and experiences.
It will be no surprise that a lot of people have very similar questions, about the most popular Android TV boxes or how to get Netflix working in full 4K via their streaming box.
So, below we have put together the answers to all the most frequently asked questions. This is the first place to look if you need an immediate answer to a burning question about streaming devices.
This page is updated regularly, so if you have a new question, check back. If others have had the same question, I may well have answered it here.
Streaming Device Questions (General FAQs)
If I Purchase This Box, Can I Cancel My Cable Subscription?
If you want to cancel your cable subscription, you will find that you can access all the same content via your Android TV Box, but you will need to search around for the right apps to deliver the content you want, whether than be the latest movies or local sports coverage.
Be warned that accessing this content will not be free; you need to pay for most of the major streaming services such as Netflix or Sling TV. But it should be more affordable as you can pay for exactly what you want, without paying for a cable package full of channels you never look at.
Can I Use This Box With An Older TV?
It depends on the connections your TV has, more than the age of the actual TV itself. As long as your TV has an HDMI port, then any streaming device I’ve ever reviewed on this site will work. (For more on what an HDMI port is and what it looks like, check out my TV Connections 101 article.)
Can I Use A VPN With A Streaming Device?
Absolutely. I recommend using a VPN with any streaming device. Not only can you get access content that might be restricted based on where you live, but you’ll protect your sensitive personal data as well. You can find more details in my article Why Use a VPN for Android TV boxes.
What Internet Speed Do I Need For Streaming?
It depends on the picture quality you want and how many TVs you’ll be watching at any one time.
According to Netflix, a low-quality, standard definition video will use about 300 MB per hour of streaming, per television. Once you start streaming in high definition (HD) quality, that number goes up quickly. HD streams can use up to 3 GB per hour, per television. 4K video can be over double that amount!
In general, at a bare minimum, you’ll need an internet speed of 5 megabits per second coming to your streaming device. Keep in mind that the more devices on your home network, the smaller a piece of the pie is available for your streaming device.
My article, Does Streaming Use Data will have more details and examples.
Does A Streaming Device Work In My Country?
Absolutely. Streaming devices will work anywhere in the world. The content that is available will change, based on your location, however. That’s one reason why I recommend a VPN to get around the geographic restrictions (geoblocking).
Do I Need A Smart TV To Use A Streaming Device?
No. A Smart TV is a streaming device itself, actually. What makes the TV “smart” is the ability to access content from sources like Netflix, YouTube, or Plex.
A separate streaming device may give you access to channels your Smart TV doesn’t have, or it may provide you with better performance. But if you already have a Smart TV, you only need a streaming device if you’re not getting everything you want from your TV.
Android TV Boxes FAQs
What TV Box Should I Get?
It depends on what you’re looking for and how comfortable you are tweaking the box. Most Android TV Boxes are not “plug and play.” Most will need some configuration and regular maintenance to get them to work correctly.
Think of it like getting an oil change in your car.
I’ll suggest two buyer’s guides that should help get you started:
- If you’re looking for the best all-around performing Android TV Box, check out my Best Android TV Box guide.
- If you’re more a “tech newbie,” then check out my Fully Loaded Kodi Box article.
Can I Get Live TV?
Yes. There are several streaming services like Sling TV or FuboTV where you can get live TV for a fraction of the price of your Cable TV subscription. There are also several free options as well to give you the content you’re looking for.
Can I Get Netflix In 4K With Any Android 4K TV Box?
Sadly, the answer to that question is no. When it comes to getting streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video in 4K, as well as having a TV and a streaming device that can technically deliver 4K, they also have to be on the list of approved devices held by the streaming service. Otherwise, the maximum resolution you will get is 1080p HD.
Sadly, services such as Netflix and Prime limit their list of 4K compatible devices to options from the big-name distributors. So, you will get 4K access on your Sony Smart TV, your 4K Fire Stick, and your NVIDIA Shield, but you won’t get it on your Pendoo Android TV Box or even your SkyStream Pro 8K.
So, if streaming these services in full 4K is important to you, make sure you check whether the TV box you have your eye on is able to deliver this before you purchase. This is a detail we include in all our reviews.
Also, don’t forget you need a premium Netflix subscription in order to be eligible to access their 4K content.
Is An 8K Android TV Box Worth It?
It is amazing how fast technology is moving. Yesterday, 4K was big news, and today, you can get boxes, like the SkyStream Pro 8K, that can deliver 8K. But is it worth the extra investment?
It depends, but it is probably not worth it for your average streamer. The fact is, there just isn’t that much 8K content out there to stream. 4K is still the market leader, so most of your premium content is available in a maximum of 4K resolution.
However, but for streaming fanatics that have an 8K TV as well, you can certainly start playing around with the technology today with something like the SkyStream Pro 8K.
Are Android TV Boxes Good For Gaming?
With an Android TV Box, pretty much anything you can stream to your smartphone, you can stream to your TV with the same ease. This includes a lot of games.
But for serious PC or console gamers, you will probably find your Android TV box struggling to deliver the graphics and the speed of response you are looking for.
If you are serious about gaming on your TV, you will need to invest in a premium TV box with a more powerful graphics card, chip, and CPU in order to get the experience you are looking for. Expect to spend a minimum of $150 on something like the SkyStream Pro 8K or the latest NVIDIA Shield.
You can find our list of the best Android TV Boxes for gaming here.
Do Android TV Boxes Have DVR?
No, Android TV boxes do not have DVR that allows you to record content to watch later. The exception is the Amazon Fire TV Recast, which is a separate piece of hardware that can be purchased to function as DVR.
Usually, DVR is provided by the streaming service where you access the content. For example, Hulu, Fubo TV, and Sling TV all offer DVR services as part of their live TV streaming packages.
Amazon Fire TV FAQs (Including Fire Stick)
Do You Have To Have Amazon Prime To Use The Fire TV Or Fire Stick?
No, but it certainly helps. Amazon sets up all of their devices to look for content on Amazon first. This is true for the Fire TV streaming devices, as well as the Fire tablets and Alexa speakers. Content on Amazon will always be the first result.
That said, you don’t need to be an Amazon Prime subscriber to enjoy a Fire TV device, but you will find you’ll have to skip down past the Amazon results in the search to find what you’re looking for.
How Much Does Fire TV Cost Per Month?
There is no monthly charge for any Amazon devices; they are a one-off hardware purchase. If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, that service is billed on a yearly basis, but that also includes much more than their Amazon Prime Video streaming service. You’re also paying for the Prime free shipping, streaming music, free Kindle books, etc.
There will also be monthly or annual bills for any other premium streaming services you wish to access via your Fire TV device, such as Netflix or Sling TV.
How Do I Use Alexa On The Fire TV?
If you’ve got one of the newer Fire TVs or Fire Sticks with the Alexa Voice Remote, simply hit the microphone button at the top of the remote and say “Alexa …”
How Do I Install Kodi On Fire Stick?
This used to be a lot harder than it is today. Kodi is now available in the Amazon App Store and the Aptoide App Store as simple downloads. You can install Kodi as you would any other app.
NVIDIA Shield TV FAQs
Can I Add An External Hard Drive To My NVIDIA Shield?
Yes! The latest NVIDIA Shield TV device only has 16 GB of storage, so gamers or anyone with their own media library may well want to expand that. You can do this via a MicroSD card, which can expand storage up to 128 TB, or by connecting an external hard drive via one of the USB 3.0 ports. I’ve got a detailed article on how to add NVIDIA Shield TV external storage here.
SkyStream Pro 8K
What Can The SkyStream TV Box Do Besides Stream Movies And Shows?
Powerful TV boxes like the SkyStream are designed to let you do pretty much anything you can do on an Android smartphone. This means downloading any of the apps from the Google Play Store, using them on your big screen, and also browsing the web.
The SkyStream Pro is also designed to be powerful enough to support PC and console-style gaming. You can also connect your favorite controller or keyboard to the device via USB or Bluetooth.
Is Kodi Illegal?
No. Kodi by itself is perfectly legal. Where it gets into a legal grey area is how you access the movies and TV shows on Kodi. Kodi was designed to play your own media files that you’ve ripped from DVDs or Blu-Ray discs. With third-party addons, you can stream content from various sites on the internet.
Here’s where the grey area starts. Many addons will allow you to access content for free that you’d otherwise have to pay for. This can be movies that are still in the theatres or subscription content like HBO’s Game of Thrones or PPV Sports Events.
Right now, the laws haven’t caught up to the technology. Streaming content that you’d normally pay for hasn’t yet been deemed illegal, but it’s only a matter of time.
Illegal or not, piracy will always be around. If Kodi becomes too hard to get free content, then something else will rise up and take its place.
What Content Can I Stream From Kodi?
When you install Kodi, it’s essentially a clean slate. You can put whatever you want on it. Personally, I have all of my movies and TV shows that I’ve ripped from DVDs and Blu-ray discs. There’s also some streaming content that I access using various addons.
Do I Need A VPN With Kodi?
I HIGHLY recommend one. With the legal swirl around Kodi and piracy right now, it’s a good idea to keep yourself safe. For more details, check out my article on Do I need VPN for Kodi?
Do You Have Questions?
Do you have questions that aren’t covered in our FAQs? Ask you questions in the comments below and we will do our best to answer them and include them in our FAQs in the future.