TV box: which multimedia box to choose for Netflix, Plex or Canal +?

To watch Netflix on your TV or to play, TV boxes are now very complete products that complement the functions of your television. Our selection does not stop at Android TV boxes, but have also studied the alternatives at Apple and Amazon.

The best Android TV and tvOS box or stick

The ultimate Chromecast 9/10

Google Chromecast with TV

  • Very practical Google TV
  • Support 4K HDR
  • The price
The test 69 € The best 9/10

Nvidia Shield TV (2019)

  • Design, 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, Dolby Audio
  • The 4K upscaler is excellent
  • All the "gaming" features of Nvidia
The test € 149 The box according to Apple

Apple TV 4K 2021

  • 4K HDR, Dolby Vision et Dolby Atmos et 120 im / s
  • Apple Arcade, Apple TV+ etc.
  • An improved remote control
199 €

Unlike most countries, multimedia boxes took off quite late in Spain. Main culprits: the boxes provided by Internet service providers initially and, more recently, the operating systems integrated into televisions. If they are not perfect, these solutions have the advantage of costing nothing!

Despite this, TV boxes are not without interest, on the contrary. A low-cost Android key can thus give a facelift to an aging television or one that does not have an operator box. A more high-end model like the Nvidia Shield TV will be the ideal companion for a 4K TV thanks to its versatility and its exceptional capacities for scaling SD or Full HD content.

As in the mobile world, two large ecosystems coexist: Google Android (via Google TV and Fire TV OS) and Apple tvOS. We have therefore prepared a selection of the best TV boxes of the moment.

Having a TV box is good, but you still have to provide it with content! To choose the right one, you can read our comparison of the best SVoD services or our comparison of the best anime streaming services.

Google TV / Android TV boxes

If Google TV doesn't tell you anything, that's normal: it is indeed the new name of Android TV! Beyond the label, almost nothing changes: we are still in the presence of a solid operating system offering a well-designed interface and many third-party applications. Beyond video, the system is also open to cloud gaming services. You will find the best of them in our comparison of the best cloud gaming services.

Nvidia Shield TV (2019) The Best

9 / 10 Product sheet See the Amazon test 149 €
  • Design, 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, Dolby Audio
  • The 4K upscaler is excellent
  • All the "gaming" features of Nvidia
Available at 149 € on Amazon

Released in 2015, Nvidia's Shield TV has established itself over the years as the best Android box. The arrival of a new model in the fall of 2019 only reinforced the place of the green chameleon in this market.

For starters, its new "tube" design allows it to be much more discreet alongside a TV and we also really like the remote control in "Toblerone" format with new buttons and direct access to Netflix (although the button is relatively badly placed and is often activated by mistake).

And that is before even taking an interest in the functionalities of the object. It is capable of sending a signal in 4K at 60 frames per second and supports HDR10 as well as Dolby Vision and Audio. So much for the basics.

The other excellent novelty of the Shield TV 2019 is the integration of a very high level upscaler. As with the DLSS found on the brand's RTX graphics cards, this solution is based on machine learning, and in use it is by far the best consumer upscaling solution that we have tried. Enough to give a facelift to all your HD programs.

Of course, the Shield TV 2019 retains all of its historic functions, including GameStream and access to GeForce Now, now available to everyone. Google Assistant and Alexa are also in the game. In short, the Shield TV is simply the best Android TV box, the most complete, but also the prettiest and most pleasant to use. Last major advantage: the very good software monitoring from Nvidia, with very regular updates.

To know all the good things about it, you can check out our full review of Nvidia Shield TV 2019. Note that there is also a “Pro” version with limited interest, we talk about it in our review.

To play with your Shield TV, we strongly recommend that you invest in a controller. The PS5 or Xbox controllers work, the official controller keeps its voice recognition support to itself, but it is not very comfortable.

Where to buy the
Nvidia Shield TV (2019) at the best price?
  • Amazon € 149 Discover the offer
  • Baker € 149 Discover the offer
  • Darty 149 € Discover the offer
  • Rue du Commerce 149 € Discover the offer
  • Amazon Marketplace 199 € Discover the offer

If you can afford it, the Shield TV Pro (2019) offers more RAM and storage. You will also not be disappointed by investing in the 2017 model which offers very good performance and the same design. It does, however, ignore the upscale via IA.

Nvidia Shield TV Pro (2019)

Product sheet Available at € 192 8/10

Nvidia Shield TV 2017

Product sheet See the test Available at 149 €

Google Chromecast with Google TV The Ultimate Chromecast

9 / 10 Product sheet See the Fnac test 69 €
  • Very practical Google TV
  • Support 4K HDR
  • The price
Available at 69 € on Fnac

The idea behind this fourth generation of Chromecast is so simple that one wonders why Google didn't have it sooner. The firm merged a classic Chromecast with Google TV. The format changes little and we therefore remain on a key which dangles from the HDMI connector of your TV. Installation is simple, but note that the power supply unit no longer provides an Ethernet input, so you will have to pay 20 euros more if your Wi-Fi connection is weak.

Chromecast with Google TV // Source: Arnaud Gelineau for Idroid

Once connected, we therefore find a pure Google TV experience, but which should have been a little more fluid. This is probably the fault of an SoC that lacks a bit of power. The machine also inaugurates a new version of the interface. This gives pride of place to content with a unified global search on all the services to which you are subscribed. The idea is good, but the search engine tends, however, to highlight individual purchases while the film in which we are interested is available "for free" in streaming.

On the technical side, we find 4K compatibility, but also Dolby Vision, HDR 10+ and Dolby Atmos.

Google is not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but is offering a quality Google TV stick at a reasonable price. To go into more detail, we recommend that you read our full test of the Chromecast with Google TV.

Where to buy the
Google Chromecast with Google TV at the best price?
  • Fnac € 69 Discover the offer
  • Baker € 69 Discover the offer
  • Darty 69 € Discover the offer
  • Carrefour 69 € Discover the offer
  • E.Leclerc 69 € Discover the offer
  • Electro Dépôt 69 € Discover the offer
  • 73 € Discover the offer
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Xiaomi Mi Box S The inexpensive Android box

7 / 10 Product sheet See the Fnac test 59 €
  • An Android TV box with a lot of features ...
  • ... but at a low price
  • Google Assistant, 4K, HDR, HDR 10
Available at 59 € on Fnac

On the side of the famous Chinese manufacturer, there are also Android TV solutions. After several TV box versions, Xiaomi offers a very popular box called Mi Box S.

The Mi Box S runs on Android TV and also offers an experience similar to Shield TV, with always access to different streaming platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or OCS, but also classic TV channels via the Molotov TV or myCANAL applications, of course. The 8 GB of internal storage allows you to install all the necessary applications.

The Mi Box S offers some appreciable features, starting with the new Google Assistant integration. Using the dedicated button on the remote control, you can do voice searches to ask your box to find a specific type of film. You can also control your various connected objects, such as adjusting the brightness of your Philips Hue bulbs or changing the temperature of your Netatmo thermostat, for example. With built-in Google Chromecast (Cast) and Smart Cast function, it is very easy to stream content from your smartphone.

The Xiaomi TV box also has Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n (Wi-Fi 4) to connect to your home network and also provides connectivity via Bluetooth 4.2 LE + EDR to pair various accessories, including the supplied remote control. with.

The Mi Box S supports 4K H.265 at 60 frames per second, 4K VP9 and 4K H.264 at 30 frames per second. It is also HDR and HDR10 compatible, and supports MPEG1, MPEG2, VC1, DivX 4, DivX 5 video formats in Full HD at 60 frames per second. It does not have to be ashamed when it comes to transmitting audio signals thanks to its Dolby Audio and DTS-HD compatibility, and even includes a 3,5 mm jack port.

The Mi Box S is certified by Netflix with the dedicated button on its remote control, the streaming application offers 4K and HDR mode on most of its content.

For users more accustomed to Plex, the application that creates a local Netflix at home by fetching your files from your server and transmits them to you by encoding them to create a content catalog, know that it is also present. For more details, read our review of the Xiaomi Mi Box S.

Where to buy the
Xiaomi Mi Box S at the best price?
  • Fnac € 59 Discover the offer
  • Rue du Commerce 55 € Discover the offer
  • Darty 59 € Discover the offer
  • Rakuten Marketplace 59 € Discover the offer
  • E.Leclerc 64 € Discover the offer
  • Amazon Marketplace 89 € Discover the offer
See more offers

Xiaomi Mi TV Stick Complete for Full HD

7 / 10 Product sheet See the Cdiscount test 29 €
  • Android TV with Google Assistant
  • All apps work
  • Less than 40 euros
Available at 29 € on Cdiscount

La Xiaomi Mi TV Stick is an Android TV box which uses the classic interface in a TV key format. You therefore connect the box directly to the HDMI socket of your television, it will have access to your favorite applications via Wi-Fi. The remote control is provided, it gives direct access to Google Assistant and it offers quick access buttons to Netflix as well as Amazon Prime Video.

La Xiaomi Mi TV Stick // Source : Xiaomi

It is based on Android 9 and its low price hides support for Full HD definition at best. You will therefore not enjoy 4K content with this TV stick. However, it is a very interesting alternative to a Chromecast, because the Mi TV Stick also offers the Chromecast function like all Android TV boxes.

Where to buy the
Xiaomi Mi TV Stick at the best price?
  • Cdiscount 29 € Discover the offer
  • Baker € 29 Discover the offer
  • Carrefour 29 € Discover the offer
  • Rue du Commerce 29 € Discover the offer
  • Rakuten Marketplace 36 € Discover the offer
  • Darty 39 € Discover the offer
  • 42 € Discover the offer
See more offers

Apple TV 4K 2021 La box selon Apple

Fnac product sheet 199 €
  • 4K HDR, Dolby Vision et Dolby Atmos et 120 im / s
  • Apple Arcade, Apple TV+ etc.
  • An improved remote control
Available at 199 € on Fnac

It took more than 5 years for Apple to decide to update its Apple TV. An expectation that was beginning to be heavy as the Apple box began to show its age. Externally, we keep the same black box, but the remote control evolves. It now has tactile surfaces and above all a "Siri" button to facilitate the use of voice commands.

Under the hood, things are slowly changing. If we are not entitled to a latest generation processor, the switch from an Apple A10X to an A12 Bionic gives it a significant surplus of punch, as does the additional gigabyte of RAM. The most interesting is the support for HDMI 2.1 and therefore the display of 120 fps in 4K. We also note the appearance of a calibration of the television using the ambient light sensor of an iPhone.

Apple's desire to encourage users to swap their TV decoder for their box is materialized here through the TV application which acts as a unified interface to access programs from TV channels or VOD / SVOD services. , without the user having to open each application one by one. A real vision of new modes of content consumption.

The choice of applications is more or less identical to what is found in the majority of cases on Android TV, whether VOD / SVOD services (Amazon Video, Netflix, OCS, iTunes, etc.), TV channels and catch-up programs (Molotov, myCANAL…), the essential YouTube, not to mention Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify and TuneIn Radio for music.

Contrary to what some hoped, the arrival of Apple Arcade did not transform Apple TV into a game console. Few really interesting titles are available and the apple brand remains more generally resistant to streaming game services like GeForce Now or xCloud.

Beyond the integration of Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth modules, as well as the essential AirPlay which simplifies the distribution of photo, video and music media from an iPhone, iPad or Mac, Apple TV offers a few interesting features, such as the possibility of associating a pair of AirPods, or the voice assistant Siri.

Last interesting novelty: support for the Thread protocol for connected objects. The latter is still relatively uncommon, but seems set to replace the ZigBee in the long term.

To learn more
Home automation: understanding everything about protocols for the connected home

Without being revolutionary, the Apple TV version 2021 is modernized enough to remain interesting. Note that Apple is still marketing its predecessor Apple TV 4th generation. Sold only 30 euros less and limited to Full HD, it has not the slightest interest.

Where to buy the
Apple TV 4K 2021 at the best price?
  • Fnac € 199 Discover the offer
  • 197 € Discover the offer
  • Son-Vidé 199 € Discover the offer
  • E.Leclerc 199 € Discover the offer

The alternatives

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a dongle that connects directly via HDMI to your TV, a bit like a Chromecast. However, its use is totally different. Comes with a remote control, you don't need your smartphone or tablet to use it: the Fire TV Stick is completely self-contained. You can therefore leave your phone alone to take advantage of the various web services.

This new Fire TV Stick does not fundamentally change from the previous one. We find the same format, simply with a more efficient quad core processor. Too bad, however, that only Full HD is supported.

We find the operating system Fire OS, which greatly benefits from the additional power. The interface is much smoother. On the services side, we logically find all those from Amazon such as Amazon Prime Video which allows access to several popular movies and series or even Amazon Music to listen to music.

Obviously, you have to be an Amazon Prime subscriber to take advantage of these services ... Rest assured, the Amazon App Store also gives access to a catalog of applications that includes games, but also applications such as Molotov TV, YouTube, Netflix or still Apple TV +. Some services like Salto, ADN or myCanal are still missing. For a complete owner's tour, head to our Fire TV Stick review.

Where to buy the
Amazon Fire TV Stick at the best price?
  • Amazon € 39 Discover the offer
  • Baker € 39 Discover the offer
  • Electro Dépôt 39 € Discover the offer
  • Fnac Marketplace € 64 Discover the offer

Long reserved for the USA, the 4K model of the Fire TV Stick has finally arrived in Spain. This is obviously the option to go for if you have a 4K TV. It offers the same features as its Full HD little sister. If you want to know more, you can turn to our full review of the Fire TV Stick 4K from Amazon.

9 / 10

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Product sheet See the test Available at 59 €

Google Chromecast 3 The Unmissable

Amazon product sheet 29 €
  • Compact and discreet
  • Very handy from time to time
  • Full HD, existe en version 4K
Available at 29 € on Amazon

The Chromecast 3 is a simple revision of the previous model. It incorporates Bluetooth, but also more power for 5 GHz Wi-Fi: the antenna has been improved to bring the gain from 2,1 dBi to 4 dBi, thus doubling the signal strength. This especially allows you to better capture if your router is not in the same room as your Chromecast. Google ecosystem requires, it is obviously compatible with devices that work with Google Assistant.

Although its interest is now greatly limited compared to most of the solutions mentioned in this article, the Chromecast is nonetheless a sure value. This is a practical solution if you simply want to cast content from your smartphone or tablet to access Netflix, YouTube or myCANAL, for example, on a larger screen. Note that unlike the second model in the range, it can play Full HD 1080p videos at 60 frames per second.

Where to buy the
Google Chromecast 3 at the best price?
  • Amazon € 29 Discover the offer
  • Baker € 29 Discover the offer
  • Darty 29 € Discover the offer
  • Rakuten Marketplace 29 € Discover the offer
  • Electro Dépôt 29 € Discover the offer
  • Son-Vidé 34 € Discover the offer
  • Rue du Commerce 35 € Discover the offer
  • Fnac Marketplace € 59 Discover the offer
  • Fnac € 69 Discover the offer
  • E.Leclerc 69 € Discover the offer
  • Amazon Marketplace 110 € Discover the offer
See more offers

Choosing the right TV box

Is a TV box essential?

With the strong improvement in television operating systems, a TV box is no longer essential if you have a recent mid-range or high-end television. However, they offer much more flexibility and power than integrated solutions, especially if you want to use solutions like PLEX or Kodi.

On an old TV or an entry-level model, a TV box will on the other hand allow access to all fashionable streaming services, but also to enjoy a much smoother and more user-friendly interface. In General.

What about Chinese Android TV boxes?

It can be tempting to buy one of the many Android TV boxes from obscure Chinese manufacturers that are sold at ridiculous prices. However, we strongly advise against it. Indeed, you will often have to deal with not or badly translated interfaces, but also with compatibility problems with official application stores.

What are the best TVs (QLED or OLED) in 2021?

Want to change your TV to go to 4K and enjoy your PS5 as it should, or simply to abandon the classic LCD in favor of OLED or QLED? Here is our comparison ...

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