Kodi is one of the most popular streaming software right now. It used to previously be known as XBMC, as it was originally created for the Xbox and was thus called the Xbox Media Centre. Simply speaking Kodi is an entertainment system and can be used to access almost everything. Kodi, being a software, can be run off a variety of hardware including PCs, certain phones and tablets, set-top boxes and HDMI sticks.

However one of the most controversial aspects of Kodi is that it can be used to access third party add-ons that might be illegal. There has been quite a bit of misuse of Kodi which has generated debate on the issue.

Some sort of hardware is required to access Kodi on the TV and thus we have Kodi boxes that are made by different companies. Kodi boxes are a cheap and simple way of running the Kodi software. A Kodi box is a specially designed streamer that streams with Kodi and is usually placed under the television and provides constant streaming.

A few Kodi boxes that we are going to review are the Nvidia Shield, the Minix Neo U1 as well as the Asus Chromebox.

The Nvidia Sheild TV is one of the most powerful streaming and gaming devices and has the following features:

·4K UHD TV & Video Streaming

· Android TV

· GeForce Now cloud gaming

· Exclusive android games only for SHEILD

· Stream GeForce GTX computer games to the television

The Nvidia Sheild TV

The Nvidia Sheild TV

 

Through SHEILD one can access usual favorites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, PLEX, HuffPost live, TV Player Plus, MagineTV, Kodi It also has one of the most advanced gaming systems available. Next-gen Android games or popular PC games from the cloud with GeForce NOW are available only on SHEILD.

It is available in 16GB which is sufficient storage for someone who streams most things but for someone who wishes to play many games or download a lot of media then it is advisable to purchase the 500GB box. The SHEILD is slightly different from other streaming devices as instead of a remote it has a gaming controller. The Nvidia Sheild is thus more focused on gaming.

As a part of the Android TV, it has voice control via Google. Mostly voice controllers are inefficient and cumbersome to use. However, Nvidia’s voice control quickly understands what the user is saying and acts on it.

Some of the disadvantages are that Nvidia has poor customer service. Also, it does not have access to some of the more popular TV-apps like All4, Demand5 or ITV Hub that might make it restrictive.

The second Kodi box we will discuss is the Minix Neo U1.

The Neo U1 has the following features:

· an HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 output

· capable of supporting 10-bit 4K Ultra HD video up to 60 frames per second

· 7.1 channel HD audio pass-through and it runs on Android 5.1.1, a new-generation AMLogic S905 processor

· 2GB of RAM and 16GB of unified eMMC 5.0, i.e. fast, flash storage

Minix Neo U1

Minix Neo U1

 

MINIX NEO U1 comes pre-installed with the custom version of KODI – XBMC MINIX Edition. However, a more recent version of KODI can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or KODI’s official website.

One of the problems with the Neo U1 is that both Netflix and Kodi cannot be streamed in HD which leads to subpar video quality.

Overall the box is superb and plays virtually everything. It runs smoothly and users rarely have any complaints. Users might be able to find a similar box for half the price but there is no guarantee of the quality or customer service of those devices. For someone looking for a top-notch high-quality product, the Neo U1 is perfect. However, for someone looking for 4K/HD, the Nvidia Sheild is the better option although it does cost more than the Neo U1.

The third box that we will review is the Asus Chromebox that has the following features:

· a 64-bit Intel Celeron 1.4GHz processor

· 2GB of RAM

· Intel HD graphics

· a 16GB SSD which is inbuilt

Asus Chromebox

Asus Chromebox

 

For a device that is meant to run only KODI, the Chromebox is the best option. It is a simple and light device that is free of viruses as it provides malware and virus protection which is integrated into the system. It allows you to instantly access the browser and the apps you wish to use. It has a processor powerful enough for ultrafast multitasking performance in Chrome OS and allows you to choose your own screen size, connect to multiple displays at once and even attach to any VESA-mountable monitor or HD TV.

The ASUS Chromebox is almost like a new computer however it lacks some functions that computers possess. But some of these functions can be easily substituted. For example, instead of using Microsoft Word, Google Docs can be used and so on. In terms of cost, it is much cheaper than buying a new laptop. For someone who does not have extensive use of a laptop and wants to mainly use browsing services, the Chrome box is a cost effective substitute.

The Chromebox, however, does not have any remote, so the user needs to provide his or her own.

Buying the most suitable Kobi Box depends on multiple factors. First of all, you must decide what your exact priority and purpose of buying the box are. Different people might value different functions. For some people, a high-quality video might be of supreme importance, while someone else might want a more all rounded device. Gamers might want more storage and access to a wider assortment of games, while others might want to buy a cheap device that provides basic entertainment.

You might want to keep certain features in mind while buying the ideal Android TV box for yourself. You should check if it has the highest version of Android as there is no point in buying an older version. You should also check if it provides 3D or HD streaming if any of those are a concern to you. It should also have the latest stock version of Kodi as it will definitely have newer features. The storage of the device is another thing you might want to pay attention to depending on your requirements.

Kodi boxes are a great purchase and have a lot of usability and portability. They don’t require much space and provide complete value for money. The versatility of a Kodi box is practically unmatched as it supports virtually all forms of entertainment known to us right now.

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