We’ll go out on a limb and guess that some people today still haven’t figured out that IPTV (internet protocol televising) is a thing. What’s that, you ask? IPTV is none other than using the Internet itself as the conduit for your TV programming instead of the traditional cable option that has been the mainstay of such a service for the past 70-ish years. Satellite TV is the other traditional way of receiving channels although it’s not without its own problems — poor data transfer and reception for two. In a day and age where the Internet is in our very pockets thanks to smartphones, it became rather logical to include shows and news on the same transfer medium.
Remember that you basically want to pay attention to the range and directional functionality, and with that, you’re also recommended to check out TV Fool among other online services to help you determine what stations will be available at what distances and from which angles. Beyond these details, you probably don’t need to worry too much about the other technical details when choosing the right antenna for your needs.
In this article, we’re going to look at the best IPTV boxes in particular, which can be used with almost any input display. They’re most commonly used with TVs or monitors that have no inherent connection to the Internet, and the box works as a set-top that you can fire and forget.
All you need to do is hook the box into Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection, and you use HDMI or a coaxial cable to work it into the display device. With a subscription and an activation fee, you’re on your way to affording TV without additional plans for cable or satellite. However, as someone whose eyes are lain upon the prospect of an IPTV box, you’ll need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each product to ensure that you can receive your desired service and channels.
Best IPTV Box Comparison Table
|Product||Photo||Max Resolution||CPU||OS||3D Support||Check Price|
|Dreamlink T2||4K ready||Hisillicon Quad-Core||Android 7.0||No|
|NVIDIA Shield TV||4K||TEGRA X1 Quad-Core||Android 7.0||Yes|
|Amazon Fire TV Stick||1080p||ARM Quad-core 1.3 GHz||Fire OS (Android based)||Yes|
|Roku Streaming Stick+||4K||Quad-core||Roku OS 8||No|
|GooBang Doo ABOX A4||4K||Cortex-A53 Quad-core||Android 7.1||No|
|TICTID X9T PRO||4K||Cortex-A53 Octa-core||Android 7.1||Yes|
|MAG 322||1080i||Linux 3.3||Yes|
|Denys Premium||1080P||GX6622 600MHz||mini-Linux||No|
|SkyStreamX||4K||AMLogic S912 Octa-core||Android 7.1.2||No|
Best in Category
GooBang Doo 2018 IPTV Box — Best IPTV Box in the US
With immense hardware power, a seamless app experience and beautiful aesthetic on your entertainment center, GooBang Doo’s IPTV box is less weird than the naming scheme implies.
It’s simple to hook up, activate your subscription and use voice controls to conveniently handle this box, which is basically flawless in design while staying reasonably priced.
Roku Streaming Stick+ — Best IPTV Box for English Channels
This is probably the best overall IPTV device on our list today for its combination of affordable pricing, small form factor, and immense power. However, Roku’s ability to fetch international channels — including English ones — is difficult to beat in its own right. This will be your go-to device.
Roku Streaming Stick+ — Best IPTV Box for Indian Channels in the US
Again, Roku wins this one on the merit of combining awesome hardware with an excellent service that can fetch international channels, including Indian programming. This works out beautifully for other countries’ stations as well.
Best IPTV Box Reviews
Most IPTV boxes won’t be too concerned with listing off the actual hardware specs since users typically aren’t savvy or even interested in knowing about the operating environment or processing power.
However, Dreamlink makes it pretty plain that their IPTV box here is a boss: Android 7.x Nougat, quad-core CPU, Wi-Fi support and 4K output under the hood. It also has a microSD slot in the back, one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port to maximize. Does that sound convincing? We’d say that for the price, it’s a little too good to be true.
If you happen to be one of the savvy folks, you’ll probably look at the quad-core CPU and Android Nougat as opportunities to connect what’s basically a Linux-based PC to your TV set with access to the Google Play store.
However, that hasn’t stopped one particular Android-esque problem from surfacing within the device: breakdown over time. The system becomes fragmented like a normal Android device and eventually loses its performance, becoming too sluggish to operate. Adding to that, some users find that the device — sleek and stylish as it may be — doesn’t include the means of plugging the included Wi-Fi antenna in. Yup, you read that right: You need an antenna to use this thing with Wi-Fi. That’s a little weird, but it’s still not as weird as not including a hookup for the antenna itself.
Hey, who said that an IPTV box could only play TV shows? This one comes at a relatively hefty price but brings loads of entertainment for it, and NVIDIA’s Shield line of products have generally held their reputation well. The Shield TV functions as a subscription-based player for IPTV services in addition to supporting apps for YouTube, Netflix, PlayStation Vue, Plex, and others.
That’s right: If you have a Plex NAS (network-attached storage), you can host your own offline media for playback through NIVIDIA’s box. That comes in addition to the gaming capabilities that are underscored by the inclusion of a gaming controller alongside the TV remote.
The Shield TV is also “smart home ready“, meaning that you can link it up to other IoT (“internet of things“) devices in the house to join the synchronized movement of controlling your sanctuary with your voice or another form of command such as by a remote app. This includes the ability to link up your gaming PC to this IPTV box to play your games right there on the TV in 4K HDR at 60fps.
Finally, there’s Android 7.0 Nougat on board, meaning you have access to Google Play to install apps directly to the box for purposes that may or may not have anything to do with IPTV. Jeez, we thought we were supposed to review internet TV machines here!
What’s an IPTV box for anyway? Use a stick!
That’s what Amazon’s Fire TV stick is all about:
- Plug it into any HDMI port on your TV set
- Connect to Wi-Fi
- Tune to the appropriate input on the TV
- And you’re ready to go
This comes with an Alexa voice remote, and with a subscription to Fire TV, you can pull channels from HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Prime Video and more. Of course, in this always-connected day and age, you’ll also have access to social media apps. Imagine getting all that in this tiny flash drive-sized stick!
The number of stations that you’re gaining access to is pretty much all-inclusive and exactly like the best that cable would ever deliver. You have sports, thousands of show episodes and movies, music and more with the same benefits that a typical IPTV set-top delivers. This stands out from other offerings on our list in that you really have a comprehensive list to choose from, and it comes from a company that you’ve not only heard of but probably trust.
Roku is one of those brands that you see every time you set foot in the electronics section of a department store and sometimes even smaller computer-based vendors from time to time.
Their stick is considerably more expensive than Amazon’s, but it brings loads of power inside that the Fire stick lacks. Despite the increased price, it’s still pretty low for what you get, and considering that a proper “box” for IPTV is still more expensive, Roku is giving you a crazy deal.
From a technical standpoint, our concern is that if you manage to supply a Wi-Fi signal that’s fast enough to load 4K HDR content in a reasonable span of time, you still have the hardware limitations of USB 3.0 and especially 2.0 to hold you back. Long and short, expect your 4K to take a little while to buffer, but you might not care about a short wait for such brilliant content, or you may end up just streaming 1080p instead.
Don’t let the strange manufacturer moniker put you off; this IPTV box comes packed with a quad-core 64-bit CPU over 2GB of RAM to support 4K streaming on its Android 7.1 Nougat OS. Was that a mouthful?
Indeed, the technical bits look great, and users find that this is a competent device on the level of Amazon’s Fire TV stick and Roku’s own beauteous offering. The device itself is sleek and beautiful, making a great addition to your entertainment center, and of course, you’re getting a voice remote integrated into this beast.
Note that you’ll subscribe through Android TV for this one, so it’s not some random, off-brand service provider. This is good for you since the inclusion of Android on board means you can integrate installed apps with Android’s own IPTV service — a bonus to a seamless operation. On a final note, you can sign into your Google account to download and access all of your apps on this nifty box, making it quite versatile.
With TICTID’s offering, you’re getting a whole lot of horsepower — way more than you probably need in an IPTV box.
With support for 2K and 4K HDR, dual-band Wi-Fi and H.265 decoding inside this Android 7.1 box, it already looks pretty solid. You’re also witnessing the power of octa-core processing paired with 3GB of DDR3 RAM, which is mighty fine if not downright impressive for an IPTV box in particular.
Keep in mind that it’s all RISC processing, so you’re not getting gaming PC-level specs here.
We have to commend Infomir for their ambitious if strident approach to broadcasting everything that makes their product great. If you ever doubted that caps lock was cruise control for cool, then you could join Echosmith and wish that you were one of the cool kids — a proud owner of a MAG 322, that is.
This neat little box produces an admittedly cheesy-looking interface that could probably use more categorization, but putting pickiness aside, you’re getting a functional setup that’s HDMI- and Wi-Fi-enabled for “three months’ service” of international broadcasts. This picks up sports, news, entertainment, adult channels and more with a favorites function to keep track of, well, your favorites.
We’re not clear on what the “three months’ service” is supposed to mean. One guesses that you get the first three months of service for free; from there, a subscription might be needed to continue. As we don’t have three whole months to test this out for ourselves, we’ll call attention to this as a possible drawback.
Here’s hoping that the IPTV box doesn’t, you know, explode after 90 days and require a whole new purchase to maintain your cool card. However, it’s not uncommon for manufacturers to reward new customers with a couple free months of service as appreciation for investing in their business, so we’re thinking that you can skip the armored safe and leave this one sitting on your entertainment center.
This is a fairly standard IPTV box. In fact, we’ll say that we even get good vibes just looking at it; it’s almost an omen.
However, staying objective, inclusion of 5GHz Wi-Fi support and 1080p output are solid benefits if not exactly new in this day and age. It supports up to 600Mbps of dual-band goodness, which is far more than you’ll ever need to stream FHD content. If you happen upon 4K content, you could make use of that bandwidth cap to stream it in downscaled form, which would improve the quality a bit over native 1080p, but if the box only supports 1080p output, that’s the maximum resolution that you’ll get.
You can also play media directly off the machine with a USB drive. Simply plug it in and navigate your photo, music and video files to play them back on the big screen. This is a nice little bonus that adds some offline flavor to the machine, and the remote just adds brownie points on top. It’s nothing overly pivotal in the quest for the best IPTV box, but it’s worth noting that you can load up all your movie rips for the rainy days when your internet is acting up.
This box doesn’t support a coaxial cable, but you have HDMI and Ethernet in addition to the aforementioned Wi-Fi, so you should be set to hook this sucker up.
This little box is a beast, but it doesn’t have matted hair or fangs; it’s a compact metal box that brings a stately feel to your entertainment center while dishing out everything you could ask for in the best IPTV box while keeping it real on the price.
While some of the lesser IPTV boxes only support basic TV-esque playback, this one dives into popular VOD services such as YouTube and will even let you check your email from it. It’s more of an underfeatured PC tower than a simple IPTV box, and yes, that’s a compliment.
As expected, you’ll need a subscription to make the most of this machine. The manufacturer helpfully specifies that you can either ask your ISP or check on the Internet for IPTV m3u, which is the subscription platform that Denys’ product works off of.
Despite the high price, keeping with modern computing technology is a plus when you’re trying to sell your product for its 4K streaming service.
SkyStreamTV isn’t as well-known as Android, Amazon or other services that you’ve known about, but if you give it a chance, it might pleasantly surprise you. We’re not sure about the bold claim of having the “largest streaming library”, but we’ll let you decide if the plethora of VOD apps and multifarious channels is adequate for your tastes.
This product comes with Android 7.1.2 and is quite simple to hook up and run.
The problems that come with SkyStream’s box are pretty mild in volume if significant in effect; some find that it crashes frequently while others feel that the media player struggles to play offline files consistently if at all. This is a letdown seeing as the product is identified as a media player more so than a simple IPTV box, and their customer service is apparently unhelpful in solving the issue.
Best IPTV Box Buyer’s Guide
How does an IPTV box work?
An IPTV box is nothing more or less than a set-top box that relies on an internet connection instead of traditional cable service to convey live TV programming to your TV set. The difference lies in the requirement that you plug your IPTV box into your router with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly connect it to your home Wi-Fi. The purpose of an IPTV box is ultimately to allow a non-smart TV the ability to grab channels from the Internet.
How do you set up an IPTV box?
You’ll need either a smart TV or an IPTV box to begin. Connect the IPTV box to the Internet and your TV set, switch to the appropriate input where the box is connected, and make sure that everything’s powered on. You’ll use a remote to navigate the box’s interface, possibly pay an activation fee in addition to subscription fees, and select the IPTV channels that you want to watch.
Each “channel” will have an expansive collection of live-running or cached shows or movies that pertain to that channel, some unique to that specific service provider. Popular providers include Roku, Kodi, and Android TV, and each will sell you their specific IPTV boxes to hook into your TV set and gain access to your subscription through an internet connection.
If you have a smart TV, you can probably skip the IPTV box and search for an IPTV app in its library or app store instead. IPTV providers will often supply their own apps for this purpose. If you have a PC, tablet or smartphone, you may also have the option of simply visiting the website of your provider to use their service. Remember that with non-smart TVs, there’s really no proper interface to deal with an internet connection, so that’s where an IPTV box would be useful.
How do you use an IPTV box?
If you’ve ever used a cable set-top, you already know how to use an IPTV box. You’ll get a separate remote to power it on and control it with, and you’ll navigate to the appropriate TV input that the IPTV box is connected to. From there, you can use the supplied IPTV remote to navigate the box’s interface and watch a show or movie of your choosing from any channels that are available to you by the carrier.
Is it necessary to use an IPTV box if you have a smart TV?
Usually, you won’t need a discreet IPTV box if you’re using a smart TV. Smart TVs do more than just access Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other VoD (video on demand) platforms; their operating environments will either come with an app preinstalled or can access an app store where an IPTV app can be downloaded to allow your carrier’s programming to be streamed or downloaded to your set.
Is it a problem that some IPTV boxes are running outdated versions of Android?
To answer this question best, we’ll put one to you: Did your cable set-top ever expire due to its operating software?
We’ll wager that with the exception of hardware-based HDTV upgrades, you probably never had to replace your set-top. Although it’s true that the metrics behind operating environments are more important now than they used to be — Symbian on the old brick Nokias wasn’t important in the way that Android or iOS is on modern cellular phones — set-tops haven’t changed much in this regard. They’re considerably less complex than mainstream expressions of their operating environments in much the way a NAS Plex server is, which is why it’s common to the latest iterations of these devices running years-old versions of Android.
What’s the difference between streaming internet video (Chromecast) and actually running IPTV (Android TV)?
Technically speaking, there is no difference. YouTube is part of an IPTV platform known as VoD (video on demand). However, IPTV in the traditional context refers to the ability to watch regular TV programming from the likes of Starz, HBO and so on through an internet connection instead of satellite or cable.
Now, if we’re talking about YouTube TV, that’s different; for a subscription fee, you can gain access to regular TV programming through YouTube with the YouTube TV app or site.
We’re hoping that this article helped make or break the leap from old-timey cable — a technology that’s probably older than your grandparents — to the newfangled internet-based TV setup that people are readily embracing these days. It may not necessarily be faster than cable, but it can surely provide a clearer result that can be downloaded for viewing whenever you’d like and as often as you like. With seeker controls and the power to choose whatever programming you’d like to see at any point in the day, there’s no treading over your work schedule or other important plans in your day just to catch an episode of your favorite programming. Still, while IPTV promises to do all of this in varying degrees, not all of them will fulfill each function as reliably.
Usually, we discuss future potential for the relevant technologies of our review topic in the conclusion, but as a meme-ified movie line would say, “The future is now, old man.” Beyond IPTV, we’re not sure what to expect — cellular pylons that broadcast internet-based TV service everywhere like a free radio service perhaps? We already see this happening with local towers displaying news and shows, which can be picked up by your own personal TV antenna. We have an article on the best outdoor HDTV antennas in case you’re interested in pursuing a subscription-free route, but keep in mind that what you get from over-the-air local casting isn’t going to size up to IPTV offerings, which are much more fluid and manipulable by the user.
We’ll admit that we don’t have the imaginative prognostication that made Gene Roddenberry so respectable in the decades following Star Trek, but we can tell you that if technology continues on a somewhat predictable or linear path, satellite TV will probably make a comeback at some point down the road, and everyone will have their own personal satellites in much the way that yagi antennas can be obtained cheaply to pick up local broadcasts.
With that said, you have the ins and outs of picking an IPTV box, setting it up and making it work. Remember that with IPTV services, the actual steps involved in getting set up may vary depending on the service, the box you get and the device that you’re using to display the content.