What Is a Kodi box? An In-depth Look Into 4 Kodi Devices

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Kodi boxes provide one of the best ways to hook Kodi up to your big screen living room TV. Four of the best Kodi boxes on the market right now are nVidia Shield, Raspberry Pi, Enybox X3 and Asus Chromebox.  Read on to find out what they can do.

Reminder

We highly recommend using a VPN while streaming through Kodi. Kodi users have been known to receive copyright infringement notices for streaming movies, sports, and TV shows through various addons. If you would like to keep your streaming habits private, our recommendation is IPVanish – a complete privacy solution for Kodi users.

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What is a Kodi box?

Essentially, a Kodi box is a TV box that’s compatible with Kodi.  TV boxes are stripped down mini-computers that are designed to plug directly into your TV.  

You don’t need much hard drive space

Because TV boxes are made for watching streams, most of them don’t have large hard drives.  16 gigabytes is really all you need if all you want to do is use Kodi.  However, if you want to play games or download files it may make sense to go with a device that features extra storage.  Gaming TV boxes have as much as 500 GB of hard drive space.

Common features

All the Kodi boxes on the list below contain USB ports for additional storage, Ethernet jacks and built-in WiFi antennas.  Also, they all support HD 1050p video.

If your TV supports 4k video, you may want to look into Kodi boxes that are capable of supporting “super HD” 4k video streams.

The 3 main types of Kodi boxes

If you plan on using a TV box with Kodi, there are three main types to consider: Android powered Kodi boxes, Raspberry Pi, and Chrome OS powered Kodi boxes.

1.  Android powered Kodi boxes

If you’re not technically inclined, the best option is to get an Android powered Kodi box. If you’ve ever used an Android phone, then you already know how to use an Android Kodi box.  

Because Kodi is available in the Google Play store, Android powered Kodi boxes are very easy to setup and configure.  All you have to do is log into Google Play and download the Kodi app.

2.  Raspberry Pi 

Raspberry Pi boxes aren’t quite as powerful as Android powered Kodi boxes.  However, they are cheaper.  Also, if you’re a tinkerer you may enjoy the flexibility offered by Raspberry Pi.

With some basic programming knowledge, you can easily load your Pi up with retro games, transform it into a wearable camera, setup a streaming radio station, or even create your own DIY Amazon Echo.

Like Android TV boxes, Raspberry Pi devices are easy to setup for Kodi.  To get Kodi onto a Raspberry Pi, all you have to do is pop in an SD card that has a program called NOOBS on it.  Once you’re in NOOBS, you can select LibreELEC from the installation menu to get Kodi.  LibreELEC comes with Kodi built-in.

3.  ChromeOS powered Kodi boxes

TV boxes that come with ChromeOS are called Chromeboxes.  ChromeOS is a lightweight operating system based around Google Chrome.

Currently, Chromeboxes do not support Google Play.  In order to run Kodi on a ChromeOS Chromebox, you have to replace ChromeOS with a Kodi operating system called OpenELEC.

Which TV box works the best with Kodi?

We think the nVidia Shield is the all-around best Kodi box.  It’s super powerful, reasonably priced and Google Play compatible.  All you have to do to install Kodi on an nVidia Shield is login to Google and download it from Google Play.

If you want to save some money but you still want to buy some type of Android powered Kodi box, go with Enybox X3.  Enybox X3 doesn’t have all the gamer friendly features and accessories found on the nVidia Shield.  But if all you want to do is watch Kodi videos and streams on your TV, the Enybox X3 is all you need.  Enybox is inexpensive, well-made and easy to use.

If you’re good with computers, you may want to consider getting a Raspberry Pi or an Asus Chromebox.  Both devices are a little bit harder to setup for Kodi, compared to the two Android TV boxes on our list.  However, they both have bring some unique features to the table that you might want to learn about before you make your purchase.

1.  nVidia Shield (2017 edition)

The nVidia Shield comes with a remote control and an Xbox-like gaming controller.
The nVidia Shield comes with a remote control and an Xbox-like gaming controller.

The nVidia Shield is the very best Android TV device out there.  Super hi-def Kodi video streams look great on this box.  Also, if you have an nVidia graphics card in your PC you can use it to stream video games right into your nVidia Shield.

Surprisingly, the Shield is actually very reasonably priced.  If you like to play video games as much as you like to stream video on Kodi, the nVidia Shield is the obvious choice.

One-click Kodi installation

Some TV boxes require you to replace the default operating system if you want to install Kodi.  But because nVidia Shield ships with a full-featured version of Android, all you have to do to get Kodi is logon to your Google account and download direct from Google Play.

Cheaper and slimmer than before

The new edition of nVidia Shield is about 40 percent smaller than the original.
The new edition of nVidia Shield is about 40 percent smaller than the original.

In 2017, nVidia lowered the MSRP price of the Shield down to $200.  They also shrunk down its Bluetooth game controller and its body.

Additionally, the latest edition of the Shield comes with a free remote control.

Operating system: Android 7 (Nougat)

Shield runs on a new flavor of Android called Android Nougat.  Nougat is very quick, plus it’s packed with advanced features.  For example, you can display multiple apps on the same screen via a new split-screen view mode.  Another thing that’s great about Nougat is that it’s equipped with support for the super fast 3D rendering API known as Vulkan.

Ports and capabilities

In order to save space and shave money off of the MSRP, nVidia opted to drop the micro SD card feature.  However, if you need extra space you can just plug in a USB stick– which is faster, anyway.  There’s also an HDMI port, an Ethernet jack and a built-in WiFi receiver.

16 GB of internal space

16 GB may sound small.  However, if you need more room you can always expand via USB. You can expand your memory up to 128 gigabytes via USB.

The “Pro” edition of the Shield has a microSD slot and a 500 GB internal drive.  However, you probably don’t that much space if you’re primarily going to use the Sheild as a Kodi box.

Watch 4K video streams

The nVidia Shield can run 4k video streams at 60 FPS.

Still the fastest set top box around

Even though the 2017 edition of the nVidia Shield did not feature any hardware upgrades, it’s still by far the fastest Android TV box around.

Great for gaming 

The nVidia Shield was designed from the ground up with gamers in mind.  With this box, you can quickly download any game in the Google Play store and enjoy it on your living room TV.  If you’ve got an nVidia graphics card and a PC, you can even stream games from your desktop in full HDR.

Improved controller

nVidia slimmed down the Shield controller and added Bluetooth functionality to it.  The new controller even has a built-in headphone jack now.

Beam any device to your TV

nVidia Shield has built-in Chromecast technology, which means that you can quickly and easily cast any of your Android devices to your big screen TV.

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 2. Enybox X3

The Enybox X3 comes with a remote controller.
The Enybox X3 comes with a remote controller.

Enybox is half the price of nVidia Shield.  It’s not quite as beefy in terms of specs, but it is still quite fast.  Enybox runs on a quad core ARM cortex a53 processor– the same processor used by Raspberry Pi 3.

Ports and capabilities

The Enybox has USB support, plus Ethernet and a built-in WiFi antenna.  There’s also a Micro SD card slot.

Operating system: Android 6 (Marshmallow)

Android Marshmallow is quite smooth and quick, but it lacks some of the extra features found in Android Nougat.

One-click Kodi installation

Because Enybox comes equipped with Google Play, all you have to do to get Kodi is logon to the Google Play store.  You’ll find the Kodi app there, which you can download and install with a single click.

4k ready

Enybox X3 is fully 4k compatible.  If you have a 4k ready TV, you can plug it in and watch great looking 4k Kodi streams.

Comes with a remote control

The Enybox’s remote control is simple, but it works.  It has a number pad, directional controls, menu and home buttons and everything else you need to control Kodi from afar.

Great Amazon reviews

The X3 edition of Enybox just came out, so it doesn’t have a whole lot of reviews yet.  However, this device currently has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.  The majority of the reviews were written by verified purchasers– and they all look very legit.

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 3.  Raspberry Pi 3 

The Raspberry Pi kit we linked to below comes with an SD card that contains several preloaded operating systems, a black case and several other accessories.
The Raspberry Pi kit we linked to below comes with an SD card that contains several preloaded operating systems, a black case and several other accessories.

Raspberry Pi has been around since 2012 and was originally created to help high school students learn how to program.  But thanks to its miniature size, low price tag and ability to play HD video, it’s become very popular in the Kodi community in recent years.

Ports and capabilities

Like all the TV boxes on this list, Raspberry Pi 3 comes with built-in Wifi and Ethernet support.  It also has USB and HDMI jacks.

Great value

On Amazon, you can pick up a full-featured Raspberry Pi 3 for less than 100 dollars. If you plan on using Raspberry Pi with Kodi, you should get a kit that comes with a case, a power cord and other useful accessories.

Uncomplicated Kodi installation

The Raspberry Pi we linked to below comes with a preloaded 32 GB SD card, which allows you to select from various operating systems the first time you turn it on.  To get Kodi, just pop in the SD card and choose LibreELEC the first time you boot it up.  Once it’s finished installing, just reboot and click the Kodi icon to enjoy Kodi.

HD ready, but no 4K support

Raspberry Pi 3 supports HD 1080p video, but it does not support 4K video streams.

Some assembly is required

The Raspberry Pi 3 kit below comes with a case and some heatsinks that you’ll need to screw on before you get going.  However, the installation doesn’t take very long and the instructions are very clear.

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4.  Asus Chromebox-M004U

The powerful Asus Chromebox has a desktop PC processor inside.
The powerful Asus Chromebox has a desktop PC processor inside.

This beefy little TV box is more powerful than most.  The majority of TV boxes run on hardware that’s designed for mobile devices.  The Asus Chromebook, however, runs on a 1.4 Ghz dual core Celeron processor.  As a result, Kodi looks and feels extra fast.

Operating system: Google Chrome OS

By default, Asus Chromebook comes with Google Chrome OS pre-installed.  You’ll need to switch to LibreELEC if you want to use Kodi, though.  Unfortunately, Asus Chromebook M004U does not support Google Play.

Heavy duty processor

As mentioned above, Asus Chromebook has better hardware than most TV boxes.  Instead of running on a mobile ARM processor, Asus Chromebook runs on a full-fledged 1.4 Ghz dual core Celeron processor.  It’s also got a Haswell chipset, plus 2 GB of RAM.

Ports and capabilities

With the Asus Chromebook you get 16 GB storage, 2 USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot.  It also has an HDMI port, Bluetooth, Ethernet and WiFi.

Kodi setup is a bit more complicated

Getting Kodi installed on it requires you to replace the default Chrome OS with LibreELEC.  Fortunately, replacing the operating system is not nearly as complicated as you might think.

All you have to do to get Kodi on this device is:

  1. Power on and connect to WiFi (but don’t login).
  2. Press [CTRL][ALT][F2] to open a command prompt
  3. Login with user chronos (no password required)
  4. Type in the following command: curl -L -O https://mrchromebox.tech/setup-kodi.sh && sudo bash setup-kodi.sh
  5. Press enter

When the device reboots, you’ll be in LibreELEC, which comes with Kodi pre-installed.

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