In the market for a Kodi streaming box (home theater PC)?
Whether you’re jumping on the cord-cutting bandwagon for the first time, looking to upgrade your current HTPC (home theater PC), or looking for a great gift for a friend or loved one, it’s good to know what kind of options are out there. The good news is there are lots of great options to choose from!
I’m breaking this up by Windows, Android, etc. Let’s get started!
I’m personally running a couple compact form factor Windows PCs for my Kodi streaming.
Acer RL80-UR23 Desktop – $285
I have an Acer Aspire Revo 3700 that was a predecessor to this newer model. They look very similar, but this has better specs.
My Acer Aspire Revo only has 2 GB of RAM which is absolutely not enough for any Windows PC. I tried upgrading to new RAM sticks but for some reason nothing would work. I tried at least 3 different sets before I realized I should give up. Anyway, I managed to speed up the performance by swapping the hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD).
Luckily for you, the Acer RL80-UR23 comes with 4 GB of RAM, but still only a hard drive (at least it’s 500 GB), but I’m sure you can swap it with a SSD for a nice upgrade later.
If you’re looking for a budget Windows HTPC, one comes with a pretty low price tag, but with that comes pretty low specs like 2 GB of RAM and only 32 GB of storage.
I’ve run Windows HTPCs for several years, and have been able to use it to do lots of cool stuff with Kodi, home automation, Xbox One, and Live TV but nowadays I’m seeing Android boxes becoming a lot more popular.
Android Devices for Kodi Streaming
Some of those integrations done on Windows may not be available on Android, but Android is an incredible cost-effective way to get up and running with Kodi and some streaming add-ons like Genesis.
Sometimes I use my Nexus 5X Android phone to use Kodi, and it works great. I’ve also used several cheap Android sticks so I can see the appeal of using it as your main HTPC. The performance you get for the price is very good, especially since you don’t have to pay for the operating system.
The other big notable benefit to using Android is that Kodi is in the Google Play store, so if you install it from Google Play, it will always keep up to date with automatic app updates… a feature I wish Kodi would implement for the rest of the platforms like Windows.
MK809III Android Stick – $33
I’ll start off with this great little Android stick that only costs $33. It does tend to lag a little bit on performance, but it can usually stream a good video source just fine. But for that price, why not give it a shot? You can always get something better later and demote this to the bedroom TV.
MXQ – $37
But wait… why not spend a few more bucks and get this MXQ? While it looks nicer with a bunch more USB ports, AV ports, Ethernet, SD, etc., watch out because this one only has 1 GB of RAM. But with the good reviews it has, I bet the 8 GB of flash storage is fast enough to accommodate the “RAM swapping” that will likely happen.
YCCTEAM MXIII-G – $70
If you’re looking for something newer with a lot more power, but still at a pretty cheap price for what you get, check out the MXIII. It’s running a more recent version of Android 5.1 Lollipop and supports 4K.
Amazon Fire TV Android
Another variant of Android, which is probably the most popular Kodi streaming solution at the moment, is the Amazon Fire TV. For very low prices you get a lot of power. The only caveat to these is that they come with Amazon’s forked version of Android so it doesn’t come with Google Play services. You would have to side-load the Kodi app which you can find lots of tutorials for on the Internet.
Amazon Fire TV – $85
This is the latest Fire TV with voice commands and lots of power. It’s a little bit of a higher price tag than some of the other options here, but might be worth it.
Amazon Fire TV Stick – $45
This is the older version of the Fire TV Stick for those of you that are trying to look for options on a budget. The newer version comes with voice commands through Amazon, but if you’re side-loading Kodi, you probably won’t be using Amazon’s voice commands.
Linux Mini Computer for Kodi Streaming
Raspberry Pi – $38
The Raspberry Pi came out as an educational device for student to experiment and built electronics. It didn’t take long before the Kodi community embraced the $38 device as a mini computer that can run Kodi. When you start up the Pi with the starter SD, you can choose to install Raspbmc or OpenElec. They are 2 different ways Kodi has been implemented on the Raspberry Pi and they both have their pros and cons.
I Need Your Suggestions
What else should I add to this list? Give me a reason why it’s such a compelling option. I would love your input!