Whether you have a smart TV, a streaming stick, Blu-Ray player, soundbar, or even some projectors, many of these gizmos come with Android TV built in.
Too many of them also only have WiFi – no Ethernet jack to be found! This is particularly irritating for those of us who want to go wired and avoid the Wireless Wonderland.
So, how to get Ethernet? Well, you just buy a USB-Ethernet adapter, right?
Yes – sort of…
The Amazing USB Ethernet Dongle
First, I did a video on this topic – kind of: Ethernet for smartphones and tablets
As with smartphones and tablets, whether or not a certain Ethernet adapter works with your gizmo depends on the specific adapter and if the necessary Ethernet drivers are included in the particular flavor/version of Android running on the device.
You’ll either plug-and-play, or not. It’s so bad that even different models of the SAME PHONE for different regions in the world will only each work with 1 specific USB-Ethernet adapter! Crazy…
That means you may have to purchase several USB-Ethernet dongles, and try each one until you find one that works.
Enter Android TV
Devices with Android TV are pretty much in the same boat – but there’s a little trick. Well, 3 tricks.
First: You are far better off trying a USB-Ethernet adapter that has the RealTek RTL8152B chipset. If that doesn’t work, then try one with the ASIX AX88772A chipset.
Second: You should probably avoid newer 1 Gbps Ethernet adapters!! Both of the above chipsets are Fast Ethernet only – that means 10/100 Mbps. For streaming, this is isn’t a problem.
Even for 4K video, Netflix recommends a 25 Mbps connection speed. Since your Fast Ethernet adapter will run at 100 Mbps, as long as your internet connection from your ISP is at least 25 Mbps, you should be able to stream anything no problem.
Also, by using an older Fast Ethernet chipset in your adapter, you’re increasing the chances that the necessary drivers will be included in whatever Android flavor the device is running.
Third: Pay attention to the USB socket on your gizmo. For example, let’s say you have a FullHD projector with Android TV 10. It has 2 USB ports: 1 USB3 Type C (small, oval, newer) and 1 USB2 Type A (normal big USB, older). In many devices, USB3 Type C ports are only used for video input. Try plugging in a Type C USB-Ethernet dongle, and the thing won’t even power on! Oops.
So, if your device has an older USB2 port, use that one. By choosing a Fast Ethernet adapter that officially only supports USB 2.0, you’re also ensuring that the dongle you use will be powered properly. Older USB ports have lower power outputs!
Putting it all together
Put that all together, and what you get is the following list of recommended USB Ethernet adapters for Android TV gizmos (affiliate links):
- Giochem USB 2.0 to Fast Ethernet Adapter (RTL8152B)
- AuviPal LAN Fast Ethernet Adapter with 3 USB Ports (RTL8152B, also works with Amazon FireTV)
- Tccmebius Adaptateur USB Ethernet, USB 2.0 vers RJ45 (RTL8152B)
- UGREEN Ethernet Adapter USB to 10/100 Mbps (AX88772A)
- TRENDnet USB 2.0 to 10/100 Fast Ethernet Adapter TU2-ET100 (AX88772A)
And if you need a USB-Ethernet adapter for a small USB 2.0 micro B port (small, trapezoid, older), then just grab these: USB 2.0 Micro USB Male to USB Female OTG Adapter (2 Pack)
Many of the ‘micro B’ USB-Ethernet dongles have only the ASIX AX88772A chipset, so you may not easily find one that uses the preferred RTL8152B chip!
And there you have it: With a little extra mojo, you can get your Android TV gizmo running over Ethernet and ditch the WiFi!