If you own a High Def TV from the first generation with no Internet Browser or movie player and you want to get all the goodies that are packed into those Smart TVs but you don’t have the budget for the upgrade, there is always an alternative. In fact, I think that the alternative will bring you a TV that’s “smarter” than today’s Smart TVs (ok, this phrase is awkward, but you get the idea).
This small device is the perfect choice if you plan to higher the IQ of your old HDTV. Although it’s the size of a common USB Stick, it holds enough power under the hood to run the Android OS. There are many variation of this device, and most of them feature a dual core processor clocked between 1Ghz and 2Ghz, 512MB – 2 GB of RAM and 4/8 GB of storage. All of these sticks have Wi-Fi technology present, and there are some Android sticks that have Bluetooth. If the internal storage is not enough for you, you can add additional memory using the micro SD slot.
The operating system that’s installed on these small devices is a custom iteration of the classic Android OS. As expected, you will be able to install your favorite apps directly from the Play Store, and you are not limited to just few apps (like most Smart TVs are). If you use this Android stick, you can control the TV with a wired or wireless keyboard and mouse or you can use a sophisticated solution like an air keyboard.
The Android TV is cheap, versatile and it allows you to play 1080p videos from the Internet, from any USB stick or from the micro SD card. Also, you can use most apps present on Play Store (all you need is a Google account). I also loved the fact that this solution brings you a wireless connection to the HDTV, since most HDTVs/Smart TVs sold today have no WiFi feature or they are WiFi ready (which means you need to buy an additional WiFi adapter). More than that, if you have a monitor with a HDMI port, you can use it instead of a computer to read/write documents, browse the Internet or read mails.
You should read the reviews before buying such a device in order to avoid flaws and problems that you may encounter. I bought the MK808b Stick and the Wi-Fi connectivity was flawless, but there are reviews that complain about poor Wi-Fi signal on some of these sticks. Also, I was not able to fully control it with my Android smartphone. Tablet Remote app was the closest to what I needed, it works via Bluetooth, but there are still issues with the app. Users on various forums suggested other solutions, but none worked for me. Maybe I’m not to good at installing apps… I don’t know.
You’ve seen the best and the worst of this small device. Considering its price ($30-$70), I think its a brainless choice for those who are looking for Smart TV solution or even for a smart PC way. Now, you can get rid of that old PC unit from your grandma house and give her a fresh PC that can fit in her palm.