Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Smarten Your TV
Since everyone is watching more and more content online, I thought it was a good idea to present different ways for you to enjoy this newly available content on your TV. There are different ways you can "smarten" you TV but I will concentrate on the 3 I think are the most important to know about. Apple fan-boys and fan-girls, please don't be too deceived I left the iTV out, I just don't think it compares to what I am about to show you.
This is the ultimate setup, obliviously it is the one I have at home. It is the best setup because it gives you the most liberty and lets you do the most stuff. For example, I can use it to play games, watch videos from YouTube, download movies and everything a regular computer lets you do. Also, it is the fastest option because computer towers are the most brains for any type of display. The greatest thing about it is that I don't even need a mouse or a keyboard to control it, I just use my Android tablet or smartphone and a small program called Gmote. So I can lay on my couch like a potato, with my tablet in hand and stream movies or series all night without having to move an inch, that's real life.
Raspberry Pi PC
The Raspberry Pi PC is a credit card size computer, packing a processor comparable to those you find in cellphones. It uses SD cards for storage, has WiFi, 2 USB ports and HDMI out so you can hook it up to your HDTV. It is great for those of you who don't want to have a huge computer tower standing in you living room but you have to be aware that it is going to be a slower solution. The biggest advantage of the Pi PC is that it costs only 25$ so even if you are not satisfied with it, you can always change without having the feeling you lost all your money on a stupid gimmick. Another aspect you have to be aware of is that it does not run the usual software you are used to. It runs a custom version of Linux and does not support every programs and apps you run on a "normal" computer. Still, it is the cheapest solution to be able to watch digital content on your TV. More info here.
The last option I am going to present is called the FAVI SmartStick. It is the best quality/price solution from my point of view. It is a USB key size computer that runs Android 4.1, the latest version, and has everything you need on-board. The 50$ version has 4GB of internal storage and the 80$ version has 8. It allows you to view the content that is on your home computer, stream from different audio and video streaming services like NetFlix and it basically does anything an Android phone or tablet would. This is a device that is specially made to expand the abilities of your TV so it is also the easiest solution for those of you who are less tech-savvy. Other manufacturers like Roku and Geniatech are currently working on their own sticks to compete against FAVI which is clearly ahead of the competition because their stick runs on the most recent version of Android and also, it is already available for pre-order. More info here.
The next generation of HDTVs will definitely sport features that are similar to the one I just boasted about but if you don't want to wait until you buy your next TV to be able to watch what you want when you want, I suggest you go with a SmartStick. When you will start watching on-demand content, believe me, you won't be able to stop.