The era of intelligent devices is a reality. We have smartphone, Smart TV, smartwatch and many more devices that are becoming more common. The television aspires to become the center of the home and in this the Smart TV systems have to say a lot. Therefore, we tell you some ways to turn any television into a Smart TV to squeeze it to the fullest.
Smart TVs allow us to do much more than watch TV. Information instantly while we watch our favorite program, possibility to use social networks without having to resort to the mobile phone, ability to play the content of our smartphone quickly and easily, video store with access to thousands of titles without leaving the sofa and even game console.
Until now, the so-called Smart TVs were quite limited by their operating system so manufacturers have started to bet on more advanced solutions. In the 2015 range we find Tizen in Samsung, WebOS in LG or Android TV in Sony and Philips. This is only the first step of the many improvements that will be coming in the next few years to televisions, with the idea of turning them into the center of the home.
If we still have a TV that does not have Smart TV capabilities or we have a Smart TV from previous years with limited capacities, we should know that there are several ways to get much more out of it . For this, we can use from an HDMI pin, to an old computer, through the mobile and other devices. With a small investment we can achieve a lot without changing the TV.
Stick o pincho HDMI
In recent years the sticks or HDMI pinchos that connect to our TV and turn it into a Smart TV have become popular . These small devices, many of them available to buy in Chinese stores, add the possibility of using Android as an operating system on television with its endless possibilities.
These are some of the most prominent and not only with Android:
- Rikomagic MK 802 IV: An HDMI stick with Android 4.4, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. It allows you to play content in Full HD, play the most popular Android games and run the main applications. Its price is about 105 euros on Amazon .
- Ugoos UM2 : With a very attractive design, this HDMI pin has Android Jelly Bean, 2GB of RAM and Cortex A9 quad core 1.6 GHz processor. We can get it for about 65 euros .
- MK809III: It has Android 4.4, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory and quad-core processor at 1.6 GHz. It is a very economical guarantee that can be found for less than 40 euros .
- Intel Compute Stick: A truly advanced solution to convert any television or monitor into a complete computer with Windows 10 and all the possibilities that implies. Intel Atom processor, WiFi, Bluetooth, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, USB port and microSD reader as strengths. Its price is placed over 160 euros .
In the previous section we have left out the Chromecast to dedicate a specific section. It is a streaming multimedia content playback device to which we can send whatever we want from the mobile, tablet and computer . It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets and Windows and Mac OS X computers. The latest version can be obtained for 39 euros .
We have talked about this device on many occasions, for the great utility it offers in exchange for a rather small price . In addition to official support, there are many tricks to get much more out of it . Playing videos from our computer wirelessly on television quickly was never so easy. At this point, we give you a generic guide to watch movies from the PC on wireless television.
Apple TV and other Set-top-Box
These are desktop devices that connect through the HDMI port of the television and expand the possibilities . Broadly speaking, they are like USB sticks but larger, which also serves to have slightly more advanced features. In this section we also include the Apple TV, the signature device of the bitten apple with which he wants to conquer our television.
These are some of the most outstanding:
- MiniX Neo X8-H: This device adds the capabilities of Android 4.4 to our TV with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal space, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It is capable of reproducing videos with 4K resolution without problems, so its compatibility in the future is assured. Its price is around 140 euros .
- Apple TV: Those of Cupertino have recently renewed the Apple TV to which they have incorporated the operating system tvOS to turn it into a powerful solution based on the applications. It integrates with the contents of iTunes and has a new command that allows us to use it with the voice taking advantage of the capabilities of Siri. The downside is that it is compatible with 4K resolutions. The price for the 32GB model is 179 euros and for the 64GB model of 229 euros.
- Google Nexus Player: All the potential of Android TV thanks to this device with a careful design and the possibility of connecting a game controller. It has thousands of applications highlighting YouTube, Plex or Netflix. Inside we find an Intel Atom quad-core 1.8 GHz processor and WiFi 802.11ac for better performance. Its price is 99 euros although it is no longer available in Google Play Store.
Connect a console
The latest generation consoles go beyond videogames, being authentic advanced multimedia centers with many possibilities . In addition, little by little they are receiving more attention from third parties who decide to take their services to these platforms as well.
The two most prominent are Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
- Xbox One , the Microsoft console that was recently updated with Windows 10 brings together the best games with entertainment. We can quickly switch between TV, game or applications, watch Netflix and Blu-ray movies or access popular applications such as Skype, Internet Explorer and even Plex.
- PlayStation 4 , the Sony console also works as a complete multimedia center that nothing has to envy what some current Smart TV offer. Play Blu-ray, video store PlayStation video, Spotify, YouTube, Plex and hundreds of applications are undoubtedly a good reason to give them a chance.
Use a computer with Kodi
A good way to take advantage of an old computer or laptop is through Kodi, formerly known as XBMC. It is a complete multimedia player that works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android, iOS or even on a Raspberry Pi .
Another possibility, although not as attractive and visual as Kodi, is to directly connect the computer to television and use the Windows interface (or the operating system that we have) to watch movies or surf the Internet. In the network we have many alternatives to watch series and movies .
The old mobile can also serve us
Among the six alternative uses that we can give an old mobile , we find the Media Center. We only need to acquire a cable with HDMI and micro USB ends so that it can connect to the television. In this way, we can access all the content that we store in it. Kodi is also available for Android and as we have said in the previous section, it is an excellent utility to turn a device into a multimedia center of guarantees.