How to turn your idiot box into a smart TV

How to turn your idiot box into a smart TV


Buying a smart TV cam burn quite a hole in your pocket. But if your current TV is working fine, you can convert your existing TV set into a web-enabled entertainment centre by just spending a few thousand rupees, instead of buying an expensive TV loaded with the so-called 'smart' features.
Here are five ways you can be a 'smarter' viewer...

1. Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast
Google's Chromecast (Rs 3,999) is available online (unofficially at www.ebay.in, www.amazon.in) and is very easy to use. Simply plug in the device into one of the free HDMI ports on your television and connect its micro USB port to a free USB port on the TV or an alternative source.

Then, switch to that HDMI source (using the TV remote) and follow the set up instructions to connect to the existing Wi-Fi network. Now, install the Chromecast app on your mobile device or PC/laptop and connect to the same wireless network. Run the app and follow the instructions to link the device to the adapter. 

Once the setup process is complete, you will be able to 'throw' Full HD videos from YouTube onto your TV screen. If you have subscribed to services like BoxTV, BigFlix, Spuul, NexGTv, you can also stream their shows to your big screen.

2. Apple TV

Apple TV
Apple TV (Rs 8,295) is a network media player that can be used to stream videos, pictures and music from your iOS device.

While you can subscribe to channels, buy or rent movies on iTunes via this player, you cannot store anything on it. Like Chromecast, it doesn't include a USB port either in case you would like to play a movie off a pen drive.

3. WD TV Live Hub, iOmega ScreenPlay DX HD

WD TV Live Hub, iOmega ScreenPlay DX HD
You can consider the one-terabyte WD TV Live Hub (Rs 12,500) and iOmega ScreenPlay DX HD (Rs 12,000) set-top box type media players. These use a proprietary interface and come with a built-in hard drive. The former is ideal for playing personal content and accessing pre-loaded web services like YouTube, Flickr and TuneIn. The latter includes a browser to surf the web and a miniature keyboard to make typing a little easier.

4. Amkette EvoTV

Amkette EvoTV
The Amkette EvoTV series (available in four versions from Rs 5,500 to Rs 10,500) is an Android-based set-top box for media playback. Not only does this player come with a web browser, it also gives you access to the apps on the Google Play store. This lets you add your own preferred applications to the pre-installed web services in the player. You can even attach a USB keyboard to such media players to make typing easier.

5. Portable media players

Portable media players
If you're working on a tight budget, you might want to consider an ultra-portable media player. These thumb-sized sticks, which resemble USB pen drives, are capable of streaming content - pictures, music, videos - wirelessly from a PC, smartphone or tablet to your TV screen (provided you have a Wi-Fi router set up at home).

Now there are quite a few brands available in the market, but these are either from companies that have almost no presence in the country, or have been tried by only a handful of people.

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