The TRS-80 was my first computer. It had a low-res black and white screen, loaded programs (poorly) from an audio cassette deck, could only deal with integers and was incapable of doing anything worthwhile!
I am an early adopter and this is what early adopters do. We buy stuff to see where technology is going. Often, that’s payoff enough.
All this adds up to tonight’s purchase of a Tronsmart MK908 quad-core Android TV stick. I’m turning my dumb TV into a smart TV, I think.
I won’t actually know for a few weeks. It’s coming from China.
In the past televisions weren’t good for computing. Your old, nearly square TV set had a nominal resolution of 640×480. Today’s HDTVs have 1920×1080 or 1280×720. That’s 2 megapixel and almost 1 megapixel versus 307,200 pixels.
The MK908 is around the size of a thick pack of Doublemint. It sits behind your TV, plugged into an HDMI port, connected to the Internet via WiFi. It runs on Android, like many smartphones and tablets. It downloads apps from the Google Play store.
This tiny computer puts your TV goes online. Netflix? Sure. YouTube? That too. It’s all available in high def… or as much def as your Internet connection can provide.
Until now these TV sticks have been almost powerful enough, but not quite. They worked, but sometimes took a quick break to regroup their thoughts or whatever it is computers do while they keep you waiting.
The MK908 is based on the Cortex A9 Rk3188 Quad Core CPU with a Quad Core Mali 400 GPU. CPU is central processing unit while GPU is graphics processing unit. HD video needs lots of processing power. Wish granted.
It comes with Android 4.1 installed and rooted. Android 4.2 is promised before my unit arrives.
All this takes place in a fanless computer that draws about ten watts. So it’s (reasonably) cool and absolutely quiet.
If all goes well my TV will become more of a utility monitor. Yes, I can still watch shows on-air or on cable, but I can also stream shows from the net, display websites or radar loops and run most apps built for Android smartphones or tablets.
Will it change my life? Probably not.
I am just excited to see where things are going. It’s fun being on the bleeding edge. Not everything turns out as expected. Lots of surprises.
I will report back. In the meantime, a review from liliputing.com.