TV as a monitor?

Started Apr 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield
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Generic (no brand name)
In reply to Richard, Apr 23, 2013

Richard wrote:

Jim Cockfield wrote:

 But, I have an Android 4.x based set top box connected to a 1080p LED TV (and I don't know the panel type, but it looks fine after tweaking the settings), and it actually works quite well.   I use browsers like Chrome, Dolphin HD and more with it; along with tons of apps for viewing media content (both locally and from web sites).

I use Logitech K400 Wireless Keyboard that has a built in trackpad with it (as it's range is great, and all I needed to do was plug in the wireless dongle into a USB port on the set top box, and it recognized the keyboard just fine).   Android uses linux "under the covers", so most wireless keyboards work fine with those types of set top boxes that have USB host ports.

Android would seem to be a good OS for this as long as the processor and video card can keep up with the demands of HD 1080p

What type of set top box do you have?

It's a Generic Brand box (no visible brand name, no instruction manual, etc.).  It was just listed as an Android 4.0 TV box giving hardware specs; and I bought it for $89 a while back (including the box, power adapter, hdmi and av cables, remote control, etc.).  Mine didn't have wireless built in (most do anymore).  But, it works fine with a wireless dongle I plugged into one of it's USB ports (as the dongle I use is a Netgear WG311V3 that has a chipset that's compatible with most linux distros and it also works fine with my Android box)

There are bunches and bunches of them around anymore, and most do have Wireless built in now.

The cheapest ones lately with decent processors are those based on a Rockchip RK3066 (ARM Cortex A9 class CPU) with a Quad Core Mali GPU, 1GB of DDR3 and 8GB of storage space (with the ability to use an SDHC card or usb attached storage for more space), Wireless N, Bluetooth and more built in.

You can find them for around $50 like that if you're a good shopper.

You can find smaller tablets using that CPU for not much more (usually somewhere around $80, including an IPS display if you're a good shopper and don't mind generic brands directly from china or hong king).

My box has Android 4.03.  But, I'd probably go with one using Android 4.1.x if buying one today.

As a second choice, I'd probably look at a box using an Amlogic AM8726-MX (a.k.a,. AM8726-M6) CPU.   That CPU is also an ARM Cortex A9 class CPU.  But, most only use a dual core (versus quad core) Mali GPU.  The advantage of the Amlogic CPU is that it supports GPU acceleration with the newer builds of XBMC for Android, whereas with the Rockchip CPUs, you don't get hardware acceleration with XBMC.  But, you can use MX Player on the backend with XBMC (and MX Player does support hardware acceleration with most CPUs).    So, there are pros and cons to either approach.

I'd just make sure to read reviews of any product you buy, as there can be a lot of difference between firmware quality between them, even if they're using the same hardware.

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JimC
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