Making a dumb HDTV smart? Android mini PC or other?

I'd like to upgrade one of my parents' "dumb" HDTVs with wireless capabilities (e.g., web browsing, Netflix), but I'm not quite sure where to look. So far the simplest solution I've found is to purchase a generic Android stick/mini PC like the UG802, but I'm a bit put off by the lack of support and complaints about iffy wifi. I've also heard things about better supported products like the Cubieboard/Hackberry/etc, but availability seems to be a problem for all of them at the moment.

Any suggestions? Should I expect better products to come later this year? Or should I be looking elsewhere?
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  1. Roku is awesome. Just saying.
  2. revolution2718 said:
    Roku is awesome. Just saying.
    You know, actually, I was just thinking that a user-friendly Roku player might be a better choice for my parents. I'm a tinkerer and Android is a much more comfortable environment for me, but they're not so tech-savvy.
    I was more interested in an Android platform because the Roku seems a bit limited as far as access to content goes. I'm not too familiar with Roku devices, but it looks like apps can't be installed, is that right? I think that's a deal-breaker for me since it sports neither a browser nor a Youtube app.
    Thank you for the suggestion though! I was starting to think that I posted in the wrong forum.
  3. Best answer
    the plus side of a roku is that even a moron can work it. the negative is that it has no browser, can not use a keyboard and requires roku updates to get new content. roku does have the largest selection of channels in any of the streaming players though.

    other streaming players such as the one by sony do include a browser and sometimes local channel support which is a plus. the negative is that they have less updates then roku, less channels and are slightly harder to work.

    google tv (which is android based i believe) can install apps and use the internet which are plus features. negatives are that it has even less channels then the prior two and is rather hard to work. i have a custom rom on my phone, build my own pcs and in general am very tech savvy and i found the whole one piece remote-keyboard-pointer very annoying and irritating. kudos for the idea but not very practical at this point.

    another option is of course to use a pc. this gives you the ability to go anwhere and view any content as well as having a much more powerful platform. your parents could then write documents, check email, surf the web and watch tv on the same platform. this is the most powerful option but not the most user friendly. with so many interfaces and settings i would suggest this only to those who are computer literate.


    i would say roku2 xs for your parents. if they want web then the sony streaming player (not sony google tv version).


    generally speaking youtube is NOT that important especially for older people. netflix, hulu and possibly amazon are better choices.
  4. I would agree with the guy above me. Roku has a lot of options with regards to streaming channels, and is very easy to use.

    If a web browser and youtube is such a necessity for you it might just make sense to invest 200 dollars into a Nexus 7 tablet or something, and hook it up to the tv.
  5. Best answer selected by blackjellognomes.
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