Turn your regular TV into a smart one

For anyone born before the 2010s, the television at home was one of the greatest entertainers. Families would gather around what usually would be the biggest screen in the household and consume everything from soap operas to movies and music. It was almost a cultural element. However, things have changed since the ‘smart’ future became a reality.

You have YouTube and TikTok to keep you entertained on the go. Netflix, Hulu and Prime have all the shows that you need to keep up with. Regular TVs have become almost a relic. Watching a movie on cable TV is nostalgic now. Of course, I don’t mean that the TV industry has not caught up. Smart TVs have become a thing now. You have internet connectivity and everything. However, there is one simple issue, those TVs are expensive. Your old ‘dumb’ TV might be working just fine and splurging on a smart alternative is not all that appealing.

Well, there is a way for your regular TV to catch up! Get a TV stick!

TV sticks are multimedia players that can be plugged into your existing TV set and would introduce a host of smart features like internet connectivity, applications, games and video streaming services. Think of it like setting up a smartphone into your TV.

Here are a few options that we could recommend.

MI TV Stick

The most budget-friendly option on this list, MI TV Stick can be yours for Rs 6,599. Just plug this little device into the HDMI port of your existing TV and you readily have access to Google Play Store and all of the applications on board. With its quad-core processor, 1 GB RAM and 8 GB onboard storage, you can stream HD videos in Dolby Atmos YouTube, Netflix and so on. You can also cast video directly from your smartphone and get your entertainment system set up seamlessly.

That being said, there are a few drawbacks. The one readily available in the Nepali market doesn’t support 4K video, which is a shame because unlike cable TV, you can find a lot of 4K content on the internet. If your existing TV doesn’t support 4K video to begin with, it’s not much of an issue. A more serious drawback is that it’s simply not the fastest to respond. The experience is a bit laggy for anyone who’s used to a smartphone degree of responsiveness.

This is an easy recommendation for elderly people who wouldn’t notice the missing premium features.

Google Chromecast

At almost double the price, at around Rs 12,000 you could get the Android TV experience straight from the horse’s mouth.
This offering from Google is almost the same price elsewhere in the world, but the Nepali market doesn’t have the same pedigree — no surprises there. This alternative TV Stick gives you all of the perks that the MI one offers and then some. Chromecast also supports 4K video and is a lot more responsive to operate. For the Android TV experience, it is one of the best in its class.
The remote also works as a microphone for Google Assistant so you can control other smart devices you have around the house too. For what it’s worth, the actual device and the remote are the best-looking ones on this list. Both of them are smooth pebble-like with a minimalist look.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

At around Rs 10,000, you could also get Amazon Fire TV Stick. The viewing experience on this one is quite the same but you’d be working with a different operating system here. We didn’t find anything lacking strictly because of the change in the app ecosystem, except for having to talk to Alexa instead of Google Assistant.

Amazon Fire TV Stick has an app assortment of its own and you can find most streaming platforms you would otherwise use. You also have a decent number of games there as well. The newest offering has dumped the Ethernet port and so it’s only wi-fi that you can use, which shouldn’t be an issue for most people.

Stepping away from cable TV, you might want a few subscriptions like Netflix or Amazon Prime to make the best of your new TV Stick, and that will cost you a subscription fee. But hey! You can stream your shows anywhere.

We don’t recommend plugging this into your office projector. It’ll still work perfectly fine, but do so at your own risk.


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