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Dated: Apr. 08, 2013

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A few years back, when they started to make the Android system for mobile phones in Google, they probably didn’t even imagine where it will be used today. From phones it slowly expanded to Tablets, and now it is spreading to computers and TV’s. We had the chance to try out one gadget that turns your TV into a multimedia center. Actually, it is a miniature computer that has everything you need from multimedia, and it is easiest to describe as an Android device with no display, GPS, accelerometer and other additions.

So, everything you can do on a Tablet or Android phone you can do here, and that means that you have a huge base of programs available, from Office do drawing programs. Of course, you can surf the Internet, listen to music, watch movies, e-mail, Skype, etc.
 
Android Mini Computer Cat TVTV Cat is especially interesting because of its small dimensions, you can hide it on the back of your TV. But, although the player is just a bit larger than a cigarette lighter, it contains almost all connectors that you need. It connects with the screen through a HDMI connector, and it can connect to a computer through a mini USB. It has a slot for a MicroSD card (up to 32 GB), as well as a USB 2.0 connector to which you attach a USB flash, external hard drive, mouse, keyboard, web camera and other additions.
The device is powered in two ways – through a power adaptor or through a USB plug in with the TV (or some other USB connector). The other way enables you to, when you turn on the TV, automatically turn on the adaptor. Cold start takes a bit more than two minutes, but once you activate it and goes into sleep mode, later activation is almost instant.
 
The remote you get in the package can serve only for the first occasion, because it has very bad device control. It has only a few basic keys, and moving the cursor can be done in four directions, which makes typing on a virtual keyboard exhausting, not to mention some grandstanding’s like moving an icon. So if you are planning to use all the functions of the player, seriously consider attaching a wireless mouse, touchpad or something similar. Also, a good thing would be a keyboard, web cam or Skype mic and some other small things, and because you have only one USB port, you should a USB hub, which again increases the number of cables and crowd around the TV.
 
The 1 GHz processor is enough for most operations and simpler games such as Angry Birds, that work smoothly. The recall is good, the device works steadily and doesn’t overheat too much. For FullHD movie watching you have the hardware decoder that show all formats pretty well, except those with the strongest compression (it couldn’t handle the AVC with 16 referent frames).
 
In any case, if you don’t have a new generations TV (with WiFi, camera, voice/motion recognition and other new things), this is the ideal way to make your old TV (but still not so old that it doesn’t have HDMI) into a multimedia device with all the pros and cons of an Android device. With the TV or monitor, the TV Cat is a cheap computer that is enough for the users in many implementations.

M.B.

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