The headline listed above might seem outlandish to you. Even as you read these first lines, you may not believe me when I tell you that you can turn your TV into a computer simply by plugging in a USB stick.
Five years ago, you would have been right: there was no way to turn your TV into a computer by plugging in a USB stick. Today, you’re wrong. Dell recently unveiled a concept device called Project Ophelia that resembles a USB stick. You place the stick in your TV and it turns into a virtual PC, allowing users to access Android apps, Windows apps, or run services over the cloud.
Once you have connected Project Ophelia to your TV, you can pull out a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and start using your TV like a real computer. You can play popular mobile games like Angry Birds or even check your email. It’s Android 4.0 with a Wi-Fi connection, so you can expect to use it just like you would any Android smartphone or tablet.
Sounds cool, right? But how much will it cost? Apparently, Project Ophelia won’t cost more than $100. And since the dongle is about the size of a credit card, it could be a very smart option for many households.
How Project Ophelia works
The technology behind Project Ophelia isn’t too outlandish. In fact, many TVs already have smart TV functionality built-in. Project Ophelia simply allows your TV to access a network through a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.
All Project Ophelia needs is a TV (or any display) that has a USB port. Project Ophelia will even charge itself on certain TVs, although those with older TVs will need to charge it separately.
How do you know if Project Ophelia will automatically charge through your TV? The difference comes down to MHL compatibility. MHL stands for Mobile High-Definition Link, and it basically allows your TV to deliver power to connected devices while accessing its content. And since MHL is a relatively new technology, many of today’s HDTVs may not feature it. Be sure to check your TV’s instruction manual to see if it’s MHL compatible. Or, look for MHL compatibility when you’re buying a new TV.
Who would use it?
Project Ophelia isn’t for everybody. Some people have never had the urge to turn their TV into a computer. And that’s fine. But for other people, the ability to turn a TV into a computer is incredibly useful. Here are a few situations where Project Ophelia might be useful:
-Employees who spend a lot of time in hotels and want to use the room’s TV as a computer
-People who own a large TV but a small computer screen
-Anybody who wants to try out cool mobile apps without actually buying a powerful smartphone or tablet
-People who want to try out Android 4.0
An easy alternative – buy a tablet
Turning your TV into a computer through a USB stick sounds pretty cool and futuristic. But it’s not much different from what today’s tablets can do. Screen sharing through a tablet is easier and more portable – you don’t have to bring a mouse and keyboard with you.
However, tablets cost a lot more than the $100 Project Ophelia dongle. If you’re looking for a low-cost and idiot-proof way to turn your TV into an Android device in seconds, then Project Ophelia is your best option.
You can learn more about Project Ophelia at Dell’s official website here.