#272 - Android TV Experiment

Motto: Well That's Disappointing

In 2014, when Google announced the Nexus 6 that was a huge personal disappointment, they announced a few other things that I passed on. My car isn't running "Android Auto" and my television isn't running Android TV... any more.

I had read reviews for the NVIDIA SHIELD console (later rebranded as NVIDIA SHIELD TV, which seems like it's just screaming itself at you) for the past 5 months. It had been on my Amazon wish list since the first week it was available. On a lark, I decided to swing by the local Micro Center (electronics store) to see if they had one in stock. To my surprise/delight, they had exactly one in stock. I picked it up and took it home, filled with glee. I plugged it in, booted it up, logged in, and started playing around.

Then the problems started.

Nothing huge. Just... a bunch of little things. The Chromecast functionality was spotty. The audio cut out from time to time. The applications available on the Google Play Store were limited. I expected all of the Android Apps I know and love to be available; but instead there was only the "Android TV" apps. There are far fewer of those. I was able to find a Super Nintendo Emulator, but not an N64 emulator like I hoped. I looked for Android TV games, but literally reached the end of the sum-total list of all games available on the platform. Not much there. Nothing at all I was interested in, lots of "Freemium" games. Other things I wasn't interested in.

The game streaming feature worked well. I was able to play Hitman from my computer on my television in the living room. That was the highlight of my experience with the device. Battlefield 4 wasn't really doable. The small amount of lag induced by the stream killed any chance I had at being competitive. Also, keyboard + mouse >>> gamepads for first-person shooters.

SO, there I was. With a $200 device that functioned slightly worse than the $35 Chromecast that had been there before, and didn't have much value-add (aside from being able to play local videogames from my PC on the television)...  It just didn't justify the cost.

So I returned it. No sweat. Micro Center is great.

While I was there - I decided to pick up a Raspberry Pi. It's a $35 barebones computer-on-a-board. When I say "barebones", I really mean barebones:


That picture is from their Amazon page. I suggest picking one up from a store, though. Two dollars cheaper there. Anyway, that's a whole computer. A $35 computer that you can do TONS of stuff with. I am very interested in exploring what I can build.

I want to start putting my degree to use... in addition to the learning I've done since that time.

Some day, I'm going to have a shop/gym/pool room. That's going to be sweet.

Top 5: Raspberry Pi Projects in Which I am Initially Interested
5. A real-world Mjolnir - (this one was built with an Arduino... but it could be done with a Raspberry Pi... or I could just do it with an Arduino, too)
4. Franken-laptop built out of a briefcase 
3. Magic Mirror
2. Web Server - I want to get this going Essay Pee
1. Retro Game Emulator - I actually already did this. Got it up and working last night after only about one hour.

Quote:
"The name that really means 'My parents were too lazy to look past the first name in the book'"
- The Urban Dictionary definition for 'Aaron' -
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