Woxi Media has launched SmartPod for TV, a device that converts any TV into a smart- internet enabled TV. Woxi Media claims that the SmartPod is designed in Sunnyvale, California and Pune, India. The device is available in the market for Rs 9,499 inclusive of Magic Motion RF Qwerty remote, an HDMI cable, and an AV cable.
The device comes with multi-user login capability, just like a desktop computer. It supports up to eight unique users on the device. Google recently added multi-user login capability to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. However, SmartPod comes with Android 2.3.5, so the multi-user login feature seems to be some kind of an added feature. One of the use case for multi-user login could be where users can always be logged in to their Internet services like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., and not have to log-in and log-out depending on who is using the SmartPod. The device also supports Android games, apps, appcasts, and multimedia formats.
The SmartPod can also double up as a WiFi router to connect other devices like PCs, laptops, tablets or Smartphones. This is an interesting functionality considering that anyone who’s going to purchase a SmartPod is likely to use multiple devices at home. Coupling a WiFi router within the device eliminates the need for a separate WiFi router.
Features and Specifications:
- Dual processor 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 coupled with a 400MHz Mali 3D Graphics processor
- supports upto 32GB on SD Card, or 1TB or more of storage using external USB hard disk drive
- Full 1080p HD video, HDMI 1.3 interface
- Composite video interface for standard definition TV’s
- Built-in media player with 3D graphics capability
- DLNA capability to play you media from any other devices in the home
- Google Play Store and Google web browser
- WiFi 802.11b/g/n with Hotspot/Router functionality
- 10/100Base-T Ethernet LAN connectivity
- 2 USB 2.0 ports
Content and social networking: The device comes with Woxi’s AppCast app, which is a cloud based app that can deliver content applications on the device without the need to download them separately. Apart from that, users can download Android apps, games from Google’s Play Store. Just like in case of an Android mobile or tablet, users can also share multimedia content from SmartPod to their social networking apps provided the app is installed on the system.
SmartPod supports practically all video formats: mpeg1, mpeg2, mpeg4, h.264, h.263, vc-1, wmv, avi, mkv, mov, mp4, and flv. It also supports audio formats such as mp3, wma, wav, aac, Vorbis. As for imaging it covers jpeg, bmp, gif, and png formats.
Accessories: SmartPod comes with a Magic Motion Gaming RF remote control with built in gyroscope and sensors for motion gaming. The Magic Motion remote also features a full function QWERTY keyboard for web browsing.
Other Options: In June 2012, Amkette, the storage and multimedia technology company, had launched a similar product in the same price range, EvoTV, which enables customers to access Internet on their television using WiFi or a broadband connection. The device is available in the market for Rs 9,995 with Evo Touch Remote.
For users looking for a cheaper alternative, Akai, had launched the AKAI Smart Box, an internet enabled set top box that allows users to convert all kinds of television sets including CRT, Plasma, LCD or LED TVs into a smart TV. The Smart Box is available across India at an introductory offer price of Rs. 6,590 (M.R.P. Rs. 6990). Telecom service provider, Vodafone had launched an Android based internet access device called Webbox, but it was not marketed as a media player or a smart tv extension.
Slingbox also provides TV streaming media device that allows users to remotely view and control their home’s cable, satellite, or personal video recorder (PVR) system from an Internet-enabled computer with a broadband Internet connection. Apart from that, there’s also Roku Player that users to access internet streamed video or audio services through televisions. However, Roku box is not available in India.