#272 - Android TV Experiment

3 minute read

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.

"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' -