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Always Innovating's HDMI Dongle makes any TV smarter

Always Innovating's HDMI Dongle makes any TV smarter


Always Innovating's HDMI Dongle adds Android-based smart TV features to any device with an HDMI port, and is compatible with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon video-on-demand.

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Love the idea of Roku's Streaming Stick, but haven't got an MHL port on your TV? You might like to take a closer look at Always Innovating's new HDMI Dongle. It connects to the HDMI port on any TV, and lets you watch movies in 1080p — either stored on a microSD card or streamed over Wi-Fi — using a lean-back interface similar to Plex or XBMC. Although it's currently being shown running what looks like Android 2.3, the company says that it supports Android 4, Ubuntu, and even Google TV. It's also got access to the Android Market, and is compatible with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon video-on-demand. The included Bluetooth remote also has NFC capability, letting you share with others with a tap.

This isn't the first device to bring the older versions of Android (with the cellphone interface) to TVs, but it's certainly one of the smallest. It's just a reference design for now though, meaning that it's up to manufacturers to license and produce the dongle. The company hopes it'll be available by mid-2012, and it's on show at CES this week. The most attention-grabbing thing here is the suggested price — Always Innovating expects the MSRP to be between $49 and $99 when it eventually hits stores.