Monday, November 3, 2014


Dongles are devices which attach to TVs to stream Internet media. They make smart TVs out of dumb TVs.

There are a lot of them out there and few places to compare them.

They are different in what media they will stream and what technology they use to do it.

A Microsoft dongle has just been released and a Google Android dongle will be available in January .

The Microsoft technology uses the oldest but simplest Miracast system. It beams data direct from a device to the TV. Most dongles work through a router. This new dongle has a high speed processor.

I could not make it work with any of three Windows devices, including a Windows phone, a Windows Surface RT and a Windows 8.1tablet.

However, it worked beautifully and simply with my Nexus 5 phone. It mirrors the phone's screen. It did the job better than earlier Miracast devices I have seen.

The Apple TV device was the first I found that would mirror a computer or tablet. It works beautifully with an iPad.

The more recent Chromecast dongle works with a variety of devices and uses a unique technology whereby it channels through the device and can hand off to the router to continue its other device work separately. I found that awkward, though.

The Roku is the oldest streamer with which I am familiar. I use it mainly to stream PBS , but it has the largest access to other streaming media.

The Android device sells for $39 or even less if you are an Amazon Prime user. This dongle also uses the Miracast technology.

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