$80 TV dongle aims to bring Linux-based XBMC media center to your TV

Want to run XBMC media center software on your TV, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a home theater PC? There are plenty of Android TV sticks available for under $100. You can plug one into your TV and run the Android version of XBMC… but most of them won’t run it very well.

A crowd-funding project at Indiegogo is looking at a different approach. Since there are already Linux-based operating systems designed to run XBMC on the inexpensive Raspberry Pi mini-computer, the idea is to offer a TV dongle with the same system-on-a-chip as the Raspberry Pi.

Stealth XBMC

The idea makes sense, since it can piggyback on the work of the Raspberry Pi community. Any software designed to run on a Raspberry Pi computer should also be able to run on one of these TV sticks — and that includes XBMC.

But there are also some reasons to approach this project with caution.

First, the developer wants to call the device the Stealth Nighthawk F-117A TV Dongle. I think that name might already be taken.

Second, at $80 and up, the TV Dongle will cost you more than twice as much as a Raspberry Pi, while offering fewer developer-friendly options like GPIO pins. And that’s not counting the estimated $25 shipping price.

And third, while piggybacking on the Raspberry Pi means that there’s support for Linux, there are far more powerful TV dongles available with faster processors, more memory, or built-in storage. You’ll have to insert a microSD card for storage on this device.

So what exactly does the device include?

  • 700 MHz Broadcom BCM2835 processor with Broadcom graphics
  • MPEG-2 and VC-1 licenses
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 1 USB 2.0 port
  • 1 HDMI port
  • 1 microSD card slot
  • 802.11n WiFi

The device can support a variety of operating systems including Raspbian, Raspbmc, and OpenElec. It will ship with a 4GB microSD card with a pre-installed operating system featuring XBMC software.

stealth

You don’t get a remote control with the dongle, but you should be able to use an XBMC app on your phone, your TV remote with a CEC-enabled television, or a USB mouse, keyboard, or other supported peripheral.

The demo video doesn’t show the Stealth Nighthawk F-117A doing very much. I guess that’s why it’s called Stealth.

Still, if you’d like to help the project become reality, you can find out more at the Indiegogo page.

via Geeky Gadgets

  • brianadams

    Looks nice, but no. Android sticks with way more power and choices are already out there. and they run XBMC and are cheaper, so why pay more for this?

    • Arrdee

      Yeah, the Pi community does some odd things to try to make something useful out of (or simply promote) a rather limited platform. This is a less awkward form-factor for consumers but as your stated, inadequate power, and in the end an effectively closed device unlike Android boxes where you have the option of adding from a huge pool of applications.

  • max1001

    XBMC not running well on Android is a thing of the past. Especially with Amlogic SOC.

  • Finn Nielsen

    Dual-core Cortex, 1 GHz, 1080P, Android 4.x with XBMC support sells around $45. Is there a need for more expensive slower device?

  • PonderThis

    Is this a joke?