PLAiR $99 HDMI dongle lets you stream internet video to your TV

Like the idea of a stick that you can plug into your TV to watch internet video on the big screen, but want something a little simpler to use than an Android TV stick? Earlier this year pre-orders for something called a PLAiR opened up, with the promise of delivering a $99 stick that lets you stream videos from a PC, Android, or iOS device to your TV.

Now the first PLAiR units are shipping to customers.

PLAiR

You don’t have to navigate through on-screen menus using a remote control, keyboard, or mouse the way you do with an Android TV stick, an Apple TV, or a Roku. Instead you just plug the PLAiR into your TV’s HDMI port (and connect a power source) and use your computer’s web browser or a mobile app to send videos to your TV.

That includes internet video or movies stored on your hard drive. If you send an internet video you can click the play button on your PC and then turn off the computer while video continues to play.

If you choose to stream video from your hard drive using the PLAiR control panel app you can even queue up multiple videos to play one after the other.

plair_02

One pretty cool feature is that you don’t even need to connect PLAiR to your home network for it to stream videos from the internet (although you certainly can do that). It’s also capable of creating its own network and connecting to your laptop over a direct WiFi connection.

What you don’t get from this sort of setup is the versatility you’d get with an Android TV stick or an HTPC since you can’t install and run apps on the stick, surf the web on your TV, or, as far as I can tell, control media playback once it’s started. Unless I’m missing something, the smartphone apps don’t include play, pause, or rewind buttons.

The apps do have nifty built-in program guides for finding online videos you might want to watch though.

PLAiR devices are currently back-ordered, so while early orders are already shipping, if you place an order today it won’t ship until June.

Update: As commenters have pointed out, at least one initial reviewer hasn’t been impressed with the quality of video playback or the availability of content for the PLAiR. While it may be easier to use than some devices aimed at streaming video content to your TV, that might not be a good enough reason to buy one.

  • California Bob

    If you want to watch videos or anything else on TV by using your laptop, why not just connect an HDMI cable between the two?

    • NeedName

      It’s gotta be wireless, MAN! Don’t you know that! You aren’t in the cool crowd if it’s not wireless!

      Have yet to see a wireless TV/HDMI device function as well as a wired. . . so, I’m staying out of the cool crowd for now :)

  • Arrdee

    I recently discovered Twonky Beam. Now I can use my Android tablet to stream tablet-resident media to my Roku, start a stream from my DLNA server, from YouTube, etc. Works well, and for off-tablet media I can shut the tablet off and watch the stream.

  • BoloMKXXVIII

    I forget if it was TWiT or C-Net that did a review of this device and basically said it was ~!@#$ and DO NOT buy it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jean-Luc-Aufranc/100000690503162 Jean-Luc Aufranc

    I saw this devices a few days ago, but since we already got similar DLNA/Miracast devices for about $60 with models likely to cost just above $20 by the end of the year, I’d skip that one.