Plenty of TVs on the market today come with “smart” features, letting you stream video from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and other sites and run a number of third-party apps. But what happens in a few years when your TV starts to show its age and companies start dropping support for your hardware?
You could buy a new TV… but that’s expensive. You could buy a third-party TV streamer like a Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV. Or if you have a TCL TV, you may be able to just upgrade the brains of the smart TV while keeping the display.
TCL is showing off a Transformer Kit for its E6800 Ultra HD smart TV. The kid is basically a small box that connects to the back of the TV, adding an ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core processor with ARM Mali-450 graphics and Google Android software.
If that hardware seems too sluggish or incapable of supporting the apps you want to run in the future, you may be able to just remove the module and replace it with a newer version… assuming TCL continues producing these kits.
Charbax from ARMDevices got an early look at the Transformer Kit, and it does look kind of useful. The demo unit has two HDMI ports, a USB 3.0 port, and an Ethernet jack. Other models could have faster processors or different connectors.
I’ll be curious to see how much the Transformer Kits cost… and if it would be cheaper just to buy a third-party smart TV box.