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HDMI stick turns your dumb screen into a smart TV

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The IMJ Corporation introduces MGS, an HDMI Wi-Fi stick that promises to turn almost any television with an HDMI port into a smart TV.

The IMJ Corporation out of Tokyo has introduced an HDMI Wi-Fi stick called MGS that promises to turn almost any television with an HDMI port into a smart TV. Once connected, the tiny device runs the Android operating system on your television, and can be controlled with an Android smartphone. It supports multiple video codecs, as well as digital rights management technology, and can reportedly stream Internet video, music, games, and numerous mobile applications to the larger television screen.

IMJ isn't the first company to announce an HDMI streaming stick. Most notably, Roku introduced its own similar device back in January, and today the company says it already has deals in place with several hardware manufacturers including Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, and Best Buy's Insignia brand, among others. However, at least on paper, IMJ's MGS stick sounds like a more flexible solution. The Roku stick needs a "Roku-ready" TV, and provides access to Roku-specific applications. The MGS device (again, in theory) works with nearly any TV sporting an HDMI port, and opens up access to a much broader range of applications in the Android ecosystem.

While we have little to go on with MGS beyond a press release and a few specifications, the new product did recently get a vote of confidence from the Cable standards group known as CableLabs. IMJ Corporation was chosen as the company with the product most likely to succeed at the CableLabs Summer Conference last week.

The IMJ website says the new HDMI Wi-Fi stick and related software development kit will be available this summer, and will sell at a price point between $50 and $90. That's a pretty cheap upgrade for your living-room flat screen.

Images courtesy of IMJ Corporation

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Mari Silbey

Contributing Editor

Mari Silbey is an independent tech writer based in Washington, D.C. With a background in cable and telecom, she's a contributor to several trade publications, and part of the GigaOM analyst network. She also writes for the long-running digital media blog Zatz Not Funny, and has written for both corporate and association clients focused on broadband networks, mobile apps, and video delivery. She's a graduate of Duke University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure