By Mari Silbey
Posting in Technology
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
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Why IP video could signal the end of free broadcast TV
- What Congress doesn't understand about net neutrality and online video
Aug 15, 2012
The stick, or whatever other form this technology comes in, will have to designed to accept connections and commands from Android,, and iOS and Windows devices, and anything else out there that would turn the TV into any kind of smart device. So, what is needed is a generic OS that goes into the stick or module, which will recognize a standard set of commands, and it will be up to the external devices to work with the language which the stick/module understands. These sticks should not be platform dependent; they should have a generic OS, with generic commands, and generic connectivity. (Sort of like HTML is a standard that all the various platforms use to present information from the internet). Whichever company comes out with the generic stick, wins. (Until other companies catch up, which then means that the winning brand will be the cheapest and most capable at the same time.) I would hold off purchasing a device which only understands Android or iOS or Windows. But, all of that may become a moot point in the near future, when all TV manufacturers will start including the tech within the TV, as an updatable module.
Great idea! I love it! Seems like a great alternative to people that can't afford to buy the latest flat screen with all the internet options. _______________________ bluerigger hdmi
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I have a Sony Blu-Ray smart box that adapts my Samsung HDTV into a "Smart TV" much as the article describes. What I have found from sad experience is that support for a keyboard or better yet both a keyboard and mouse are needed. Sony uses the remote control to have the user move a cursor to s.l.o.w.l.y type in information. Needless to say, it is a big pain in the ***. Didn't Sony and everyone else involved in "Smart TVs" have real end users test their systems? If they had, I'm sure the testers would have indicated a need for keyboard and mouse support. Terry Thomas Atlanta, Georgia USA
Infinitec is working on a similar device and is looking at an October release. The have a nice remote control for the device too. https://www.facebook.com/infinitec
That's why this thing uses a smart phone. The Smart Phone has a keyboard of sorts. A tablet would work even better. And YES, of course a keyboard is better for inputting text than some sort of joystick/random letter wheel. Even the smartphone keyboard is too small. For keyboard input, bigger is better.