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Esedess's avatar

What touch screen pad type device would be best for this? (see description)

Asked by Esedess (3467points) January 6th, 2012

Ok, I actually have 2 separate issues here that can be dealt with separately, or together.

1st: (and this issue is a bit simpler, I think.) I want a relatively cheap iPad type device that would allow me to stream anything from my computer, and allow me to control my computer from the couch (like a remote). What would be best for this?

2nd: I have one REALLY good desktop computer that was built custom for me by a friend and no other computers/laptops of any kind.
My two bedroom apartment, which I have all to myself, has two TV’s that are not connected to anything (each bedroom) and the main one connected directly to the computer in the front room. What is best way (with regards to price/function) to be able to stream and control the computer from the front room to/from any other room. (I would prefer not to have to buy another computer at this point, if possible)

Thanks in advance everyone!

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5 Answers

jerv's avatar

1) I have a Nook Color (one of the older ones) that I flashed with CyanogenMod to turn into a full-on 7” Android tablet. I got the old Color instead of their new Tablet solely because of this ability. I went this route since I would rather pay $150 (on sale) and do ten minutes work than pay $400+ for something that runs Android right out of the box, but you can go the easier, pricier route if you choose.

I mention this because the Android Market has many programs that allow you varying degrees of control over a PC. Do you just want to use it as a wireless keyboard/mouse? Do you want to transfer files between your PC and your device? Do you want to actually see what is on your PC’s screen and control it through your tablet (like this)? Whichever way you want to go, there is an app for that! Granted, I could also do it on my Droid X, but a 7” screen is easier for some things than a 4.3” one. You could do the same thing for $200 or less.

2) Not that I can think of unless your TV is a computer, no.
However, a cheap “thin client” could work as it doesn’t take much CPU power to merely stream. You don’t even have to use a full-on desktop. It’s is pretty cheap to build a media computer like what you would want for streaming like that.
An alternative is to just have an HDMI splitter, run cables all over the place, and control it via an Android tablet/smartphone.

Esedess's avatar


1st off, Thank you! That’s all very helpful.

Regarding #2, I just had another idea that kinda combines 1&2, but you seem to know much more about this stuff than I do, and wanted a second opinion.

Ok, so what if I got a touch pad device with an HDMI out? Then could I install one of those apps you mentioned, and then plug the pad into a TV in another room via HDMI?

(I guess, in a sense, I would be turning the touch pad into portable/wireless HDMI port of sorts)

jerv's avatar

That could work. My Droid X has HDMI outputs and can access the internet with wifi (so as not to flog my data plan). With that, I don’t even really need to involve my PC at all of your are playing from the ‘net.

I can’t think of how to stream from a PC to a tablet off the top of my head, but like I said, you really don’t need to. At worst, you can transfer the video to the device and play it like a little Bluray player. Both my phone and my Nook have 16GB cards, so they can store a bit of video even in HD.

jerv's avatar

Now that I have more time, let us go over our options.

You need HDMI out. While the iPad can use an add-on cable to hook up to HDMI, from what what I have seen, it’s a bit more limited, especially by the fact that you can only get that cable (or apps, or nearly anything else) from Apple. There is also the price issue.

There are a few decent Android alternatives, and the first one that pops into mind is the only one that has a full-sized HDMI connection; the 10-inch Toshiba Thrive Like my phone and anything else with HDMI Out, the 7” model has a micro HDMI connector, and I like the 7” models better anyways, but the full-sized HDMI port on the 10-incher seems like it might be up your alley (not that a micro-HDMI—> HDMI adapter is hard to get, or expensive…). But Acer has a couple of decent options as well, as does Asus, and there are more coming out every week.

While my Nook Color may be able to take over a computer, it lacks HDMI outputs, so I wouldn’t go that route. However, the Droid X is a generation behind the times so you might be able to find a used/refurbished one (or another Android smartphone with a micro-HDMI port) cheap, and you don’t need to activate it as a phone in order to use it as a wifi-only tablet. Not only are you likely to pay less going that route, you may find the ability to put it in your pocket to be nice. Come on, a 4-inch tablet? Yeaaaah!

So, how big do you want, and how much are you willing to spend? Odds are that going the HDMI-capable tablet route will run around $400-ish ($100 less than the iPad) and if you want to go small, an old Android smartphone, while a little less capable, might be less than half that.

Esedess's avatar

$400 sounds fine for what I want (+ a little additional function, just in case/for fun). The only (presumably) sad part is that at the point where I’m paying $400, as you mentioned, I’m already just another measly $100 away from getting a damn iPad. (I say “presumably” here because I don’t necessarily know that I DO want an iPad, having never owned a single Apple product before)
Regardless, I liked what I saw of the Toshiba Thrive you threw out! It seems to be right for the price.

Regarding the HDMI vs micro HDMI, is there a difference as far as you know?

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