The era we live in is one of disposable items, but many of us can’t bring ourselves to throw functional kit out just because it’s old. Having a PC lying around gathering dust isn’t unusual and there are plenty of ways to re-purpose them. Android TV is the next coming of Android, it’s actually designed for bigger screens and focuses on voice input versus text. So it makes sense that you can turn your old PC into a media streaming box.
The amazing team over at XDA developers has done exactly that. AmznUser444 Dev has built an ISO of Android TV x86 (built on Android-x86) which has the intent of being an easy and convenient way of getting apps, games, and media content on your old PC. The minimum hardware is pretty reasonable too:
- 1.2 GHz dual-core 64-bit capable processor
- Intel/NVIDIA/AMD GPU having 64MB of video memory
It would be great to get more specifics around RAM requirements etc, but that’s not realistic for a project like this. Suffice to say, the more RAM you can throw at it; it will perform better and better.
It is, of course, not something that everyone will take up given the relatively cheap nature of streaming boxes like the Shield TV, Xiaomi MiBox and other lesser-known options. There is also the consideration that — as noted on their announcement — this isn’t going to give you the full quality streaming experience you’d get from the main services.
In addition, due to lacking Widevine L1 certification, don’t expect HD video streaming from services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. The Google Chromecast with Google TV and other Android TV streaming media devices definitely provide a better media streaming experience, but this is totally free if you already have an unused PC lying around.
I know I’m pretty keen to take a look and will probably revive my old HP Microserver to give this a go.