Boxes to turn non Smart TV into a Smart TV?

My dad has a five-year-old 42" plasma TV which, in my opinion, is still excellent.

He has seen the adverts for Smart TVs and was considering buying a 42"-50" LED Smart TV for around £900-£1000 but after realizing how little he could sell the current plasma TV for (around £100-£200), I advised him not to sell it.

Instead, I offered to research boxes to make his TV into a Smart TV (or close to).

He already has a Sky HD box.

What exists? Any suggestions?


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There are a variety of boxes out there, very much a mixed bag depending upon what you want.

Roku - very easy to use, have services like iPlayer and Netflix but no Youtube, also has a lot of unofficial user channels too. No web browser.

Google TV (Sony box in UK) - Google's official Smart TV platform, includes web browsing, access to GoogleTV apps and games (not the same as Android apps, they are designed for TV's), custom remote with touchpad/keyboard, has or will be getting iPlayer/Netflix in the future.

Android TV - Unofficial re-purposing of Android tablet OS to work as set top box, you use a wand remote or mouse to control the interface and apps, full access to Android market store but no access to GoogleTV apps.

Not all Android TV's are equal, some will work with apps and may have issues with others, for instance iPlayer app doesnt work on some using the Allwinner A10 chipset which is common in Android TV HDMI sticks (see Rikomagic MK802-II), but iPlayer will work in the web browser on those.

Sony/LG Smart TV boxes - these are basically the guts of this or last years Smart TV platform stuffed into a set top box, what you get depends a lot on that model for that year, generally considered not that great but one of the few ways to get access to hard to get services like Loveflim.

Boxee Box - Good local media player, web browser and has apps with act as interface to websites however very poor UK content selection, also Boxee has abandoned the Box 1 for development on Box 2.
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Distinguished Member
It's really an iTunes/Airplay media extender first and foremost, you get Youtube/Netflix in there too.

Works best with an iPhone or iPad so you can airplay content to it, without one of those it is much more limited in usefulness.


Distinguished Member
The WDTV Live is primarily a media player for local content stored on USB/NAS/PC. Like the AppleTV it does have a handful of services such as Spotify, iPlayer, Netflix etc but there's no way to get other services on the box only what Western Digital allow. There is also no web browser and at least no easy way to beam media to it like you can do with Airplay, it is possible through DLNA but it is very messy.

If your looking for something real cheap just to browse Youtube I'd go with the Rikomagic MK802.

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