Use a Tiny PC to watch Videos on Non-Internet TVs

You have a digital TV but it cannot access the internet . The obvious solution is to purchase one of the new 4K or full high definition or HD television sets with internet or Android operating system built in. If your TV is very old or even an analogue one, this solution should considered positively. If your TV is not that old but your video resolution is 1280 x 720 pixels you are at the borderline. If you are dissatisfied with the picture quality, then by all means, make the switch. However if you are contented with the picture quality, then there is no good reason to get a new TV. If you already have a full HD TV with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, then there is clearly no incentive to switch.

With your existing TV, there is an inexpensive way to watch youtube videos and access the internet. The solution is to purchase and hook up one of those tiny PCs like the intel NUC, Lenovo Tiny, Dell micro or HP DM Mini. These tiny PCs can be easily attached to your TV with a Vesa mount bracket. Many TVs already have pre-drilled holes for the VESA mount. Since the processing power required to view youtube videos are relatively minimal, you can select PCs with CPUs like Intel Celeron J4105.  A standard 4GB RAM for the PC should suffice. Unless you intend to store movies on the PC, you are likely to find that a hard disk with a minimum capacity of 250GB should be enough.

In view of these undemanding requirements, you should seriously consider purchasing a pre-owned PC instead of a new one. Pre-owned PCs with comparable CPUs include Intel Pentium 3240t or Celeron 1820t and their AMD equivalents such as AMD A6 PRO-7400B.  Such basic tiny PCs could probably be bought for less than S$200. You could try getting them at popular online Singapore websites like Lazada or Carousell or at shops at Sim Lim Square.

With the tiny PC mounted behind the TV, you could easily control it using a wireless keyboard and mouse. A good wireless keyboard and mouse should allow you to control the PC while sitting on the sofa watching the TV. Most of the more recent TVs have HDMI sockets. Some of the pre-owned PCs may not come with HDMI sockets. They usually have display port and VGA sockets for their display outputs. However it is easy to purchase a display port to HDMI adapter to enable the PC to display its output on the TV. Some TVs have VGA sockets so this adapter may not be required. In addition, you can easily connect an audio output cable from the PC  to the TV.

A word of caution for those who may be tempted by larger sized PCs which could be slightly cheaper than the tiny PCs. For a start, these larger PCs are too big to be VESA mounted behind the TV. Secondly, the power consumption of tiny PCs is less than 65Watts. Larger PCs would have much higher power consumption with 240 Watts for standard desktops. Thus whatever saving you obtain from their purchase would be quickly eroded by the higher power bills. Thus in the medium run, you would have paid considerably more in total than the tiny PC.

(Note: The author did not receive any payment or incentive from any company or organisation for their citation in this blog.)