Adding streaming to a 4K projector

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Today just about all television have a smart client that is typically Android based, this makes it easy to get the big streaming services without having to add any more boxes. But if you bought a projector that’s barebones many of these do not have anything like that mainly for cost reasons so all you get is some video inputs (typically HDMI. So you need something to handle streaming and input. Here are some good choices:

Use your laptop

Well the simplest thing to do is to find an HDMI cable and hook it up to your laptop. The main problem here is convenience, you have to plug your laptop in somehow and then you don’t want to leave it there.

Get a streaming box

The nvidia shield is nice if you also have streaming content and supports 4K. There are Two choices. If dont play games the smaller one is fine. https://www.cnet.com/reviews/nvidia-shield-tv-review/

This basically adds a “TV tuner” to your projector. They basically have an HDMI port on one end and then a WiFi connection and some sort of remote control (typically with a tiny remote). There are 3-4 choices here for a minimal box that doesn’t take up much space particularly in a small apartment. Ideally you want something that just sits on the same table as your mini projector and is dedicated and assuming you want the usual suspects of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ all in 4K:

1. nVidia Shield. This is probably the best of the bunch as it has a real processor and runs Android. It also has 4K, HDR and all the other goodies. It is reasonably small particularly their “Shield TV” version. It does run Kodi which is nice if you want to stream content from your laptop easily. And supports Androidcasting. Most folks won’t want the nVidia Shield Pro, so get the Shield TV which is just the tuner. The main limit here of course is that you don’t get Apple+ if you want that content.

2. Apple TV 2020. I would wait for a tick on this one. They have a 4K version now is great. And with HDR etc. but v6 is out soon and will hopefully be cheaper than $199 or have a really fast processor for games. It definitely the best user experience and AirPlay 2 is great. Get a HomePod or two for speakers for real convenience in the Apple ecosystem. It has all the usual streaming partners and Apple+. You don’t get Kodi for instance, so don’t use this if you have local content,.

3. Roku Stick Plus. The roku is cheap and a decent value for 4K and HDR but it doesn’t have Dolby Vision. So it’s the budget choice although the user interface is a bit clunky. And it even has Apple TV. You could also get the Amazon Fire if you like but it has an even more confusing interface and of course is biased towards Amazon content.

4. If you are a real gamer, the other choice is the xBox Series X which is coming out now. It is way bigger, but has 4K gaming and of course all the streaming options (except Apple)

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