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Intel's $150 HDMI Stick Turns Any TV Into a Windows Desktop

Illustration for article titled Intels $150 HDMI Stick Turns Any TV Into a Windows Desktop

Got an HDMI port handy? Sure, you could plug in a Chromecast, Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming Stick to get your Netflix fix. Or you could pay $150 to get a full Windows 8.1 PC in the same form factor.

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This is the Intel Compute Stick, a humble HDMI dongle that houses a full desktop computer experience. It's not a particularly powerful one—you get a quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of solid state storage—but it does have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and both a full-size USB port and a microSD card slot for expandability. As long as you're not gaming and find yourself a decent couch controller, you could probably do quite a bit from this tiny PC! Here's the spec sheet.

More likely, it'll find a home in small businesses, schools, and the like who want to roll out super cheap computers to their employees, since all you need is this stick, an HDMI monitor and a couple peripherals to get things cranking. Remember when the tiniest PC was a nettop that hooked onto the back of your monitor? Now they come in dongle-form.

If you're feeling brave, you can actually already buy one of these tiny dongle-PCs from Chinese resellers, but it probably won't come with Windows on board. I'd wait for the official Intel version to arrive. The Wall Street Journal says it'll hit by the end of Q1, with a Linux version also available for $90. [Intel via WSJ]

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DISCUSSION

If this can stream netflix, and surf the web as fast as a regular computer I am 100000% on board with this. I currently have my gaming PC hooked up to my TV for when I want to watch netflix, stream from other sites, or surf the web from the couch. But its a pain in the ass because i also have my PC hooked into my stereo for spotify etc. When I want to switch between netflix and music I have to unplug the hdmi from the back of my pc, put it to sleep, wake it up, and then plug my stereo in to get the sound card to work correctly (Im sure theres an easier way to fix this. on HDMI sound is being played digitally, but I need analog going into my amp)

This would fix the above problem, and Id also be able to do some tweaking with the resolution so I can actually read my facebook from 10 feet away.