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Agora smart TV HDMI dongle

Its second foray into HDMI dongles that convert your boring old TV into a smart TV, Kogan has refreshed its new $99 Agora smart TV HDMI dongle – now with a quad-core processor.

Kogan launched its original smart TV dongle last year August for the same price, though it’s pulled it from its site for the new, quad-core model, which should help boost usage speeds.

The new dongle touts a Cortex A9 quad-core chip and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a mini USB charting port, 8GB of internal storage, but with a USB 2.0 and microSD card slot to expand memory

There’s also a 2.4GHz “Air Mouse” remote to control what’s happening on the screen, or you can also get the Kogan-branded Android Deluxe Wireless Keyboard and Trackpad for an extra $39 that sports a full QWERTY key set and can pair up with the dongle.

For TVs new enough to have an HDMI port, but too old to include a lot of the new smart TV capabilities, this would be a cheap and easier way to boost your TVs uses.

It gives you access to apps and functions like internet browsing, games, music, movies and basically any of the thousands of apps available through Google Play, like Quickflix, Skype, YouTube, Kindle and Spotify, all on the big screen.

 

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Chromecast-like dongle for its Vudu video service – Available at Walmart

Walmart looks set to launch a new streaming HDMI dongle resembling Google’s Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, but possibly lacking some of the features of those devices. Called the Vudu Spark, it leaked from the FCC’s website, replete with multi-angle photos and a user manual. The document shows how to set up the Spark with your WiFi network, and that it’ll basically do one thing: give you Vudu on your TV. That app is Walmart’s answer to Netflix, serving up streaming movies and TV shows on demand.

The test reports show that it comes with a Zigbee-based RF remote control, though it’s not clear if it’ll also support smartphone-based control à la Google’s dongle. There’s also no sign of screen mirroring or other advanced features, meaning it might just be a no-frills way to get the Vudu app onto a dumb TV, though we’d have to see the device to confirm that. Anyway, if you do need those features plus Vudu, you can just buy a Chromecast, of course — the Vudu app’s been available on it for quite awhile. There’s no word yet from Walmart on pricing and availability.

 

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