Tech Squibs: Smart Stick Makes Your TV Smart(er)

stickSQUIB: a : a short humorous or satiric writing or speech; b : a short news item. (Merriam-Webster)

This Tech Squib will make a TV that's already smarter than you ridiculously clever and probably obnoxiously arrogant about it, depending on brand.

The FAVI Entertainment Smart Stick changes any HDTV into a device capable of using Google apps and multiple entertainment streaming services. As you can see up there, it looks like a flash drive, but that's an HDMI connector, not a USB.  It allows the stick compatibility with your HDTV and opens a world of HBO Go, Facebook, Pandora, YouTube, Crackle, Pinterest, Spotify, Twitter, Skype, Angry Birds, Words with Friends," etc. The device also allows the HDTV to access Netflix for its full streaming service.

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In addition to those Google services, the Smart Stick includes a full internet browser and 4GB of built-in memory to save those apps. Of course, you'll need a Google account to access them. On its own, the Smart Stick sells for $50.

To get the best and easiest use out of the Smart Stick, FAVI offers up the Smart Stick Wireless Controller for an additional $30. The extra device includes a full keyboard, separate function keys and a touchpad mouse for navigating through Smart Stick menus and tapping into the apps.

After trying out both as a team, the Smart Stick plugs and plays reasonably quickly. It required a little patience setting up and setting up the Google account, but app downloads and Netflix sync went off without a hitch. All totaled, the FAVI tandem offers an affordable alternative to the four figure crop of smart TVs hitting the market.