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SmartStick makes your TV smart

 

Akron Beacon Journal

Favi Entertainment’s SmartStick turns any high-definition TV into a smart TV.

The plug-in device lets you browse the Internet, use applications and get access to streaming media services such as Netflix, Hulu and Pandora. You can also use it to stream media files wirelessly from a computer to the TV.

The device is a dongle that plugs into a TV’s HDMI input. Power is supplied via a cable that connects the device to a USB port on the television.

A mini wireless keyboard will also be available.

The SmartStick is available at retailers including Walmart, Radio Shack and Best Buy, and online at Newegg.com, Amazon.com and Favientertainment.com.

The 4-gigabyte version is $49.99 on the Favi site, and the 8-GB version is $79.99. Shipping is extra.

ON THE SHELF

Step into the homes of the leaders of the free world in Houses of the Presidents (Little, Brown and Co., $40).

The book takes readers on a virtual tour of 22 presidential homes, with quick looks at 15 more. The houses range from modest childhood homes to grand estates filled with the trappings of success.

The tour begins with George Washington’s Mount Vernon, one of the most famous presidential abodes, and ends with a less familiar home, the one-story Texas ranch house where George H.W. Bush raised another president, George W. Bush.

Author Hugh Howard uses the houses as a device to relate the stories of the presidents and the forces that shaped them. He includes anecdotes that humanize the homes’ powerful occupants, such as Benjamin Harrison donning a Santa suit to delight his grandchildren and Calvin Coolidge grieving over the death of his 16-year-old son.

Photos by Roger Straus III capture dining rooms, game rooms and other sites of happy gatherings, as well as slave cabins that remind us of the uglier realities of America’s past.

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