$99 Linux-based HDMI stick
Now you can, and for just $99.
The coolest thing ever to hit your TV
Recently a company called DevonIT presented their Ceptor, a thin client that they say is somewhat bigger than the standard USB flash drive that, once plugged into a HDMI port of any television or monitor, turns it into a thin client. “Thin client” is a term used to describe any client that relies on another machine (its server) to perform its computational roles. This means that Ceptor is an easy and inexpensive way to let you wirelessly login to any remote server running any type of virtual desktop software. Once logged remotely into a computer, you have full capabilities of the machine connected to via the screen the Ceptor is attached to.
So, for under a hundred bucks you get a dual-core processor working at 1GHz, with up to 1 GB ram and up to 32 GB internal flash memory, depending on the configuration, that is plugged directly into a HDMI port of any screen. Of course, it has a built-in WiFi which allows it to connect to the cloud services it requires to be fully functional, as well as a micro-USB port, so you can plug in USB keyboard or mouse. Ceptor is also capable of 1080p video output, so if you just want to watch some movies or TV shows stored on its flash memory, that is an option as well.
On the software side, Ceptor is run by ZeTOS zero client operating system (zero client means that the device’s flash storage contains instructions to download complete OS from the Cloud, once connected to the client).
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The company has also given security a lot of thought, as Devon IT President Joe Makoid explains: “Users are unable to execute software or initiate remote sessions that the administrators have not authorized. A user enters their username and password and is immediately up and running in their remote session. Ceptor devices do not broadcast or auto-discover network protocols, eliminating the need for special firewall or routing rules. Since the terminals have no local persistent memory, there are no threats from viruses or malicious software.”
Ceptor is intended mostly for businesses, as an inexpensive alternative to Linux-powered tiny PCs, which aim to facilitate today’s highly mobile and remote work forces. The price includes one year of free software support, after that they will start charging for upgrades and support.
Although highly innovative, this is not the only device developed for similar purposes, audience and price-tag. Dell has announced its Project Ophelia, a similar device run on Android back in July 2013, and Google Chromecast is much less costly, but is designed to turn your TV into a screen that streams anything from another device; and lower priced versions are beginning to appear on the Chinese market.
Future versions of Ceptor are expected to include even lower-cost processors and will have the ability to run Android, while keeping all of the features available on the original one.