Want to get the latest video streaming services like Showmax or Netflix onto your TV but don’t have the app in your TV’s smart dashboard? Let us introduce you to the simplest and most cost-effective way of turning any TV at all into a smart TV with all the latest Android apps and games available in glorious HD.

It’s called the CloudGate Circle and it might just be the best lounge-based media centre we’ve seen.

Upgrade woes

There’s never a good time to buy a TV. It feels like just as soon as you pick a decent size flatscreen, the next week there’ll be one that’s bigger, has more pixels and a faster user interface with more apps and services available from the remote control.

Take TV streaming services like Netflix. Your smart TV might have shipped with the Netflix app, but if it’s a couple of years old the chances are that the app may not work any more because the TV is no longer “smart” enough to run the latest version. Or maybe you have a perfectly serviceable HD screen but no easy way to run Netflix, Showmax or YouTube on it without pulling out a laptop and fighting HDMI cables.

Well, almost no easy way. For less than R1 000 you can pick up the tiny CloudGate Circle. It’s a tiny PC that’s chock full of computing power that plugs into a spare HDMI port on your TV and brings all the latest apps and games at your fingertips.

Want to see how easy it is to install? Check out this video.

Always up-to-date

Because the CloudGate Circle runs Google’s Android operating system it’s instantly familiar to anyone who’s owned a smartphone or tablet.

You can use it to browse the web, read your email or play music from Google Music straight out of the box.

It even comes with video streaming services Showmax and Netflix pre-installed, although you’ll need to add your own account details from a separate subscription to access them fully.

The default homescreen has everything you need for a smart TV.
The default homescreen has everything you need for a smart TV.

Using apps from the Google Play store, however, you can also free-to-use programs that will let you play music and videos from any other PC, phone or storage device around the house.

It’s easy, always up-to-date and so long as you have a broadband connection you can access hundreds of video services and games – many times more than even the newest smart TVs can muster.

It’s literally like having a new TV. For less than R1 000. And you can order one from here.

Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar, Wired.co.uk, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.