Loyal readers (both of you?) may remember how upset I have been that the U.S. has filled up with flat-screen TVs and most of them sit dark and ugly most of the time. One dream that I’ve had for a long time is turning them into digital photo frames when not in use, but the crummy software on these TVs has so far made that impossible (I have yet to find a TV that can be programmed to turn itself on at 8:00 am every day, show slides, and turn itself off at 10 pm (functioning as a TV, of course, at some point in the middle if someone wants to watch something)).
Enter the Geochron Atlas 4K. For $450, it paints a flat-screen TV to look like the 1970s Masters of the Universe dream mechanical Geochron (still available for about $3,000). This is a great Christmas gift for the brother/sister/binary resister who has everything. The 4K Geochron (which I verified does work on our old Panasonic 1080p plasma TV). has a bunch of data overlays, e.g., weather and satellite tracks, that you would never be able to get on a mechanical Geochron.
The Atlas 4K is about the size of a stack of 5 iPhones (imagine the delight!). It has an RJ45 jack on one side for wired Internet and an HDMI male plug on the other for the image output. Power is via USB.
The remote control seems to be RF-based (at least I was able to control it through a closet door and around a corner). It would be a lot nicer if one could connect to this from a smartphone on the same WiFi network, but there is no app or provision for this. Configuration via the remote control is the most tedious part and the little remote can always be lost, run out of battery power, etc.
The company seems to be keeping up with current American obsessions. For example, the July 21, 2020 software (automatically downloaded via WiFi; see changelog) will optionally show a COVID-19 plague status overlay. (We should ask for a virtue layer, in which countries with maximum mask compliance and shutdown are highlighted in green while Sweden and South Dakota are bright red for heresy.)
Our kids went nuts for this and asked a lot of questions, so we’ve already gotten $400+ in value out of it. (It is actually $399 through December 17 with “HOL2020” according to a marketing email that I recently received.)
The world is a detailed place. If this is mounted somewhere that people can walk up to it, might we have found a great use case for an 8K tv (now only about $2,400 for 65″)?
Full post, including comments