Feeds

back to article Mozilla dev dangles Chromecast clone dongle

Mozilla Developer Network principal developer evangelist Christian Heilmann has popped out a tweet mentioning an effort to clone Google's Chromecast dongle, but with Firefox OS under the hood. Chromecast is a minimalist Android computer that offers WiFi and an HDMI plug. The WiFi sucks video out of devices running Google's …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Strange description of Chromecast

I imagine streaming a Chrome tab is the least most common use for the Chromecast. A great many more users will be using it as a way to get Netflix, Plex, HBO etc onto their big TV while controlling things from their phone.

This is where Chromecast comes into its own, because it streams directly from the server, rather than through your mobile device as in Apple's AirPlay.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Strange description of Chromecast

What's the difference? Streaming through your mobile device or streaming from the server works the same. I suppose the latter is a bit more efficient in terms of your phone's battery life.

Personally I don't see the need to play stuff from my phone onto my TV. Perhaps a Youtube video now and then, but Netflix? Get real, every device you can connect to a TV (and even the TV itself, in the case of smart TVs) already does Netflix, it is getting to be a joke how many ways there are to play Netflix content. There is hardly a need for yet another one.

0
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Strange description of Chromecast

> "What's the difference? Streaming through your mobile device or streaming from the server works the same."

There's a big difference in latency and quality.

> "Get real, every device you can connect to a TV (and even the TV itself, in the case of smart TVs) already does Netflix"

The only devices I have that connect to my TV are my Mac and my Android phone. My smart TV doesn't do Netflix either. So, if I were a Netflix user, I would be using my Chromecast for that, just as I prefer Android+Chromecast for iPlayer over my TV's poor implementation.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Strange description of Chromecast

How is there a difference in latency and quality simply using your phone as a middleman? Unless you have a really terribly slow and crappy phone, it can handle passing the 10Mb/sec or so that is required to stream top quality HD.

0
1
Silver badge

Re: Strange description of Chromecast

Browsing Netflix's catalogue on a tablet, before flinging it to the TV must be better than navigating the catalogue on the TV, using the telly remote.

I imagine that the Chromecast has a good chance of having more services ported to it, too, unlike your "smart" TV, which is probably not going to get anything useful that it doesn't already have (no 4oD, itvPlayer, or demand5 on my Panasonic, for example, all of which exist as Android apps, and so will more than likely get the necessary development to run on the Chromecast).

0
0

Re: Strange description of Chromecast

> I imagine that the Chromecast has a good chance of having more services ported to it, too

Yes. There's a good chance. But like AppleTV, Google maintains tight control over what types of apps are allowed to play in their sandbox. Hence the interest in an "open" alternative, for those too lazy to root their CC.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Strange description of Chromecast

Quite agree, joe. I still think the Chromecast is most likely to have more of the big services on it, though (experience of the 4oD client on Raspbmc - constantly being re-written as its feed gets cut off - bears this out). An "open" option for the more technically minded/curious is always welcome, however.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Strange description of Chromecast

Really?

And how do Google exercise this tight control you talk about?

I take it you haven't actually tried to write a Chromecast app?

I wrote one, I paid £5 to Google and can now submit as many apps as I want, I registered my app - I have never heard anything from Google and my app was registered immediately.

At no point in the process have I had to wait for Google to do anything.

0
0
Bronze badge

For a respected tech publication - to post such nonsense is unfathomable.

The Chromecast does not at all work in the way you describe, The WiFi does not "suck video out of devices running a chrome browser" in fact to use the Chromecast in the way you describe, requires the computer to do realtime audio, video encoding of the chrome tab that is being cast, it then serves this video stream to the Chromecast over HTTP. Because of the requirements this places on the computer - the experience is generally not wonderful, and is a last resort to provide a way to get the content to the TV. The Chromecast in fact sits on top of the DIAL protocol, and opens a websocket to connected sending apps (receiving apps are basically webpages that are downloaded on-the-fly from the internet, via HTTPS when they are launched).

The prototype Mozilla dongle apparently supports some Chromecast apps - but in actual fact all it is doing at the moment is launching the apps that support the DIAL protocol. There is a video floating around that shows the device in action, but as many others have commented - the YouTube interface that it opens - is basically the same interface that will open on a smart TV, because smart TVs work in exactly the same way, you open YouTube (eg on your phone) click the cast button, and it will list your Smart TV in the list of devices, when you click it, the Smart TV will load YouTube and you have basic control over the app, any Chromecast app that needs to do something more complicated than Play and Pause a video, will not work (currently) with the Mozilla dongle, because it requires the Websocket for communication. Plex is one such example of an app that doesn't work in the video floating about the internet

1
2
Silver badge

But does it do...

"The Chromecast does not at all work in the way you describe, The WiFi does not "suck video out of devices running a chrome browser" in fact to use the Chromecast in the way you describe, requires the computer to do realtime audio, video encoding of the chrome tab that is being cast, it then serves this video stream to the Chromecast over HTTP. Because of the requirements this places on the computer - the experience is generally not wonderful, and is a last resort to provide a way to get the content to the TV. The Chromecast in fact sits on top of the DIAL protocol, and opens a websocket to connected sending apps (receiving apps are basically webpages that are downloaded on-the-fly from the internet, via HTTPS when they are launched)."

Except when it does, you know, if you drag and drop a video into the browser window and cast that tab, or just cast a tab in general, whereupon it does realtime OnTheFly enconding and transfer of the tab contents - although I'll grant you, using it as a 'control' device to push content past the browser to the device natively is better in most cases (IE casting Youtube directly to it, Netflix etc).

TabCasting is handy if you want to show someone, say, an XKCD or TheOatmeal comic, though, rather than passing a laptop or phone around, just cast the tab to the telly in 720p quality - works nicely.

I've been using Videostream a lot recently, which is a natty Chrome extension that uses the decode grunt of your computer to push pretty much anything your computer can draw, to the Chromecast dongle - so FLV, AVI, WMV, etc, all play on the telly. I've yet to find anything it won't transcode and fling to the telly without any framedrops at all.

If you have a lot of legacy rips in non-de-jour formats (WebM/H264) then it's an utter godsend.

4
0
This topic is closed for new posts.