back to article Typical! Google's wonder-dongle is a solution looking for a problem

From the reaction to Google's latest contribution to TV technology, you'd think the Chromecast dongle was as revolutionary as a new method of nuclear fusion. While the wee $35 USB stick is more practical than the last Google TV gadget - and hopefully less catastrophic to Google's supply chain partners - it's a typically …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Re: Dongles all round

To do this the Premier League would need to develop / lease it's own broadcast infrastructure (cameras, operators etc), and hire some presenters to give commentary etc. Possible, but not as easy as you think.

As far as I know, the Premier League don't do their own video feeds in the way that Formula One do for example.

1
0

I don't see the point.

I have a cable subscription and an internet connection. This costs me in the region of 60 quid a month.

I can not - for the life of me - discover what Google can offer me that I don't already have.

To make things worse : I am systematically cutting loose all manner of 'upgrade packs' on my existing cable subscription. The reason ? Channels like Discovery, History, SyFy, 13th street as well as more local channels are becoming increasingly unwatchable as 60 minute programs are interrupted 4 or 5 times for commercial breaks. Add the commercials before and after the show and that's 7. SEVEN !

And I'm NOT paying to watch commercials.

Maybe if I could, as some have suggested, use it as a very cheap and compact HTPC solution. But I can pretty much guarantee google will NOT be happy with people buying the cheap hardware but not buying into the expensive content.

I believe this will be a short lived gizmo. At least, I think it will be.

2
5

rubbish!

The problems this solves are very clearly defined:

1) How do I consume Internet content on my big TV screen?

2) How do I achieve the above without having to subject myself to the horrors that are the user interface designs of so called "Smart TVs"?

And this device solves them both.

The fact that there is currently very little in the way of content that'll work with it is not the same problem. It's simply because it is a brand new device and until someone brought the device out, no software companies are going to (or would even be able to) make software/content for it.

The fact that it'll no doubt be very long before custom firmware for the device pops up which allows you to use applications not necessarily designed for it is just a bonus.

15
0

Re: rubbish!

1 a video card with tv output?

2 Use an older tv

0
1

Re: rubbish!

Yes. In any case, the Raspberry Pi is a solution looking for a problem, in fact that's the whole point of it, and people don't seem to hold that against it. Google is getting the Chromecast out there at an impulse buy price to see what people do with it, and if it gains some traction, companies may well start looking to use it specifically to deliver their content.

4
1

Re: rubbish!

I'd go so far as to state it has the possibility to go one solution further, I.e.

3) How do I show what's on this piddly laptop screen to the rest of the room (granted, said stuff must be in a chrome tab), with minimum fuss.

to make a distinction with your point 1), this needn't be consumable media, the relatively mundane internet sometimes needs escaping beyond the 15" screen. Groups of blokes drooling over DeWaalt's new powertools on screwfix (or equally a gaggle of women drooling over Jimmy Choos on zolando).

escaping beyond chrome tabs into desktop streaming would be far more useful... one hopes this arrives at some point...

2
0

Re: rubbish!

Yup; it's all about easy and cheap remote-controlled internet consumption on that big, non-SMART, living room screen (i.e. whatever was £399 from Argos/Tesco at the time).

"For those few homes without a laptop next to the TV, and there aren't many left... then yes, there's a convenience factor.".

Really? I've NEVER been in a British family living room where a laptop was plugged into a TV, but then perhaps Andrew and I inhabit rather different social circles. Sky / Freeview box and DVD or VCR (remember those?), certainly, XBox/PS3/Wii probaby (though often relegated upstairs), BluRay or PVR possibly, but never a laptop. Even now many typical cheap lappies don't do HDMI-out, or don't have the welly to drive a big display if they do, and anyway, the Sky remotes don't work on them and who wants that kind of extra exercise? It's a long way from the sofa...

At least the GoogleDongle (tm) works by talking to an app on a phone which a lot of people already own and use. I'll be tempted myself, once our lovely SCART-only CRT finally accelerates its last electron into a phosphorescent layer (try and tell the young people today that and they won't believe you).

8
0
Silver badge

I can't figure ...

It WON'T work on its own to the Internet via the WiFI.

WiFi limits the quality. Decent HD over WiFi is not assured.

Since you need a decent gadget with a Web Browser ANYWAY... what value is it over an HDMI cable or Wirelss HDMI (which will do real HD).

The hypegasm has been amazing.

3
6
Silver badge

Re: I can't figure ...

Decent HD over WiFi is not assured.

So? I don't give a rat's ass about HD; nor do most of the people I know. Obviously that's not a representative sample, but I've yet to see any research showing that HD is considered a necessity by most TV viewers.

I don't know why gadget-fan Reg readers insist on assuming most consumers agree with them. Most consumers aren't interested in the technically superior solution, and they definitely aren't interested in any solution that requires them to learn a bunch of new stuff. They want their entertainment quickly with as little fuss as possible. A WiFi dongle from a firm they recognize is pretty much exactly what they're looking for.

2
0
Silver badge

Going back to basics

> Google simply doesn't have the material today that drives any significant demand

And what is the single biggest driver? Yup, porn.

Maybe that's what Google needs to dip it's dongle into. If they're smart they could spin it as "look: we're taking all the porn off the internet searches and only making it available through our specialised hardware (that only 18+s can buy)"

The best part about that is that apart from satisfying all the prudes in the universe it would make all the other search engines look bad if they didn't follow suit. But without a dongle of their own, they'd be stuffed.

0
0

skroku

That 'Sky' thing looks suspiciously like a rebadged Roku. Why would I buy one from Sky (the original Roku does Sky streaming anyway) unless I am a SkySheeple?

Down with Rupe.

1
1

Hm

"... or Premier League footie, a global phenomenon that absorbs every country in[!] the planet."

However, for those of us who have left the caves and are not fearful of an angry sun god, we've moved on to more interesting sports, like javelin catching and watching cars rust.

[Honestly, I've given soccer/football/Italian-injury-acting a good honest try three or four times in about as many decades, but it just doesn't work for me. If you enjoy it, fine, but I do get miffed when people act like I *must* love it.]

5
0
Silver badge

Seriously ?

"For those few homes without a laptop next to the TV, and there aren't many left.."

Really?!

I would say people using any kind of PC as a media player (myself included) are in a very small minority compared to those who own a TV + tablet/phone.

The Sky comparison is flawed due to the massive direct-debit required to actually get anything out of the NewsCorp device.

Chromecast may actually create a new market where people can occasionally watch a "rented" film on any HDMI-plugged TV they so choose. Without a large initial purchase or having to pay a monthly subscription.

Let's see....

7
0

Apples and Oranges

I don't think the Now TV box is quite the same thing as the Chromecast so you're not really comparing like-for-like. The Sky device (which isn't "like" a ROKU, I'm pretty sure it IS a ROKU) is a locked down one-vendor streamer, whereas the Chromecast is an Airplay rival; it basically needs another switched on device to work. Apple TV is a bit of both.

Ironically if the Now TV box actually streamed my Sky TV content from my Sky+, I'd be interested in it, but since that would screw up their multiroom business it's no surprise it doesn't do it.

0
0

If only it did proper screen mirroring it would be perfect... No need to worry about what apps the dongle supports - as long as I can see it on my phone I can get on the TV.

If services like iPlayer leverage ChromeCast then even better, but if they don't it's still pretty usable.

Screen mirroring is the real killer feature that Apple TV has (IME that's what people do with that anyway - they know how to do it on there iPads and just beam it to the TV - iPlayer, LoveFilm, Sky Go etc), the others are nice to have but a bit less useful.

0
0

AIUI, it does do mirroring of a Chrome instance - meaning you can use it to watch any content that can be played in a Chrome browser instance.

0
0

Miracast

Just today my SGS3 phone got an update to its "allshare play" which is samsung's branded miracast. I have two Samsung TV's that support this. The purpose of the update is probably to remind me it has this feature now that Chromecast has so much attention. Can my phone see these TV's? No.

0
0
Silver badge

What I want...

Is a multi-channel Freeview, Freesat, Sky and Virgin PVR which can do internet and LAN streaming as well as playing DVD and BluRay. I want to be able to watch anything I want, I want it able to support any provider, any format, be zero cost and subscription free.

And world peace.

Meanwhile I will have to pick and choose whatever gives me the best match to what I want from a variety of suppliers who all have some limitations.

Integrated media is a relatively new thing for society as a whole and has only recently moved from PC-based systems to Smart TV and consumer grade equipment and the suppliers are still trying to figure out what consumers actually want and how to best monetorise that for themselves.

There's a diverse market out there with people wanting different things so arguing over which is best, the one true way forward, is much like debating which single form of transportation system there should be. It's early days and we are in that period where different things are being tried out. Some will succeed, others will fail. Eventually the sector will mature but it's good to see there is so much active competition and efforts to test the market.

Will any manufacturer come up with a product and a licensing deal to do 'everything'? I doubt it, but we can hope.

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Thumb Up

Re: Couldn't agree more with the sentiments of this article...

IIRC it doesn't stream from phone to TV. It only tells the TV what to draw. The TV goes and fetches the content itself.

This makes it very flexible. Especially with a Chrome PC?

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Couldn't agree more with the sentiments of this article...

No Chromecast is classed as a Digital media receiver and therefore it has to connect to Wi-Fi to obtain a stream. While it isn't responsible for the stream broadcast, it is a receiver, and therefore any Wi-Fi lag will mean interrupted viewing, unless a lot of clever caching is done, and even then it will be hit and miss IMHO.... What you're suggesting would only work if the user had a Wi-Fi enabled Smart TV and there was an existing predefined interaction between the onboard software and the HDMI input, which there isn't....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromecast

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_media_receiver

0
0
Anonymous Coward

From what I've learned about the 'Big-G' in the past year...

...and MS and other tech corps approach to Privacy i.e. Spying for advertisers or governments... .... I'll be staying away from anything Big Tech has to offer for the foreseeable future....

0
0

What WILL rule the world?

Is something raspberry pi sized that can:

- be used to watch netflix, huhu, etc

- pull media of whatever network its on.

- plug in an aerial to watch terrestrial tv.

- wirelessly mirror the screen of your phone/tablet/PC with low-ish latency (good enough to play angry birds or write code but doesn't have to support twitch FPSers)

- record/time-shift any of the above to a connected HDD or NAS (I'm not trying to make big content happy, I'm trying to come up with a dongle which people will actually want)

What have I left out? I know that most (if not all) of the above can be done by a Linux/Windows PC but if someone were to pack that lot into a sub-US$100 dongle Joe Average can buy from Walmart, it eould rule the world.

4
0

Personally I have a media centre next to the TV and consume quite a lot of video content online. But, I still intend to get a Chromecast dongle when they are available in the UK.

Why? Well sometimes I might not want to turn on the media centre and find the mouse and remote, I'd like to see what Chromecast is like and as a developer I'm interested in checking out the SDK. My reasons are not those of a typical consumer but then the typical consumer does not have a media centre, Raspberry PI and three other computers in their living room so Chromecast could be a cheap alternative for them.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

stream DVD from my computer ?

A quick read of the sketchy documentation for this wonder leads me to believe that I can use VLC to stream to it, from my computer.

Whatever it does now, the API and some code will allow me and my programmer buddies to do all kinds of interesting (at least to us) things. Being able to write code for it changes a lot of things.

Just wait until Amazon gets the next batch, and we register them.

1
0

Shrug

Just played with one for hours last night with some friends - the Google Music support is great, and viral videos are still fun.

Deal with it.

2
0
Silver badge

Just for the record, Sky's GO is a rebranded Roku which includes Roku apps access......I don't work for Sky, but c'mon that's awesome!

0
0

"Just for the record, Sky's GO is a rebranded Roku which includes Roku apps access..."

Oooo - can you get the Plex channel and get it to stream all your local network media ? Now that would be interesting... anyone care to have a go ?

0
0

Looks like Plex is available via side-loading in dev mode, so that's my box ordered :) More to come by the look of it....

More here and elsewhere..

1
0
Anonymous Coward

technically....

Google do provide a lot of quality original content material.

The problem is that it's through youtube and it's not their material - i think most of the History Channel is on there somewhere.

0
0
FAIL

I think this misses the point

To my mind, what Google have done is what they've done so well in many other areas - sidestep the need to provide content by enabling world+dog to provide content for them. From what I've heard, the technical bar to providing playback capability (for a content provider) is incredibly low.

This is what Google do (mostly) - produce a platform, and take advantage of people using it.

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I think this misses the point

It's too early to say whether this is success or failure. The time for that will be in 6 months. If there are apps all over with Chromecast support, and those apps are useful... iPlayer, TVCatchup, Flixster, Pandora, Spotify, video players, picture galleries etc, then it can be regarded as a success. If there are no apps and total dev apathy, call it a failure.

At the price, there's certainly not much in the way of a high cost barrier to devs wanting to add support to their apps.

1
0

ElReg must bash everything

If $35 to try something new and potentially useful is going to ruin your life then this is not the thing for you.

2
0
Thumb Up

Useful in Canada

This will be very handy for me to access Hulu on my TV, which I can currently do on my laptop/desktop, but not on any tablet or on my TVs hooked up to a PS3 and Apple TV due to licensing restrictions. (It's technically possible to work around this with a US credit card and US mailing address, but I can't be bothered setting this up.) My laptops don't have HDMI out, so for $35, this is a bargain. I agree that in some markets this won't be overly useful.

0
0
WTF?

Eh? Surely the author can see the possibilities with this dongle?

I can shared my photos/videos/bookmarks with others on a TV.

I could walk into a Mall and open up Google maps on the public TV so the two of us can plan a journey or info on a shop/event. The TV becomes a shared device. I bet this'll make more large TV's become touch sensitive to allow it to be a convenient interface for me.

Also I'll be able to access free material from anywhere in the world Nuff said. :)

0
0

A solution looking for a problem

"it's a typically Silicon Valley way of going about things: a solution looking for a problem."

What - you mean like the iPad?

0
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Re: A solution looking for a problem

In truth, if there weren't "solutions looking for problems" thrown on the market on a daily basis, we would still be hunting wooly mammoth.

Well, "Collateral Debt Obligations" sold to retarded state organizations excepted, I guess.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

H2G2-42?

Is there a joke that I'm supposed to get?

0
0

"solutionism"

you mean products like the ipad?

0
0

Why own two devices?

I think Chromecast has a more basic problem as well for a lot of people. As a console owning gamer I will always have a console in my living room. This throws up videos onto my TV nicely, in addition to playing games. So I have no interest in Chromecast, even if it is free.

It's like digital cameras and mobile phones. Every mobile now has a camera in it, so I won't bother to own and carry a separate digital camera.

Chromecast does do one new thing, it lets you stream video from your mobile to the TV more easily than current solutions, but I don't store that much video on my phone. It sits on my laptops hardrive.

The Reg is spot on in predicting that this will be another flop. I don't know why Google, Microsoft etc don't hire you guys as consultants to give the thumbs up or down on their proposed new devices/services?

0
2
WTF?

Re: Why own two devices?

Predicting a flop of a new consumer electronics product that in its first version sold out the entire supply in the whole US, and all of the next month's production capacity as well in only a few hours is pretty bold. Especially when it only costs $35.

You can buy the thing right now on Amazon.com for over twice the list price, on eBay for thrice from resellers who bought retail, or wait the 3-4 weeks in the Play store because not one retail outlet in America still has them in stock. There are tales of a BestBuy location that lost ONE and couldn't clear it from their inventory database - they were inundated with calls because the website said they still had it. This is Apple levels of freakout product launch, lacking only people waiting on line in the rain.

Marvell, the maker of the chip, is bragging the design win now and offering the solution to third parties. A flood of similars is predicted.

I got two - and both with the Netflix deal. They are amazing now, and I can't wait to see what they'll become. Will be buying more for me and as gifts. Somewhere in Asia is a factory ramping up. I hope Google sent somebody out there to make sure the employees aren't suffering during the crush. As small and integrated as the thing is though, it's hard to imagine a lot of manual labor being involved. It's a question whether enough can be made to satisfy demand.

Success though? Made n units, sold n units the first couple days. Didn't even have time to deploy advertising and the related costs. Hard to call that a flop.

3
0

Oh really?

I have my tower plugged into my big TV and 5.1 system - most people don't.

Most people, when they want to watch something from an MKV or MP4 file, or from YouTube, are stuck squinting over a laptop.

This is THE SOLUTION for that.

0
0

Review FAIL - Also!

You're in a hotel, you've got your Android device and free wifi - but you'd like to watch something from your Netflix subscription on the TV in the room without paying the hotel's inflated fees - SOLUTION!

1
0

missing the point

I think this article misses the point of Chromecast completely. Google doesn't need to own the TV industry, it doesn't care if your watching netflix or vimeo as long as your sending it to your chromecast so it can keep track of what your watching and target you ever more accurate ads.

Yes sky has released a dongle already but the fact that noone has heard of it proves they don't have the ideas or ability to get a a mainstream platform going.

I'm sure a lot of people have smart tv's which run youtube fine but how long before the next biggest thing comes along that doesn't support your 3 year old samsung telly? I would much keep my tv as dumb as possible and opt for a detached platform that gives me the best ongoing developer support.

For the record i don't have a chromecast, i use raspmbc which works fine from my android phone (via airplay i think) but the minute i think there's an app which would stream better to chromecast than it does to xmbc, i would seriously consider buying one.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018