I thought it was awesome when announced, now I see how much I underestimated the whole thing.
The more details that emerge about Chromecast, Google's new streaming media dongle, the more it sounds like you get what you pay for – and let's face it, $35 isn't a lot. But don't be fooled. There's more to Chromecast than meets the eye. When the hardware hackers at iFixit did their teardown of the device, their conclusion …
The Register has been wholly and completely suckered. There's nothing unique, new or important about this device *apart* from how it reduces the cost of ensuring the content industry can deliver content to closed controlled devices. .e.g. it is all about restrictions on the free flow of content.
It is a device which is registered against a central server as a trusted streaming target. It is associated with an account - your Google account, and therefore has the potential to be trusted as a target for MPAA member content and can also be disabled by the authenticating authority (Google).
Let's be clear, in an ideal world you should be able to stream video content to any device capable of decoding IP and video running software and video output. But since the MPAA members/content owners won't support doing that and will only support devices where the user can be ID'd. Google have worked to produce the cheapest possible hardware device that can be locked against an account where the user and, more importantly, the user's credit card, is on file. This device is the opposite of open. Everyone seems to be judging it in relation to Google's increasingly unwarranted reputation for openness, when the totality of this devices role is the cheapest way to support video streaming whilst being able to ensure, for content vendors a wholly closed proprietary system where permission has to be granted for anything to take place.
The Register touched on this with ominous realisation Google wholly reserve the right to allow or deny any applications written to use this device, without quite grasping why that is.
The fact this device is closed, Google hold all the keys to all access and that it is not based on Android, should clue everyone in on what it really is - a wholly unnecessary hardware go-between that is only required because content owners want all consumer to wear a tattoo in the fashion of a concentration camp in-mate.
The Register in their rush to support Google and condemn all things Apple have been totally suckered into supporting the most Apple-like Google tech release they have made to date. But then again, Google have only ever really been concerned about their proprietary centralised databases. Support for open standards on edge nodes which increasingly have little role other than to support consumption of content locked to this centralised, proprietary and closed leviathan has always been a deliciously and wickedly successful mind-trick.
Google are throwing out $35 handcuffs and now The Register and Users are excitedly clicking themselves in. This is OK, but just don't pretend this is anything but a technology to see the protection of the pre-internet CD / DVD business models in the age of the Internet.
Look, every time Google drags one of these things out from top-secret development it's locked down in this way and you guys trot out the Google boogie man. And then a little while later Google opens it up because that's the Googley thing to do and you guys complain about that too.
Apple has a similar called AirPlay. It doesn't work with non-Apple stuff. Intel's been trying to get their Windows-only WiDi (Miracast, etc etc) to take off for a while now. Both of them cost a lot more and have compatibility issues with existing kit, doesn't work with legacy OS versions, has drivers to install or other such nonsense.
So on launch day Google publishes the software development kit for this gear and it's still wearing the "no sharing our secret sauce" badge from when it was Top Secret. Boo hoo. It works with iOS, OS X, Windows back to XP as well as our Android kit. The code is out there and they can't take it back. Google knows better than to try and make this a DeCSS issue. It will be open source with a permissive license soon enough. The darned thing is only two days old.
" Intel's been trying to get their Windows-only WiDi (Miracast, etc etc) to take off for a while now."
There is a side effect to this, you know that right? Intel is being very active in taking on content licensing within current lock-in/lock-out license agreements between the major cable companies. While I agree with any point of view that this is nothing but another sales pitch to deploy inferior tech. into a market that is existing without it, I also appreciate the challenges it presents to cable companies.
Around my parts, there is only Time Warner. Even worse, Time Warner charges an outrageous fee of 55usd/mo. for 15mb inet (theoretical 15mb, more like avg. ~9mb). I don't subscribe to their "TV", but if I did the rates are literally LOL over priced.
If Intel or Google can put even a crack in their market using these inferior hardware devices, then more power to them. If you live in a more open market, then I can see this being totally worthless or even impacting negatively. But if you live in a market like mine, then ANYTHING non-Time Warner is a god send and the only light to get being able to obtain post 1998 inet speeds at a reasonable rate. So I wish I could bark about new hobbled content management systems by large corps., but sadly I'm still worried about speeds to get content :-/.
OFF TOPIC: Has anyone else noticed that Time Warner now redirects you to Yahoo's search engine when you try to access an invalid domain? Control! Control! You must have control! :-)
There is a big tradeoff here. We (well, the few remaining people like me, anyway) want people to produce high quality content. But to do that, people have to be paid. Increasingly, people cannot earn a living as writers, journalists, musicians and film makers, and the production companies and their channels put more and more effort into producing low cost dross like [long list redacted] which is supported by advertising. As the Internet becomes almost entirely a stream of adverts, the revenue from each one goes down and eventually it will disappear up its own rear end as the volume of adverts tends to infinity and the value of each one tends to zero. Actually this may already have happened and we just haven't noticed. Speaking of which, would HHGG have happened if DNA was working in today's world? Far too minority and downbeat. Needs happy ending...and plot needs to be boy-thing has row with girl-thing, eventually get back together. Which in effect is what happened, hence the gulf between the radio series and the eventual film.
So long as my phone/camera can take and distribute photos, sound recording and videos, and so long as I can still write stuff and post it, I don't care about other people's content management. It is almost all stuff that will be forgotten in six months anyway. But if there is a solution that means that the good stuff can be recorded and distributed at reasonable prices, in exchange for my having to tell people who I am, I'm fine with that.
That is the whole point, a simple reasonably priced system that allows the content provider to be relatively sure about getting paid by those who watch. I make absolutely no arguments about the controlling nature of the agreement, but I see it as a way to ensure easy portability of content linked to the user through their mobile device or through a web service account using any laptop running chrome. I know a lot of non-technical people who have tablets or laptops that love this idea, they are already members of services that can use the device.
For example, could one not visit their friend and watch something at that location on a suitably equipped screen due to using the smartphone to cue up the paid for service or archived content that said friend could not access prior to your visit, nor after? It solves a problem of you walking around with your purchased content and accessing it.
I think the mobile device integration is the key and there could be some very interesting applications utilizing the TV screen with multiple users concurrently interacting. As a consumer product, it has the potential to seriously preempt Apple's solution and iTunes' lovely controls, so from the aspect of bridging the gap between consumer wants and industry wants, it is not a horrible solution.
After all if privacy is your thing, you can sign up with a fake name for your account and use prepaid cards to top up the account (in United States, Germany, France, and United Kingdom at the moment). Likewise, it is pretty easy to get a phone not tied to one's name. I am sure the technically versed will find many work arounds quickly to address their desires while the general population enjoy their content advertising free.
If we look at Android which is open to developers and Apple which can be jailbroken then this device will soon have a backdoor entry where you do not need to sign in before using it. If it is hackable which im sure it is, then this device seems the easiest and cheapest way to get streaming media onto a TV set that i have seen.
90%+ of recent TVs can already stream audio and video without needing to plug something in. Don't see this is anything of note.
imo - the most inventive thing in that space this year has been the Xbox One - which can take HDMI (or streaming in) and process it with overlays, etc to give a different output....
Although note that a lot of smart TVs don't do so well at mirroring displays or transferring streaming (e.g., you're browsing Youtube on your laptop, and want it to play on the TV, or maybe you want to play Google Music through the TV speakers). You can use the TV's own browser of course, but it's slower if it's already on your laptop. Getting DLNA to work with music can be tricky too (since most players don't support it, and often there are problems such as not getting the track order correct).
At this low a price, I can see it complementing smart TVs, and it's a great way to add the functionality to older TVs that don't have these features at all.
Microsoft have the keys, so the XBone can do a perfect man-in-the-middle "attack" on it.
I never understood the point of HDCP though.
Like all other forms of intrusive DRM, HDCP only serves to irritate legitimate consumers (why does it go blocky on my Z?) while only acting as a minor inconvenience to miscreants.
- Even if finding a non-HDCP source for the media or cracking HDCP itself was a problem, the data must get decrypted eventually...
I still don't see why Google's half-baked implementation is interesting. AirPlay does all that and more, plus it's integrated down in the A/V framework of OS X and iOS so it works from any A/V-based app that hasn't explicitly disabled it. With desktop mirroring from an OS X host, *any* visible content can be pushed to the TV. The audio side of things makes it even more interesting given the support for multiple synchronised devices across the home. AirPlay gaming may be a minority use case, but at least you can do it.
Meanwhile any existing DLNA-capable TV, STB, or handheld device, regardless of OS, stands a fighting chance of doing what Google's new toy does and more, though DLNA does seem to be a minefield of compatibility problems so getting it to actually work in the first place can be a big problem! But in any case, it's clear that from a software point of view, Google's offering looks rather sad as it stands.
The only advantage Google have for their very limited device is price, but at $99 an AppleTV does an awful lot more - it even has (shock!) its own GUI, own remote (as well as An App For That) and a whole slew of apps and self-contained ability for playing stuff. And when you can do neat things like using an AirPlay screen as a new desktop extension monitor in OS X Mavericks, it's clear that technology is not being left to languish. Meanwhile for around the $60 mark you can get a similar "HDMI stick" form factor Android 4 "tablet" device which will do far more than Google or Apple's devices, albeit at the cost of some reliability and usability.
You certainly do get what you pay for, but even then, the Google device looks comparatively expensive against existing competition, especially including things like the Raspberry Pi. The software is unimpressive and the hardware isn't interesting either; it recently became very easy to make things like that at such prices and I'm pretty sure we'll see a lot more of them. Google's device stands a good chance of being lost in the noise unless they make very major improvements to its software.
But to me, It sounded less like an Apple-based condemnation and more like an Apple salesman trying to sell us on an Apple based solution for something that isn't even a problem. I'm not saying he's schilling, but that post was Apple buzzword heavy and typical of their marketing strategies by making their solutions look easier than they are and by being intentionally vague about competing products to make them seem far more complex than they are.
Not to say I think this is worth anything, yet anyway. Though given Google's track record of keeping niche products alive, I doubt it will last long enough to properly mature. But really, I want some of whatever they're on. I'm not going to pay Google 35 bucks for a dongle to do something that my phone, tablet, laptop, or Playstation can already do, and probably all do better without requiring some kind of stupid dedicated hardware with no UI, when I can plug in an HDMI cable and play Youtube off my phone directly, or from my laptop or from the Playstation.
Then again, call me crazy but I've never had a strong urge to see a silly cat video, FPS Russia, or a "Hitler is informed that..."/Downfall meme video, etc on my TV. I don't know too many people that do, except those which primarily use an HTPC, and I'm pretty sure someone running Windows Media Center or XBMC (or simply Windows 7 or a modern Linux distribution in general) doesn't need a dongle to stream video and audio.
Everything I've read about this product here and elsewhere reminds me of a cheap Nexus Q, and that's really not a good thing.
People have already got it to cast a full screen, and when you consider it doesn't need to have the same content running on your tablet as well as the TV, and the cost of entry is a small fraction of getting yourself into the Apple ecosystem, it's obvious why iTards are spreading the FUD.
It does a lot more than just play Youtube. Complaining about this product now is like dismissing the first web browser 20 years ago because there wasn't much internet at the time. You can connect a laptop via HDMI and play Iplayer content, but if your TV has an iplayer app, would you bother with the cable and the hassle of having the laptop open on the floor? For such a small price I'm happy to have the convenience of wireless streaming and being able to select and control content from my couch.
I do not see how different it is from the Apple TV.
The one thing seemingly different is that Chromecast handles URLs directly (or answers to commands, as stated in the article).
I believe this is the standard way the Apple TV does it.
For local files (from your computer, iPhone or iPad), since the URL is local, generated with the Bonjour protocol, it seems as if the device its pushing to the Apple TV. I believe it is actually the opposite.
For files on the internet, the Apple TV accesses the URLs directly without going through the other device.
You can see this with the excellent Clicktoflash Safari extension (which, among many other things gives you popup menus to push YouTube or other internet videos to the AppleTV) or with the unsupported Airflick app, which allows you to send a URL to the Apple TV.
And, one other thing, it is possible to "send" content from an iPhone or iPad to an AppleTV and do something else on the iPad.
So, I think Chromecast has its chance, and that its price is a very important part of it, but I cannot see what it can do that I cannot do with my iPad and Apple TV.
Apart from that, I quite agree with the arguments in the article, and I really love my iPad (as well as Safari) with Apple TV as a Smart TV interface. (but I prefer to use the Apple Remote for a lot of things, like movie rentals and TV shows)
And I believe that for this part the Chromecast experience can be excellent too.
However, the article title should be "Apple TV (and now Chromecast) Why it's the most important smart TV tech ever"
@Jerome Apple AirPlay is not compatible with Windows or Android as a sender. So it's great if you're an Apple person. If you're not, it's not.
-not true, I have an android app that can airplay
The one thing I cant do is use my phone as an AppleTV remote unless I hack the AppleTV box.
"Yes, it's not Apple TV. So what? It also works in a totally different way to AirPlay, but I guess you skipped over that minor detail in your rush to Apple-based condemnation?"
Good grief, epic fail doesn't quite cover it.
Congratulations to you and all the other frothing-at-the-mouth fandroids who apparently didn't read past roughly the first sentence of my post, or even read its title. You might want to look at where I talk about DLNA, Android based options and Raspberry Pi.
Meanwhile Google's product is NOT running Android and it is NOT open source.
(It's thread necromancy time...)
You didn't; but as you can see from *actually reading* my reply, I was addressing the *thread*, not an individual.
My final comment in that reply, which I did consider for some time removing but eventually decided to keep, was an attempt to head off the next tired set of arguments of Google vs A.N.Other.Competitor wherein apparently Google aren't evil because they're "open" (FSVO "open"). Fortunately the thread died out anyway.
"A bad equivalent" is possibly a bit harsh, but in fairness Apple TV does do all the things you say and does them extremely well.
I use Apple TV/Airplay extensively both at home for all the usual sources:- built-in to Apple TV itself and streaming/mirroring from any number of fruity goodness devices and at work for presentations from iPad or MacBooks &etc. It's so easy to use and so dependable that, for me at least, it is very much worth being inside the walled garden.
Now, if Apple were to respond to this by dropping the Apple TV price...
...however unlikely that may be.
"I still don't see why Google's half-baked implementation is interesting."
Ahh, that'll be because it's obvious this will demolish Apple in the TV space the same way Google did with smartphones and is clearly on the brink of doing with tablets.
Once again, time to think different.
I would just like to point out that Apple took at least three attempts with their TV device to make it slightly interesting. Even then better results were to be had by hacking it.
So give it time. Apple has had plenty but still really hasnt delivered.
I agree I don't want use the web for anything apart from finding information. Ideally on a computer. (Or a phone / tablet if I am not at home).
The DNLA in my TV (Panasonic Viera - DNLA stack is made by Access is as good as anything I have seen even on my computer or XBMC).
I like the way Media Center Extenders work as well. (Other than Codec Support).
Or like a Windows Projector works.
Or the Intel Wireless technology that you can use with their medfield devices.
Using the Web for stuff is never going to work as well as using something with a UI designed for the specific device.
I think I prefer how the Nexus Q was to this.
If it is not locked down then I might get one. (Need to get my Rasberry Pi back now it has wayland should be more pleasant to use as an xterminal).
I try and use as little Google stuff as possible everything seems to be set up like facebook these days. (Open an app and it reenables tons of stuff that I purposefully disabled. Maps and Youtube being good examples).
Do you have a link for a $60 Android stick? All the ones I've seen have no indication of what software or features they have - sorry, I don't want to have to faff around seeing if I can find applications on Google Play that might do the "smart TV" features I want.
And that's still almost twice the price of the Chromestick.
As for comparing to Appleflop TV, I thought Chromestick was supposed to be able to mirror any content too. Chromestick seems to be a lot more open and cross-platform too.
> sends is just a command that tells Chromecast to grab the content stream and render it itself, via a custom receiver application that's loaded and run on the Chromecast dongle.
So basically you use your PC, lappy, tablet or phone to find something you want to view or listen to. You then use an app on that device to send a link to the Chromecast dongle saying "here, suck on this teat". CC then tickles the source and starts to pull the stream with no further interaction from you or your "big" device.
Okaaaay, so the CC dongle is still basically just a dongle. The cleverness is in the two apps and the commercial power of Google who can persuade media companies to develop CC interfaces for their stuff.
So why can't I just have the Chromecast software on the Android TV dongle I bought last year? The app that sits on my tablet would be just the same and since there are already millions of TV dongles out there, the market has been established. It sounds like I already have all the hardware needed to implement this. The tablet/laptop app would be the same irrespective of the dongle used, so I just need a Chromecast for Android app to run on my existing dongle.
Sounds almost yawn-worthy.
Native? No. With a helper app on a pc such as plex yes. So just like chromecast needing another app if netflix is your bag. Xbmc is still more versatile. Can chromecast stream from any network source? How about music sources?
I stand by my statement xbmc is a better idea overall and the frodo live version is far more mature than versions of old (that needed tweaking)
Wait, so how is it different from the 1000+ types of Android TV dongle filling the warehouses in Shenzhen and available for similar prices ? Apart from being not as good ?
TheReg may generate a lot of its money from whoring our eyeballs out to Google via doubleclick but there's no need to gush about their underwhelming hardware so floridly. Even an IT organ as allegedly cynical as TheReg should be capable of passing up an opportunity to nosh down on Googles veiny offerings every once in a while ...
Because it needs a Host Laptop/Notebook/Tablet etc.
So $35 is basically a cordless connection to replace the HDMI lead from your "host device".
This is not important and simply a Google Walled garden cordless connection to HDMI. An HDMI cable will give more functionality.
It does get round the cost and problems of a pure HDMI wireless adaptor pair.
In what sense is it a "google walled garden" when you select Netflix content on your Ipad and cast it to a Toshiba TV?
The "host device" doesn't host anything - that's where the biggest difference is. RTFA. HDMI is less functional and less convenient.
"The "host device" doesn't host anything - that's where the biggest difference is. RTFA. HDMI is less functional and less convenient."
It certainly does host something, just not local to itself. If it didn't, the TV output would be blank! Being that it doesn't locally, means the difference is less functionality than many alternatives that have existed for years. I don't see how anyone can think this is _NOT_ a Google walled garden when it only allows what Google allows! It just seems blunt and obvious that this is actually being advertised as such for Google Fandroids. But hey, if they want it, I hope they buy it! Beats paying more to major cable companies, that is for sure. I just hope they have a good experience with it and don't fall under the assumption that this device is a benchmark for all other devices of it's kin, which it's certainly not.
I too am curious why TheReg is so hell bent on publishing articles about this device, is it really about the money here, or are some Reg staff really that out of the loop on alternative devices?
>I'm going to sound old-fashioned here but if you're not going to actually watch the video why bother putting it on?
I have to agree, but that's exactly what my wife does. Runs up the video on Mythtv and sits there with her phone playing word games, listening to the video.
I don't get it... or maybe I'm to dumb to keep track of things if I can't see what's going on.
I share a flat with my bro. We both have an interest in cars and things.
If I see a fun car vid, or perhaps a stream of something like Fast 'n' Loud (google it, it's quite fun if you like cars) I could push that to the TV while I go back to my laptop and do something else. Because I've likely seen it before....
Do I need one? Not really. Can I see people finding a use for it? I think so.
Much of a use? £30 of use? Seems likely...
I might have to get one to see if it's really all that use, if not, eBay it. Not like £30-odd is going to break the bank!
> I'm going to sound old-fashioned here, but maybe in some households not everyone can afford a fondleslab each
...in which case you probably already have something respectable already attached to the TV. It's probably more expensive and more capable than any device from Google or Apple.
Playing with your slab is simply unnecessary.
It's very likely that I, too, do not have the whole picture yet - after all, the sum total of my knowledge is a few write-ups after a press conference. New technology releases always tend to get used for more than even their makers intend, after a while in the field.
What do you think the whole picture is? How is this a game-changer?
I don't have the whole picture yet either, but it's starting to come into focus.
They actually turn a profit at $35 and it's a slamming deal and impulse buy for what it already is, so they can sell a billion of these and not get hurt. It's theirs and it's open, so it doesn't have licensing fees and/or lock out their services and Android devices like Miracast and Airplay do (*), so they get the end-user to pay for breaking that barrier. So that's 1) Get millions of people to plug this in and use it. People will watch more Youtube so... immediate profit.
Bluetooth suggests 2) cloud gaming and desktop to me. That's more cloud services, more Google Office, more new things that wouldn't work with the proprietary wireless display options. Emerging markets are about to be forced off of XP and are falling in love with cheap Android tablets and phones as a first/only; this turns that and a TV or monitor and bluetooth KB/Mouse into a proper PC. There are a lot more applications for this as well - unlimited quantity of HighDef wireless displays for a Chromebook for example make that $200 product even more appealing.
And 2 suggests 3) People are going to need more high-bandwidth low latency broadband Internet. i.e. Google Fiber.
4) It uses their WebM codec, breaking down the barriers to that as well. Getting CE manufacturers to include this in their products should be dead simple - thereby making every TV, monitor, BlueRay player a WebM player, every digital cam, web cam and video cam a WebM recorder. This eliminates that obnoxious MPEG-LA who think they own all things video.
5) There's a Motorola connection in here somewhere but I can't find it yet. They'll probably announce later that it's Moto made and has special affinity to Moto Phones in some way. Direct streaming from the camera? Dedicated cameras?
6) Google Hangouts on your HDTV should pretty much close the deal for Google+, winning social.
7) It already starts at the ultimate limit 1080p: a faster, higher resolution device is not possible or needed until we get to higher resolutions on our mainstream HDTVs so any competing device is going to have quite the challenge beating it. There is no premium feature to make a superior competitor with, and 1080p+HDMI has a wide acceptance and a vast installed base. Introducing a competitor on price against an established $35 device is sheer suicide. Perfect timing to run away with the whole market.
(*) Yes, Android 4.2 can support Miracast. There are other issues here which are quite complex - particularly the point-to-point nature and the H.264 requirement, and legacy device incompatibilities. This is not a formal paper on the subject.
There is a lot more. But that's already a lot of freight to carry for a 2-day old $35 device.
H264 is unequivocally better quality at a specified bitrate than WebM. H264 is practically free to use for anything; its free for non-commercial use, and if your commercial use is not going to be profitable due to the pennies paid to MPEG-LA, its unlikely it would be under WebM either.
This device supports WebM, but much much more importantly it supports H264 at High@L4.1, High@L4.2 and High@L5 - High@L5 is so much better than WebM, you'd have to be smoking crack to think WebM is better. WebM works well at "low quality, low bitrate, fast encoding" scenarios, but only marginally.
Isn't the Google Chrome browser one of the supported sender-apps?
And im guessing it has a corresponding receiver-app already built in.
Then why would you have to develop your own sender/receiver-apps?
To for example stream local files, shouldn't it be enough to use some kind of media server that allows you to watch it in a browser?
Then click that stream-to button and it should work on the dongle.
After a quick test today i noticed that most new browsers now allow you to just drop a local video-file on it, and it gives you the content in a nice simple youtube-like media-player.
Im guessing its the default bare bones html5 one for that browser.
(of course IE is the exception as always, just asking you to download the file)
Wouldn't it be cool if you could then click stream-to, and the browser would somehow pipe the local file to the dongle using WebRTC or whatever?
Or is that what already working?
Could someone who managed to get their hands on the Chromecast try this?
Just open chrome, drop a local video-file on it (one the plays in the browser), and see if it can be streamed to the Chromecast-dongle.
Transcoding with quality takes grunt though. Why take your hd quality stuff on a pc, manglebit and send it wirelessly to the chromecast for a big screen? Just plug in a hdmi from pc to screen.
It might be useful to stream those free sports websites that were brought tobmy attention in thereg article last week though
All sounds great BUT: I want to see it working, with an unmodified DLNA source before buying into this.
There's zero chance either of my DLNA capable NAS will see another firmware update, streaming clients need to work with standard DLNA (laughable though calling anything DLNA *standard* is) or I'm simply wasting my money.
...and this is Google, where stuff just get's thrown at buyers with no guarantee of ongoing support, development that heads in whichever direction Google and it's commercial partners need more often than serving users. And where projects just get cancelled on short notice if they don't achieve market dominating success quickly enough.
Definitely waiting to see if Google push this in the direction I need. Odds are I'll already have a stick PC doing the job before they get there, for not much more than the cost of a Chromecast+decent remote for it.
What form will the ads take? I can't imagine Netflix being happy if a 3rd party inserted ads in their content. The advantage to Google of this solution is that it keeps things on the web instead of hiding them in apps. If they're on the web then people will search for them with Google and see ads there.
Don't forget that Google will also have a database filled with your watching/listening preferences since it will know everything that has passed through your Cast device. If you like suspense thriller type movies expect to see more ads for the most recent releases of that genre in your next Google search. Who knows, perhaps it will even prod you for a rating on the last movie you saw when you log into G+. Either way, don't you worry about Google I'm sure they have several people working on new and exciting ways to monetize this piece of kit.
I did find it a little disturbing that developers have to have their Cast device whitelisted to use the SDK so it's clear that Google is keeping a firm grip on the little dongles. On a side note; they wouldn't have accidentally left testing code that reports your WiFi passphrase back to home base and wind up with their streetview cars accidentally logging into your secure WiFi, would they? Nah, why would they since they already have their
spy fly on the wall. Hmm, did Darpa fund this?
The spawn of satan, Troll or Black helicopter? Since there's no tin foil hat, let's go with Troll.
....there's a marketing blizzard going on and I need to clear a path through to the actual reason why I would want to own this device. Because at the moment, all I see are pretty but insubstantial puff-pieces that melt like snowflakes as soon as you really look at them.
For young folks, there are some times (often involving bongs) when people fight for the privilege of showing their favorite funny videos du jour. One neat thing the chromecast does is it supports multiple devices that can add to a common viewing queue, so you can have 4 people searching for cat videos at once.
Progress! Okay, not exactly inspiring, but that's at least one unique use case. One could argue that Apple TV is similar (though I don't think it supports a queue) but it's platform-specific.
It's also easy to just throw it in your backpack and carry it around , and it does have some legit educational uses - my school has meeting rooms with digital projectors and it will be cool to use them wirelessly.
Overall, it's not that different from the apps built in to game consoles that most people presently use to watch youtube, netflix, etc. on their TVs, except that it costs one tenth as much as a console and has an infinitely better interface. There's also a lot of hidden potential with the Chrome mirroring. Really, we just need somebody like Johnny Lee (the famous and beloved Wii remote hacker) to figure out something with a cool factor exceeding $35.
The ability to share web sites is a boon to me alone. If it means I can actually find things on netlix by avoiding the PS3 version even better.
At this price I'll get one - which I find interesting as nothing else discussed in this arena has been of much interest since I bought a PS3 (simply as a Blu Ray player at the time) and a PVR many years ago which between them mean I've had to connect a PC to my dumb plasma screen exactly once in a decade or so.
I suspect Google have been rather smart and are using to boost their ecosystem by aggressively driving a market to commodity prices.
I suspect by the time its integrated into other devices (will watch for a release as a reference design) and simply purchased the aim is to make it a difficult platform not to supoport. Amazon/lovefilm pay attention!
My Smart TV is severely hampered by one thing - the laborious need to scroll to a letter, then click, scroll to another then click to achieve search on iPlayer, YouTube or pretty much anything else.
While TVs have got better, remotes have just added buttons - they need the same cut-through the crap vision that Apple achieved with the iPhone.
This seems to achieve that. It could turn a small tablet or a big phone into the TV remote. And along the way, it makes stuff which goes through Chromecast the default - why bother with stuff where life is hard when you can set up your whole evening on your Nexus TV app and simply hit play.
"they need the same cut-through the crap vision that Apple achieved with the iPhone."
What's that, release the same thing but way more expensive and missing loads of basic features? I don't think the Chromecast looks like that.
"This seems to achieve that. It could turn a small tablet or a big phone into the TV remote."
And indeed, smart TVs can already use phones and tablets as remotes.
The advantage of the Chromecast is offering more functionality (unlike an Apple feature phone) to transfer control from a laptop/etc (e.g., mirroring display, transferring streaming URL), and also (unlike an Apple phone) being far cheaper.
> My Smart TV is severely hampered by one thing - the laborious need to scroll to a letter, then click, scroll to another then click to achieve search on iPlayer, YouTube or pretty much anything else.
> While TVs have got better, remotes have just added buttons - they need the same cut-through the crap vision that Apple achieved with the iPhone.
...and just how does the AppleTV do that exactly? What magical thing does it do that no one else does?
I'll tell you: NOTHING. It does nothing special in this regard. it's stuck in the same quagmire as every other remote based product out there. The only difference is that the remote looks prettier.
This isn't some $2000 overpriced PC. Plenty of people can afford to buy these things and play around for them just for the lulz. So spouting misinformed bullsh*t and mindless propaganda based on general lack of experience isn't going to cut it.
The dongle supports HDMI-CEC so it can control the tv (turn it on and select input). HDMI-CEC can be used the other way around so it should be possible to use the tv's remote control to play/ pause the chromecast content.
I've a raspberry pi connected to a Panasonic TV. The Panasonic remote can control the pi using HDMI-CEC (no set up required). Google may prefer people to use the touch screens though...
In short, clearly the device has a lot of potential but at the moment it is very limited. I reckon if a few of the NAS box type people produce apps for it, or somebody does a Windows / Linux sender, it becomes a way of getting the HTPC out of the living room. Personally I'm going to wait and see if the ecosystem grows a bit before jumping in - I already have a perfectly good mini-itx box behind the TV
There's something similar being sold by Sky to connect to a TV, a badge-engineered Roku. The minimum connection speed is very well-hidden on the website. It needs more capacity than my line can provide and I bet that the ISP will get overloaded every evening. I don't know what speed this requires, but it's likely to be useless to me.
AC is a troll. Calls the device "locked down proprietary", even though the source code has already been released. At the same time, he offers up "locked down" alternatives - DLNA (proprietary, requires transcoding), and Plex Media Server (proprietary fork of opensource XBMC).
"Thus, the UI you use to find and display content on your TV is the exact same UI you use to find and display that content on your Android or iOS device or in your browser. The only difference is that when you press the Cast button, the content comes up on your TV."
That sounds awfully troublesome to me. Because in my place the TV sits in the livingroom, neatly before the couch and all, whereas my computer sits in my 'study' (basically a room separated from the living room).
And well, if I want to watch stuff on my TV which resides on my computer the last thing I'd want is having to walk over to the computer, start the contents (automatically missing the first part) then walking back and so on.
Quite frankly I don't really get the advantage here. When I download something to my computer and I want to watch it on the TV I simply put it into a folder which is shared with the network. My Ryan can access my Windows PC, and then play the contents. Better yet: I'm in full control, using the remote I can stop, pause, fast forward; do anything you'd normally want to do. Without even having to get up from the couch.
Use your computer to collect media, then use a mediaplayer to, well, play it.
"But that's today. What about tomorrow – or a year from tomorrow?"
remember the google clean-up? A year from tomorrow they will pull the plug.
If anything, we learn from google is that their philosophy is to kill the "weakling" products not to hone them to perfection. I have no confidence in google being able to hold a steady course - they have a weak hand. I can't understand how they're able to hold a steady course with Android (maybe the collaboration with unwitting Apple years ago helped). Desperate to reinvent themselves they're using a machine gun approach to building new products (be it soft or hard -ware). That's something not confident programmers often do. So the question is if there is a visionary at all at the helm - or only programmers.
My attitude will be wait and see (just as it was with Apple for a couple of years).
I can't think of any reason why you couldn't make games for Chromecast. I don't know if anyone else has thought of this, but it seems to easily duplicate the main selling point of the Wii U - you have one screen everyone can see, and you can show different things on the tablet screens. Neat for card games, battleship, scrabble, etc - not that the big common screen necessarily adds that much in those cases, but the potential is there. I have no idea what the limits of the present hardware and SDK are, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if Google came out with a $200 game-centered version with some serious mobile processing power.
I mean, the thing doesn't even need a screen or a battery. They could easily make something with as many computrons as the Galaxy S4 for a fraction of the price.
I found that switching to Windows 7 from Windows XP improved several things. . And 64-bit if you have the hardware. One area where I saw improvements was in how the system handled network traffic.
I wouldn't risk Windows 8, it looks too hugely different.
If someone gave me a legitimate license I'd upgrade (maybe even to 8 + classic shell). But there is no way I am going to pay for a copy of pirate it. The only reason I have a Windows system is to update my phones and occasionally run an app to convert media. It's not been turned on in weeks.
My main system is a G5 tower. It is still a few years away from being unusable due to lack of software, and I'm hardly going to spend a couple of hundred quid to replace it with an inferior new system just to use a £35 device, and I'd prefer to go on a couple of holidays or get more work done on my house that to buy something better than it.
The problem with "smart" TV is you know you will be lucky to get updates 5 minutes after a new model is released. Chances are you will have the TV years after they added any updates to the smart stuff. Only idiots with too much money are going to buy a new TV every 3 years.
While it's the same for a media player (my original WD TV box is mostly useless now) it's a LOT less to replace a media player then a TV. Chromecast is even cheaper, if they add a few more features it will be much better then paying extra for a smart TV.
When Chromecast v2 comes out, not a big deal to upgrade and keep your current TV.
Why do I need updates? It does what I want, and will still work. It's like moaning that a car doesn't get updates.
It's not made dead by a Chromecast, indeed, I might buy a Chromecast and plug it in for the extra functionality. It's not like the "smart" functionality costs more - it's standard in all but low end TVs these days.
You know I've seen a few cars with built in GPS and a stand alone GPS stuck on the dash because the latest update for the built in unit were too old and out of date. Also cars with factory sound systems with Apple docs, only to have Apple change something. I had to update my 71 MGB to run on unleaded fuel too.
> Why do I need updates?
...because it doesn't do what a 15 year old DVD player can. My current generation of HTPCs have outlasted 3 generations of streamer appliances and still run circles around them.
External streamers and the one's embedded into TV's are all cheap crap that confirm the idea that people will eat dirt as long as it looks like they're getting a bargain.
The attraction for me isn't the living room, I've got a Frankenstein PC sat under the TV in there that does everything this does and more, you know like help keep the room warm.
However in the bedroom I've only got a Freeview TV, which may sound enough but a Saturday morning in Casa del Bing involves a lot of swearing at daylight and putting off getting up. Now I can plug my Asus Transformer into it to watch YouTube videos and 4OD/iPlayer etc. but that involves a certain amount of getting up to set it up. With a Chromecase I could happily trough some content at the screen without having to suffer the onset of a migraine induced by moving to the vertical.
Now I'm aware my lifestyle choices are not for everyone, somedays they're not even for me, however my general point stands. This isn't for getting Smart TV into the living room, it's for getting Smart TV into every room.
If you don't have a computer hooked up to your tv already then hang your head in shame.
Remote - Check (there are hundreds of keyboard/mouse handhelds out there)
Decent O.S. - Check. Pick from the many available.
DRM free - Check
I bought a new tv about a year ago, choice was "Smart". "3D", "Size", why the fuck would I want 3D or smart when I have the knowledge to plug a computer into it? 3D off topic: I've been to imax 3D, it's shite, just a bunch of wankers going "ooh" "aah" not knowing they look like a bunch of twats in dame edna everage specs.
Personally, as a cynical old git - I wonder what ELSE it's sending to Google. I trust Smart-TVs about as much as I trust Amazon and Google not to sell my details to 'interested' parties. Kinex-enabled TVs with facial recognition - too convenient for my liking. Chromecast is a nice idea but I don't like the idea of yet another way they can track what I do in the privacy of my own home. If privacy still exists.
Well I know one company that will hate it Microsoft lol namely the fact that Xbox One has an HDMI in port now it means everyone can stream netflix,you tube ,etc without a gold membership ;)
And how is it better than airplay some ask well first of all it works with anything even apple products and is not limited in use like airplay is only for apple products. the only plus I see with airplay is the remote.
How is this any better than miracast which is far more open and compatible with almost anything on the play store and mirrors almost anything on your miracast capable phone or tablet and intel widi enabled laptop. See what miracast can do in comparison https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxSJ57Q3zak and see for yourself if chromecast can even do 10% of that.
Miracast works on miracast capable devices and intel widi devices for screen mirroring of almost everything except some apps that are specifically disabled for miracast by app developer. The converse is true for chromecast where everything needs to be enabled by app developer and google. With miracast you can do what you want with your miracast and widi devices unlike with chromecast. Bonus is unlike chromecast and air play, with miracast you dont need a wifi network so dongles are very portable while travelling.
Is it so amazing because google have pioneered a device that is leaps BEHIND devices that countless other people have not only made and marketed for years but in fact that google ARE already aware of having sold them the operating system they operate on?
You can already buy for almost the same price a similar item BUT it has a full version of the android OS running on it that not only allows streaming of TV content from the internet but also allows you to play games on your TV these devices can also be controlled either by a 2.4 Ghz keybard, mouse or media remote and in some of the newer ones directly from smartphones and tablets
The latest ones I have been looking at even have 2gb ram, quadcore processors, quad core GPUs, Bluetooth and android 4.2 as well as wifi and Ethernet in the larger boxed versions for around £65 which will tumble quickly
So to me this is like Microsoft launching a 486 computer running windows 98 in terms of "cutting edge" and functionality
An whatever this unit "could" do in the future will also most likely already be being done on the other devices first too as that's pretty much just going to be a case of someone writing the software
So I have to admit as much as I think the nexus range is fairly good apart from their lack of expansion and interfaces this "thing" seems like a bit of an illconceived misnomer
Or maybe two pages stuck together when the reference design was being faxed to the production department and they included everything except the operating system and flexibility???
Thanks Neil for understanding just how important Googlecast might be. Too many people (like many of your commenters here) only see this as a way to get video onto your TV. If that is all you think it is then it is easy to think that it does nothing more than Airplay or DLNA and not see what the big deal is.
Many in the press compare it to Roku and ask which should you buy. In reality, Google cast is something that will get incorporated into Roku or your future television.
The correct way to see the potential is to ask yourself for any given app on your smartphone, is there any way that app can be enhanced if the app could control your large television display to display video, audio, text, images, or anything else that you can do in a web page. Certainly when one thinks of Youtube and Netflix it is easy to see that yes these can be greatly enhanced if the video and audio could be played on the television. But the potential goes far beyond this.
An alternative approach is to ask if for any given streaming media content could that content be enhanced by having the interactivity from a secondary smaller touch screen device that has better ways to interact than a clunky remote, including touch capability, audio input, accelerometers, and speech recognition.
To see the full potential requires some imagination and it will take years for developers to come up with new ways to use it that we haven't even thought of yet.
Here are a couple of thoughts off the top of my head. These are probably going to sound lame. If you went back in time 20 years ago and explained to someone at that time some of the top internet properties, you would sound pretty lame as well.
Imagine a shopping app like Zappos. Buying shoes using a little 4 inch screen is a bit sketchy. Imagine if as you browsed shoes the app sent high def video and images of the shoes to your television so you can see what you are buying in greater detail.
Imagine something like taking an online class from your smartphone. It could show the lecture on the big screen and your phone could be used for asking questions or the teacher could ask the students questions that they answer on their phone.
Imagine more interactivity with streaming video content. Say you are watching a live stream of the emmy awards and there is polling on your phone to vote for who you think will win the category and a way to post comments. Or a streaming internet game show that lets you play along with the contestants.
There is lots of potential for casual gaming as well using the display of the big screen and you phone as a controller. You won't have the horsepower to do a first-person shooter, but there are certainly many more casual games that would work.
Certainly many things like these can be sort of be done now using different unconnected apps or relying on expensive hardware like a game box or a full-fledged computer, but not with all the simplicity and tight integration you could get with Googlecast.
When you imagine some of the things that could be done it is easy to see that this is so much more than an Airplay or DLNA copy.
So I think you'll eventually see many things you can do with Googlecast that haven't even been imagined yet. Developers need to time to come up with ways to use it since it is breaking new ground.
Needs the other half, the remote control if you will, to deliver something of the quality of Yatse for XBMC.
If it can finally convince the TV manufacturers that they haven't a hope in hell of being our preferred content aggregator through their crappy smart TV interfaces, then this could be a big win. While they're at it if they could offload the entire bloody TV menu on to our remote devices that would be nice.
I want a high quality dumb screen I can push (local and web) content to, and this is a step in the right direction. Unless Samsung do something interesting with Boxee*, I can't see anyone linking it all up until Apple get into the game. And then people will start claiming they fucking invented TV and other outrageous bollocks as usual, and we don't want that to happen again surely.
* What's the point, it was better when it was a XBMC fork. They could have given me the money and I could have made a little Boxee doll and buried it at the bottom of the garden. I'd have held a little funeral and filmed it and everything+.
+ To make sure they got their money's worth.
I think youre actually missing the mediocrity of the device
Practically everything you mention there is software based
And theres already far superior hardware out there with FULL internet and android functionality for the same price that would merely need an ap to do anything this does that they currently don't
I also think youre over estimating the need in the market too as someone (virgin and sky) supplies the bulk of media content to homes and both already have rudimentary interactive TV which, were the need there would already have expanded I suspect
But as much as you downplay media streaming and playing video files it IS a very common requirement and where I think this product wins its badge in mediocrity is because it COULD very simply have included full blown full function android with access to the app store and everything else you get with android on the other TV sticks already available AND any new chromecast stuff that SOME people MIGHT want to use at some point somewhere in the future when someone MAYBE bothers to develop it
In the meantime though they would have a very useable very functional google branded stock android TV stick with something like 2G ram/8G rom, quad core processor and GPU, wifi and blue tooth an SD slot and the app store for lets say £75
Far far better product IMO and one far more people would buy
Yes, that is the beauty of Googlecast. It is just software. That is why I expect it to actually be incorporated into TVs and other hardware boxes like Roku. It is essentially a very cheap way to add web apps to your television screen with almost no cost. When it gets incorporated into other devices the cost will be essentially zero add-on.
Please enlighten me on what this other hardware is that is out there that does what Googlecast does for the same price. I don't know of any. There are more powerful devices that cost more and with which you interact with through an awful remote control interface.
I have a device under my TV (a full home theater PC) that is much more powerful and more expensive but still can't easily do some of what Chromecast can do. If I want to watch a YouTube video on the TV, I have no easy way to do it. My television is not a smart TV, so that route is out. I end up having to grab my big wireless keyboard, open the browser, go to you tube, search for the video, try again because typing on the IR keyboard missed a letter, once it opens expand it to full screen. I'll take hitting one button on my phone or tablet any day.
You must be from outside the US, because Virgin and Sky are not supplying any of my media content. And that is another point that it lets anyone in on the interactive media front without having to go through another company.
I agree that media streaming is very important. My point was that if that was all that Googlecast did, I would agree that it is only interesting as a cheap alternative. But there is so much more potential than that.
It could have been a full-fledged Android device, but not at $35. If you want a full-fledged Android device its called GoogleTV that costs >$100 and note that it too will also support GoogleCast.
I disagree that a lot more people would buy a device that costs 3 times as much (75 pounds ~= $115 dollars vs.$35). One of my points was that it is not about hardware, it is about the Googlecast protocol itself. The $35 device is just the first implementation of the protocol, priced to make it an easy decision to buy. Eventually, if TV's and other set top boxes adopt it you won't even have to think about the $35 cost.
We'll have to see how it plays out. I won't make predictions, but it certainly has a great deal of potential, What I was trying to stress was that potential goes far beyond simple playing of video. We'll have to see what smart developers can do with that potential.
Slingbox??? How is Slingbox in any way related to Chromecast?
Ignoring the large price difference between the two, it seems to me that they are pretty much polar opposites.
Chromecast is answering the question, "I am in front of my TV, how can I get content that would be displayed on my phone/tablet/laptop and have it shown on the TV."
Slingbox is answering the question, "I am NOT in front of my TV, how can I get content that would be displayed on the TV and have it shown on my phone/tablet/laptop."
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