This is what the future of TV should be: people should just think of TV's the way they think of their jamboxes: a higher fidelity dumb pipe for their existing content. If Apple turned the Apple TV into an HDMI dongle that solely included AirPlay and included it for free with every iPad and iPhone they sold, it would truly disrupt TV. If I knew for a fact that every new iDevice owner was necessarily and AppleTV owner, I would immediately start making AppleTV-enabled experiences. Overnight the iPad would become a real competitor to game consoles as well.
It just seems so obvious that this is the right way to go. The apps should live on the brain (your device), and the TV should just be an auxiliary screen, nothing more (We certainly don't need YET ANOTHER SDK for writing TV apps). Here's a fun exercise: go to your local Apple Store and ask them what an Apple TV is for today. Then watch them fumble around mentioning "oh if you have Netflix" and "isn't cable hard to use" and just the sheer lack of vision for the product. If it was just AirPlay it would be as easy to explain as an iPod speaker. If they did this, then you could also imagine indie people shipping TV Shows as apps as a viable model for the first time, completely skirting Cable networks.
Chromecast seems to be a method for driving-devices to send pointers to internet video streams or web pages, for the dongle to queue, download and then send to the display. The apps/content don't live on the mobile device at all. They live on remote internet servers. The device is just feeding a queue.
I'd also add a wrinkle to your statement about devices being awesome as typing/searching interfaces: that's true, but they come with negatives.
The real problem with "device as brains", is that your device does many other jobs. And you may not want those jobs in-your-face when you're watching a movie, or showing pictures, or even just trying to add background-music to a dinner party.
Devices are more difficult to deal with when you just want to pause something, the notifications are there, the temptations are there and the social negatives are there .
But while everyone's tossing out Airplay wish-lists -- it'd be nice if I could airplay a movie to my TV but have the audio still piped to the headphones.
 You may be trying to switch playlists, but to everyone else it looks for all the world like texting.
(its what runs the Chromebooks. http://www.google.com/chromeos )
Will it work with Windows 8.1 which has Miracast support?
I hope they work with standards instead of creating proprietary and incompatible protocols.
Also, if your assertions are correct, please update the Wikipedia page, which states that "At present time, Miracast Source is mainly active on Android platforms." which seems to conflict with "only ... Balmer worshipers".
According to AvsForum news: "streams it directly to the Chromecast device from the cloud". So you are right about it being somewhat different from airPlay, but it clearly intends to be seamless, and not have a queue / download cycle, but stream it just as it would to your browser.
It also says "including Youtube, Netflix, and Google Play, Vudu, Hulu... anything that plays in a Chrome browser" which sounds a little different from "a method for driving-devices to send pointers to internet video streams". The latter seems to imply programming changes on the provider's part, whereas the former clearly does not. (I don't actually know which is true, just pointing out the differences).
AirPlay will send a URL to the Apple TV if possible. If you're streaming a video from a web page, it most likely will just send the URL to the Apple TV. The only communication with the device is the control channel.
And 'download' was to make explicit the chromecast is downloading the content from the internet itself; it's not taking a videostream from the device as in the Airplay/"device-as-brains" scenario.
I'm not sure there's any difference between the phrasings in your second paragraph. I certainly didn't intend to imply anything different.
However, Netflix etc. work fine over wi-fi, because they're downloading and buffering the compressed stream itself, and then feeding that via the HDMI port to the TV.
Chromecast appears to be able to download the queued content over wi-fi, and then transmit via HDMI, which is a much more reliable way to go, given the state of wi-fi.
That said, I don't know what's going on with your Airplay's music streaming, but the bitrate of music is far below Netflix's. It shouldn't matter much though, I stream my desktop in nearly lagless 1080p to my MBP via Splashtop. The compression isn't really that bad.
According to this review it won't be useful for the Google Chromecast:
"Internally, the hardware supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 802.11, which isn't quite as nice as the dual-band Wi-Fi offered on Roku's Streaming Stick."
But it's not the bitrate that matters so much -- it'll work perfect for 20 minutes, and then completely fail for 2, then come back perfectly again.
I think the issue with my wireless is I'm in the middle of Manhattan and there are 40 wi-fi networks I can see, so it's already a little tricky. But whenever I turn on my microwave, transmission completely drops. So it's basically anytime I or any neighbor in five directions turns on their microwave.
5ghz channel sounds like a great idea, unfortunately I can't figure out from any manuals or docs whether my Zeppelin Air supports 5ghz or not -- the official specifications and manual just say "supports Wi-Fi". [Edit: Googling forums suggests it only supports "g", not "n". So, no dice. Oh well.]
I don't think that is the typical experience.
Now if that device habitually drops the connections, or doesn't support video, it's a problem with the device, not the technology.
Apple distributes a free app which lets you type and control the Apple TV from your iPhone or iPod.
1. The app is terrible. It takes forever to connect and the remote is harder to use than the real remote (swipe up to simulate pressing up, ugh). Typing on the phone is also frustrating when the realtime search results show up on the TV, it should all just be on the phone!
2. The remote app shows how Apple completely misses the point: the remote app is designed to be secondary to the TV. You're still looking at the TV while fiddling with the phone. The experience should be completely on your phone. There's no need for a movie app on the AppleTV, just go to the iTunes Store on your iPad, hit rent, and then have it notice there's an Apple TV on the network and ask to play it there. That way I'm quickly swiping through movies and looking at content through a gesture mechanism people actually like (touch) vs one people hate (TV).
But the people sitting with you also get to see the search results come up, and together you can decide what previews to watch, etc. This is how it works in my household, and wouldn't work as well if the phone was where all the UI action is, with the TV solely a dumb display.
It seems like it should be possible to have a box act as a web server proxy where it mirrors a web page to several displays.
It would be pretty slick if you could get a simple http proxy to support screen mirroring like this, because then it wouldn't matter what combination of set top box / phone / tablet you have... you could mirror anything.
Set your iPad's output to AirPlay on your Apple TV and do that. AirPlay itself requires zero interaction with an on-TV interface.
And you can use the Remote app to directly access your iTunes libraries and select & play content without using the TV interface.
You're also missing the fact that the AppleTV is a shared device. It doesn't need locking/protection, and can host content for everybody, instead of each person having their own apps and media (and multiple netflix/itunes accounts).
Is this true? Everyone I know with a smartphone -- everyone -- uses a password.
I have been putting this into practice over the last 4 months with an Apple TV, various iPhones and iPads, and VLC Streamer / Netflix.
I find that I still prefer browsing Netflix with the Apple TV remote using the Apple TV Netflix app. I don't know why. I think it's because the remote is tiny, and doesn't require me to look at it to use it. My thumb naturally finds the bumps and grooves and navigates the Apple TV UI.
I'm becoming convinced that as cool as using a phone or tablet to control my TV is, it's not actually what I will gravitate towards. And is in the end, harder in most cases than using a simple remote.
I could not disagree more. I understand your point, and on an intellectual level, completely agree with it. However, I never used HBO Go until it showed up on my Apple TV. I have a Mac mini hooked up to my TV, but routinely use Netflix on the Apple TV. I would kill for a Plex app for the Apple TV, even though I have it running on the Mac mini, and have it set up to use a remote. I can't explain it, it just feels better.
I would totally buy this and hack it instead.
1. Every time someone shows you a YouTube video, you spend 10% of your time watching it and the other 90% thinking about that one video you know of that's funnier. With Chromecast, you can queue that sucker up for nexties right from your own phone, without interrupting the video that's currently playing.
2. Chromecast does NOT use the resources of the device used to control the TV for processing...its don't on the dongle itself. This will save battery power, minimize bandwidth consumption, and you can do other things with your phone while watching things on the TV.
3. If it can run Chrome, it can cast to Chromecast. Apple, Microsoft, and Google devices playing together in one ecosystem. No more throwing the babies out with the bathwater.
4. $35.00. Thirty-five dollars for a device that ups the WAF most HTPC nerds have dreamed of for years! I would have bought this at $100!
This is what the Nexus Q was meant to be, but hardware drove the price down dramatically.
I haven't been this excited about a new piece of hardware since the iPhone. This is a game changer.
That's probably the long-term goal, but currently the list of "Can run Chrome" overlaps, but does not subsume, the list of "can cast to Chromecast". Particularly, Linux and ChromeOS devices can run Chrome, but (with the exception of the Chromebook Pixel) cannot cast to Chromecast.
> Chromecast is compatible with WiFi-enabled Android 2.3+ smartphones and tablets; iOS 6.0+ iPhones, iPads, and iPods; Chrome for Mac® and Chrome for Windows®; and Chromebook Pixel. Power cord required (not shown).
edit - although this article claims it does: http://gigaom.com/2013/07/24/chromecast-shows-how-google-is-...
We'll have to wait for some more information, I think.
The specs for my mouse, speakers, microphone, keyboard, and monitors all don't mention linux. Some of them don't even mention mac. And with the exception of my keyboard and mouse, they all work on linux (and the mouse sort of works, just the DPI gets wonky as hell).
I don't know for sure, but I can't imagine this not working on linux.
I did notice during the Presser that the Chrome browser had two cast icons; one in the bottom right he keyed in on, and one where normal extensions go.
As others have pointed out on the thread, the limiting factor is probably the need to encode video on the sending device for the casting Chrome tabs feature, which probably is going to be an issue on low-end Chromebooks (but, I would imagine, would also be a feature on low-end devices running Windows Chrome.)
It may be that it relies on Chrome features that don't exist on low-end chromebooks (and, if it involves licensed technology, it may be something that isn't licensed for low-end Chromebooks.)
Perhaps the reason it's in 'beta' then is that DIAL doesn't have the provisions in place for low end unit to unit, low latency performance. Hopefully enabling this on the lower end devices amps up the usefulness even further.
This also throws down the gauntlet regarding the walled garden in hardware interactivity. Even Apple zealots I work with begrudgingly nod their heads in agreement that vendor lock-in is a destructive to innovation.
The more I think about it, the more I hope this is where they going with this. To borrow a very damaged phrase, this might as much about the cloud/virtual computing as it is about streaming and music.
The Chromecast is a device for your mom; something where she can just take her iPad and press "send to TV" and it appears on her TV.
My mother (on the complete opposite end of the "techie" spectrum from me) watches soap operas on her iPad every few days while laying in bed. I'm certain she'd much rather watch them on the huge TV across the room instead.
> The Chromecast is a device for your mom; something where she can just take her iPad and press "send to TV" and it appears on her TV.
I was trying to figure out what I'd use this device for and you've answered that question for me. I'm ordering one of these for mom.
There's a strong possibility your mother's soaps are being played in a way that's unsupported by the Chromecast.
But it's made by Apple and will require you to install iTunes and iCloud on everything you own and it will only work if you throw away all the equipment you already own and replace them with Apple-made devices.
That's potentially quite a grab of money.
But that's just the smallest cost: The only reason ever to buy Apple is if you're willing to go all in. Choosing Apple is trading away your freedom. And as a guy who likes having options, that's a cost I will never be willing to pay.
iTunes is not required. iCloud is not required. Your comment is a troll.
(Side note: I'm an open source zealot, my e-mail address ends in @gnu.org, and my primary laptop runs Debian GNU/Linux. I also own a MacBook Pro and an iPhone. I like having options too.)
This will require you to install iTunes. If on Windows, iTunes will completely hijack your machine, steal all file-associations and if you're lucky (like I was) completely molest all ID3-tags when attempting to clean up music-metadata, meaning the only "good" copy left of my music's meta-data was the iTunes library. How convenient is that for Apple, eh?
I had to manually go and tag 10000+ MP3s to make them usuable again outside iTunes. But I did that, because to me, choice matters.
If I need to go through that shit again to get an Apple TV to work.... Yeah. Not happening. Ever.
Fuck that shit. I don't say that often on hacker news, but seriously: Fuck that shit.
This takes those this us media geeks have been doing for years and empowers those that don't want to deal with the early adopter hassles and makes it just work.
Not to mention the end result is more attractive and usable.
Completely agree. This is potentially an incredibly disruptive innovation. Provided third parties (TV Networks, Vimeo, etc.) write apps for this, I think it will radically change the way people watch TV.
No-one wants another box with another clumsy interface. They just want to watch what they see on their phone or laptop on a better screen.
What the hell is this about a "power cord". The specs and details are totally not clear. Is this not powered by HDMI? If it requires a power cord, these images are deceptive marketing.
A power cord is included in the box, according to The Verge. You can power it either via one of your TV's USB ports, or an A/C jack: http://cdn2.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/8651957/2013-07-...
Why is this even an issue?
You comment made me curious: is it possible for things to be powered by HDMI? There is definitely a 5V pin as part of the HDMI spec, but I can't find a good source for details.
From the "Plug and Play" section:
The only place I see any mention of a power cord is in 10px #d1d1d1 font on a white background.
This is probably true for current new TVs, but HDMI ports were common on HDTVs before USB ports were, and not everyone replaces their TV every year.
However, I'm guessing this device ships with a USB cable + wall wart for everyone else.
It would be a bit messy but perhaps you could have it plugged into both at once and then you won't need an ungainly power cable to a socket.
it's too bad it can't use MHL power where available and fall back to external. Seems like an obvious feature.
Click through the confirm prompts to cancel my order from google. Click to buy from amazon, expected delivery date: 22nd of August.
Flick back to the google store tab and find that it has declared that I couldn't cancel my order. Phew.
Successfully cancel my order from amazon.
The Google play store guaranteed shipment by August 7, though, so if Amazon really expects it to arrive by late August, I'll just go with the play store.
"...you will recieve an email with a promotional code for 3 months of Netflix. Offer valid for previous, new and existing Netflix members, one per Netflix account."
I would suspect not.
Annoying thing is that loads of companies have a large European presence here (Ireland: low corporate taxes, educated English speaking workforce, EU country, plenty of rain(uh wait, that's not a reason)) but then fail to offer their products!
Amazon (originally wouldn't ship Kindle Fires), Google (no Nexuses (Nexi?)) through Play Store. To name but two companies. With a hack (vpn) you can get Google.co.uk to ship Nexi to Ireland but they go via the UK and apparently they start off being shipped from Dublin, not good for the ol' planet!
Really good write-up
Is this available anywhere but the US? Standard Google...
Is it that this device acts like an AirPlay receiver of sorts and accepts a video feed from an approved device or is it that the device simply acts as a remote and the device gets its own stream from Internet sources? The latter is much more intriguing than the former, although both have issues for sure, but hard to complain for the price.
It's an interesting concept either way. I don't see it as a huge threat to the Apple TV or Roku, as both do a lot more and have dedicated controllers. Using an Apple TV with an iPhone is nice in some respects, but the wifi connectivity isn't great. A Bluetooth pairing would be exponentially better. It doesn't appear this device uses Bluetooth either.
As I see it, I could envision having an Apple TV or Roku for a main TV and something like this for another TV or for a computer monitor than can support this.
*: It seemed at first to be superb but then I found out that the AppleTV will refuse to play some (most?) content due to DRM restrictions. It's not clear if that's a problem with my HDMI cable or with AirPlay itself - I think AirPlay is simulating an HDMI connection via WiFi.
I find the wifi connection between my iPhone and my Apple TV (via an Airport Extreme) is a bit laggy and sometimes drops. I think it would be a much smoother experience if it paired via Bluetooth 4.0. I'm hoping the next Apple TV includes Bluetooth.
The Remote app is much more usable than the Apple TV remote, but the remote has a lot less lag and is easier to move around the interface with. This hasn't stopped me from using my Apple TV several days a week with just the Remote app, but I think that a Bluetooth connection would be much better.
Has Google been holding full Youtube navigation as a content card against the other dedicated players? (as opposed to media pcs) Is this where they spend it?
Right now we have meetings on-site and usually have one person in the meeting running a Hangout on a laptop to communicate with the remote folks. Being able to have a "portal" to all the remote attendees would be awesome.
Potential for number of apps that could be developed is endless. Apparently, Washington Post is building an app on top of it (http://t.co/dTWesNOoIC). So possibilities are endless. And good news - another step towards making cable TV irrelevant.
P.S. I just bought one. Can't wait to play with it's SDK.
That's not really new. Apple TV lets you do the same thing with AirPlay, and it works great.
Seems like a decent device, and the fact that it works with non-Apple hardware is obviously useful for people who don't have Apple households, but I don't think it's disruptive.
Not entirely. AirPlay is baked into the OS, so devs don't need to do extra work to support it. Chromecast (or, the Google Cast SDK) is built into the app level, and works in a fundamentally different way (i.e. streams from the internet and allows multi-user queueing vs. streams from the audio/video output of the device).
I don't think it's terribly disruptive - it's essentially AirPlay 2.0 - but it is new.
1. it requires the dongle to have equivalent internet access as the 'controlling' device. So it would seem you'd be out of luck if you wanted to stream from a mobile device using a cell modem, to a chromecast on a display in, say, a hotel, conference room or cabin without (unfiltered) wifi access to the internet.
2. sometimes internet-streamed video, even when possible, is far inferior to just soaking some processing power from the mobile device. People who locally-save video content for performance/quality reasons aren't going to be wild about it happily ignoring that local store to pull down a choppy/compressed stream.
3. it seems to limit the stream to codecs the device supports. So one can't likely chromecast from an HTPC that's otherwise perfectly capable of streaming xvid/divx/etc.
multi-user queue-ing is nice. Airplay really should pick that up.
But I'm not at all wild about "it's own internet stream". While the pros are neat in certain situations, the cons are a deal-breaker for me.
It seems it will work with both Android and iOS apps and with anything that runs the Chrome browser. That is quite a big improvement over the walled garden of Apple TV.
It seems to not be possible to stream the web browser from a mobile for now - all the mobile apps in the demo (netflix, google video, youtube) triggered a video download straight to the dongle from the internet, with the mobile effectively being used just as a remote. That's the primary use case. The 'stream a web page a browserdirectly from your computer' bit is still in beta and, AFAICS, currently only works with chrome on Windows/MacOS/chromeOS.
But it's possible it'll be added in future to chrome for iOS/android, and if it is: yes, you'll need to use chrome, the chances of Apple supporting chromecast in safari are... slim.
With Apple-devices only. The majority of the market has non-Apple devices. And that's across a range of product-classes: Desktops, Laptops and mobile devices.
To be able to take advantage of AirPlay you need to be all in all across all those classes. That brings the effective market-share which can use AirPlay (in developed countries) down from around 20% to much less than 5%. In less developed countries, AirPlay is dead code.
This will be a device people can actually use. Do you seriously not consider that a factor in being disruptive?
Assuming they use Chrome or Android, that is...
Ok. Point. Currently (and maybe for the foreseeable future?) there will be some limitations and requirements.
But Chrome can be installed anywhere, for free. You don't have to throw out everything you own and buy new equipment, like Apple requires you to.
If it's a $0 vs $1000 question, I know which one will win.
Well, actually, iOS and OSX devices are supported too.
The NEW disruptive aspects of the new device are the price point, the collaborative playlist aggregation, and the open ecosystem. Airplay was the first to the table in ease of push technology but existing in its own vertical market prevented it from a more widespread adoption.
We'll be looking back on the Chromecast as the device that helped redefine how we addressed the media center form factor.
Being 60 doesn't mean you don't get excited about technology anymore. But it does mean that you have more time to play with it ;)
Smart phone ownership for 60+s is about half what it is for 18 - 36 year olds and I'd wager that engagement levels are proportionately lower too.
I'm not saying no older users will go for this but I think the core users will be younger and will be far, far more likely to be under the 18 - 35 bracket than over (that group being willing to tinker and price sensitive therefore more likely to use Android phones and see the appeal of a $35 device).
From what I've read (please correct me if I'm wrong), the Chromecast doesn't function as a standalone device. In other words, you need a smartphone/tablet/computer to play things on it. It doesn't have its own interface where you can browse and play content like the Apple TV does.
The fundamental problem I'm trying to solve with this device is streaming youtube to my parents TV. I want something low-tech that they can invoke from their Computer/Android/iOS device and I don't want them to learn a new menu.
The pricepoint is what sold me. AppleTV is too expensive for what it does, and while the power plug is annoying, it's easier than their current solution, which involves leveraging an old PS3 for Netflix playback.
So yeah, this is not a straight up replacement for AppleTV, but it solves the subset of problems I'm looking for.
That's my $.02.
There are many times where I have pics on my phone (either via the phone's camera, or Picasa, G+, etc) that I want to show people at home - but there's no easy way to show them without having to pass around a tiny screen.
I live in Canada. Apple seems to be able to make this stuff work, why can't anyone else?
Edit: The Buy button forwards to the Play store, where it's "out of inventory". They could change the wording to "Sold Out!" and then brag about that.
Edit: The specs at the bottom of the page don't list a battery but it does list an included power adapter, so I guess you have to have that plugged in at all times.
Edit 2: Certain versions of the HDMI spec provide power. It's possible that the USB is a backup solution for older spec'd TVs.
What's with all the Amazon reviews already? They should have locked reviews for a few days to prevent trolls.
(An alternative if you have a laptop connected to the projector is to run AirServer to act as a virtual Apple TV, and then either airplay from your ipad or run AirParrot from a windows tablet. Of course Chromecast will be the first solution to work from android tablets, too, since Miracast solutions still seem to be non-existent or not so great.)
Basically your phone is not only practically, but technically, just a remote.
Chrome is likely the right name here, it supports most platforms where Chrome runs, not just Android.
That said the MediaLink HD often had lag issues that kept it more in the realm of presentations and media and made it difficult for real time games. Even for presentations I'd often carry my own WiFi AP around with me or find ways to get it just to connect between the phone and device to avoid them. Home performance is probably better than conference and event performance.
I recently tried a Netgear Miracast adapter to send HDMI from an HTC One and the lag is completely gone. I haven't tried Google's implementation of Chromecast yet, but I'm suspicious it won't be nearly as lag and trouble free as a WiFi Direct only device like the Netgear, though. You have a whole extra OS running device in the chain to make things a pain. So I'm suspicious the extra complexity isn't worth it for this class of devices.
I mean, for YouTube videos it doesn't matter.
But if you are streaming a movie or something, then that may be an annoyance.
But that could just be me.
This is assuming that you have a digital audio source plugged directly into your receiver ofcourse, as opposed to your TV.
I could be mistaken, but the video, images and copy all seem to go to the TV.
I just know that for my setup, whenever I plug anything into my HDMI port on my TV, I get stereo audio.
It could be that my TV doesn't handle the audio decoding properly, but I imagine that it isn't exclusive to my Toshiba.
I like the price and ordered one, but if it only supports Google's format, that'll be a bummer. I want this for AirPlay.
* ed: and ChromeOS.
iOS support is a major factor here.
Clearly, ChromeOS does too, since it works on the Chromebook Pixel.
I'd really prefer wired gig-e, though. 802.11n is borderline for a busy network with several video streams. At that point I'd end up running a bunch of separate wifi APs, which raises the cost to where real wired devices start to be cheaper again.
Here's an article on the Difference Between Chromecast and Google TV (an Interview with Google's SVP of Android, Chome, and Apps: Sundar Pichai) http://allthingsd.com/20130724/sundar-pichai-on-the-differen...
I just tried today and noticed, with the Chromecast extension for Chrome (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-cast/boadge...) installed.
I am now able to push YouTube videos from my laptop to my PS3 (YouTube App). This makes searching videos just so much more easier.
I would love to be able to create a "widget" that sits on my tv and has internet. I could think of a ton of things. Like snapchat but for videos .. just saying :)
For me, the only benefit I see to the Chromecast is frequent travel for use on hotel televisions. Otherwise, an HTPC is going to provide superior functionality at the same cost.
If I didn't already have dedicated hardware, I'd get one. As it is, there isn't anything it does that makes it worth including in an existing HTPC setup.