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This is exactly what I've been wanting the Apple TV to be for ages. The only thing Apple TV is actually good for is Airplay. There doesn't need to be an OS or a UI for the Apple TV: your phone or tablet will be a better experience for typing and searching for content every time. Its a fool's errand to try to design a UI for a TV that isn't dreadfully painful to use: no one ever wants to interact with something 10 feet away.

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.




Maybe you want Airplay to be more the focus of Apple TV, but that state of affairs doesn't sound at all like Chromecast.

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 [1].

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.

[1] You may be trying to switch playlists, but to everyone else it looks for all the world like texting.


While its primary mode is indeed method-for-sending-pointers-to-media, it also has an option for streaming the contents of a Chrome tab directly to the Chromecast device [1] ala-VNC. With caveats: that feature is still in beta and requires a fast computer/connection.

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-cast/boadge...


Chrome appears to be becoming a full fledged operating system.


And they will call it ChromeOS.

(its what runs the Chromebooks. http://www.google.com/chromeos )


Isn't it using Miracast internally?

Will it work with Windows 8.1 which has Miracast support?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UXXNLlmz0A

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2013/06/windows-8-1-supports-miraca...

I hope they work with standards instead of creating proprietary and incompatible protocols.


It is using open standards upnp+rest api+websockets. The mirroring part is done with opus and vp9. Miracast on the other hand is drm(big players only) over drm(restricted content) over drm(it will only work with closed source software). Miracast will only live in heads of Balmer worshipers and maniacs, who love to to create long power point presentations with lots of bullet points.


Do you realize that Miracast has been Android's screen sharing mechanism since 4.2?

http://developer.android.com/about/versions/jelly-bean.html


The DRM in Miracast is pretty much the same as the stuff sent over HDMI. Wouldn't surprise me if the Chromecast requires HDCP like Apple TV does.

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".


"to queue, download and then send to the display"

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).


>"streams it directly to the Chromecast device from the cloud". So you are right about it being somewhat different from airPlay

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.


'queue' was referring to chromecast's touted ability for, say, me to be able to send a video to the chromecast and then you to send one for it to play 'next'.

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.


I've set up my $99 OUYA to do this (mostly). I've installed a native YouTube app on it (YouTube for Google TV) and installed Flash support for the included Android browser. I also wrote a small client/server Android app [1] that allows the client to share YouTube videos, web pages, basically anything URI-based from various apps' built-in "share" UI and the content will appear on the TV (using whatever app is suited for the URI being opened).

[1] http://bhspitmonkey.github.io/VuDo-Android/


Wi-fi isn't good enough. I can barely get AirPlay to stream music reliably ten feet away for half an hour (oh no! somebody in the next apartment turned on their microwave!), I can't imagine video being even remotely reliable, and certainly not at decent quality.

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.


Sounds like you need a new router with a 5ghz channel.

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.


Sounds like you need a new router with a 5ghz channel.

According to this review[1] 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."

[1] http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-media-receivers/google-chrom...


Well, I'm talking about compressed Netflix bitrate, vs. only losslessly compressed AirPlay audio. The Netflix stream is bigger, but the bitrate of music isn't tiny.

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 have an 802.11n router using 5Ghz. When streams are over 10Mbps (common for 1080p streams) I run into problems all the time over WiFi from my computer to my Apple TV. It's not even interference (the channel is pretty clean). It's prefab concrete walls – they don't like WiFi.


I can barely get AirPlay to stream music reliably ten feet away for half an hour

I don't think that is the typical experience.


It would seem that you, like me, have a shit airplay receiver. Airplay should have nothing to do with distance, if you have a wifi connection, you're fine. And if you can stream hd video from the internet over wifi (ie: youtube), then you can stream it to another device on your network using the same connection.

Now if that device habitually drops the connections, or doesn't support video, it's a problem with the device, not the technology.


> This is exactly what I've been wanting the Apple TV to be for ages. The only thing Apple TV is actually good for is Airplay. There doesn't need to be an OS or a UI for the Apple TV: your phone or tablet will be a better experience for typing and searching for content every time. Its a fool's errand to try to design a UI for a TV that isn't dreadfully painful to use: no one ever wants to interact with something 10 feet away.

Apple distributes a free app which lets you type and control the Apple TV from your iPhone or iPod.

http://www.apple.com/apps/remote/


Yes I know, but:

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).


> You're still looking at the TV while fiddling with the phone. The experience should be completely on your phone.

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.


The TV doesn't have to be blank while you do this. You could be searching on the phone and seeing results (best for the searcher), and the TV could solely show results (as opposed to half the screen being taken up by a ridiculous keyboard). Best of both worlds.


I have a boxee and I'd been thinking about how to implement this for a while.

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.


My co-worker was just telling me he wants to show his kids some YouTube videos, but the "suggested videos" are always R-Rated. So, keeping all of the browsing on the phone would be a huge plus for him.


>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

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 can connect a Bluetooth keyboard now.


I find it a pain to get my phone/tablet and 1) wake it up 2) unlock it 3) type password 4) close running app 5) scourge screens for the remote app, and 6) wait for it to start and connect, sometimes it takes a while. It's infinitely easier to grab the aluminum remote or bluetooth keyboard and just press a key.

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).


Except you don't necessarily have to do 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 with this. It either has controls over lock screen or in the notifications tray depending on the app. (and most users don't use passwords anyway. So really it's just a matter of picking up your phone and turning it on, which is usually easier than finding a remote.


-- "and most users don't use passwords anyway"

Is this true? Everyone I know with a smartphone -- everyone -- uses a password.


I have a similar feeling to you — that phones and tablets are better for browsing and queuing data that gets sent to the TV.

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.


> There doesn't need to be an OS or a UI for the Apple TV: your phone or tablet will be a better experience for typing and searching for content every time

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.


Matter of fact both Plex & XBMC happily run on an ATV2 - may I direct your attention to their forum http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/forum/76-apple-tv-2nd-ge...


Regarding your wish of a Plex app on the the Apple TV: You know that you can have XBMC on your Apple TV today? Plex is a fork of XBMC, which in my opinion is the better media center, iterating and introducing new features way faster.


Wow I wanted the same thing as well. For some time now I have been thinking of hacking AirPlay support into my TV (it runs Linux) but I worry about its lifespan.

I would totally buy this and hack it instead.


Possible integration with Google Now would be tres cool, too. Talk to search... yum... "Netflix, play star trek on my TV"


One downside to this: a lack of group browsing. Right now I have a PC attached to my TV- it's kind of old and I'm considering just replacing it with this ChromeCast thing. But when I have people over and we're watching a movie we browse the selection as a group- it'll be a shame not being able to do that.


So the way my friends and I currently use the Apple TV is we all kind of just try to Airplay stuff from our phones and whatever randomly wins, wins. It would be cool to keep that same interaction, just with a little more structure: perhaps the videos get queued instead of all of them losing instead of one.


You can do it if the app supports it. Remember the demo earlier today of the YouTube app pausing both an iPhone and Android as the pause button was pressed? If it can share status information via wifi and the web, you can imagine a "Party Mode" or "Party Playlist" that does the same thing across multiple devices, linking them because they all see the same ChromeCast device.


If it works with YouTube Leanback this will be possible for YouTube at least. Multiple phones/tablets can hook up to the same session and queue videos to watch next.


Theres a third party product, AirParrot, that gives you AirPlay mirroring from your Mac or PC.


Unless you want to work on your Macbook while watching a movie...


Have you tried iMediaShare? much simple and support DLNA and Airplay




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