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Google Chromecast Reviewed; Google Nixes Netflix Discount

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the nifty-if-limited dept.

Android 128

adeelarshad82 writes "While it's more limited than the Roku 3 and by no means Google's answer to Airplay, Chromecast sets itself apart from other similar products simply based on its price and potential of bringing Internet HDTV streaming to many more people than before. Priced at only $35, it's a direct stick that plugs into your HDTV's HDMI port and lets you stream media from Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play through your smartphone, tablet, or notebook. Unlike the Roku Stick, it uses a separate micro-USB port instead of MHL to power it. This on one hand means you need to run a cable from the stick to a USB port, making it much less neat than it would seem. On the other hand, it means the stick works with any HDTV, whether it has an MHL-capable HDMI port or not. Once connected, the setup itself is fairly simple and entirely app-controlled. Past the setup, your streaming content choices are currently limited, though Google released an API for the Chromecast, so more apps could support it in the future. For now Android users can stream media from Google Play Movies and Music, as well as Netflix and YouTube whereas iOS users can watch Netflix and YouTube via the Chromecast. From a computer, users can stream media from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome. Unlike Apple TV and AirPlay, Chromecast doesn't let you stream your locally stored media. In fact Google Play Music gives an error message when you try to play music you loaded on your device yourself and not through the Google Play store. All in all, at $35 it's the most affordable way to access online media services on your HDTV." El Reg also got their hands on one. Alas, one perk of grabbing the Chromecast is gone: Google ended the free three month Netflix bundle that was worth almost as much as the cost of the Chromecast itself after sales were much higher than expected (so high it looks like they ran out of them after only a day). Update: 07/26 21:20 GMT by U L : iFixIt posted a teardown of the Chromecast.

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What's the big deal? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about a year ago | (#44394313)

What makes this better than any of the countless similarly priced Android-based media players out there?

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Interesting)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44394351)

When you can buy a full-featured Roku 3 for only $100, I don't really get it either.

Re:What's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394403)

I can buy an entire movie studio for a few million bucks, so I don't see why anyone would want something less than half the price.

Re:What's the big deal? (-1, Troll)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44394881)

I can buy an entire movie studio for a few million bucks, so I don't see why anyone would want something less than half the price.

Because that "something else" in this case is a million dollar Sony Handycam, fucktard.

And not even one of the good first gen ones that let you see through clothing.

Re:What's the big deal? (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#44395097)

Because that "something else" in this case is a million dollar Sony Handycam, fucktard.

And not even one of the good first gen ones that let you see through clothing.

I think if you own the movie studio you will have little need of seeing "through" clothing. ;)

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about a year ago | (#44395471)

I have no idea what the decoding capability is like(the product page is misleading and says f all), but for something that cheap it could possibly be very limited. Making it a very useless paper weight for everything but netflicks and youtube. This is just google pushing verticle integration.

I know nothing, talk shit anyway. ftfy (1, Offtopic)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44395913)

> I have idea what the decoding capability is like ...
> it could possibly be very limited

Okay, you know nothing about it. I'm with you so far.

> misleading ... useless paper weight for everything but netflicks and youtube. This is just google pushing verticle integration.

And you go ahead and call it crap, and accuse them of false advertising (fraud).

Let me guess - you vote democrat.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394421)

Because it has the potential to be much more usable and hackable than the Roku 3, maybe?

If it doesn't even play homemade ogg/mp3 files (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44394435)

if it doesn't even allow playing a musical recording that I composed, performed, and recorded myself, I don't see much potential for "hackable".

Re:If it doesn't even play homemade ogg/mp3 files (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394641)

You can upload your content to Google play and then stream it from there. Certainly not ideal at this time, but if you have a problem with it go to https://developers.google.com/cast/downloads/ [google.com] and write your own app to stream that content!

Hopefully someone like Plex will create an app for it to make this easy for everyone.

Re:If it doesn't even play homemade ogg/mp3 files (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#44394651)

"Doesn't allow"? You mean none of the apps at launch do that. Considering you can write your own sender and receiver apps, it allows you to do just about anything you can code.

Re:If it doesn't even play homemade ogg/mp3 files (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395239)

No, your apps need to be approved by Google to be published and to be able to be streamed to Chromecast.

Re:If it doesn't even play homemade ogg/mp3 files (4, Funny)

shimage (954282) | about a year ago | (#44395689)

Perhaps I am in the minority here, but "anything I can code" is the same as "nothing".

Re:If it doesn't even play homemade ogg/mp3 files (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394769)

if it doesn't even allow playing a musical recording that I composed, performed, and recorded myself, I don't see much potential for "hackable".

If you can put the file on a network share and drag the file into chrome and have it play there, it can be beamed to chromecast which will tap into it in the same fashion. Not the cleanest way to do it at all, but you can make it work.

Re:If it doesn't even play homemade ogg/mp3 files (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#44395213)

if it doesn't even allow playing a musical recording that I composed, performed, and recorded myself, I don't see much potential for "hackable".

Sure you can - just upload it to YouTube first - oh, you mean playing without joining Google's "share" program? Yeah, not possible right now. But if you insist on .ogg, neither do the AppleTV nor Roku without transcoding.

Re:If it doesn't even play homemade ogg/mp3 files (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year ago | (#44396241)

if it doesn't even allow playing a musical recording that I composed, performed, and recorded myself

sync your music with google play. done.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394463)

When you can buy a full-featured Roku 3 for only $100, I don't really get it either.

According to Wired.com [wired.com] "[I]f you’re running it in a browser, Amazon Instant video, Hulu, Rdio, and HBO Go all just work. As did video from Wired, Gawker media, and Flickr slideshows." I have a Roku and love it, but I also have Comcast. That means, in its infinite retardery, I can not watch HBO Go on my Roku. If this really does work as well as Wired says it does, I can watch it through the Chromecast Chrome browser, making my Roku a paperweight.

Re:What's the big deal? (2)

slaker (53818) | about a year ago | (#44394467)

Roku units are god-awful for playback of local content. They're only half a solution to the Smart TV problem.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about a year ago | (#44394559)

Roku units are god-awful for playback of local content. They're only half a solution to the Smart TV problem.

As far as I can tell, so is the Chromecast.

Sure, I could drag a movie into a Chrome window to get it to work, but if I wanted to do something a bit more average like play a local album, and start a tv series stored on my computer WITHOUT having to get up and go to my computer, well... good luck with that.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44394759)

Do you not know how to set up a webserver to stream your library from your local share?

Re:What's the big deal? (4, Insightful)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about a year ago | (#44394859)

Do you not know how to set up a webserver to stream your library from your local share?

Is there a reason I should have to do this?

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

scot4875 (542869) | about a year ago | (#44395099)

Nah, because that would take away from time you could spend bitching and moaning about one available option, among *many*, that doesn't perfectly suit your specific needs.

You're a Mac guy. You like stuff that does things for you. We get it.

*We* like stuff that lets us do things we want. If you don't understand the difference, that just reinforces my point.

--Jeremy

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about a year ago | (#44395381)

*We* like stuff that lets us do things we want. If you don't understand the difference, that just reinforces my point.

I'm just trying to imagine buying one of these for my parents.

"Ok mom. Now you need to set a music streaming server. Do you know how to do that? No? Well you've really disappointed a bunch of people on Slashdot."

Of course none of this matters if you accept Google's lock in and put all your music into their cloud, but that's a whole nother can of worms... (Which is something my AppleTV does NOT require me to do.)

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395401)

Or it could be the fact that 'streaming' media via browser has already been reported to have serious sync issues with this pseudo dongle. You know, tiny usability features that hardly anyone would ever notice.

Care you remove your head from Google's ass long enough to smell the shit?

http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/24/4553368/hands-on-googles-35-chromecast-a-streaming-tv-stick [theverge.com]

Google says it uses WebRTC, so it's basically online video chat repurposed to display anything you can see in a browser frame. Video plays with only a bit of chop and stutter, and lips don't quite sync up with the audio, which could be maddening for some. Don't expect this to be a surefire solution for watching Hulu without a subscription.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44395273)

Well, to be honest, you don't. You could just buy one [amazon.com] of the many models available at retail. And then your Chromecast could stream your home movies directly from your local media library in FullHD, you could watch all your media on any device that supports the codec even if it can't browse the network and local files, like an iThing. But if you don't have one of those NASflingers, any PC (or any number of PCs of any capacity) can be set up to do the same thing at no additional cost to you.

And then this thing would have the feature you seem to desire - with no additional outlay of cash. Considering the net benefit that is quite remarkable.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395411)

Hurr durr. Yea let's all do complicated stuff to accomplish trivial tasks. I'll spend hours of my time building and maintaing something a $50 device excels at because I do not value my time, have no social connections outside of the geek/nerd spectrum and generally need lots of make work projects /s

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394587)

Roku units are god-awful for playback of local content.

I'm running Plex on mine, which seems to work well. Gotta set the server up on a pc, but it seems pretty low impact.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

slaker (53818) | about a year ago | (#44394683)

Plex is pretty sweet but how many Roku user have the technical sophistication to set it or some DLNA A/V provider up?

Re: What's the big deal? (3, Informative)

Karlt1 (231423) | about a year ago | (#44395473)

Setting up Plex Server:

1. Download Plex and click install.
2. Choose folders to share from.the web admin client.

Setting up client on Roku:

1. Choose Plex app from store
2. Let Plex find server.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394609)

Boxee Box is the best external cheap device for local media, but that comes in around $200 unless you can find one pre-owned.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

slaker (53818) | about a year ago | (#44394751)

Boxee is an odd duck. It speaks SMB and NFS and AFS and it can talk to Youtube and Netflix, but it also wants to continuously re-index network shares. Mine becomes unresponsive with some frequency. They explicitly don't do UPnP/DLNA (they'll try, it just doesn't work) and worst of all, DLink stopped development on them over a year ago. Boxee Box was almost certainly the best device of its generation, but the lack of ongoing support has made it unappealing.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395175)

There is a setting on the share (IIRC) that controls the index frequency. I think there is even an option for only doing it once.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395073)

Add Plex and they're god-good for playback of local content.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

slaker (53818) | about a year ago | (#44395433)

Kind of. The Roku 3 isn't the best Plex client since it requires a lot of data to be transcoded prior to playback even for local content. That means the Roku is getting stereo-only sound and probably only modest bit rate video for what might be pristine local sources. They do .mkv and h.264 with Dolby Digital and DTS so they're not awful, but if your Plex Server is a Synology NAS or some dusty old single-core PC, good luck getting your .WMVs to play.
If you're buying an STB to be a Plex client, there are better options.

Re: What's the big deal? (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about a year ago | (#44395431)

Roku units are god-awful for playback of local content. They're only half a solution to the Smart TV problem.

With the Roku, there are at least two ways you can play local content:

1. Play it directly from the Roku box by plugging a storage device containing H.264/MPG,MP3, or AAC into the USB port and using the USB channel.

2. Using the free Plex server on your computer and the free app.

With the Chromecast, I would still need the Plex server, and then use the Plex web client on Chrome and cast it to the TV. Then either I would need to be sitting at the computer or use VNC from my phone or tablet.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44395135)

When you can buy a full-featured Roku 3 for only $100, I don't really get it either.

Especially since earlier versions of Roku will do the same thing as Chromecast and cost less than the Chromecast if you look around.

And you can just plug them straight into your TV. No USB connector needed.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395331)

When you can buy a full-featured Roku 3 for only $100, I don't really get it either.

Especially since earlier versions of Roku will do the same thing as Chromecast and cost less than the Chromecast if you look around.

And you can just plug them straight into your TV. No USB connector needed.

Except for power.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44395479)

Well, youtube doesn't work on the Roku.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | about a year ago | (#44395753)

Not by default, but there's a 3rd party youtube channel.

Re:What's the big deal? (2)

slaker (53818) | about a year ago | (#44394451)

Android Media Players tend to be a little bit sketchy. I have a Pivos Xios and I quite like it, but mine is running Linux. Under Android, there are a few too many drawbacks to make it worthwhile, starting with the limitations of a stock Android interface when using a remote control or some kind of mouse.
The general problem that Android players have is that they tend to be under-powered, particularly compared to top-end phones and tablets. Developers are working hard, but for now there are still odd limitations in playback support or worse, an inability to support high quality playback when a proper source IS available. They wind up being acceptable targets for streaming media, but only at modest bit rates and for a limited subset of codecs. We all WANT a low-power, fanless device that can run Plex or XBMC with application support for every streaming service under the sun, but no one is making that box quite yet.

That said, I don't think the world is exactly crying out for another way to get Netflix or Youtube onto a TV in the living room.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year ago | (#44396291)

The general problem that Android players have is that they tend to be under-powered, particularly compared to top-end phones and tablets.

for $50, you can buy a quad-core android stick that will play anything you throw at it,
http://www.amazon.com/MK808-Android-Rockchip-RK3066-Cortex-A9/dp/B009OX22B4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374885694&sr=8-1&keywords=mk808 [amazon.com]

and you can install any of the multitude of players and network file access solutions. it's not perfect since the interface is not optimized for a TV, but it works pretty well and is capable of doing many other things that a dedicated streaming player like roku cannot.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44394513)

What makes this better than any of the countless similarly priced Android-based media players out there?

It's made [with the name, not] by Google. Which still has a shiny effect of 1.025e10 Potrzebies, give or take a Veeblefetzer.

I read earlier this morning that they were going for 8 times list price on eBay. Must be something of a Lemming moment seizing the masses. I admit to be slightly interested in one, but I have yet to get something HDMI 1.4 (so I don't need the power cord) and have to figure what the heck I need to watch so badly anyway.

"Here come the zombies!"

"ooo! shiny! waaaaannnt!"

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394563)

This is not a media player. This is for streaming content from another device.

Think of it as a Bluetooth speaker for video.

There is no remote or control over it directly. You turn it on and all the control of the content is performed from the device sending the content.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394567)

All the similarly priced Android media players are trash. They have under-powered hardware, patchy codec support, and never receive any kind of long term support from the manufacturers.

Local media does stream (5, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44394319)

From Wired's Dongle Style review [wired.com] :

Yes, you can play local video. At least some of it. A not-strictly-speaking legitimate copy of Black Mirror in MKV file format played magnificently on our television when we dropped it in a Chrome browser window.

Likewise, if you’re running it in a browser, Amazon Instant video, Hulu, Rdio, and HBO Go all just work. As did video from Wired, Gawker media, and Flickr slideshows. We ran photos from Facebook fullscreen. We watched a live Flash stream of a Braves game on an extremely shady bootleg site that spawned approximately a gazillion Chrome windows in the background.

Good luck getting one though.

Re:Local media does stream (1, Insightful)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year ago | (#44394387)

Wow. Is it sad that it's significantly easier to play flash video on a $35 device than it is on my >$500 Linux machine?

Re:Local media does stream (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394453)

"Is it sad that it's significantly easier to play flash video on a $35 Linux machine than it is on my >$500 Linux machine?" - Yes.

Re:Local media does stream (-1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year ago | (#44394511)

Wow. Is it sad that it's significantly easier to play flash video on a $35 device than it is on my >$500 Linux machine?

????

It's $35, on top of the cost of the TV itself, plus the cost of the smartphone, tablet, or notebook, which is now reduced to the role of TV remote. Does all that together cost less than your Linux machine?

I don't get what the market is for this device. Instead of $35, how about I pay $0 and just the networking capabilities of my TV? Or pay the same $0 and use the same capabilities in my optical disc player, which also steams media files from my local NAS. Or use the same capabilities in my TiVo?

And none of those others devices require me to sacrifice another device to stream through.

"All in all, at $35 it's the most affordable way to access online media services on your HDTV."

How is $35 more affordable than the $0 I'd pay to use the existing media services that came built in to my HDTV?

Re:Local media does stream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394613)

My HDTV didn't come with any media services. Actually, I'm pretty happy about that. It's just a dumb monitor, and I can run an HTPC, Roku or whatever else comes down the pike.

Anthony WIENER will LOVE this!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394697)

pictures^W videos of the grandkids trip to the zoo taken with ur iphone on ur parent's HD teevee with a dongle that you can carry around in ur pocket
BOOM! HEADSHOT! GAEM OVAH!

Re:Local media does stream (1)

the_saint1138 (1353335) | about a year ago | (#44394709)

Instead of $35, how about I pay $0 and just the networking capabilities of my TV? Or pay the same $0 and use the same capabilities in my optical disc player, which also steams media files from my local NAS. Or use the same capabilities in my TiVo?

The aim of this device is to turn a "dumb" TV into a "smart(er)" TV. If your TV (or some other already attached device) already has networking capabilities, this device is probably not for you. However, if you only own a dumb TV and just happen to a have a smartphone/tablet handy, this is an excellent device for the money.

Re:Local media does stream (2)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#44394875)

it can still be useful: I have a smart tv, and it has an "app store" with quite a few more obscure video streaming service, not just the big ones like netflix and hulu.

It, however, doesn't support Google Video. And while it supports Amazon Video, that has pretty shitty support on Android if you don't use a Kindle Fire.

Yeah yeah, DRM evil blah blah, but if you WANT to use the same "evil" service on both devices, this helps a lot.

Re:Local media does stream (1)

cHiphead (17854) | about a year ago | (#44394755)

You already have a TV and a PC, you can control it from the PC.

The media services that come with most tv's are TERRIBLE in terms of stability and reliability.

This is cheap enough that it could replace OTA and Cable for even low income households over the course of the next few months.

This is going to be replacing higher priced setups for office presentations everywhere as well, I'm already ordering one to test at the office and if it goes well, everyone that goes to client sites will have their own to carry with them.

Re:Local media does stream (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#44395329)

How is $35 more affordable than the $0 I'd pay to use the existing media services that came built in to my HDTV?

My parents have a Samsung SmartTV, and a Samsung smart BluRay player (they run the same software). They use the "smart" software for one thing: watching Netflix. It sucks. Streaming works fine, but pages and images in the Netflix interface take forever to load (20-30 seconds), and searching for stuff with a remote control is painful. As a result, my parents search for content on the iPad Netflix app, and when they find what they want, they directly type in the name of the content on the TV (avoid browsing content in the super slow Smart TV interface).

With this thing, they could spend $35, and cut out a whole bunch of steps. Browse and find content on the much easier to use touchscreen Netflix interface (faster, more fluid, more responsive, on-screen QWERTY keyboard), then hit a single button to get it on the TV. For them, this could be a cheap way to substantially improve the experience. They don't want to spend a hundred bucks just to watch Netflix, but thirty five might be something they can stomach.

For my part, when I do Netflix on my projector, I use my PS3. While it's a great streaming box, typing in search terms with a remote control isn't that great on it either...

Re:Local media does stream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394629)

Wow. Is it sad that it's significantly easier to play flash video on a $35 device than it is on my >$500 Linux machine?

You must be a retard or liar. Flash playback works out of the box, has done for many years, and is built into Chrome. I think you are FUDing because you're an Apple zealot.

Re:Local media does stream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394663)

Wow. Is it sad that it's significantly easier to play flash video on a $35 device than it is on my >$500 Linux machine?

What is hard about playing flash on linux machine? I have few old and new linux lap and desk tops and I can play flash on all of them just fine.

Re:Local media does stream (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44395933)

Simply Mepis on my 8y/o laptop plays Flash vids in Firefox with no problem... Maybe it's your distro or the browser you're using?

FWIW I don't recall whether I had to install the plugin manually or if it came OOTB, but it would've been no big deal if I did -- just a matter of either grabbing the .deb from Adobe & installing it or searching for and selecting it in Synaptic Package Manager. Shouldn't take more than five minutes, unless my cheapo DSL connection was being even slower than usual.

Except that it completely sucks that way. (2)

guidryp (702488) | about a year ago | (#44394837)

That is a very poor workaround, that plays the video locally then does some messy screen casting to give you compression artifacts/chop/stutter and lip sync issues:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/24/4553368/hands-on-googles-35-chromecast-a-streaming-tv-stick [theverge.com]

Perhaps most interesting of all, we got to try a new beta feature of Chrome that lets you stream the contents of a web browser tab itself to your TV via the Chromecast. It's not particularly impressive yet: scrolling doesn't come close to keeping up with your finger, and there's visible compression artifacts whenever there's rapid motion: it's a lot like streaming game services like OnLive and Gaikai, but with a lot more delay. ... Video plays with only a bit of chop and stutter, and lips don't quite sync up with the audio, which could be maddening for some.

WD TV, Roku aren't that expensive and handle local streaming flawlessly.

Re:Except that it completely sucks that way. (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44396073)

From what I read at Ars Technica, the Verge article is inaccurate; evidently Wired & other reviewers didn't run into the same problems. The discussion at Ars Tech was quite interesting if you're like me and tempted to get one:
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/07/the-chromecast-has-a-netflix-promotion-and-its-gone/?comments=1&start=0 [arstechnica.com]

I've been looking into WD TV lately, and it's one of the options I'm seriously considering getting for my mother, as we switched from cable to watching online & downloading years ago. She has a Roku, but the interface is fairly exasperating and it's only able to show the pre-defined sources it came with; AFAIK it can't discover (or be sent) videos across our network, and trying to manually set it up to access a system with that interface just might result in me throwing it out a window in frustration.

Re:Except that it completely sucks that way. (3, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | about a year ago | (#44396699)

I see nothing at your link which differs from information here.

You just have people arguing about the same two Verge/Wired stories on the tab casting.

Regardless that Wired didn't notice any issues with it, it is still a poor solution. Wired used it to play a TV show MKV, likely lower resolution so they may not have noticed the problems. They spent a whole 2 and half lines of text covering the feature.

Verge has more extensive coverage, including how it works. It plays the video locally on your computer, then uses WebRTC to essentially send screen caps to the device.

This is the critical part: it needs to recompress the video again in real time to send it to the chromecast.

That is bound to destroy quality for most people and cause hiccup on higher resolution materials.

HDMI? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394323)

DRM for the Slashdot pleebs.

-- Ethanol-Fueled

Clever strategy (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44394363)

1. Make a splash with all the tech review sites by announcing your new $35 product comes with three free months of Netflix, guaranteeing that you'll get tons of press.
2. Stop the offer after one day, without warning.
3. Profit! By taking advantage of all the people that will only find the initial review when they check out your product, and so won't know the deal is off.

4. Whisper "don't be evil" al the way to the bank...

Re:Clever strategy (5, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | about a year ago | (#44394549)

5. Only show pictures of the device itself plugged into the back of a TV, not with the required power adapter & cord, to make it seem smaller than it really is.

Re:Clever strategy (4, Informative)

arnott (789715) | about a year ago | (#44394599)

If you have HDMI 1.4+, the power adapter is not needed.

Re:Clever strategy (0)

WilyCoder (736280) | about a year ago | (#44395071)

Brb, spending $1k+ on a new TV so I can use my $35 device without a cord

Re:Clever strategy (1)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#44395143)

TVs with all the bells and whistles aren't all that expensive anymore, unless you want a 60+ inch or something and do a bit of research.

Re:Clever strategy (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395161)

False. HDMI 1.4 did not add any additional power to the spec, and the 50mA that HDMI does require actually comes from the *source* - which would be the Chromecast.

MHL does add power, which is what the Roku streaming stick uses, but it's not clear whether or not the Chromecast supports that.

Re:Clever strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395389)

This is entirely incorrect. Why is this modded +4.

Re:Clever strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395851)

Jesus fuck! Slashdot is really losing its edge. Yesterday I had to correct several posts about the capabilities of the Lightning adaptor that were modded up and today we see another fucking fucktard who gets modded up for spreading bullshit lies.
 
You're a retard and a cunt.

Re:Clever strategy (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about a year ago | (#44395983)

You don't need the adapter if your TV has USB ports. But otherwise what's the big deal? You plug your tv into power after all.

Re:Clever strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394667)

sure, if your tinfoil hat is really that tight, you could believe that. Or it could be that they didn't really think it would be as popular as it has turned out. Its certainly not hard to believe that they only had a limited number of codes to give out either, and that doesn't even require a tightening of the tinfoil to believe.

I bought one as soon as it was up on the play store and got the 3 month free Netflix, but i actually had no idea you got it until i seen it on the checkout page, which was a nice surprise.

I actually was surprised it was 3 months and not 1 month, 1 month would have been nice too, for a $35 device, getting $8 worth of free service is actually pretty good, i wouldn't expect getting $24 worth of free service with a $35 device to last long, unless its the same company providing both the device and service.

 

Re:Clever strategy (2, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44394863)

It seems like the most surefire way for Google to "be evil" in people's eyes is to have special offers and go the extra mile. Offer google reader for free for years with a cutoff date? Evil! Offer free netflix, with a cutoff date? Evil! Donate to charity-- but only SOME of your assets? Evil!

Apparently the only way for them not to be evil is to only ever donate the entirety of their assets, offer services in perpetuity, and ever make any money whatsoever.

Re:Clever strategy (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about a year ago | (#44394941)

"Evil" is a subjective term...

Re:Clever strategy (2)

Demoknight (66150) | about a year ago | (#44395031)

I'm fairly confident somewhere near 100% of the people who are the market for this device would have made the purchase without the Netflix voucher at that price point... please provide counterpoint.

Re:Clever strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395461)

hurr durr. make a purely speculative counter to a purely speculative argument, demand counterpoint. intelligent discussion, how does it work?

Cute, But ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394393)

It's a cute device, but not really ready for public consumption. Its restricted (or incomplete?) support means you can only use what Google lets you rather than any video on the source device.

I'm sure they'll improve the compatibility, but until then it's just a device that streams Google approved content.

Re:Cute, But ... (2)

bjwest (14070) | about a year ago | (#44394631)

It's a cute device, but not really ready for public consumption. Its restricted (or incomplete?) support means you can only use what Google lets you rather than any video on the source device.

I'm sure they'll improve the compatibility, but until then it's just a device that streams Google approved content.

This makes it just as ready for public consumption as any 'i', Win8 or kindle device out there.

Re:Cute, But ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395011)

This makes it just as ready for public consumption as any 'i', Win8 or kindle device out there.

You're comparing apples and oranges. This is not an Android device. The Chromecast can stream certain (Google approved) content from Android or iOS devices.

The Chromecast is more comparable to Apple TV. Apple TV can do a lot more, and costs more ($99). Chromecast doesn't need the HDMI cable or external power supply.

I'm sure there are other non-Google, non-Android & non-Apple devices out there that do more, cost more, etc. The Chromeacst isn't in their league yet.

Re:Cute, But ... (1, Informative)

Proteus (1926) | about a year ago | (#44395345)

Your comment is either astonishingly ignorant or really bad trolling:

  • Apple iOS devices play whatever video and audio content you want, provided you supply it in a supported format (H.264 M4V, for example); the supported formats are open standards, and tools to create compatible files are ubiquitous, and many are free. Or you can just install VLC for iOS and use pretty much any format (though it does decoding in software for formats that i-Devices don't have hardware decoders for, which means battery life goes down the shitter).
  • Win8 devices likewise will play whatever content you transfer to them, providing it's in one of the supported formats. Likewise, many of the supported formats are open standards, and tools to create compatible files are readily available. MS puts very few restrictions on what you can install, so adding more media support is trivial.
  • Amazon's Kindle readers only support the AZW format for DRM-protected content, but will read unprotected MOBI, PRC, and TPZ eBook formats out of the box; they also allow you to read plain-text files and have some basic PDF support. The Kindle tablet supports MP4 video using open-standard codecs, just like iOS and Win8 do. All Kindle devices that can play audio support MP3 and Audible.

If it were true that the Chromecast only allowed "Google approved content" as grandparent claims, that would be far more constraining than any of the devices you gave examples of.

Unfortunately for GP, they misunderstand Chromecast's limitations; direct, native streaming is only available for a few Google-approved sources, but anything the Chrome browser plays out of the box (including any HTML5 video, Flash objects, etc.) can be cast to the dongle; it's hardly as limited as "Google-approved sources", more like "stuff using technologies and formats that Google supports in Chrome".

Re:Cute, But ... (1)

bjwest (14070) | about a year ago | (#44395501)

Your comment is either astonishingly ignorant or really bad trolling:

I'll go with ignorant, but not astonishingly ignorant. The GP stated "It's a cute device, but not really ready for public consumption. Its restricted (or incomplete?) support means you can only use what Google lets you rather than any video on the source device", and that's what I was respoinding to. Apple has the ability to kill apps you paid for, just because they disapprove of them. If they don't like an app, it doesn't get in the store, and, unless you've broken your device (which is of questionable legality), you're limited to Apple approved apps. Similar, although with fewer restrictions, with the Kindle. Amazon can delete books you've bought, or even edit the content of books without your consent. I'm not sure with Win8, but from what I've read, they want or have the same restrictions as iOS, mostly on portable devices, but I'm sure not far behind on desktops.

Re:Cute, But ... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394789)

google approved content??? no, its limited to those apps that have the ability to use the cast feature, right now netflix, some google services (youtube,play music, ect.) and through the chrome browser, are what have the ability, not because of some conspiracy of google approved content, but because the SDK was just released with it, so it a couple of months there will be an several video players that allow you to play whatever.

Until then its just a device that works with apps that take advantage of the cast feature, whether google "approves" of it or not.

Re:Cute, But ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395121)

Any site that you can load into the Chrome browser you can watch on your TV. How is that Google limiting things?

watch bootleg sports for cord cutters (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44394465)

that's the only thing i can see using it for if i didn't have an apple tv and a Mac

if you don't pay for cable you can stream live sports to your TV now instead of watching it on a computer

Nice except that it needs Google's cloud... (1)

gmezero (4448) | about a year ago | (#44394611)

I want a cheep device that simply mirrors my screen (from whatever device, like a VNC viewer) to my TV over my LAN. Give me that and I'll be a happy camper.

Re:Nice except that it needs Google's cloud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394717)

$3 will get you an hdmi cable ... computer, meet tv.

Re:Nice except that it needs Google's cloud... (3, Informative)

stigmato (843667) | about a year ago | (#44394849)

I want a cheep device that simply mirrors my screen (from whatever device, like a VNC viewer) to my TV over my LAN. Give me that and I'll be a happy camper.

Using Chrome and the Chromecast Extension you can mirror your screen. Simply click the "Cast" button and select "Cast entire screen" under the arrow.

Re:Nice except that it needs Google's cloud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394951)

That is literally exactly what this does. Or as others have said, just buy a cable...

Re:Nice except that it needs Google's cloud... (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#44395005)

> I want a cheep device

You'll be wanting a sparrow, then!

May be... (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about a year ago | (#44394679)

...it would be one way to get NetFlix under Linux by plugging the ChromeCast into your Linux PC's HDMI port??

Re:May be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395737)

You have a HDMI input port on your Linux PC?

Powering this sucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394681)

Can't you just power this thing with a cell phone charger with micro USB end. No need to 'find a USB port'.

DRM hole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394703)

Does anyone know, does this create a hole for HDCP, or does it send the content in encrypted form if the device requests it?

Re:DRM hole? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44394811)

I know that you are a colossal faggot.

Price Point (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | about a year ago | (#44395295)

The main thing I see, stripping away all the hype, is the price point for this device. And as to the hype I actually did not know what this thing did before I happened to go on iFixit today and decided to actually see what it was.

Because what it is is damn near nothing. It is a consumer grade Raspberry Pi that may or may not catch on fire at some point. Ok ok, Google has some damn fine engineers so I'm guessing that it won't but we've seen other titans struggle with such issues, coughapplecough.

But actually it is less than the Pi unless you a Netflix coupon as more, which I do not, I really question this thing's purpose. Turn's your TV into a SmartTV! is the hype I see. I do not remember seeing any talk about how SmartTVs took off so...yeah. Back to that price point argument.

Want to try having a SmartTV for only $35, a bit of free Netflix, and access to giving Google and the NSA more of your ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H...ah you get the idea.

While I've had a bit of fun here I honestly question if this will take off. The media conglomerates that have been allowed to morph into entities that control content creation, content delivery, internet delivery, that have clear conflict of interest issues for the consumers are going to fight tooth and nail to let anyone on their jungle gym. We however will see if this see if this latest experment in totally free as in a birrrrrrddddd now capitalistic armageddon will somehow not morph into a greater clusterfuck for us citizens...I mean consumers...hell I mean terrorists.

Re:Price Point (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44396125)

It ... may or may not catch on fire at some point.

So for $35 you get a "nice" gift to give relatives you hate? ;-)

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395301)

Unlike the Roku Stick, it uses a separate micro-USB port instead of MHL to power it.

NO IT DOES NOT!! If you have HDMI 1.4 it does not require a separate power source. Slashdot editors should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap!

Hacking. (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#44395321)

I really hope the hacking community gets behind this thing. (At $35 I expect they will.) If someone can figure out how to get XBMC to run on it then my Christmas shopping is done.

Idiocracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395563)

Why would anyone buy this locked down piece of crap from Google, when they could simply buy a generic Android 'stick'? Isn't the whole point of Android in the first place to ensure good free apps exist that would do EVERYTHING you would need from an Android stick attached to your TV set? Why on Earth would a proprietary solution from Google be better?

fucking AMATEURS! (2)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#44395787)

Even if most products are NOT hits, everyone HOPES for one, and an organization as big as Google should at least PLAN for the possibility of one -- and at this price, SOMEONE in the googleplex should have figured out that it had a good chance of actually being one. They should have either a) had an infinite number of Netflix discount codes available, or b) CLEARLY publicized "First N customers get 3 free months of Netflix!" And then be prepared to reach N in a matter of minutes.

For as many PHDs as Google has, it's continually surprising how much stuff like this they screw up.

(Sorry for the caps. I'm tired and don't feel like writing tags. Dear Slashdot, its 2013. Please get a rich text editor for comments -- bold, ital, underline, strikethrough, lists, blockquote, and link oughtta do it.)

SmartStick (1)

fincher69 (1998394) | about a year ago | (#44395867)

Anyone else played with the Favi SmartStick? I got one last year and it seems to do about all that this does (albeit for about $15 more dollars) and more. It hast the play store so I can download many apps and it has internal storage for playing local files. Is there something I am missing about this that makes it even as good, much less better, than the SmartStick?
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