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Google TV Hackers Open a Shell on the Chromecast; More Hacks To Follow

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the dude-this-costs-$35 dept.

Hardware Hacking 65

Via Engadget comes the news that Google's latest (and quickly sold-out) toy, the Chromecast, may soon be hacked out of one-trick-pony status; just a few days after it came out, the folks at GTV Hacker have successfully turned their attention to the Chromecast, and managed to exploit the device's bootloader and spawn a root shell. Some interesting findings, as explained in their blog post: "[I]t’s actually a modified Google TV release, but with all of the Bionic / Dalvik stripped out and replaced with a single binary for Chromecast. Since the Marvell DE3005 SOC running this is a single core variant of the 88DE3100, most of the Google TV code was reused. So, although it’s not going to let you install an APK or anything, its origins: the bootloader, kernel, init scripts, binaries, are all from the Google TV. We are not ruling out the ability for this to become a Google TV 'stick.'"

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65 comments

Any Ideas? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#44406877)

Google's "Chromebooks" have a fairly trivial (and documented/vendor-provided) mechanism for booting whatever you want on them. They default to using the crypto-tastic signed image; but it's not a hack to turn that off.

The phones that they sell directly (at least if you don't count the...um...wonderful people at Motorola) also tend not to be terribly touchy on that score.

Google TV devices, though, and now this 'Chromecast' thing they lock up tight. Are they trying to appease some paranoic video rightsholder? Is there some benefit to Google that I'm not seeing? Why the (comparatively) hands-off treatment of other devices compared to the freaking out about things that connect to TVs by default? It's doubly odd because many contemporary phones and tablets can connect to TVs, though that isn't their primary use case.

Re:Any Ideas? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44406915)

Netflix in particular won't have anything to do with any device that isn't locked down. Although rooted Android devices are a notable exception, apps have recently started attempting to test to see if the device is rooted so they can refuse to run if so. (With varying degrees of success presumably, since if you have root you can control what the app is allowed to see to a certain extent.)

Re:Any Ideas? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#44407163)

Netflix in particular won't have anything to do with any device that isn't locked down. Although rooted Android devices are a notable exception, apps have recently started attempting to test to see if the device is rooted so they can refuse to run if so. (With varying degrees of success presumably, since if you have root you can control what the app is allowed to see to a certain extent.)

yeah that would be a reason, but as you're saying that still doesn't rule out chromeos or android so.. wtf? there's a simpler explanation though. the reason is that they never got the google android tv UI "just right" - so they just went "fuck it" and now it's not a problem that most apps don't run.

of course it sounds like it's very tinkering/enthusiasist unfriendly, but hey, it's fucking TV PEOPLE they hired to do decisions on the tv stuff.

and fyi, thanks to fucking apple all the fucking companies are heading for the same mindset of "if we can't do it supercoolmegaright then don't do it at all and don't let the user to do it all" - hence we have disappearing features and vendors catering only the parts that everyone knows how to use. Imagine photoshop with that attitude, imagine sdk's with that attitude. it's shit I tell you.

Re:Any Ideas? (3, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 9 months ago | (#44407409)

"if we can't do it supercoolmegaright then don't do it at all and don't let the user to do it all"

Users have a habit of loading up phone banks with the stuff that doesn't work mega-right, even if they had to do some mild circumvention in order to try in the first place.

Google's goal (as with all of its hardware products) is to make something with no manual, no learning curve and no technical support, aside from user-supported forums, so they're going to be parsimonious about what they implement. They want you to buy the box, happily use it (to generate clickstream and view ads), and never mention the box to them again.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#44408051)

The same things are true of the stuff they don't bother to lock down, though. They certainly don't give a damn (outside of informal comments from certain of their developers that can be informative and helpful for not-immediately-obvious things like 'how do I boot a standard Linux distro on the ARM Chromebook?' ); but they seem content to make the 'get yourself in complex trouble' button not visible by default, except on Google TV devices.

Re:Any Ideas? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 9 months ago | (#44406919)

It's obviously quite highly subsidized. At $35 for the Chromecast and 3 months of free Netflix (even with an existing account), the cost to existing Netflix subscribers is about $11. They are planning on making money from renting/selling movies on Google Play store, and probably more money through affiliate programs sending new customers to Netflix and other programs that will probably be on there in the future like Hulu and Amazon Prime. If everybody just buys them and installs another OS on them, they won't make much money. With the phones, tablets, and chromebooks, they are selling them above cost price, so they don't have to make up the difference by people renting movies and such.

Re:Any Ideas? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44406959)

They're going to make money on Google Play, really?

Geniuses. Not.

Re:Any Ideas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44408091)

About as much as they made on Google TV.

Re:Any Ideas? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44407065)

Anyone could pickup 50 1.5GHz A9 usb/hdmi sticks with 512MB ram, 4GB flash and wifi for about $28 each from china (that's just from a very quick look for something from a reliable looking supplier). So it's really a question of how much you value the 3 months of netflix how much of a subsidy this thing has (with it's less flash, ports and what I'm guessing is a cheap as possible SoC). Personally I'd say it has no subsidy at all as I'm sure the hardware (including adding all duty/taxes) comes out under $35 to google and probably under $25. Even if google paid netflix half what you imply the normal price is (i.e. $4/month or $12 for the 3 months included) they would probably still not be losing money on it. Of course I really doubt google are paying netflix a cent.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#44407179)

I'd wager google didn't need to pay netflix at all and that the plan is to get people hooked.. to the sticks and to the services.

Imagine the price for the sticks two years down the line, they'll be selling 5 bucks sticks for 30 then.

Re:Any Ideas? (2)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 9 months ago | (#44407075)

The Netflix free deal was over two days ago. I ordered one from Google and they explicitly said that there was no free Netflix other then the standard one month offer to new customers.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44407337)

Doubtful. The Chromecast's hardware is dirt cheap to produce.

Google's goal is ALWAYS to make the internet better and more accessible. More people on the internet = more ads revenue for Google. It's that simple.

If a device of theirs is locked down, you can be sure it's because of some external influence. In this case, probably video "content owners".

Re:Any Ideas? (3, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 9 months ago | (#44408385)

Googles goal has never been to make things better or more accessible, quite often that is a side effect of their actual goal "to make bucket loads of money selling advertising and your personal information".

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

non0score (890022) | about 9 months ago | (#44410089)

I know, such as project loon, autonomous self-driving vehicles, Chrome, or even Android. Maybe an organization doesn't have to strictly do one xor the other? Or perhaps everything can be tied to ads anyway so this is just a truism?

Re:Any Ideas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410547)

Chrome and Android of nice products which were developed purely with greed as the primary goal but have nice side effects. self-driving vehicles and loon are currently still research projects and like all google non profitable stuff is pretty much up to the whims of management whether it continues tomorrow or not.

Re:Any Ideas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44409921)

If a device of theirs is locked down, you can be sure it's because of some external influence. In this case, probably video "content owners".

ummm Bullshit. Google needs and demands lock downs, without them they can't guarentee that your eyes belong to them and not someone elses content. Google are only in favour of openness when they are the ones to benefit, everywhere else they want to keep your eyes locked to them.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44407491)

no it's not "obviously quite highly subsidized" and you'd know that if you just looked around for a comparable piece of hardware, specifically those we can easily order direct from China.

So just maybe the idea to locking these up is because Google isn't making any money on them and the goal is to break the stranglehold on TV content providers have. Google has had a tough time getting vendors to join them in their various TV ventures. So by flooding the market with cheap devices which pull content from the internet they might hope to create a large enough market to change some corporate minds. If half of them are getting hacked and doing other things instead of streaming content their goals have little chance of success.

And there are lots of Android phones which can't stream to the TV as a result of keeping hardware costs low and this little add-on provides that capability in an interesting and inexpensive way.

If successful I do see them expanding and getting back into the full GoogleTV format and at that point them might make some money on selling videos, apps, music through their own sites. But not with this device.

Re:Any Ideas? (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 9 months ago | (#44407951)

Google may make a little money off the Youtube ads.. this device, with two predicted extensions, is a *really* natural fit for something I've wanted... I've had many occasions where I've had a youtube clip up on my tablet and wanted to be able to click a button to watch it on the TV. Netflix to a slightly lesser extent, I often pull a video into my queue on my tablet to pull it up on my TV (since searching/navigating on a roku is a bit more cumbersome). This fill that niche for me. I'm thinking that Plex will likely support this within a really short turn around of an SDK from google, and may get me to finally pay for an android version. The only down side is that neither of my TVs apparently provide (enough) power from the HDMI slot, so it needs the power cable. I've been pretty happy with mine so far (it arrived friday afternoon, had to order from best buy, since amazon was sold out).

Re:Any Ideas? (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 9 months ago | (#44407553)

They are planning on making money from renting/selling movies on Google Play store, and probably more money through affiliate programs sending new customers to Netflix and other programs that will probably be on there in the future like Hulu and Amazon Prime.

I assume there's some value to the kind of user data they'd collect from such a stick as well -- Netflix has made a business out of trying to guess what movies people will like based on their past viewing, and now Google has this stick that knows not just what Netflix movies you watch, but which Youtube, Vimeo and MKVs off your LAN you like to watch. They can also see when you fast-forward and when you don't, just as Netflix can, either by itself or in collaboration with the remote app, which can geolocate and tie the viewing information to any number of other data points. The HDMI can record when your TV is switched on or not (regardless of wether you're watching the stick's output or not), what model TV you're using...

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#44408089)

This is true; but their style seems to be (with the exception of Google TV devices, and anything 'Google+' has touched; because 'Social' is the leprosy of the internet...) the soft-sell. There is, presumably, a good bit of value in the ads displayed in Gmail inboxes; but they still let you use IMAP if you feel like it (they just know that most people won't, since the web interface is more convenient, and the option keeps the whiners happy).

Google obviously has every interest in steering you toward their offerings whenever possible; but it's relatively rare that they do so by technical fiat, rather than by default, with the knowledge that if the default doesn't suck people don't touch it.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 9 months ago | (#44408239)

What do you mean? The whole point of a box like this is they can collect this information without steering you toward they're offerings, while the usage information they collect make its offerings objectively better. The point is that since they're in your house and attached to your TV, they're mediating the TVs connection between you in the internet (or you and your wifi-attached media), just as Google proper mediates searches, and they can sample the clickstream that goes from you back to content providers, wether they're Google's content providers or not. Of course they collect this sort of information on YouTube, but when they own the web browser they can collect this information for ANY video site.

It's like a DVR; DVRs know which ads get watched, which shows get watched and rewatched, when it happens, and what gets skipped, and their operators monetize this information. This is just a DVR that uses Wifi instead of a CableCard, and Google will give it to you for a nominal low price, just as your cable op will give you the DVR for a nominal low price, because the information it collects is almost as valuable as the programming.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 9 months ago | (#44417501)

Actually, a cable box from your cable company is not really a "low price", especially if you value a better user experience. Even if you include the it-sounds-like-a-lot lifetime (of the box) subscription price, buying your own Tivo (and subscription) is cheaper than using the cable company's crappy DVR (which you can't download shows from, but with a Tivo, you can download non-copy-protected shows, which for most cable companies means non-premium channels).. In less time than a cell phone service agreement. Then after that, you're effectively saving money, and with lifetime, they have resale value.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44417105)

It's obviously quite highly subsidized.

Not according to TechCrunch [techcrunch.com]:

The price? Surprise! It’s $35. Are you kidding me? According to Google, they’re not selling them at a loss.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

Thry (962012) | about 9 months ago | (#44406925)

Are they trying to appease some paranoic video rightsholder?

Netflix seems to get a big say in these matters..

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

thejynxed (831517) | about 9 months ago | (#44406939)

They probably are, considering how easy it's been for rightsholder's groups like the MPAA to dictate if such devices are allowed to be manufactured for sale.

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

swillden (191260) | about 9 months ago | (#44407407)

It's doubly odd because many contemporary phones and tablets can connect to TVs, though that isn't their primary use case.

I think you've got your answer right there.

From a technical perspective, of course, it's not an answer at all, but look at it from the perspective of big media companies: On general-purpose computing devices they have no real say other than deciding if they do or don't want to lock their content out of the devices. Making that choice lowers the value of the devices a little, but it's not like device makers will allow the media industry to drive all their decisions. With media devices, however, which have no value to consumers except to play media, the media companies can choose to render the device nearly useless which puts them in a much stronger bargaining position.

(Disclaimer: I work for Google, but I don't have any inside information on this issue and don't know anything more about it than any other random geek, and probably less than many. The above is just my idle speculation, and is probably completely wrong. Maybe Google really does want to lock down everything so they can obtain complete control over every computing device in the universe and collect all the data to auction off to the highest bidder while feeding a copy to the NSA in exchange for use of CIA wetwork teams to take out competitors' key employees who refused to be assimilated, as well as any users who complain too loudly about being monetized against their will, and they're just using TV devices as the thin edge of the Control The World wedge -- but suck at it so badly that all the protections can be blown past with a few minutes' tinkering. But I doubt it.)

Re:Any Ideas? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 9 months ago | (#44407479)

At the moment there appears to be more growth in ads on Hulu Plus [hulu.com] and other Ten-Foot-Interface content companies than on mobile in general. Statistically people are more likely to watch an entire ad on Hulu than any other non-streaming cable method [techcrunch.com], and their CPMs are something like 10 times that of web ads, and those are twice over more than mobile ads.

Mobile ads are mostly a bill of goods Google sells to advertisers, and users hacking around at the edges of that isn't very important -- ads on TV are orders of magnitude more valuable real estate.

Re: Any Ideas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44408079)

Because on hulu you can't skip ads....

Re: Any Ideas? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 9 months ago | (#44409343)

Because on hulu you can't skip ads....

But you can skip Hulu altogether.... and enough people are watching Hulu anyway in spite of the potential to find the videos elsewhere (aka on YouTube with a "pirated" copy from some throw-away account) that they can charge the extra prices for ad revenue.

If Hulu was pissing people off, they wouldn't be making any kind of money. Those who watch on Hulu are willing to put up with the ads. Besides, I sort of enjoy some of the Hulu advertisers as it really can be quite entertaining by itself... unlike some of the real crappy ads I see on many websites. You can tell what advertising methods really aren't working because they attract advertisers of extremely low quality that tend to offend the people receiving the advertising. I'm talking stuff like advertising by e-mail (which has an extremely low s/n ratio).

Re: Any Ideas? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 9 months ago | (#44420103)

Why the scare-quotes around "pirated," homeslice? That is what it is.

Of course, Google is going to the trouble of inventing and selling it's own Web-STB because media companies suspect it of cooperating with massive piracy operations, and on account of this they won't play ball with Google's aggregation and media operation the way Google demands.

Re: Any Ideas? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 9 months ago | (#44420861)

Because Google (aka YouTube) will let you put copyrighted content up.... and then shunt all of the profits earned to a nebulous pot that goes to MPAA members (especially the major studios). It is usually of inferior quality, so it really doesn't matter to the major media companies.

Sometimes they will yank the videos off, but a surprising amount still is posted and of course Google still makes money off of the whole thing, which is the point. A few people think they are cute by posting copyrighted videos, but in the end it really doesn't matter. Many of those companies do cooperate with Google anyway as you can also do pay per view videos on YouTube as well.... if you really care to go that route. There are of course other ways to watch movies, but my point is that it still provides a source of revenue on the "long tail" of movies that are no longer being distributed.

Why else do you think the Star Wars Christmas Special is not getting yanked off of You Tube?

Re:Any Ideas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44407805)

Because they sell at a loss

Just buy an Android 'stick' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44406991)

Have IQs really dropped this low. There are an astonishing number of cheap, powerful Android USB 'stick' computers that are no more clunky than this garbage from Google, but are full blown, non-locked down computers that will run whatever software you desire. Experimenting with the Google dongle is a complete and total waste of time.

It gets worse. Google and Apple are all about the 'protected path' from source to the pixels on your display. If their proprietary dongles (for that is what these things really are) become popular enough, you won't be able to subscribe to your favourite video streaming services on non-proprietary devices in the future. The companies providing the video material will NOT want to support less secure DRM paths for their content, unless the market gives them no choice.

Re:Just buy an Android 'stick' (4, Insightful)

TFlan91 (2615727) | about 9 months ago | (#44407087)

Devices where users only have to plug in and switch to the related input on their TV will win. Regardless of whatever techies moan and groan about, simplicity and elegance is what sells (did you not pay attention during the initial iPhone craze?)

No one is going to want to buy an empty usb drive, install their own choice of OS, required streaming programs, etc, after-which they then have to CONFIGURE it (I know, scary word).. see where I'm going with this though? No average Joe or Jane is going to do that, they will spend the seemingly cheap $35? (I can't remember the price) for this fancy stick that has the word Google written on it.

Re:Just buy an Android 'stick' (2, Informative)

mattsqz (1074613) | about 9 months ago | (#44408377)

i dont think anyone was advocating using an empty usb drive, which is nothing but a storage medium, in place of this. but rather, one of the many quad-core android jellybean hdmi dongles available from china for $30-80 (with varying hardware specs) such as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkws05jsAH8 [youtube.com]

Re:Just buy an Android 'stick' (4, Informative)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 9 months ago | (#44407103)

Its CHEAP and backed by google. you would have more of a point if it werent so insanely cheap. I have lots of ways of getting video to my TVs I have an HDMi distribution panel that reaches every TV in the house, I have 3 win7 MCE DVRs, 3 Apple TVs + a mac mini that can stream anything to them., several Micca players, etc. I like Chromecast because its cheap, easy to use and I can slap one on every Tv for less then a single Apple TV. For the price, it represents a good value.

Re:Just buy an Android 'stick' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44408459)

For the price, it represents a good value.

To agree with this a bit more... if you walk into a brick and mortar store, you can pay $35 on an HDMI cable. (Not to say that you should, but you can... and embarrassingly enough, I did, once, because I needed something the same day.)

Re:Just buy an Android 'stick' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44409989)

There's Android and there's Google's Android. What you're encouraging people to get isn't "backed by Google," nor is it a turnkey solution that most people need or want.

Re:Just buy an Android 'stick' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44411555)

I like Chromecast because its cheap, easy to use and I can slap one on every Tv for less then a single Apple TV. For the price, it represents a good value.

Less than an AppleTV, much less functionality too. There are numerous ways already to do what the Chromecast does from BR players to MK808 Android sticks from China that are much more functional for roughly the same price. I don't understand the hype behind this Youtube viewing stick. How often do you really watch Youtube on your TV?

Re:Just buy an Android 'stick' (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 9 months ago | (#44414915)

ITs not just YouTube. Press Ctrl+o in Chrome and load up any h.264 movie and stream it to Chromecast. Netflix works flawlessly already, more apps will be coming fast. The dongle is not the product, the API that drives it is. There is going ot be a FLOOD of development for this thing. The problem with Apple TV is that it only works with Apple gear and its closed to small developers.. With Chromecast ANY computer running chrome can cast to it.

Re:Just buy an Android 'stick' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44407483)

The Chromecast is not only cheap* but you can also control it with whatever Android/iOS device you have laying around. Its functionality may be limited, but it is easy to use.

*cheaper than even the crappiest Android stick computers if you don't have a spare wireless keyboard/mouse lying around to control it with.

Chromecast on Linux? (2)

spivster (1136769) | about 9 months ago | (#44407153)

According to Chromecast's official support page, Linux isn't supported: https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/3209990?hl=en [google.com]. I'm hearing mixed reports that it works, or doesn't, on various distros. At any rate, Google has done a lousy job of supporting the platform that made them rich (think Picasa for Linux, the non-existent Linux Drive client, etc.). I don't have a Chromecast. For one thing, it doesn't seem to do much more than my Blu-Ray and HDTV can already do. For another, I'm not sure I could even use it with my Linux box. Has anyone been able to use it with Linux?

Re:Chromecast on Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44407199)

Yes, I was not able to set it up in Arch, but I did set it up in android and display my chrome browser to the chromecast in Arch after it was set up on my network.

Re:Chromecast on Linux? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#44407371)

I'm pretty annoyed by that as well. They do provide developer tools for Linux, but not the majority of the desktop stuff. I'd think they'd be pushing it to help people move away from the closed market that Windows and Apple both seem to be becoming.

Re:Chromecast on Linux? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44407857)

They want you to be using their closed market, google play, on a google sanctioned device running a google os(chromeos or android), they give, and always have given, very few fucks about free software on the desktop, anyone who believes otherwise is somewhat delusional.

Why bother? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#44407777)

Sure, its cool to have a USB sized PC in your pocket, but its not like there are not already 100's of them out there, that are NOT locked down.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 9 months ago | (#44408335)

It's time for someone to produce one of those things which actually work. That would be a novelty.

People can't buy what they don't know exists (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44408507)

its not like there are not already 100's of them out there

That depends on whether home users are aware that these "already 100's of them" exist. A lot of them are sold only online, not in brick-and-mortar stores where one is already shopping for other things, and they aren't promoted very well. Google can back the Chromecast with marketing muscle in Latin-alphabet markets that a no-name Chinese company can't really match.

Re:People can't buy what they don't know exists (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#44408989)

But 'home users' wont be going out and trying to load an alternative OS on their device. Those that will want to do this know about the more open alternatives.

My comments are about why bother 'rooting' it, not using it.

...like open hardware in the first place (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44409119)

Perhaps my question is how people are supposed to learn of the benefits of owning open hardware in the first place. If all the existing computing devices in your household are closed, you never get a chance to see what open hardware can do.

Re:...like open hardware in the first place (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#44409125)

The reality is that most people really don't care. They just want a toaster.

Re:...like open hardware in the first place (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about 9 months ago | (#44422569)

My parents and a lot of people not in the IT field could care less, they just want it to work and be convenient at the same time.

Re:...like open hardware in the first place (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44425731)

But if an application that someone wants to use is not available for the platform that he happens to have because of the platform's business model, then it doesn't "just work".

Re:Why bother? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 9 months ago | (#44408587)

I have some of these Android sticks. They are not so dead simple to use as Chromecast. The controllers universally suck. I'm actually using a Chromecast on an old Samsung LED monitor right now and it works great! Instead of getting TV's I can just get monitors now. I'm going to check out my local surplus shack where monitors can be had for $50. Might have to get a DVI female to HDMI male adapter. If I can put that together we might be getting a lot of Chromecast devices. If they open the spec wide, this might be a low-rent video wall sort of thing for my Linux PC. Unlimited displays would be way cool.

Re:Why bother? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#44409007)

As mentioned above, i'm not talking about the 'raw' device as shipped, i'm talking about people that want to hack into it and spend the time and trouble figuring out how.

If you want to hack something, why not choose something more hack friendly?

If all you want to do is use it, then perhaps it is a better choice. ( until i see one, ill hold judgement )

Re:Why bother? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 9 months ago | (#44417595)

Sure, its cool to have a USB sized PC in your pocket, but its not like there are not already 100's of them out there, that are NOT locked down.

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

If you want a Google TV stick (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 9 months ago | (#44408075)

Alibaba is full of them for a similar price to chromecast.

Marketing matters (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44408515)

But to what extent have these manufacturers managed to convince the general public in North America and Western Europe to go to Alibaba and buy their Google TV sticks? Marketing and promotion are big parts of doing business.

Re:Marketing matters (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 9 months ago | (#44410599)

I don't disagree, but this comment was made in the context of a story about hacking the chromecast, i.e. not the general public. If you want to hack on something, why not buy something for the same price which has more RAM, more flash memory, a better CPU and can perform in a similar role?

Re:If you want a Google TV stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44409839)

Good luck finding one that works as advertised (totally unoptimized android, failing hardware, crap drivers). Check for reviews in Amazon. There is a big difference in being cheap but good and just, well made in china cheap.

Re:If you want a Google TV stick (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 9 months ago | (#44410603)

In the context of a story about hacking devices I really don't see the issue. XDA is a good source of alternative firmwares which work extremely well with these devices. Buy it, grab a good firmware, flash it and away you go. You can stick XBMC, Netflix and all the rest on it at that point.

Google is just doing another trial run. It's their (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44408475)

usual "put it out there for people to use" method. They've seen the hardware selling on Alibaba running Android, and probably figured there's some room for technical improvements but they weren't sure if there's money to be made.
There's also the whole Nexus reference design thing: They probably want to see Chrome in this form factor instead of Android so by putting a decent product out there that does exactly that, they can convince the Chinese to follow suit.
Considering they sold out the first batch so quickly, I'd say it's looking like a success.

Windows and Mac Only (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 9 months ago | (#44410945)

Linux isn't a supported desktop OS, according to the Chromecast website.

Disappointed, but not surprised that Google would again ignore the community running the same type OS they themselves use to create wares for the inch-deep, mile-wide consumer space.
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