How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby jeffrok » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:28 pm

**** Drivel wrote:The two devices are really not in direct competition with each other the way I see it. Chromecast is targetted at smartphone/tablet users, while Roku is a proper internet TV streamer. Both have their advantages/disadvantages, but neither can replace the other per se.
Now the lack of YouTube on Roku is an entirely different issue....


It may not be direct competition, but there IS a lot of potential for this device to gain new users that may have bought a Roku but haven't yet. If this device gets 10-20 good "channels", or allows better Airplay-type display mirroring, people may who already own tablets/phones/desktops (who these days doesn't already one one of those?) may choose the cheaper Chromecast over the Roku. Anytime people choose one device over another, that's competition.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby KennyJ » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:48 pm

tobarefeet wrote:
KennyJ wrote:
Remember GoogleTV?

Me neither.



That comment shows no understanding on how Chromecast works. None.


And you sir, completely missed the point. You said, "Chromecast has the entire support of Google. That says it all, frankly. " My reply was completely appropriate to your point.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby Gilgamesh » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:20 pm

I have to wonder why Roku would particularly care about building a "Chromecast killer." Like virtually every hardware offering that Google has ever produced or dabbled in if they leave it alone it will kill itself quickly enough.

That seems to be the pattern when companies that are software giants try their hand at hardware. At some point a lack of innovation or a lack of support will kill Chromecast without anyone needing to do anything to help it along.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby jeffrok » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:36 pm

I disagree this time around, Gilgamesh. I think with the number of purchases/backorders already, Google knows it has a potential hit.

Also, not everything Google does gets dropped- Google Maps, Google Music, Chrome, and um, this little thing called Android (and the Nexus line of hardware).
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby BoloMKXXVIII » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:48 am

Google is not afraid to try a bunch of things. If it works, they stay with it. If it fails, they dump it and chalk it up to a learning experience. Google employees rarely lose their jobs because of a failed project.

Controlling a device with your phone is nothing new. There have been smartphone aps for Roku for years. I have them and rarely use them. It is easier to control your TV with a remote than with a smartphone. The user learns where the buttons are located and after a short time no longer has to look at the remote. A touch screen will always require you to look away from the TV. This is the same issue with putting touch screens in cars. Do you really want to have to wake up your phone, put in your PIN and switch to the chromecast app to pause your show? Also, it is just one more thing that will reduce battery life on your phone. Even if the phone is not doing the actual streaming, you are still going to be using your phone more than you used to in order to control your Chromecast. I think Chromecast is an interesting product and will be following it as it matures. I just don't think it is something I really need to buy...even at only $35.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby Frankie'sMarket » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:03 am

mikebdoss wrote:It's a neat little toy, and it'll certainly improve, but I honestly don't see the choppiness issue fixing itself without a new piece of hardware - that's gotta be where the bottleneck is right now.


Unfortunately, I fear some future "upgrades" of Chromecast will involve adding restrictions. For one thing, I can imagine certain content providers not exactly being thrilled with their programming being freely mirrored onto TVs. Hulu is one example. You can watch free programming on a PC browser with the basic version of Hulu. But if you want to stream the same onto your nice big flatscreen at home, then you've got to pony up for a Hulu Plus subscription. Chromecast, as it stands now, is a fly in the ointment on that particular business model.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby TheEndless » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:59 pm

Frankie'sMarket wrote:
mikebdoss wrote:It's a neat little toy, and it'll certainly improve, but I honestly don't see the choppiness issue fixing itself without a new piece of hardware - that's gotta be where the bottleneck is right now.


Unfortunately, I fear some future "upgrades" of Chromecast will involve adding restrictions. For one thing, I can imagine certain content providers not exactly being thrilled with their programming being freely mirrored onto TVs. Hulu is one example. You can watch free programming on a PC browser with the basic version of Hulu. But if you want to stream the same onto your nice big flatscreen at home, then you've got to pony up for a Hulu Plus subscription. Chromecast, as it stands now, is a fly in the ointment on that particular business model.

Not really, because it basically does the same thing that PlayOn has been doing to get around the restriction for years. For sites like that, the stream has to be played on your computer, and the software is just screencasting that to the device. PlayOn cheats a little more by actually creating a "virtual screen" that it casts, so it's never visible on the computer, but the premise is the same. Basically, because the video is being streamed to an authorized device (the desktop), it's "legal" as far as the TOS/TOU is concerned. The iffy part comes in when you start questioning the legality of rebroadcasting/screencasting that content to another unauthorized device (the Roku or Chromecast, in this case), but by that time, the onus is on the end user, because they're the one initiating that cast.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby scyber » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:58 am

Gilgamesh wrote:I have to wonder why Roku would particularly care about building a "Chromecast killer." Like virtually every hardware offering that Google has ever produced or dabbled in if they leave it alone it will kill itself quickly enough.

That seems to be the pattern when companies that are software giants try their hand at hardware. At some point a lack of innovation or a lack of support will kill Chromecast without anyone needing to do anything to help it along.


I honestly don't see this as a hardware play for google. I think they released the hardware to spur the adoption of their google cast protocol. I have a feeling we will see google cast receivers start to appear on more and more devices over the next year or so (in particular I think google already said google tv devices will be updated). To me, google cast seems like a direct attack at Airplay and the Apple TV. They are trying to take away one of the main competitive advantages that AppleTV has. Yes it isn't a full replacement for Airplay, but the cross platform support and potentially larger number of supporting receiver devices could make it more appealing.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby wingrider » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:01 am

**** Drivel wrote:The two devices are really not in direct competition with each other the way I see it. Chromecast is targetted at smartphone/tablet users, while Roku is a proper internet TV streamer. Both have their advantages/disadvantages, but neither can replace the other per se.
Now the lack of YouTube on Roku is an entirely different issue....


Absolutely agree it's apples and oranges
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby Frankie'sMarket » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:15 pm

TheEndless wrote:
Frankie'sMarket wrote:Unfortunately, I fear some future "upgrades" of Chromecast will involve adding restrictions. For one thing, I can imagine certain content providers not exactly being thrilled with their programming being freely mirrored onto TVs. Hulu is one example. You can watch free programming on a PC browser with the basic version of Hulu. But if you want to stream the same onto your nice big flatscreen at home, then you've got to pony up for a Hulu Plus subscription. Chromecast, as it stands now, is a fly in the ointment on that particular business model.

Not really, because it basically does the same thing that PlayOn has been doing to get around the restriction for years. For sites like that, the stream has to be played on your computer, and the software is just screencasting that to the device. PlayOn cheats a little more by actually creating a "virtual screen" that it casts, so it's never visible on the computer, but the premise is the same. Basically, because the video is being streamed to an authorized device (the desktop), it's "legal" as far as the TOS/TOU is concerned. The iffy part comes in when you start questioning the legality of rebroadcasting/screencasting that content to another unauthorized device (the Roku or Chromecast, in this case), but by that time, the onus is on the end user, because they're the one initiating that cast.


If what you are claiming is true, then Roku would be at a disadvantage. Think about it. Why would anyone buy a Roku unit that requires a Plus subscription to access Hulu, if the Chromecast lets you watch basic Hulu on your TV with no subscription cost? Sure, Hulu Plus offers more programming choices, but with the savings realized, most consumers would be more than happy to content themselves with the basic Hulu catalog. In a scenario like that, Hulu comes out losing. Roku (and all other streaming devices playing by the rules) also end up losing. In the meantime, Google is making out like a bandit selling Chromecast units with unlimited mirroring.

I would be very wary of the notion that PlayOn's practices provides an air-tight legal guarantee. Laws regulating the distribution of digital media are far from being set in stone at this point.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby TheEndless » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:15 am

Frankie'sMarket wrote:
TheEndless wrote:
Frankie'sMarket wrote:Unfortunately, I fear some future "upgrades" of Chromecast will involve adding restrictions. For one thing, I can imagine certain content providers not exactly being thrilled with their programming being freely mirrored onto TVs. Hulu is one example. You can watch free programming on a PC browser with the basic version of Hulu. But if you want to stream the same onto your nice big flatscreen at home, then you've got to pony up for a Hulu Plus subscription. Chromecast, as it stands now, is a fly in the ointment on that particular business model.

Not really, because it basically does the same thing that PlayOn has been doing to get around the restriction for years. For sites like that, the stream has to be played on your computer, and the software is just screencasting that to the device. PlayOn cheats a little more by actually creating a "virtual screen" that it casts, so it's never visible on the computer, but the premise is the same. Basically, because the video is being streamed to an authorized device (the desktop), it's "legal" as far as the TOS/TOU is concerned. The iffy part comes in when you start questioning the legality of rebroadcasting/screencasting that content to another unauthorized device (the Roku or Chromecast, in this case), but by that time, the onus is on the end user, because they're the one initiating that cast.

If what you are claiming is true, then Roku would be at a disadvantage. Think about it. Why would anyone buy a Roku unit that requires a Plus subscription to access Hulu, if the Chromecast lets you watch basic Hulu on your TV with no subscription cost? Sure, Hulu Plus offers more programming choices, but with the savings realized, most consumers would be more than happy to content themselves with the basic Hulu catalog. In a scenario like that, Hulu comes out losing. Roku (and all other streaming devices playing by the rules) also end up losing. In the meantime, Google is making out like a bandit selling Chromecast units with unlimited mirroring.

Multiple reasons.. 1) Hulu Plus not only has different content than free Hulu, it's the only way to get HD content and it has content available next day, instead of the two week delay that is typical for the free content, and 2) for the same reasons discussed earlier in this thread. To pull that off, you have to browse to the content on your computer, start playback, then cast to the Chromecast, which is a ridiculously tedious process, and you still have the framerate issue. If you already have a computer within viewing distance of your television to make that less tedious, then you're probably just as likely to have an HDMI cable that you could run directly from your computer to your television.

Frankie'sMarket wrote:I would be very wary of the notion that PlayOn's practices provides an air-tight legal guarantee. Laws regulating the distribution of digital media are far from being set in stone at this point.

I have no idea... I'm not a lawyer. I just know that PlayOn has been doing it for years, and my explanation seems like a plausible one to me.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby jeffrok » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:45 am

How can some of you call the Roku vs Chromecast comparison an "apples to oranges" comparison? They both stream similar content to tv's, albeit in slightly different manners..

The Roku and Chromecast ARE direct competitors whether you realize it or not.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby TheEndless » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:06 am

jeffrok wrote:How can some of you call the Roku vs Chromecast comparison an "apples to oranges" comparison? They both stream similar content to tv's, albeit in slightly different manners..

The Roku and Chromecast ARE direct competitors whether you realize it or not.

I'd say the primary reason is that the Chromecast requires a separate device (a phone, a tablet, or a computer) with a Chromecast aware application to do anything, whereas the Roku is completely standalone. The only way it's an "apples to apples" comparison is if your sole criteria is that they can both play an internet stream on your television, but I think that's way oversimplifying it.

In theory, given the protocol information, I could write a single Roku channel that could do everything the Chromecast is capable of.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby Frankie'sMarket » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:47 am

TheEndless wrote:Multiple reasons.. 1) Hulu Plus not only has different content than free Hulu, it's the only way to get HD content and it has content available next day, instead of the two week delay that is typical for the free content, and 2) for the same reasons discussed earlier in this thread.


If these upgraded features alone are so enticing, then why does Hulu restrict access on the Roku to only paid subscribers?

BTW, it's not just Hulu. MLB.TV and DramaFever also require premium level subscriptions in order to have full programming access to streaming devices. Whether you realize it or not, being able to access programming on streaming devices like the Roku are being used by many services as a prime selling point for premium subscriptions. Call it a wild hunch if you want, but even if Chromecast's mirroring is less than perfect, I don't think these online services are going to indefinitely sit on their hands when they feel their business model is threatened by a renegade device.

I smell an injunction, with a cease and desist order being served if Google doesn't abide by requests from rights holders to restrict mirroring of their programming on Chromecast.
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Re: How Roku can build a Chromecast killer

Postby TheEndless » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:00 am

Frankie'sMarket wrote:
TheEndless wrote:Multiple reasons.. 1) Hulu Plus not only has different content than free Hulu, it's the only way to get HD content and it has content available next day, instead of the two week delay that is typical for the free content, and 2) for the same reasons discussed earlier in this thread.

If these upgraded features alone are so enticing, then why does Hulu restrict access on the Roku to only paid subscribers?

It's not by Hulu's choice. It's the content owners'. This has been discussed to death here, but Hulu's own FAQ answers that question...
Hulu Plus FAQ wrote:3. Why are some of the shows I watch on Hulu not available on devices?
We understand that the content difference can be confusing, and at times frustrating for our users, so we hope this explanation is helpful.

For background, when we launched the free Hulu.com service, we obtained licensing to stream content direct to the PC – and only to the PC. With the launch of the subscription-based Hulu Plus service, we had to start from scratch and acquire licensing to stream content on TVs, smartphones, and tablets as well as PCs. We tried to get as much overlap as possible. (We want it all, of course!) But there are still some exceptions that we are working to resolve.

Today, Hulu Plus includes hundreds of shows, some of which haven't been available online before, and full runs of many of them. (To see a full list please go to Hulu Plus Content page)

Still, we understand it's disappointing when you can't access some of your favorite shows on your favorite devices. Please know that we are working diligently to include as much content as possible in Hulu Plus so you can enjoy more of your favorite shows where and when you want, and we're confident the offering will improve over time.


Frankie'sMarket wrote:I smell an injunction, with a cease and desist order being served if Google doesn't abide by requests from rights holders to restrict mirroring of their programming on Chromecast.

I don't see how there's any way they could police that. The stream is playing in a browser on your computer. There's no way for Hulu to detect that you are then re-broadcasting that browser session over your own home network. In that casting/mirroring mode, the Chromecast doesn't even know what it's playing. It's just playing the stream that the Chromecast extension is broadcasting.
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