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Roku Dongle: New streaming Device

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is neat:



http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/04/r...to-mhl-dongle/

Quote:
The latest innovation from Roku CEO Anthony Wood and his squad? After reducing the size of its players to a mere hockey puck, it has now managed to fit all the necessary hardware into this tiny dongle, that plugs into the HDMI port of MHL-compatible HDTVs.

I'm not sure how many TVs are MHL-compatible (or are planned to be) though, but still an interesting device.
post #2 of 11
I keep reading about Apple coming out with their own TV which I can't understand. Why not simply upgrade the existing Apple TV or a device similar to this and every TV is your market. You don't have to worry about extremely low margins on sets or opening a can of worms without really opening any new doors. The only excuse I can see is if other manufacturers make their smart TVs so entertaining no one wants an add-on of which I don't see happening anytime soon.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is going to sound anti-Apple, but if you look at how Apple conducts business, it makes sense. They thrive on a consistent user experience which means an Apple TV could guarantee the same refresh rates, resolutions, features, and perhaps even screen sizes. That's not to mention guaranteeing there's a webcam on each and every TV (something you can't guarantee with a box, since it would require the consumer hook it up and place it above/below the TV (same with any kindof motion controller thing).

They also love to lock people into iTunes or other Apple services. By having a dedicated TV, they can effectively lock out other devices or applications (Netflix doesn't pay them to have an app, then AppleTV owners don't get access to Netflix....they could in theory even set it up that it would recognize a Roku box was attached and lock it out).

Also, look at how they have handled in-app purchasing (Apple gets a whopping 30% of any in-app purchases). Picture being able to order a Vudu movie on the Apple TV app for $6.99 for example, and Apple would most likely be taking a 30% cut of it (or over $2) because they're allowing Vudu the privilege of selling us something through an app.

Yes, they could do the same thing with a standalone box, but with it being tied to the TV, they may (as mentioned) be able to recognize that you hooked up a Vudu box and lock it out. I'm not sure they would because of the potential outcry, but it's certainly possible.

The point is, they try really hard to lock you into the Apple/iTunes ecosystem with their products.

Plus they can charge twice as much for having an Apple Logo then release the same TV later that year in white to keep in the news
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

This is going to sound anti-Apple, but if you look at how Apple conducts business, it makes sense. They thrive on a consistent user experience which means an Apple TV could guarantee the same refresh rates, resolutions, features, and perhaps even screen sizes. That's not to mention guaranteeing there's a webcam on each and every TV (something you can't guarantee with a box, since it would require the consumer hook it up and place it above/below the TV (same with any kindof motion controller thing).

They also love to lock people into iTunes or other Apple services. By having a dedicated TV, they can effectively lock out other devices or applications (Netflix doesn't pay them to have an app, then AppleTV owners don't get access to Netflix....they could in theory even set it up that it would recognize a Roku box was attached and lock it out).

Also, look at how they have handled in-app purchasing (Apple gets a whopping 30% of any in-app purchases). Picture being able to order a Vudu movie on the Apple TV app for $6.99 for example, and Apple would most likely be taking a 30% cut of it (or over $2) because they're allowing Vudu the privilege of selling us something through an app.

Yes, they could do the same thing with a standalone box, but with it being tied to the TV, they may (as mentioned) be able to recognize that you hooked up a Vudu box and lock it out. I'm not sure they would because of the potential outcry, but it's certainly possible.

The point is, they try really hard to lock you into the Apple/iTunes ecosystem with their products.

Plus they can charge twice as much for having an Apple Logo then release the same TV later that year in white to keep in the news

I'm still hoping someone like Samsung comes out with a white bezeled tv and sues Apple for copyright infringement when they come out with their tv.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

I keep reading about Apple coming out with their own TV which I can't understand. Why not simply upgrade the existing Apple TV or a device similar to this and every TV is your market. You don't have to worry about extremely low margins on sets or opening a can of worms without really opening any new doors. The only excuse I can see is if other manufacturers make their smart TVs so entertaining no one wants an add-on of which I don't see happening anytime soon.

In the long run I think this functionality will be built into every display that is produced. The reason is that single, unified device eliminates complexity. Don't even get me started on the volume and FF/Rew not being on the same remote.

However in the short run the technology is still in flux, including hardware performance, user-interface, services available, etc. Thus, we're currently stuck in a transitional period where companies and their customers must choose between two imperfect solutions. They can have tight and convenient integration, or they can get the best functionality by plugging in the newest and personally preferred external box.

Apple seems to normally error on the side of usability. My prediction is that the next generation chip in iOS devices, perhaps called an A6, will finally be fast enough processing power that there will be no further need to upgrade for the sake of browsing and playing video files or services. Once that happens, Apple can release a product that lives up to it's tradition of integrated devices/environments. Further refinement can all take place via automated software updates.
post #6 of 11
It is cool but it's not that small at least by USB stick standards. Without line of site I trust they've figured out a way to control it without an IR remote.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post

It is cool but it's not that small at least by USB stick standards. Without line of site I trust they've figured out a way to control it without an IR remote.

Certainly bigger than a USB thumb drive. Does it matter though?

I was surprised to learn that it doesn't have to be operated via a radio or infra-red remote. Instead, it can be controlled via your TVs existing remote control. It makes use of Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL). Yeah, I had to google it too.

It remains to be seen though if compatibility or support issues make MHL truly viable yet. I hope it is. This seems like an excellent solution for upgrading smart TVs.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

Certainly bigger than a USB thumb drive. Does it matter though?

The headlines were a bit misleading implying it was the size of a USB stick. This thing would probably stick out past the edge of the TV if you used a side HDMI port. On the plus side you don't need to plug in a power adapter.

I'm still waiting for them to invent something like this that allows me to wirelessly mirror my laptop screen on my TV with no content restrictions.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post

I'm still waiting for them to invent something like this that allows me to wirelessly mirror my laptop screen on my TV with no content restrictions.

Via HDMI there has been several wireless generations of such. The older ones couldn't handle 1080p. This one requires Intel Wireless Display but others don't...

http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-F7D4501...0&sr=8-3-spell

Like these...

http://www.amazon.com/Warpia-StreamH...ref=pd_sim_e_2
http://www.amazon.com/Netgear-Univer...ref=pd_sim_e_3
post #10 of 11
Intel's WiDi is cool but is limited PC's and only works with laptops that have the technology built in from the factory. I have a Macbook Air and the last time I checked there weren't any good solutions for Macs. Preferably it wouldn't require a piece of hardware to be attached to the laptop.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post

Intel's WiDi is cool but is limited PC's and only works with laptops that have the technology built in from the factory. I have a Macbook Air and the last time I checked there weren't any good solutions for Macs. Preferably it wouldn't require a piece of hardware to be attached to the laptop.

If HDbaseT catches on enough with consumers, I suppose at some point you might see a smart HDbaseT switch that could accept a stream sent over WiFi (through your AP/Router) to its IP LAN addresses (as one of the functions of such a switch is to bridge the HDbaseT cable plant and the IP/Ethernet cable plant) and distribute it to the connected display devices. I would expect to pay through the freaking nose for it, at least for the first few years...and I suppose content providers might try to use HDCP to prevent any software driver from doing a streaming screencap while protected content is being played...I'm not really an expert on the DRM wars.

VNC and other remote control apps are way too slow for anything but troubleshooting, but I have thought about playing around with a remote X11 session before. I'm not sure if that might be any better for actual viewing. You'd have to deal with getting the audio there as well, I suppose. And sync.
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