Light Reading

Can Cable Stick One on Chromecast?

Mari Silbey
3/3/2014
50%
50%

In direct contrast to the much-maligned set-tops rented from cable providers, Google's retail Chromecast device -- a low-cost HDMI adapter that streams over-the-top video content to a TV set -- is owned and beloved by many.

There's a long list of reasons why the two device categories are very different, but the sheer popularity of the Chromecast adapter leads to an inevitable question: Should the cable industry follow Google's lead and develop its own HDMI streaming stick solution?

As it turns out, the answer is not simple.

Traditional set-top vendors are exploring the merits of HDMI adapters and the business-case scenarios that could make sense to service providers. Pace plc chief technologist Darren Fawcett told us about three possible use cases for a streaming stick. First, it could be used for mirroring content from a mobile device to a TV. Second, it could connect to a broadband gateway and offer over-the-top video service direct to a TV. Third, it could be used in a hybrid scenario, combining pay TV and broadcast TV programming with OTT video.

There are pros and cons to the hybrid use case. On the pro side, even though it still represents a capex cost for the operator, a streaming stick could be much cheaper than a set-top. And it still gives service providers a way to manage the video experience without relying on a consumer electronics manufacturer to provide the underlying software.

"I think the reason why the stick is appealing to many operators is because, whilst it is a capex client to handle… [it] enables me to maintain the managed service [and] is also controllable in the sense that I know what software version is on it, and I therefore know… what services I can offer and how I can upgrade my services accordingly," Fawcett said.

An HDMI adapter can also be self-installed by a subscriber (no truck roll). Thanks to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), it has the cachet of a must-have gadget, rather than a must-tolerate cable box.

On the con side, consumer expectations for cable TV are much higher than they are for the over-the-top video that Chromecast supports. Further, operators want the ability to offer an experience that's consistent with what they deliver on other platforms. In short, the performance requirements for cable providers are much different than they are for Google, and that impacts the size and price of the hardware they need.

"You've got to be mindful that, as soon as you start putting… more into it, in effect it becomes a set-top box," Fawcett said. "It's not quite as straightforward as 'The technology is evolving and therefore shrinking. I can fit it all in the dongle.' What we're seeing is technology is evolving, but also requirements are creeping up."

Next page: Who's doing what?

(17)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/14/2014 | 5:38:39 PM
Re: Performance is key
MikeP688: "Creating different classes of users, though, is against the very spirit of the interent that was supposed to be the great equalizer."

Not at all. ISPs have always been able to charge more for more bandwidth. The problem arises when ISPs begin to discriminate against certain websites and businesses with no technical reason for doing so 
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Moderator
3/10/2014 | 2:38:42 PM
Re: Chromecast is not for everyone (Briefly)
@Mike yes, you may want to hold off on buying a Roku streaming stick. The regular Roku boxes are already very good.
MikeP688
50%
50%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/6/2014 | 12:26:03 AM
Re: Performance is key
Creating different classes of users, though, is against the very spirit of the interent that was supposed to be the great equalizer.     TELCO's already have tiered plans which we've deliberated here.   The moves, though, are worrisome to say the least.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/6/2014 | 12:09:29 AM
Re: Performance is key
A consumer who pays a premium for cable access has higher demands than someone watching a free video on YouTube.
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/5/2014 | 4:10:51 PM
Re: "For Chromecast app developers there needs to be an incentive..."
This discussion makes me wonder if Google will alloy some kind of "in-app purchases" via the Chromecast interface in the future. That would provide an incentive for some app developers. I also wonder if Google will someday allow Chromecast accessories to be made by 3rd parties (like Apple does with various approved iPad accessories) -- so we might see remote controls or "joysticks" to go along with the Chromecast.
MikeP688
50%
50%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/5/2014 | 2:01:28 AM
Re: "For Chromecast app developers there needs to be an incentive..."
Yes, it is popular--but there needs to the incentive for the App Developers to drive revenue--and as I said, I am more than confident Google will drive it as it dominates ever more.

 
gconnery
50%
50%
gconnery,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/5/2014 | 1:59:25 AM
"For Chromecast app developers there needs to be an incentive..."
The incentive for app developers is that the ChromeCast is popular so has sold in large numbers and is easy to use and has an SDK available, allowing them to write support for it into their existing app.

Should HBO Go support it?  Well, what's HBO Go for?  To keep you paying your HBO monthly fee?  Oh, then yes they should.

Should Hulu Plus support it?  Do they want people to pay for Hulu Plus?  Oh, then yes they should.

Should Amazon support it?  Yes.  Should MLB support it?  Yes.  Anything that already has a monetization strategy for mobile should support it.

And if they don't have a mobile monetization strategy?  Well, then they're going to be out of business soon enough.  They probably shouldn't spend money on ChromeCast support.
MikeP688
50%
50%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/5/2014 | 1:51:52 AM
Re: Performance is key
Buffering drives me up the wall....but as one who consider himself a "Power User", I am patient.  But the typical patient may not be as patient.    
MikeP688
0%
100%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/5/2014 | 1:50:54 AM
Re: Not sure what to say...
I thought ROKU was in a step in that direction.

 
MikeP688
0%
100%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/5/2014 | 1:48:22 AM
Re: Chromecast is not for everyone (Briefly)
There is no question that for $ 35, you get a lot of value--just as I'm sure ROKU's offering will be just as valuable.     As for App Developers, there needs to be an incentive for it which I am sure Google will work to figure it out since it is clear that Android is clearing house right now 

 

 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Then pick up your axe, put on your spandex trousers and get yourself down to Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE). Kerrang!!!
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ciena CEO: The Web-Scale Revolution

4|28|15   |   10:32   |   (3) comments


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Nokia Quashes Handsets Rumor
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 4/28/2015
Verizon Builds Key Vendors Into SDN Strategy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2015
Why Is Verizon Fighting With Programmers?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 4/28/2015
Astellia Highlights Customer Care Disconnect
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/29/2015
T-Mobile Beats Sprint on Subs, Eyes Verizon on Network
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Cats with Phones
Working With What You've Got Click Here
"It's pretty hard to answer these things without thumbs!"