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Google Television The Internet

Chromecast Gets a Hardwired Ethernet Adapter 133

Mark Wilson writes: Google's Chromecast has gained quite a following of people looking for a cheap, simple way to stream content to their TVs. Part of the device's appeal is its easy of use and extensibility through the use of apps, but it is reliant on a steady Wi-Fi signal. If this represents a problem in your home, there's now a solution. The new Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast does very much what you would expect — it adds a wired Ethernet port to Google's streaming dongle. This is great news for anyone with a flaky Wi-Fi signal, or those looking to use Chromecast beyond their router's normal range.
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Chromecast Gets a Hardwired Ethernet Adapter

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Finally, it was always annoying when the movie cuts out when I start making the popcorn...

  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @01:00AM (#50073873) Journal

    Chromecast all but requires another smart device running (continuously) to control it. You can't control it directly.

    Google TV, on the other hand, AKA "Android TV Sticks", are a full-on Android device, just like your phone or tablet, but without the screen. You control it with something like a mouse/keyboard.

    You can turn off your phone/laptop while using a Google TV. You can browse the Internet on your Google TV, without using anything else to help. You can plug in a keyboard/mouse and use it like a computer! You buy apps on it from Google play, just like any other android device, and it's very compatible!

    I just loved my first TV stick that I bought on Amazon (MK808b) for $35! I just bought an MK809 when my MK808b finally died after 3 or 4 years of daily use, and it has (so far) been a nice upgrade. Faster processor, better wifi reception, more memory/storage. Still runs just fine off the power from the USB port on the side of my TV...

    PS: To control one of these, you want a "flying mouse remote". It's a keyboard that "mouses" by waving it in the air.

    • This is why I swapped to Fire TV from chromecast. Aside from casting HBO GO, everything I'd do w/ a chromecast I can do w/ the fire TV Stick and more. More being running Kodi (aka XBMC).

      • by mcrbids ( 148650 )

        As already said: I've never felt like I wanted to be locked into the (much smaller) Amazon ecosystem.

        • As already said: I've never felt like I wanted to be locked into the (much smaller) Amazon ecosystem.

          Roku 2 or Roku 3 are both better choices then Amazon's product. More cross-platform with Amazon/Google/Netflix and more.

          Only thing I dislike is that there is no way to pair bluetooth headphones to the device. Instead, the only viable option is to hook up regular wired headphones to the Roku 3 remote. (Which does a very good job, but it's not completely cordless.)
      • I have and use both devices. FireTV is best for sitting back and watching Movies, etc. I like the Chromecast better when I am 'surfing' around youtube or bouncing back and forth between ESPN3 streams, as you can find the next up item on your tablet whilst the existing video is playing. It is particularly nice when exploring music videos on Youtube.

        The Chromecast tab-casting features are nice in the kitchen, where my wife will pull up a recipe on her laptop and show it on the kitchen TV. FireTV casting fe
    • Chromecast all but requires another smart device running (continuously) to control it. You can't control it directly.

      The Amazon Fire Stick is pretty much identical to the Chromecast (but nicer), and comes with a remote control. For the intended market, the Amazon product is far superior.

      The Chromecast works perfectly well with some apps (e.g. Netflix), but stutters badly on others (e.g. Hulu). I wonder how much of this is a questionable WiFi connection, and how much of it is poor software buffering design? My bet is that a hardwired connection will make Hulu performance better, but not perfect.

      • by mcrbids ( 148650 )

        I'll be honest: I've never felt like I wanted to be locked into the (much smaller) Amazon ecosystem.

        • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @01:40AM (#50073973)

          The Google, Apple, and Amazon cults aren't worth joining. A good system should be able to play anything.

          • While that is a nice idea, I suspect that the average customer doesn't actually want a hundred different sources of movies...

            Apple and Amazon seem to have done a decent enough job with their players. What they lack in broad video support they make up for in ease of use...

            A lot of the suggestions and ideas tossed out are way beyond what most people will ever do.

            • I just got the Roku. Very easy to use. Add in lots of obscure channels if you want. Search for movies across all apps so you can pick the free one (probably handy but I never really leave netflix). Mostly the same thing as Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Nexus Player, but those used to be lacking in apps until relatively recently and they push their own services heavily (especially with Amazon Fire). Really the only reason to use one of the others over Roku is if you're already invested in their ecosystem (

          • The Google, Apple, and Amazon cults aren't worth joining. A good system should be able to play anything.

            I agree in principle. So where is this system that can play anything? Or do you mean to say there are no good systems?

            • Roku 2 or Roku 3. Natch.

              Talks to the Amazon Prime ecosystem, talks to the Google Play ecosystem, talks to Netflix, and dozens of other ecosystems.

              If you could still pair bluetooth headphones to the Roku itself, I'd give it a 5/5.
          • Apple TV can accept any video stream coming at it using iTunes and transcoding or using airplay mirroring

            Chromecast can mirror anything you want. Android TV sticks can run a variety of player apps that take some of the most common video sources(not to mention more obscure ones!).

            Amazon FireTV can also use Plex and other playback apps.

            These systems *can* play anything. AppleTV and Chromecast both need an external device, but they can play anything once they're set up.

            There are good reasons not to use AppleTV

          • I can play anything with plex and chromecast...
        • What does the Amazon Fire TV not handle that Chromecast does?

          Honest question, happy user of three Fire TV devices (two boxes and one stick). I'm not aware of anything I'm missing, I have Hulu Plus and Netflix, what else is there?

          • by adolf ( 21054 )

            How about: Tab-casting and device-casting (whatever they are called)?

            Whatever is on my phone/tablet/whatever, or on a Chrome tab on any manner of modern PC, I can send it to my BFT for the amusement (or profit, in a business setting) of others.

            Does the Fire TV do that?

            If so, Fire TV is a win because it includes a real UI and a remote. (Unless it is the Fire TV -stick-, and then things get murky before the discussion even starts.)

            But if not, then.....sheesh. I expect that my cousins and aunts will be able

            • Well, I honestly don't know if it does that... the idea of "casting" whatever is on my phone never seemed to be something I want to do.

              As I sit here and think about it, I still don't care to do that, so frankly, I don't know if it does that.

              What I do know is that the Amazon remote works really well, the voice search is spot on the money, and the box itself is very quick.

              Paid full price for one of them ($99), paid $69 for the second one, and got the stick for $19 when it launched.

              Frankly, I don't use the st

              • by adolf ( 21054 )

                If you have an HTPC on your BFT, then why do you care? Just run Kodi or Plex or whatever and be done with it.

                Me, I have plenty of old PCs around, but sadly none are up for modern HTPC duty.

                I use casting to put my VPN-connected phone (which for all intents and purposes is now in the UK, because again VPN) into a state whereby I can watch the BBC freely. On the BFT. With a $23-$20(rebate-ish) Chromecast.

                ==win, IMHO. YMMV.

                • I had to look up what Kodi was, never heard of it before...

                  It appears to be mostly designed for people who have collections of movies stored locally, or on a NAS. If I'm missing something, let me know, but that is what I saw.

                  I don't have a local media library, my HTPC is only for the web, YouTube, etc. There are also some things that can be watched for free online, but only with a PC. For example, we watch Shark Tank on ABC.com for free, we just have to wait one week after it airs. Otherwise we have to

                  • by dave420 ( 699308 )
                    Well then I guess Chromecast isn't for you. As you are not representative of the entire rest of the world (shock! horror!), it's safe to say your opinion carries little weight when discussing the virtues of using a Chromecast in general.
                  • Yes, Kodi is primarily targeted for those who put their movie collections on a LAN server. It is also very nice for playing your music collection.

                    There are plugins for KODI, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and others, that provide a nice way to stream internet video from a wide variety of places, as well as internet radio plugins. Plugins for the network tv shows that are streamed free exist, so you can watch Shark Tank episodes. The performance of those plugins varies, but there are a lot to choose from and ca
                    • Thanks for the reply...

                      That is what it looked like... for my needs, it is just something else to keep track of, but it is nice that it exists for those who can use it. :)

                  • It appears to be mostly designed for people who have collections of movies stored locally, or on a NAS. If I'm missing something, let me know, but that is what I saw.

                    On the contrary, it is mostly designed to install additional 3rd party "channels" by which you can stream anything from any of the various quasi-legal sources across the entire internet, including live news & sports.

                    The local network file playback is merely a small subset of what can be done with the right add-on to Kodi.

              • Most of the time you are not casting from your phone/tablet to the Chromecast. Instead the tablet is a glorified remote control. The tablet instructs the Chromecast to start playing a Netflix movie. Once the media starts playing the tablet does nothing (you can switch it off if you really want). I actually prefer this to a remote. It's much easier to flick through Netflix movies or my Plex collection on a tablet than using a remote.
    • I tried out a Chromecast for a week, but it was way to clumsy to use. Have to use your smart phone. Need to pause the video? Turn on smart phone, enter your PIN, push the pause button. Now try that in a dark room because you're watching a movie... Then thirty seconds later the smart phone is locked again.

      Tablets and smartphones are not suitable as a replacement for a basic remote control.

      Got a Roku. More expensive even though it's basically the same thing (but with ethernet). But it does the job a lo

      • Everything I use puts a pause (and skip, sometimes stop etc etc) button right on the lock screen so I don't need to unlock the phone to pause it. What services were you using that didn't do that?

        • You still have to see the screen to press it.

          A real remote with real buttons doesn't require this.

          For watching TV and movies in the dark, nothing beats a remote with physical buttons.

          • even more perfect, a remote with glow-in-the-dark buttons, so even in the dark you can still find it and use it.
          • You still have to see the screen to press it.

            And you can't see your backlit phone screen in a darkened room? I could see people complaining that the typical phone screen is too bright, but not too dim.

            A real remote with real buttons doesn't require this.

            Unless the buttons are lit, a real remote is worse than a phone. I suppose some people spend enough time with the remote that they can operate it without being able to see it, but for my once-a-week (or less) TV watching, a phone screen is far superior to most remotes.

            • And you can't see your backlit phone screen in a darkened room? I could see people complaining that the typical phone screen is too bright, but not too dim.

              Sure I can, but you missed the point... I don't WANT to see it, I want to feel it.

              Touch screens are not the solution to everything. :)

            • And you can't see your backlit phone screen in a darkened room?

              He's saying that there is no tactile feedback so you have to actually look at the touchscreen to use it. Otherwise you have no idea what "button" you are pressing. It's one of the serious problems with touchscreen interfaces in general. My car has a touchscreen GPS. Since it lacks buttons you have to take your eyes off the road to use it while driving which is dangerous. However I have physical buttons for my radio so I can change channels without looking. That's a non-trivial advantage of physical bu

      • I installed Cyanogenmod on my old Kindle Fire, and use it as my dedicated 'Chromecast remote'. No PIN, no locking. It is well suited to this task. I also run an app that simulates my TV's remote so I can adjust audio, etc.
        • To play netflix when I tried the Chromecast I used the netflix app, it had no special buttons on the lock screen; the youtube app did not have special buttons on the lock screen. The only Chromecast interface was a "cast" button in some applications. Maybe there's some application you can find somewhere that does something better, maybe you can root the phone, maybe the Chromecast app got better, but by default this was not a great interface.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      Chromecast all but requires another smart device running (continuously) to control it. You can't control it directly.

      No buts - it requires another device, period.

      Chromecast is one of the least useful of "the sticks", I agree, but really all of the sticks are currently horribly underpowered with fairly poor wifi reception.

      Basically now for $30 + $15 = $45 you can get a slow "stick" device that still requires another device to work, but even when it does the experience kind of sucks. Or you can spend ~$90 for a Roku 3 that is blazingly fast for what it does, has a great remote, full wifi or IR control for other devices, an

      • Don't underestimate convenience - that extra $45 cost will pay itself off in an hour for many people who actually value their free time and don't feel like fighting with a Chromecast.

        This is worth quoting...

        People who like to tinker with technology often don't see this as a "cost", but the reality is your average person just wants stuff to work.

        I used to use the Roku 3, we had 2 of them, one for the adult's TV and one for the kid's. Fast, dependable, always work... The only reason we replaced them was because we bought a pair of Amazon Fire TVs, and for people who live in the Amazon ecosystem, nothing is better than those.

        But if other services are your thing, by all means, get a Roku

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )

        The Chromecast can be used for different things, though. It's not really supposed to be an application host, but a thing on which to play media, like an endpoint. The way I use it is if I'm using my phone to watch a video on YouTube or Netflix, and I walk into the living room, I press "cast", select my TV, and it continues playing on the TV. Same with music. I can also stop watching something on my TV and take it with me on my phone. Chromecast is essentially a way to get some media from your phone or

        • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

          Yeah, I know exactly how the Chromecast works and its advantages and disadvantages... I have developed streaming software for it and many other devices.

          If you want to have an ultra-portable device for traveling it has potential, but is not nearly as convenient as you describe for first time setup. When you move it to a different AP you have to go through the whole process to set it up again (though it does remember a few after you have done it). And if you are in, say, a hotel room with a walled garden si

    • by shitzu ( 931108 )

      Chromecast all but requires another smart device running (continuously) to control it.

      No, it does not. You start the streaming from a smart device, but it does not need to be switched on after that. The smart device is essentially a glorified remote.

      The *server* from where it streams, must be on (wether in the cloud or local), but that is a different ballgame and is also true on most sticks unless you copy the files to the actual stick's local storage.

      • Chromecast all but requires another smart device running (continuously) to control it.

        No, it does not. You start the streaming from a smart device, but it does not need to be switched on after that.

        Depends on what you're casting. If you're casting something from your device screen then your device has to remain connected. If you're using one of the services that is directly supported by Chromecast then the smart device is just a remote -- in some cases a really cool one, though. If you use Google Movies most of the flicks are annotated so that your smart device shows you information about the music, the actors, etc. I've grown to love that feature.

        • by shitzu ( 931108 )

          When casting a screen you have essentially the controller and the stream server running on the same device. As I said the stream server must be constantly running - but that is also true with every other streaming media player device. The controller does not need to be running.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Do they make ones that support using your TV's remote control? I have a Raspberry Pi running XMBC that supports CEC, which basically means that keypresses on the main TV remote are passed through to it (except for things like power and source buttons). That way I only ever need one remote for everything.

  • Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adolf ( 21054 ) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Thursday July 09, 2015 @01:19AM (#50073921) Journal

    This is wonderful. The Chromecast's 2.4GHz 802.11n tops out at 72Mbps -- barely better than 802.11g. And while it is begrudgingly slogging in that 72Mbps data, it also is hogging timeslots from devices that could be at ~150 or ~300Mbps if the channel weren't full.

    I couldn't reliably stream HD video from the Chromecast app on my Samsung S5 to the Chromecast on 802.11g*. Frames were dropped frequently enough to be a real usability problem, and various disconnects happened enough to make it useless.

    I expect that this new adapter will solve the problems with the device that I was experiencing. (Not that it owes me much: I paid $23, shipped, for it on Black Friday, and it came with $20 of Play Store credit that I surely would've used sooner or later anyway.)

    *: Incidentally (yes, really incidental) I moved the wireless network that my Chromecast and my phone use from 802.11g to 2.4GHz 802.11n this very afternoon. The streaming of BBC iPlayer via a VPN got a lot better: It didn't freeze or outright stall. It's still a bit rough, though. The phone syncs at 144Mbps, and the Chromecast can't go more than 72. I'd love to say that bandwidth shouldn't be a problem in these modern enlightened times, but apparently it is.

    **: As an unreferenced footnote, fixed devices such as Chromecast should always have a hardwired option. Every other*** fixed device on my network is hard-wired; why should the Chromecast not be? I've never carried the Chromecast between TVs, although it's easy enough to do so.

    ***: Except for the Wii, because that costs extra and its wireless burden is not all that burdensome.

    ****: The other option I was exploring today was setting up a dedicated access point just for the Chromecast. I've got the hardware, and a bit of room on the outskirts of the ISM band, but fuuuuuu.

    *****: TL;DR shut up and take my money

    • **: As an unreferenced footnote, fixed devices such as Chromecast should always have a hardwired option. Every other*** fixed device on my network is hard-wired; why should the Chromecast not be? I've never carried the Chromecast between TVs, although it's easy enough to do so.

      We move ours all the time and don't have ethernet in most rooms of the house. I'd rather ethernet be optional to keep the footprint smaller.

      • by adolf ( 21054 )

        Did you read what you quoted, or were you just feeling disagreeable even though we already agree about that?

        Srsly.

    • ****: The other option I was exploring today was setting up a dedicated access point just for the Chromecast. I've got the hardware, and a bit of room on the outskirts of the ISM band, but fuuuuuu.

      Exactly This, While I live in Venezuela, my chromecast thinks it is in Japan, and is happily using chanel 14 (sadly in b mode) with no incidents on my WRT-54G with DD-WRT. Easy peasy.

      While I have the ductery and chops to string a CAT3/5 cable to the TV, I do not feel like it...

      The Macbook is using chan 1, but will be wired, not because of BW (mind you, my ADSL is 3Mbps, 10Mbps is the top the telco will give, evein in their (experimental) FTTH). the macbook will be wired because of apple's wifi problems....

  • I don't recall what ports the Nexus Player has - anyone know if this will work with one of those?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      you can use a normal Micro-USB OTG Ethernet adapter with a nexus player, nothing special since it has a dedicated power port.

  • by Th0th ( 15289 )

    Actually, I'm going to get one of these.... not for any of the reasons mentioned above, but because the native chromecast does not support WPA2 enterpise. For this reason, I had to add a WPA2 PSK AP to my network just for the chromecast. A wired connection would preclude this work around.

  • Wouldn't it be nice if this was a PoE dongle?

    • It would be nice if all routers were PoE capable too! I suppose PoE injectors are pretty cheap though. It would be nice for some low current devices like Roku or Chromecast but there's already a power strip *right there* so ... why bother. There's just not enough call for it.
  • My first thought was that this might fix all those MAC gymnastics needed to get Chromecast working on in a hotel room - at least cheaper than bringing a second router/AP to plug into the hardwired outlet..

  • It would be real nice if Chromecast supported Power over Ethernet with the hardwired port.
    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      It would be but the official PoE standards, 802.3af or 802.3at, are not trivial to implement and consumer PoE ports are not common so it would be a wasted capability which just raises the cost for most consumers. If they used simpler passive PoE, then it would result in more support costs.

  • by LightStruk ( 228264 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @11:04AM (#50075751)

    That didn't take long. It's already sold out.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson

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