back to article Chromecast gains wired Ethernet dongle

Google's released an odd accessory for its Chromecast TV dongle: an Ethernet dongle. Chromecasts plug into a telly's HDMI port and deliver video beamed over WiFi. That arrangement usually works well, but strikes problems when WiFi goes wonky. Enter the Ethernet adapter for Chromecast, which offers a power supply, USB cable …

  1. David Roberts

    Strange; noted that it is Google.com.

    It shows an obvious UK style 13A plug but says it isn't available in "your country".

    Nice if this could work with phones and tablets as well. Wired is often more reliable.

    1. lambda_beta
      Linux

      Go wired!

      Not often more reliable, but just more reliable, as well as, safer, faster and easier!

      1. AndyS

        Re: Go wired!

        Easier? The others I'll give you, but if you really think wired networks would be easier for mobile devices than wireless (you're replying to someone suggesting this for phones and tablets), you maybe need your brain re-wired.

        1. lambda_beta

          Re: Go wired!

          You're confused by simple words. I did not mention mobile devices - which is almost by definition never connected by wires.

          And, judging by your comment, my brain should go wireless. Who needs all those neurons, synapses and hard-wired connections anyway?

  2. pith

    I would rather it had some form of audio out other then HDMI! I have a nice monitor which takes HDMI but doesn't do sound and many PC style speakers - a chromecast would be a great cheap way to make it into a TV for the garage or elsewhere - if it had a 3.5mm audio out!

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Then strip the audio from the HDMI - probaby cheaper to get a telly...

      First google link was to amazon:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?keywords=hdmi+sound+extractor

      1. AndyS

        We use a Chromecast with a £7 adaptor from Amazon in order to stream music around our house. Much more reliable than bluetooth, with longer range - doesn't cut out if you go to the far side of the room, close a door, pour a glass of water etc.

        Adding the hardware to Chromecast directly would add expense which isn't needed, when the market is full of adaptors with any type of audio-out that you could want.

  3. msknight

    For me, it is a waste of time. Of the three elements, storage, processing and display, the Chromecast only deals with the latter. When I'm in the living room and want to beam a film to the TV, my poor 7" android tablet just ain't got the grunt. - to each their own, but mine sits disused and unloved in a drawer in the office.

    1. hplasm
      Boffin

      Re:ain't got the grunt

      The tablet's lack of voom is irrelevant to the content- it just points the Chromecast at the source, makes the introductions and then leaves it to them to play nice with each other. You can turn the initiating device off then if you want- but good luck in halting the stream if you do...

      1. msknight

        Re: Re:ain't got the grunt

        Actually, I couldn't. Turn the tablet off, and the stream from the local media server, stops.

        1. deive

          Re: Re:ain't got the grunt

          This totally depends on what app you are using...

          You can either mirror or cast (often app will just use the term cast though) - mirror is the same as android screen mirroring or chrome tab casting, cast is what youtube, netflix etc do.

          Casting you can turn off the device, connect other devices as secondary remote controls and all that - mirroring requires your device on and connected at all times!

    2. Steve Jackson
      Trollface

      But that's when you are Tab casting. There should be an app for that....

    3. AndyS

      From what I can tell, you're arguing that because your hardware is so outdated that it can't play videos (which means it is, what, 5 years old?), then Chromecast isn't useful to you.

      Leaving aside that this means you're mirroring the screen directly, which isn't really what Chromecast is best at, this is like arguing that you don't like this newfangled petrol, because your horse can't drink it.

      1. msknight

        Well, perhaps all the down voters can tell me how to have files stored on an OpenIndiana server which publishes an SMB share, and feed that to the Chromecast in a way that an Android tablet can start the video playing, and bow out.

        Or are they just going to downvote this as well!

        1. APA

          SMB shares aren't so good as the chromecast needs a stream to read from. The whole process is much easier if you can set up a upnp/dlna server (e.g. minidlna). A cursory search for "openindiana upnp" suggests this shouldn't be too hard. upnp is in fact quite common, without too much effort I've got lots of services set up on devices such as ADSL router (minidlna) and even my Humax Freesat box (mediatomb). Other more obvious upnp servers in my home are OSMC (nee raspbmc) and various windows and linux boxen.

          Having got a/many upnp/dlna server(s) running as a source, use an app such as BubbleUPNP (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bubblesoft.android.bubbleupnp) to browse these media libraries and throw the media to the chromecast for rendering. The controlling app is no longer required and device can even be turned off, the chromecast will keep playing the media pulling direct from the servers.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pile of smelly dung.

    Just buy an Amazon Fire stick use a home plug WiFi adapter and sideload Plex or *cough* XBMC/Kodi onto it . No additional wires required and it'll keep the Mrs happy if it's completely hidden behind the TV.

    Oh, and it even comes with its own Remote control.

    *anonymous because I know how many amazon haters are out there.

    1. AndyS

      Re: Pile of smelly dung.

      I'm not an amazon "hater", I spend quite a lot of money there and generally get on well with them.

      However, to explain my downvote, this is a discussion about Chromecast. Flaming it, promoting a basically equivalent thing, and then suggesting anyone who downvotes you must be a "hater" isn't exactly a worthwhile contribution.

      1. Peshman

        Re: Pile of smelly dung.

        Yes, it's a discussion about Chromecast. There is a better product out there that works better with more functionality in the same physical form factor and size at the same sort of price point. That's all I was trying to say. The Firestick does everything a Chromecast stick can do but with more functionality and better hardware... It's just an all-round better product.

    2. Hawkeye Pierce

      Re: Pile of smelly dung.

      Well I'm going to downvote you since all the people I know, myself included, who bought an Amazon Fire stick have given up using it due to lousy (buggy?) network. When you've got a WiFi gizmo a few feet away, when your Chromecast works flawlessly, when multiple people complain about the same thing, when multiple apps on the same device have the same problem, it's a shoddy product who's primary goal is to stream content but can't maintain a reliable network connection.

      1. Peshman

        Re: Pile of smelly dung.

        I call bunkum. I've never had any problems with WiFi bandwidth or buffering/stuttering with any of my Amazon Fire sticks. Prime videos start streaming faster than my PC connected over ethernet and Kodi with PleXBMC works without a hitch streaming 1080p streams.

        1. Tom Samplonius

          Re: Pile of smelly dung.

          "I call bunkum. I've never had any problems with WiFi bandwidth or ..."

          Oh great. It works for you. But the 2.4/5Ghz spectrum is shared. If you have 30+ other active APs nearby, the amount of available bandwidth is pretty variable. Especially, if someone is using 40Mhz wide channels and has cranked the output power to the maximum the law allows.

  6. noodle heimer

    firetv basically blows chromecast out of the water.

    add kodi and you have the big three - amazon, Netflix and your local files. launched with Ethernet and dedicated audio out. sideloading apps is trivial.

    I get the impression that roku is very good also, but don't know if Amazon video is available for it or not. my memory is that it wasn't at the time the fire launched.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We bought our Roku Streaming Stick a few months ago - the main reason we didn't go for the Amazon FTV Stick, was that we were cancelling our Amazon Instant Video subscription and moving to Netflix (more content that you don't have to pay-per-play for, basically).

      Roku players in the UK don't have an Amazon Video channel available, even though US Roku owners do. It's an ongoing mystery why this is the case, but from what I've been able to unearth online, a furtive finger has been pointed in the direction of Sky, due to their NOW TV service. (Those £20 white NOW TV boxes you see in the supermarkets? Re-branded Roku boxes with, um, cut-down hard- and software, subsidised by MurdochCo and the NOW TV subscription.) Whether there is a possible link between NOW TV using Roku for their hardware partner, and Amazon Instant Video being kept out of the Roku UK "channel store", others will have to ascertain for themselves - for now, though, Roku is not an option if you "need" AIV support.

      Overall, we really like the Roku stick. I don't think there's a Kodi channel available for Roku, though there are plenty of other channels for locally-stored content. (Plex is one, and we use the Roku Media Player channel to play stuff off the DLNA server on our Synology NAS.) The Stick is not perfect - the menus can get a bit sluggish at times, and certain channels (cough, Netflix, cough) can take over 20 seconds to launch, though video playback is as smooth as your network allows. That said: for our needs, the Streaming Stick does the business perfectly well.

  7. fattybacon
    Paris Hilton

    Dolt ahoy

    I'm going to sound stupid (as well as looking stupid).. but.. so the micro-USB cable is providing powah and ethernets to the Chromecast? So, even the first Chromecasts had this ability built in? Why isn't every usb device offering this? A usb hub with a single ethernet port acting as a router to a raft of RaspberyPis etc.

    Paris? Well, she's had some non-standard plugs put in her various ports.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Dolt ahoy

      I doubt the first Chromecasts had the ability until they were updated with an Ethernet-over-USB driver.

      Find an equivalent driver for Linux (usbnet),and the Pi will probably do it too.

      1. jj_0
        Linux

        Re: Dolt ahoy

        You can do this with a compatible USB-Ethernet adapter and USB OTG+Power cable as well. See See https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/chromecast/xo_NDh5CZA8.

        (Penguin because well you know... it's Linux)

  8. JonW
    WTF?

    PoE Please

    PoE and pass through to power the Chromecast would be really useful. Opportunity missed....

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: PoE Please

      Power from the mains and comms via Homeplug protocol might be even more useful.

      (Not sure if I want my new smart TV online at all, but it's wired-only, and there's a fireplace between the router and the TV so installing that wire is non-trivial).

  9. Velv
    Boffin

    Given the relative price of Chromecadt and this accessory, would they not just have been better making an Ethernet ported Chromcast (i.e. Have two models in the range)

    1. AndyS

      Things like Chromecast are only so cheap because they can be made in the millions, with identical hardware. Start splitting into multiple models and the cost will jump, especially for the ethernet version (which will sell far fewer versions). So you'll have the standard version (£25), and the ethernet version (£40). And lots of people will complain about why the ethernet one is so much more expensive.

      This adaptor, on the other hand, is cheap because it is simple. The base price for the chromecast is the same, and it's obvious what you're paying the extra £15 for.

  10. Caustic tWit

    I'll Stick With My Roku 3

    This "dongle-dongle" seems like a useful add-on if you already have a ChromeCast and problems with wifi in your own particular situation, although I gather from the discussion over at Ars that you can home brew the same functionality with the right bits. However my Roku 3 will apparently -cast with Windows 8.1 and 10 ( I'm happy for now with 7 and an HDMI cable), and is in every other way a more capable device with a robust ecosystem. I especially like the ability to plug headphones into the remote, and the fact that the remote doesn't require line-of-sight. You can even get an optional bracket to attach it to the back of your TV. Well worth the extra bit of cash.

  11. Dr_N Silver badge

    VPN Router

    Good for plugging into a VPN router too....

  12. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Messy. Just release a new version with ethernet, people hate a sprawl of wires in the living room.

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