Flipping The Model

We’ve had AppleTVs and Boxees on our family room TV for a while now. Last year I put Chromecast on it as well. I use it a lot but my kids haven’t warmed up to it yet.

Yesterday I got a call from my son. He said “how do you use this Chromecast thing?” I told him to take out the Nexus7 and turn on the TV and go to the Chromecast video source. He said he had already done that but there were no content options on the screen. I asked him if he still had the Nexus7 in his hand. He said yes. I told him to launch the Netflix app on the Nexus7. He did that. I told him to click on the Chromecast icon in the app. He responded “wow, that was easy.”

In an instant he understood that Chromecast flips the model. The content is on your device and you “cast” it onto the screen. He asked me if he could do the same with his iPhone. I told him he could. He was pleased.

I’ve written this before, but I think things like Bluetooth, Airplay, and Chromecast are the better model for getting content from the Internet onto TVs and into cars.

TVs and cars are expensive, you don’t replace them very often, and it takes time to get a new model designed, built, and into the market.

Contrast that with an app on your phone or tablet. You can iterate on that quickly with new features, functionality, and content.

It’s always tricky to go to market with a different model. We’ve had smart devices like set top boxes connected to our TV sets for decades and that’s how people think of getting content onto screens.

But I’d be plenty happy with a new TV and car that came with nothing more than a screen and bluetooth, airplay, and chromecast built in. No wires, no UI, just a screen and connectivity.

That’s where I think we are headed. It may take some time to get there. But it makes a lot more sense.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Dave W Baldwin

    You are right. Is the Chromecast going to expand in features?

    1. William Mougayar

      There are Chromecast Apps in the Chrome App Store. And some new ones are coming for the smartphones.

  2. pointsnfigures

    The competition in autos is for the “center stack”. A company I am invested in; UICO.com is engaged in that battle.

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Any use for treasure hunting?

      1. pointsnfigures

        how would you use it for that? Touch screen on device?

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Sorry, I had quickly looked at your link and assumed it also was doing the ‘gathering’ via sonar and so on.

    2. LE

      Your westloopventures.com site is coming up as domain expired. Saying it stopped functioning 6/15/14.It looks like you did renew the domain so somebody forget to hook it back up in so many words.It’s possible that if you visit it you have an old result cached so you aren’t seeing the same thing that I do. (I have a screen shot if you need it let me know).

      1. pointsnfigures

        ya, I need to work A LOT on that website.

  3. kidmercury

    i am a big chromecast fan and it is typically my go-to gift for people who don’t have it that i need a reasonably inexpensive gift for. the younger folks who grew up with computers get it without too much trouble. however, getting non-technical older folks on board is as tough and cumbersome as getting people to switch HDMI ports. in my experience, the “you need to manage at least two devices here” thing invokes the “forget it, too complicated” or “i’ll just let you do it for me” mentality. moreover, i think there is always the potential for a killer UX innovation when everything is tightly integrated and a single interface is all that’s needed. for TV, my dream UX is that i just talk to it. no remotes, no other devices.

    1. pointsnfigures

      you are right. we gave one to our daughter instead of an AppleTV and she loves it.

    2. JLM

      .Well reasoned and thoughtful.JLM.

    3. JimHirshfield

      People have been talking to their TVs for decades, especially during sporting events.

    4. Richard

      Which tech company is most in touch with couch potato market? I think it may just be Amazon.

    5. LE

      getting non-technical older folks on boardIn other words anyone with hair coming out of their ears.”you need to manage at least two devices here”Loss of brain cells when older means you have to limit the amount of thinking that goes into any one situation and simplify things.

    6. JaredMermey

      The tough thing to communicate is that the thinking happens on one device and the display is on another. The fact that you can swap out the thinking device for another thinking device is what I have found causes the most confusion (doesn’t matter if the user is young or old).However, analagies to wired devices (I.e., swapping to a different cable box) tends to do the trick. There is something tangible in physical connections that people get.I think allowing the Chromecast to manage multiple devices (one in the background so you do not have to reconnect) with easy toggling between connected devices would be a huge win for google.

  4. William Mougayar

    That is exactly where it’s going, and I’m betting my money on it 😉

  5. aminTorres

    R/GA silently changed the line under their logo from “Agency for the digital age” to “R/GA for the connected age” Clearly in acknowledgment of these very same things you highlight here.

  6. awaldstein

    Amazes me that Google with all its brilliance is so inept at marketing its quite astounding value to the mass market.Your post is a case in point.The gap between technological advances and core human and market behaviors is where marketing works. Never been more essential or in demand.

    1. Richard

      Average 20 year old spends a paltry 22 minutes a day in front of a large screen (i donated mine to charity). There is a reason why not even Fred’s son seems to miss it. LIfe is better without it.

      1. SubstrateUndertow

        Where did that # come from seems pretty low ?

      2. Pete Griffiths

        I have come to the conclusion that there are only 2 sizes of screen I want.a) my phone – and that should be at least Nexus 5 sizeb) a BIG tv – at least 75″ Henceforth my default TV will be say 75″ and then I will have a >85 for media room.The other thing not discussed is AUDIO.Proper surround sound does make a difference.MHO TVs of say 50″ are pointless.

      3. johndodds

        Nielsen say 22 hrs 27 minutes TV viewing per week for 18-24 year olds in US. (March 2014)Here in the UK, the FT recently published an article about “TV viewing being dead” that claimed 22 minutes for some statistic and then publlshed an apology admitting the figure should have been 22 hours. There is a lot of disinformation in this field.

      4. awaldstein

        Powerful fact (if true–source please).More powerful and more telling for the large screen market is what they will buy and how they will discover what they buy when they are 25 an 30?That’s what TV makers care about. I’m a movie fanatic. I wouldn’t trade my 60 inch piece of high def glass for anything!

      5. Kushdoctor

        Not sure where you get this data point from?

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I always thought if Google launched physical stores, similar to Apple stores, that they could gain a larger market and build deeper relationship with everyone – by showcasing things like this, and perhaps other “niche” tools they offer. Perhaps it’s not lucrative enough though as they don’t have the same sales as Apple, but perhaps it’s part of the chicken/egg problem – must have stores to increase. I imagine with their purchase of Nest, and now Dropcam, they’re increasing their product offerings enough where they could make a pretty good physical marketing space.

      1. JLM

        .I think you are absolutely correct. The MS store has been my go to gadget store for a year now.Bought two tablets, ultrabook, desktop, two huge monitors.I get unlimited training as part of the deal.I am getting “sync tower” this week.JLM.

    3. LE

      Amazes me that Google with all its brilliance is so inept at marketing its quite astounding value to the mass market.As I have said before, with respect to Google hiring “the best and the brightest” (what they think that is) that is where the problem is. Everyone is cut from a similar bolt of cloth (that all flows from the original founders and/or Eric Schmidt). So they can’t think like normals. And it’s not easy to solve that deficiency simply by recruiting. It kind of flows through the organization.This is similar to why Microsoft graphically sucks so bad. Because Bill Gates himself has no idea of design. And doesn’t even understand the importance of it. [1] You can’t manage what you don’t know about.[1] (I am fully aware that this is an oversimplification.)



    4. SubstrateUndertow

      Rory Sutherland really nails that whole marketing-art vs tech-logic thing in this video!”This Thing For Which We Have No Name””No one ever got fired for buying IBM” is a wonderful example of understanding loss aversion or “defensive decision making”. The advertising and marketing industry kind of acted as if it knew this stuff—but where we were disgracefully bad is that no one really attempted to sit down and codify it.http://player.vimeo.com/vid

    5. hypermark

      One of the fundamental issues that I have with Google’s product strategy is their ethos of launching initiatives with a fuzzy mission – is it a project, a product, a platform – does it have a criteria for success that is visible to the market?Other than “free,” or subsidized as a call to action, how does that model benefit consumers, developers or channels?

      1. awaldstein

        +100The reality, from my perspective, that the only difference between a project or a platform is whether the market buys into it.Hey-they are brilliant with deep marketplace blind spots.They would never hire someone like myself. They should seriously consider it.

        1. hypermark

          Part of my point on the Project vs. Product/Platform dynamic is that **everything** is a project until proven otherwise when it comes to free services, but when you move into a world of building hardware of delivering mission critical services, the market deserves more.Namely, commitment, communication and a roadmap. I remember when Google came out with Wave, which was (in theory) a game changing communications and collaboration platform. They talked platform. They talked game changing. Yet, they never followed through, never set dates, and Wave ended up in the end of life bin.That’s fine if you define offerings that way, but when you leave the market in the dark, that’s a consumer unfriendly proposition.It’s one are where Apple (and even Amazon) run circles around Google. Pose versus purpose.

          1. awaldstein

            Nicely stated.I would add that free can be a business model and needs to be taken with the same degree of intent.

          2. hypermark

            I am with you. I am just putting it in a different bucket to avoid the easy/lazy dismisser who can deflect by saying, “you get what you pay for.”

    6. ShanaC

      Because when you launch a product, data may or may not help you. So you can’t totally trust ir

      1. awaldstein

        No one has data at launch that does anything other that bolster your beliefs.That really has nothing to do with whether you just throw it out there.This strategy just doesn’t work with the mass market.

  7. LIAD

    Recently migrated from Apple TV to Chromecast. No power cable. No hd cable. Less mess. Less fuss.Smart TV’s have access to all the same content that you have on your phone. Only reason we need these intermediary devices is because navigation and typing on TV’s suck.If you could navigate and type easily. You’d link all your apps/social accounts on your TV. They’d be more need for these proxies.N’est pas?

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      Nice summary of the situation !I thing we can pretty much assume that we are now entering into a world where we will all accumulate our own little personal/local “internet of things” constellation of satellite sensors/private-data/actuators that empower/extend personalized control over our localized private worlds.That locally personalized “internet of things”, wearable or not, will needs a local hub/gate-keeper to control, co-ordinate and maintain a semi-porous privacy control-barrier between our own local/personal constellation of sensors/private-data/actuators and the broader public cloud of internet things and services.That could be any connected, non-mobile, compute-box that offers a simple/cheap/secure turnkey plug&play user experience from a trusted brand and preferably a brand that can provide a seamlessly integrated constellation of devices/software/services.Given Apple’s iOS8, HomeKit, Healthkit, Metal and iBeacon moves, adding those extended-value “jobs to be done” functions to a new iTV box seems like the obvious course of least resistance for Apple.Thats probably not as easy for Google/Chromecast or Amazon/Fire-TV ?N’est pas?

    2. ShanaC

      Agreed. But only if I can switch apps easily. Which I’m still not sure about (never used the chromecast)

  8. Robert Holtz

    I agree with you, Fred. It just makes more sense. Just about two weeks ago something happened that illustrates your “flipping the model” vision beautifully.I too have had just about every Internet-to-TV access device that has ever come out but, of the two main rooms where I tend to show visitors video content, one is equipped with an Apple TV and the other with a Roku. In this case, we were at the room with the Roku.We had just watched something from Netflix which is easily accessible from either box but started to talk about something that I KNEW was readily available on YouTube. I wanted to switch rooms because the Roku-based native app for YouTube sucks. The controls are beyond bizarre and I’ve always avoided YouTube on Roku. My friend was apparently more savvy than me on this one. He was like, “Use the app on your phone instead.”I guess somewhere along the line in one of this automatic app updates that must have happened long ago, the YouTube iOS app added a nice little icon that looks like a TV screen. Push it and the device finds your Roku and “connects.” Suddenly, whatever you navigate to on your iOS device appears perfectly on the screen. The UI is on your phone not on the Roku itself although it echoes the status of what is going on beautifully. You don’t even need to select or push anything on the Roku. As soon as you hit that TV casting icon on the YouTube iOS app, the Roku immediately displays a large YouTube logo and does its thing. When you push it again, you “disconnect” and the Roku goes back right where it was. Phenomenal.Here is the best part, I don’t even think it was streaming from my phone. It was hard to tell since all devices were well within the reach of my Wi-Fi network. But it would seem that the Roku was pulling the actual content from the cloud based on my instructions. It was a completely elegant UX. Roku has a native Roku app but as I said it sucks. Of course since YouTube is Google and Android is Google, they’ve made this work in Android as well… and Chromecast reflects that philosophy.I love the idea of my library and memberships being an in-the-cloud accessible thing no matter where I go and screens and speakers to be merely displays and outputs. The controller/authenticator should be something each individual owns whether it be a smartphone, a tablet, a wearable of some sort, maybe all of the above. The inputs and outputs should be as agnostic as possible. 100% human interface.

  9. Gili Golander

    Couldn’t agree more.

  10. Sytse Sijbrandij

    Totally makes sense to use your phone as the universal remote/key. And with iOS Carplay Apple seems to agree too.

  11. wjmaggos

    I disagree. This accepts the dominance of cable and the app model, which are both pro big media and centralization and not coming from the direction of the open internet. Internet media could and should liberate culture from the dominance of money and entrenched power, where anybody has equal access to us and should not have to go through new gatekeepers, Apple or Google now instead of Comcast or broadcasters like its been.This is possible with podcasting and bittorrent. What weve been missing is simplifying this and having access to this content built into the main interface when you turn on your TV. If you’ve used Boxee, you know about Watch Later. That gives us functionality similar to Chromecast. If you’ve used Boxee, you also know about how it automatically brings in video shared by your social media contacts. I think that can allow us to collectively curate for ourselves.

  12. Michael Liu

    I definitely agree that this personal casting model you described is where we’re headed as consumers. But the anecdote about your son not having tried Chromecast before made me think of a another trend – that millennials prefer to use other devices (smartphone/tablet/laptop) to access TV content and skip television all together. It reminded me of Mary Meeker’s slide showing that people are increasingly accessing their TV content from sources other than the TV set, suggesting that they’re willing to trade a larger screen for convenience (watching on the laptop from the comfort of their beds for example). I wonder what the outcome of this trend will be though. As the TV set proportion of the pie continue to decrease, does the importance of TVs in general become much less in our society or will innovations such as Chromecast potentially increase the pie and reignite interest in TVs?

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      Would like to see that pie chart by age group ?

  13. KevinMHughes

    I’ve been trying to show things like this to people like, my parents. Although it’s like pulling teeth now (not just for my parents – for others that don’t like changing), it’ll be worth it in the end. I’m looking forward to the day when this actually becomes the norm, because this is exactly where things are heading.

  14. jason wright

    the ‘cheap is smart, expensive is dumb’ thesis. i agree.

  15. JimHirshfield

    Simple, open, and low cost wins again. That is all.

    1. awaldstein

      As long as customer acquisition is built into that low cost, I agree. The largest cost that makes or breaks any model.Although there is no winner here as yet.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Agreed. Any idea how many Chromecasts have been sold? AppleTVs?As far as winning races, I’m not convinced there’s generally one winner or that the race ever ends.

        1. awaldstein

          For Apple TVs, foot traffic at the shops, word of mouth I bet.

          1. JimHirshfield

            We have one in each conference room. Great for casting from laptop for meetings.

  16. Jon Michael Miles

    The thing I like about my Apple TV is that it doesn’t require that I have my ipad in the room to work. But as I’m polyamorous when it comes to tech – iMac, S5, Macbook, Google Music, gmail – a Chromecast is likely to end up in my mix.

  17. Jay Giraud

    FYI you don’t need to turn the tv on first. When you cast a video from your device, it turns the tv on and switches the input station for you. Pure genius.

  18. kenberger

    The brilliance with this product is it actually just gives the appearance that content streams from your phone (which would heat up the phone quickly, tank the battery, cause mobile OS issues, etc ). The chromecast apps are actually mostly remote control apps which signal chromecast to go fetch and deliver the content. But your point remains very strong– the perception is what counts.Btw, Plex is a killer app here, now that Plexpass is available for chromecast. You can access your local and cloud media libraries (something AppleTV keeps blocking you from doing), and it has the beloved bookmarklet “watch later” feature I miss from Boxee.

  19. ErikSchwartz

    It works well when the device is connected to the internet via wifi. When the device is connected via cellular, and then the video is blown up big you tend to see a lot of the various artifacts of variable rate streaming on a device with an inconsistent data connection.

  20. tsts

    Fred – I am not sure where you are flipping from in this post. It seems there are three main ways to get our internet video fix on bigs TVs: (1) “smart TVs” that get the content directly from the internet, (2) “smart and cheap boxes” such as Roku that feed video to a dumb TV, and (3) “apps and sticks” on laptops, tablets, etc that cast video to a dumb TV.I think most people agree that (1) will not work well in the future, and is mainly a way to sell overpriced TVs to suckers. But the more interesting question is (2) vs. (3). It seems (2) has some of the advantages of both (1) and (3), and might still be a viable competitor. Thoughts?

  21. Lucas Dailey

    “But I’d be plenty happy with a new TV and car that came with nothing more than a screen and bluetooth, airplay, and chromecast built in.”The seems to miss your own point. Don’t we want more flexibility? Why would I want that stuff built in? Give me the hardware with the full range of ports/APIs and let me plug in the brains/receiver separately.I love my chromecast but I might love something more before I get a new TV.

  22. Robert Heiblim

    Hi Fred, I am in that space and tend to agree with you. Many of the “Smart” TVs sold now will be completely obsolete in the way of their embedded services long before their useful life ends. Even now, there are a lot of old Netflix interfaces offering less. These devices are inexpensive and easily replaced or upgraded. However, many firms still think they can “control” the interface or be a gatekeeper. I’m with you.

  23. Salt Shaker

    Google has sold over 1M Chromecast dongles in the U.S. alone. At the end of the day it’s a “pimple” of a biz for them, along w/ Google Play. Not to suggest there isn’t significant upside, there is, but at its core Google is still an ad-driven company, and these are relatively small, ancillary rev streams, albeit the envy of many.

  24. OurielOhayon

    that s funny but this is not my experience at all. i have all of that: apple tvs, chromecast and all…..and they all have a major flaw. The extra button. Let me explain.My Tv has apps built in for all major content i like to watch regularly: youtube, netflix, amazon…for me here is the experience. i take the remote control of the tv: turn it on. there is a button right there on the remote to get to netflix or amazon….for me the experience is a lot simpler to get the content running straight from there.1 tap. that’s it. no need to have a second device, find the content and “cast” or “airplay” it. and even with apple tv, no need to change the “source” to get to the right hdmi and “find the channel”For me Tv experience is a dead lazy one. every tap, or new device to hold has a cost.It s a question of time before tv screens become little computer with super quality stores and apps built in.The convenience of getting 1 tap access kills every other systemAnd if there is one argument to sustain why Apple or Google would one day provide TVs this is the one. Convenience to content access.

    1. Mario Cantin

      What’s your describing seems to be at the present like the ultimate solution. If I had this set up, that’s what I would do too. What TV is?

      1. OurielOhayon

        Any new tv with apps. Samsung lg Sony …

  25. Mario Cantin

    Absolutely. Just a week ago I unplugged the following from the back of my TV: Sony Playstation, 2 CD players, a VCR (!?) and even my Apple TV. The *only* thing I’ve kept is the Chromecast. There are a lot less unsightly wires, and that’s all I need. We’ve also ‘unplugged’ with the cable company long ago and pretty much all the content my wife and I consume on the TV is either Netflix or YouTube, with a bit of local news sprinkled in at times.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      Still have the wii connected and we watch netflix thru that

  26. BillMcNeely

    does Chromecast work on 2008 era TV’s?Love to watch the World Cup on a bigger screen

    1. LE

      I was wondering the same thing.See:https://support.google.com/…Must be hdmi enabled device.Chromecast requires a display device that has an HDMI input, which is common in newer TVs. HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. Inside the Chromecast box, you will find an HDMI extender which is not required for use with Chromecast, but can be used if your Chromecast does not fit directly into your TV. It may also be used to improve your Wi-Fi reception. The HDMI extender should be connected to your TV and your Chromecast.Note that they don’t define what they mean by “newer” TV’s. (That’s a fail). They also don’t mention that you can hook up the chromecast to a device (such as an AV receiver) that accepts hdmi and pipes it to the older TV.FYI: It took a shitload of searching for something really obvious to turn up this product. So much for the accuracy of online search and even amazon search. I think this might do the trick. It converts HDMI signals to yellow red and white RCA output which you can hook into your TV. If you don’t have RCA jacks on your TV you can probably take care of that with another converter.http://www.amazon.com/Compo

      1. BillMcNeely

        LE thanks for the info. On my way over to seeing my wife and son I will stop by the in laws and pick up a TV and see what can be done.

    2. mjgraves

      Yes, I’ve used Chromecast on an older Sharp Aquos. I think that it’s 2006 vintage. However, what you will not have is the ability for the Chromecast to input switch the TV. You must manually select the input by another means.

  27. george

    Why not just build the Airplay and Chromecast interface directly into all next generation displays and forego the need for any install all together. Seems like a better lock-in strategy for Apple and Google. Ready, set and show, is much better…

  28. Aaron Klein

    The problem is, everybody wants to be the smart device and “control” the new content opportunity. That’s how you end up with the LG Smart TV protocol and operating system that is compatible with nothing and nobody uses.Content from our hands to any screen or speaker is definitely the right model. My only demand is…I want to keep using the device in my hands for other things.

  29. Phil M

    It’s a nice interface, but it means you can’t use your mobile device to look at other content while you’re streaming to the TV. At least, that’s what happens when I stream to my Apple TV, or my Roku stick. Having the streaming device capable of playing content without a phone or tablet to control it is a big advantage for those of us with short attention spans…

  30. Semil Shah

    This encapsulates the “Dumb Glass” theory of TVs by Ben Evans. Caveat is having a set of intelligent cameras and a touch screen on a new TV could open up some interesting things.

  31. paramendra

    I have a Chromecast and no cable.

  32. Paul Sanwald

    I basically never watched any videos on the internet until we got a chromecast. If I’m in front of a computer, I’m generally working, it’s just never been in my nature to take the time to watch a video.

  33. George Howard

    Agree with the idea of a “simplified” TV (“No wires, no UI, just a screen and connectivity.”).Surprised that no one has mentioned Aereo (apologies if I missed it; I searched the comments). This was the last piece in our cable-cutting puzzle, and works very well with Fred’s theory that the content is on your device.In fact, Aereo comes pretty close to solving the remote issue. That is, you use your device (phone/tablet) to find what you want to watch via the Aereo UI, and then cast/stream to the TV.I’m purposefully avoiding the IP issues around Aereo, because, whether or not Aereo survives, this type of tech will.Also, agree with one of the commenter’s point about audio. I would MUCH prefer to buy a TV with no speakers whatsoever, and just connect to my Sonos surround set up.Sonos, in some respects, is the audio equivalent of Fred’s strawman for video; that is, the content is on the device, and you just stream to the speakers – which have no UI, etc.George

  34. mjgraves

    While we have Chromecast, it’s not displaced our Tivo box. In fact, we installed a new Roamio after purchasing the Chromecast. Nothing comes close to the single box, multi-source DVR/streaming experience of Tivo for Cable+Netflix+Amazon.

  35. Denim Smith

    I think the same way of our memories (photos, video, diary, etc). They’re the stickiest and most important emotional asset. They stand the test of time and need to be under our control, hardware and platform agnostic. They should be permanently and intuitively organized in an archive – shareable/ sociable from there – regardless of hardware, platform, or social apps du jour. we’re talking generations of 10’s of thousands in analogue and digital. Privacy. Identity. Control. Inheritance. & Data liberation.

  36. Bill Morrison

    I completely agree with Fred’s point on autos. I just bought a new Toyota Highlander and the ability to stream Pandora and other apps directly from my iPhone to the car via Bluetooth was the biggest selling point. Toyota is pursuing a semi-walled garden with their Entune application but ultimately I think most cars you’ll be able to sling content via any app and the on screen integration within the car will slowly improve.

  37. Matt Zagaja

    Last night I watched Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher’s Code Conference interview/interrogation with the CEO of Comcast that seems relevant as they spent much time discussing Roku and putting Netflix and other Internet video services on the Comcast boxes: http://recode.net/2014/06/1…I haven’t tried the new Comcast system but I’ve found both Apple TV and Chromecast to be a better experience than my Cox DVR (which has a habit of locking up and rebooting). To be honest I’ve flipped my consumption pattern altogether, and if I cannot stream or download a program I will likely just skip watching it.

  38. MParekh

    Agree w/ the promise of Chromecast. Current version though has been the worst vs. AppleTV, Roku, Boxee etc., in terms of connecting to the available WiFi location. Have had this happen in multiple geographical locations. Hopefully will get better over time.

  39. John Seiffer

    I just got a new car. My first with built in navagation. It’s great compared to not having one – but I’ve been using Google nav on my phone for year and it’s much better than what’s in my car. Would love to “cast” from my phone to the screen in the dash (and cast the touches back to the app on the phone).

    1. John Revay

      Yup – Google maps just improved granularity of maps – They now tell you what lane to be in for nav.The GPS in my Honda civic is nice that it is built in …but that’s it

  40. John Revay

    This post makes me think about a Ben Evans quote you posted on your review of 2014 WWDC”For Google, devices are dumb glass and the intelligence is in the cloud, but for Apple the cloud is just dumb storage and the device is the place for intelligence.”

  41. John Revay

    One of my issues is that we only have 4 HDMI inputs in our main living room screen;1. Cable2. Wii U3. DVD/Blueray4. Apple TV

  42. Terry J Leach

    I have zero confidence that makers of TVs and cars have the will and technical chops to allow mobile devices to effectively us Bluetooth, Airplay, and Chromecast. Theses expensive device makers need to adopt open systems for connectivity. The pairing process for cars needs improvement and none of today’s SmartTVs have great UIs which is why I always use Chromecast.

  43. JamesHRH

    Own a Samsung Smart TV.It makes me feel dumb, so Iguess it’s pretty smart.I use zero of preloaded Samsung SW features. So maybe not so smart.Device-casting is the answer. Apple lets you / will let you soon do it from anything, which is a nice extra goodie.

    1. William Mougayar

      does it let it your pair your tv to your smartphone over wi-fi so you can watch youtube that way, “without” Chromecast. just got a Philips SmartTV and I like that feature they have.

      1. JamesHRH

        It just has a bunch of apps that make me disinterested. I am w @fredwilson – I do not want a smart TV , just one that connects to my phone. Samsung May do that, but it was so swamped w other stuff, I left it. I am old tho.

  44. Ben Kinnard

    I agree that dumb screens are the way forward, with the dongles/accessories/software being the smart bit. I can see people just having a monitor and keyboard in their office, plugging in their phone to have everything on them all the time – no old versions, missing attachments, having to email things to yourself etc.

  45. David Hyman

    agree 100% alpine car stereos now have “mirror link” – just grabs your android screen from your phone onto its display.

  46. Will Critchlow

    I love my chromecast. The only issue I’ve found with it is as follows (just posting here in case anyone has any bright ideas):This “flipping” of the model means that it’s harder to share content. With our apple TV, once we’ve bought something, anyone in the household can watch it. With chromecast, if I buy it on my account, I have to be there to cast it to the screen. Unlike an apple TV remote (which of course lives with the TV) my phone lives with me so if I’m out of the house, you can’t get at the content bought through my phone.I feel like there needs to be a way of tying google accounts together so we have access to each others’ libraries or of sharing content with each other.Anyone else experienced this?

  47. csertoglu

    Video content to TV is being re-invented as we discuss. @FlippsTV is a great example how the interface can be “magical”. The experience needs to be seamless for all demographics, for the tranisition to take place. Ultimately, screens will be dumb, and the intelligence will reside in the cloud + mobile devices.

  48. Dave

    Talking to my 13 year old daughter this weekend, she reminded me that she and her friends rarely watch TV shows anymore. They principally focus on YouTube content. And all are fine with a very small screen–iPod Touch being the predominant device–or sometimes one of our older iPads. She really only watches the TV to watch a movie with me, even then halfheartedly while still looking at her iPod.I watch TV mostly for sports these days and rarely watch anything else on TV. Our TV is less important, not more important, despite having connections to cable, Apple TV, XBox One and Amazon Prime (via the Xbox and a connected blu-ray player).

  49. GilezanRealty


  50. Alan Warms

    Fred -Check out the Yidio app – top 25 Android and Apple app stores – it ENABLES this new flipped model – search for a show and deep link into the provider app – one incredibly fast experience: https://play.google.com/sto…disclosure I am investor and on BOD – but this app rocks (also featured by Apple repeatedly)

  51. SonnyD

    Interesting thoughts… however, I do think that one major point is missing w.r.t. cars. With Chromecast, Google owns the gateway to the screen, however, with cars the equivalent Chromecast will be much more complex, due to the increasing number of sensors that are included and due to the fact that entertainment is only one part of the story. The reality remains that there will be increasing computing power and increasing data coming FROM the car, so perhaps not so easily comparable to a TV screen… perhaps the inclusion of Chromecast for back-seat entertainment (content) will be the way forward, but for connected services, the mobile phone is no more than a companion rather than the main driver 😉

  52. Kushdoctor

    What’s it matter how it is distributed if most of the content is still locked in the cable bundle?

  53. Fearghal Kelly

    As someone who makes software for STBs and dongles, I fully agree that a device that supports Airplay, Miracast and DIAL is fantastic for consumers. However Apple, Google and Amazon are fighting to control movie and music streaming through these very protocols. Does anyone remember when we had VHS cassettes? You’d just take them to your buddies house and they’d just work? Thats the kind of portable media usability we need to get back to and not care about any of these protocols. One will float to the top I guess and I am betting that DIAL. and therefore Google Movies, is going to be the next VHS…

  54. BillMcNeely

    bought Chromecast this week. Nice to see shows on a bigger screen.If the show says web only does that mean you can’t cast it?

  55. awaldstein

    Dunno–but generally they (and everyone) cares about what the market adopts.My point is–throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks is a sucky model. Google (and most startups btw) excel at this.

  56. Dave W Baldwin

    Remember to look at longer timeline. It will grow. We just did the upgrade to an LED with screen that is as big as will work in my family room (without total makeover). Second day, I had to test the ‘sound’ with: https://www.youtube.com/wat

  57. Avi Deitcher

    I think this will happen in the end, but the television manufacturers will fight this all the way, possibly into the ground as more nimble cheaper ones adopt it (Vizio, is that the LED TV provider?).There is *nothing* wrong with being “just a great quality large screen” or a “great quality safe car”, just like there is nothing wrong with a wireless carrier being “just great quality dumb pipes.”But go convince the CEOs of those companies. They are convinced they are worth more as “smart providers” or “content providers” or some dumb phrase like that.

  58. SubstrateUndertow

    Yup !Homo-Economicusthat logical, informed, self-interest driven economic agentdoes not existnor has she ever existedexcept as a theoretical economic construct.Emotionally manipulated greed and fear on the other hand !

  59. William Mougayar

    Chromecast is an enabler, so it will depend on the apps that support it.

  60. LE

    My point is–throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks is a sucky model. Google (and most startups btw) excel at this.I thought this was a great comment.Then I thought “so why is this the case?”.I think the answer is partly that they probably view the other things as not being able to move the needle enough to make it worthwhile to pursue.In addition to having an organization that was primarily raised and hatched in business (not everyone but let’s call it the majority of people working there) who aren’t familiar with the way it used to be.So they figure that everything just spreads by the word of mouth or crowd effect and there is little point in even thinking about using traditional marketing methods. Or guerilla marketing. At least for these types of products or services.You know I am absolutely deluged (as I’m sure you are) by spam every day trying to sell me something. Some things I might actually be able to use. But I can’t tell you the last time that I ever received a postal letter or even a postcard pushing any type of product or service from a “new” type company (I still get it from “old” companies for sure).I think “if some of the new companies actually sent me a postcard or letter it would stand out and I might actually consider buying this product/service”. But it never happens.Not only that but I get Amazon packages regularly. And there is never anything stuffed in the package that would attempt to get me to buy more stuff from Amazon. And when the package comes direct shipped from a seller it also is typically almost always missing any type of sell material. [1] In an old business that I was in we would usually stuff something in a shipped order to try to get additional sales (and it worked). Just like the card packs worked and the direct mail pieces worked.[1] Otoh I ordered something from B&H Photo and it came with a heavy catalog in the box. And when I used to order from Mac Warehouse (PC Mall; Mac Mall etc.) it always had another catalog in the package (along with “that girl” I wonder what happened to her).

  61. Pete Griffiths

    Why is it a sucky model?

  62. awaldstein

    That has nothing to do with doing a sucky job at marketing and not understanding the marketplace.If every company that built an enabler or a platform sat on their hands and let the developers build their brand, we would still be living in caves.

  63. awaldstein

    The space between the couch and the living room TV is impossible to ignore but a slippery one to understand even for Apple.AppleTV is an interesting case in point for Apple as yes, certainly a ‘let’s see what happens’ corner case for them.Saw numbers somewhere and it is becoming a real market for them.

  64. Richard

    It s a buggy whip.

  65. William Mougayar

    It takes time to build a village or an ecosystem. It’s happening.

  66. LE

    Perhaps the “sucky at marketing” is just alpha or beta testing of a “not ready for prime time product”. Similar to the way they didn’t roll out gmail to everyone at first. (I’m not sure that’s the case but I will throw it out there). If you are iterating things quickly (as we have seen) you don’t want to go full scale with something that may be defective. Like the Pinto that Charlie drives.

  67. awaldstein

    We disagree on this completely my friend.Time and patience of course, but that is not the issue.I believe in intent with flexibility as key to building brands and ecosystems.There is nothing passive about this approach. It is all about leadership and partnerships.

  68. awaldstein

    The interesting piece of this is that consumer goods are predominantly brand purchases.The manufacturers know this and that is what the real fight is about.Been there on the TV and movie tech side and this is a fierce issue.

  69. Avi Deitcher

    Isn’t there still room for brand on “dumb pipes” or “just a great car” or “awesome LED”? As Fred said, these are infrequent purchases. You care far more about the brand of your car when you buy it than the brand of the app you install for $0.99 (or even if it is super-expensive at $20.99).

  70. awaldstein

    Some truth in what you say for certain.I don’t believe that price is the determinant of consumer connection (aka brand) though.

  71. JimHirshfield

    Chromecast can indeed switch your TV to the appropriate input. But it’s a function of the TV. IOW, older TVs not supported. Google it as regards your model.

  72. JimHirshfield

    Still driving a Pinto?

  73. LE

    See my comment about converters elsewhere. I haven’t tested it but it might be worth a try after all you can always return the converter to Amazon.

  74. Richard

    With this under the front seat?

  75. LE

    I still have a 30″ Sony Trinitron. When you turn it on it degausses the CRT and makes a “bonk” sign. I bought it in 2001. [1][1] From some guys. Off the back of a truck. Along with some drug paraphernalia. Which they called paraphernalier since it was in Brooklyn.http://www.youtube.com/watc…This is what I really wanted to post but only a low quality version is on youtube I’m guessing thanks to Microsoft legal. For anyone that hasn’t seen it the punch line is they pick up a Sun and then toss it for an old couch:http://www.youtube.com/watc

  76. Avi Deitcher

    True, although the more you spend – and the longer you expect the product to serve you – the more you are likely to care about the brand. I have a lot less at risk with a $0.10 pencil I will use for an hour than a $1,000 laptop I will use for years.

  77. JimHirshfield


  78. awaldstein

    You think that spending years building products then not figuring out their value, then throwing them against the market wall to see if they fly is a good one?Sorry about being facetious but I just don’t buy into this strategy or lack of one.I don’t believe that the customer is always right at first blush and I think you can’t sell value unless you understand it.Maybe throwing shit at the wall was ok for early tech but that era is over.Google may just not understand that. Didn’t for Google TV or G+ for certain.

  79. ShanaC

    Chromecast is in part physical, that limits how sucks it can be. Inventory issues.And I think the physicality is what’s holding it back. Hard to demo the chrome cast without owning one

  80. Pete Griffiths

    So what is your thinking about MVP and PMF and the rest of the Lean Startup thinking?Ironically, the more radical the product the more important it is to see if it sticks asap. It is in relatively mature markets that you can evolve your offering in a more structured way.And pointing at things thrown at the wall that have failed is no refutation of the approach. It is well understood that many (most) such offerings will fail. The point is to fail fast.etc etc

  81. Pete Griffiths

    Spending years building products without having thrown them against the wall in an early iteration is a luxury of big companies. Small companies have to throw them against the wall faster in a cruder state. I agree that the customer isn’t always right at first blush. Latent need is not recognized by consumers.I don’t think that throwing stuff at the wall is any different today. I totally disagree that this era is over.I do have a problem with describing it as ‘throwing at the wall to see what sticks’ the problem is that it lumps all experimental products (where the likely market reaction is not already known) together.

  82. awaldstein

    Thanks for the measured response Pete.Yup–we disagree.I know the lean startup strategies and vernacular well. There is a lot of useful things here, many of them extrapolations from standard good practices.I don’t buy the big co/small co breakdown. I don’t buy that this idea of startup is some sort of new animal. Neither are true in my experience.I do believe in light products for early touch points. I do believe in simple, stripped down and focused as the only way to understand what to change. I’ve done this from nothing many times. I’ve done this as skunk works projects from $B dollar companies as well.The piece that is just incorrect, that Google is blind to and this idea of throwing shit against the wall misses is the idea of respect for your customers time and attention. It misses the core that every touch point from the first on is where brand builds.It has little to do with resources. It has to do with being smart and respectful and knowing to start assumptions of value to be tried out and iterated on.A behavioral approach to building community and marketing is how I do it. A belief that you are careful with what your throw out and careful about asking for customers attention is where I start.For me it works.

  83. awaldstein

    See above.I don’t believe that divergence from the standard is in any way a determinant to the speed at which you find dynamic touchpoints.The correlation here eludes me.I’m a pragmatist. I’ve raised lots of dollars, bought a lot of companies and never looked at it as a race against time and funds. Sure that is there but you don’t win by sprinting. You win by moving smartly, fearlessless, with intent and forward momentum. That’s different to me.This idea of a race against dollars and a race to find or fail fast is just BS to me honestly.It’s a slam building a company. I get that. But running with anxiety and need as your headlights is just a loosing combo.

  84. Pete Griffiths

    I suspect that we agree far more than we disagree and that most of the apparent difference is in terminology.

  85. awaldstein

    As is often the case Pete.Thanks for the dialogue.

  86. Pete Griffiths