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Last post Author Topic: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]  (Read 8308 times)

4wd

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Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« on: October 29, 2014, 12:58:22 AM »
For anyone that's interested this fully funded project is down to the last ~30 hours on Kickstarter.

07b939f1817e1edb8b80123fdaccd34c_large.jpg

Image is a link to their website.

Think Chromecast without the DRM nonsense, (and cheaper).

Currently they're deciding on whether to add Local Play, (play local content without the casting silliness), or Ad-Hoc mode, (device functions as a WiFi hotspot and you just stream local content to it, eg. think hotels).

Open source software and hardware - make your own if you feel like it.

Deozaan

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 01:47:55 AM »
First impressions:

Wow, that thing looks HUGE!

It looks like the same content has to be showing on your device in order to "mirror" it onto your TV. I can't tell if that's just for advertising purposes (so you can see the purpose of getting something that was on your device to show on your TV) or if it actually works that way. The thing I like about Chromecast is that I can cast a Netflix show/movie to my TV, then use my tablet to do other things while the TV is still showing Netflix. I'm worried that the Matchstick can't do that, but actually just mirrors content from your device onto your TV (i.e. both screens have to be showing the same thing at the same time).

Strangely, I worry that because it uses FireFox OS as its base, that it will not be very well supported, or won't be supported for very long and will end up being kind of useless after a relatively short time. Or perhaps vendors (such as Netflix) will implement their own DRM by refusing to play on the device... :-\ On the other hand, the fact that it's open could mean that it's a lot better than Chromecast as far as functionality and supported services.


4wd

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 03:01:18 AM »
It doesn't do "mirroring" at all - you send what you want it to play and do something else with your PC/device.

From the FAQ:
Quote
Not supported. Mirroring is awesome - In theory. But for the best performance, we think the model of letting the streaming device get the content itself is the best option! It keeps your sender device free and clear for what you are doing anyway- Multitasking.

And it's about the same size as the Chromecast I've got.

My mistake, it's about 30mm longer and 10mm wider but since you'd probably need a HDMI extension, (the same that comes with the Chromecast), to get it amongst the too closely spaced HDMI sockets ... it's not really a problem.

WRT DRM from providers, is that just not a matter of providing the relevant closed software decrypter/decoder that the OS can call?

The whole OS doesn't need to locked down, hidden away, and crippled like Google tried to do and have now done with the Chromecast, (no root for the latest updates of the firmware yet).
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 06:04:20 AM by 4wd »

Deozaan

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2014, 09:08:58 AM »
Well... I signed up to get two of them (planning to let someone else have the other one).

More from the Kickstarter FAQ:

Does Matchstick support 5GHz Wifi? 4K?
MatchStick does not support 5GHz wifi. It adds cost! Same with 4K ... Maybe V2?

Does Matchstick support DRM?
We are doing our best to make sure the requirements will be met either via the playback app itself or the OS. We're in ongoing talks...

Does it support Miracast, WiDi, DLNA and Airplay?
Nope, sorry! Not supported at this time.

Will this device be able to play media from a local source like samba, NFS, or windows file share?
Not supported yet. Sorry.


CWuestefeld

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2014, 03:09:35 PM »
I signed up a couple weeks ago.
Quote
Will this device be able to play media from a local source like samba, NFS, or windows file share?
Not supported yet. Sorry.

This is the Local Play extension that was mentioned in the OP. Apparently they're going to let subscribers choose which of those two extensions to have added to the feature list. I sure hope it's this Local Play thing.

4wd

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2014, 05:38:13 PM »
I went for Ad-hoc because you could always switch it to that and send it a local file.  It seemed nicer for when you're on holiday, etc ... no wifi network required to use it.

Though you could always carry a cheap wifi router with you ... gadget bag gets heavier every trip  :-\

4wd

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2014, 05:40:55 PM »
SDK has been released: Matchstick SDK

Deozaan

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2014, 07:09:41 PM »
SDK has been released: Matchstick SDK

I came here to post that before I realized there was an update in this thread. (c:


4wd

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2015, 11:18:55 PM »
Matchstick has been delayed while they look at upgrading hardware/software, now possible August 2015 shipping date

I was hoping to get to play with it soon ... oh well.  :-\

The longer version
Hello Matchstick Fans!

We’ll cut to the chase; Matchstick is not going to ship in February.

It’s been a very busy couple of months and we’ve had to make some hard decisions about how to move forward. We’ve decided to release the product when it is ready, and anticipate that to be in August 2015. Let us explain more.

Matchstick is, at its core, a group effort to bring a solid, open, and affordable alternative to the world of video streaming. Manufacturing is hard, but the totality of what makes a product experience complete includes so much more. That collaborative effort includes the hardware, the software, the content providers, and of course, the independent developers that will build on the Matchstick platform.

Hardware: We want to update the hardware. We’ve been looking at a number of exciting applications and potential experiences for Matchstick and we’ve determined we need to give it as much power as possible. So we’ve been looking to increase the CPU power from a dual core to a quad core chip. We’ve also been looking into common issues with Wi-Fi performance. Because of the location of most HMDI ports on HDTVs, many similar products have Wi-Fi connectivity issues. We’ve spent some considerable time reviewing ways to improve the antenna to ensure a consistent connection that some of the applications will require. We’ll keep you posted of course on the newest stats and specifics! Finally, we are eating the cost to improve the hardware, and passing along the benefits of improved hardware to our backers. It’s a cost we are willingly paying for the promise of a better product.

Software: With a new processor, we have some new opportunities. Matchstick, with Firefox OS inside, is being updated to support DRM (Digital Rights Management) capability. As you know, many premium content providers such as Netflix require DRM support. Matchstick has undertaken the mission to develop DRM as an independent project with the open source community. In fact, we’d love for you to get involved! If you’re a developer specializing in EME, MSE, and CDM technologies, we’d love to hear from you. We plan to use the Microsoft PlayReady technology and are excited to bring premium content to Matchstick. We’ll keep you updated as we work to contribute newly developed source codes for DRM back to the open community. It’s our goal to make sure open source technology doesn’t mean 2nd tier content and experiences!

Content Providers: We are continually in talks with all the content you will want to experience on your Matchstick. DRM is a barrier and has become our primary focus, and as we work to nail that down we continue to explore new opportunities to upgrade the entire Matchstick experience. We have been looking at some very exciting possibilities! We can’t wait to show you in the coming months.

Independent developers: We’ve seen some incredible possible use cases for Matchstick and want to make sure the developer community’s creativity is not hindered by hardware or software limitations. We feel strongly about supporting developers with something much more than a hacked Chromecast type device. The updates to Matchstick will ensure that.


CWuestefeld

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2015, 10:01:55 AM »
I understand delays, and I always thought their February promise was optimistic. But it really sucks that they'd wait until three weeks before it's promised in our hands to announce a 6-month delay. With a delay of this scope, it had to be something they've known about for quite a while; why wait so long to tell those of us who financed the project from the start?

40hz

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2015, 01:42:28 PM »
I understand delays, and I always thought their February promise was optimistic. But it really sucks that they'd wait until three weeks before it's promised in our hands to announce a 6-month delay. With a delay of this scope, it had to be something they've known about for quite a while; why wait so long to tell those of us who financed the project from the start?

^This! :Thmbsup:



I'm a little disappointed since I backed this one too. I felt somewhat confident in doing so because they had already shown a working prototype.

I'm thinking they're having trouble clearing the legal hurdles for content licensing and DRM. If that's the case, all bets are off since those deciding on yea or nay can be quite arbitrary in their decisions - to say nothing of being subject to influence (i.e. pressured) by existing players who generally wish to shut newcomers out of the market. Which they can do.

Alternatively, there's also a very real chance that they're actively trying to find someone to buy them out and walk away. I say this because they've done a lot of talking about partnering with developers and content providers on a come-one come-all basis. So it's not like they haven't touched bases with companies in the same line of business.

A buyout might also be necessary because their open sharing of technology, schematics, etc. is more than enough to dampen the interest of venture capitalists. VCs like secrets and generally insist on exclusivity, preferring not to have competitors too up on what their funded businesses are doing.

The optimist in me thinks it's just a delay because they kids are letting their 'geek' get in the way of their business.

The businessman (as in pessimist) in me thinks they've either run into a snag that is not technological (i.e. legal, licensing, real or threatened IP lawsuit, etc.) -or- some of their earlier stated goals conflict with operating as a 'smart tech business' and therefore any hoped for "big money" investors are now giving them the cold shoulder. Which could mean serious cash flow issues despite the resounding success of their campaign. Especially since $500k doesn't go very far when you're tooling up for mass producing inexpensive electronic devices.

But since they're not publicly traded, they're under no obligation to share info about what the problem (if any) may be. And (if there is a problem) they've simply decided not to.

My gut tells me something unexpectedly went sideways on them and they're now trying to buy some time.

My heart tells me: "I want your gut to be completely wrong about all this."

Be interesting to see how it plays out. :huh:
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 01:58:43 PM by 40hz »

4wd

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2015, 08:39:51 PM »
Just musing:

Rhetorical question: Do they really have a problem?

With the drop in prices of components, (eg. RasPi 2 still same price as RasPi 1), maybe they decided they could get better specs for a little more outlay.

With the presumed take up of their Flint technology by Philips/TCL it might be that other TV manufacturers will incorporate the technology, (since it's OS, why not?).
If that happens, apart from old AV equipment (some of which could probably implement it through a firmware update), the need for a standalone device starts to diminish except for those use cases of having something mobile "just in case", (eg. hotels, etc).

The problem with the delay as I see it is: What if in 6 months they find they can do more with a newer reduced price octa-core SOC, RAM, etc?

Will it turn into another Duke Nukem Forever?

Mind you, if they can put things like h.265 into silicon and ship it in 6 months I'll be happy to wait a little longer ... I guess.

40hz

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2015, 11:30:02 AM »
^Excellent point. I wouldn't mind embedded h.265 either. ;D But like I said, if true, their inner geek seems to be drowning out the business realities. Three of the most important of which are to: (1) deliver on time; (2) deliver what was promised; and (3) deliver on budget.

When it comes to tech devices, the speed of improvement is such that nearly anything you buy today will be a far less optimal purchase 6 months from now. As you noted, playing the "let's make it mo' better" card (which I don't recall anybody asking or expecting them to do - they had their goals and stretch goals - and we supporters were perfectly happy with those AFAICT) is a neverending treadmill. Fine if you're a patron of the art. But less so if you just ran a successful kickstarter campaign and you now have legally binding promises to deliver on. (Kickstarter can say what they want about "the need to be understanding and patient." If you don't deliver as promised, you can very easily open yourself up to a plethora of very real legal woes. And it can take as little as a single complaint to get those gears rolling.)

Suddenly springing a 6-month delay on their supporters  -  on top of their earlier two month "oops!" delay - calls their good judgement into question - and puts their credibility at risk.

I personally think some of the reasons they've given are pretty lame except for the DRM/licensing issues - which is one of the first things they should have gotten settled even before they started, considering those two things are the tail that wags the dog when it comes to content delivery.

I'm not getting warm fuzzies...but in the absence of anything concrete, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. For now. :huh:

4wd

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2015, 07:05:52 PM »
I'm not getting warm fuzzies...but in the absence of anything concrete, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. For now. :huh:

Since atm I don't actually have anything I could plug it into, (apart from my 1680x1050 monitor, which is rather pointless), I can wait awhile since the time at which I'll get a TV that can use it will be about the time my Sony Trinitron dies ... damn stupid reliable piece of technology ;D

I was thinking more for traveling when I could use it at hotels, relatives, etc.

But some people aren't happy: How do I get a refund?
Not to mention some of the comments on Kickstarter.

Naturally, this kind of makes me believe it's the start of a downward spiral - less happy people, less funds, slower implementation, less happy people, less funds, ...

I really wish they'd push out what was specified a couple of months ago ... then think about better hardware.

Still, I've wasted money on other more expensive techno-gadgets that I thought were a good idea at the time and have since consigned to the dung heap, so it's not going to break the bank ... it's just a little irritating.  I really hope they can pull it off and win back at least some of the good will they've lost.

40hz

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2015, 08:24:17 PM »
I really wish they'd push out what was specified a couple of months ago ... then think about better hardware.

+1!  :Thmbsup: That, in a nutshell, is exactly where I stand too.

I don't mind losing the money should it come to that. (IMO, if you can't afford to lose your contribution to a Kickstarter campaign, you shouldn't be pledging to begin with.) What bothers me is that things like this can contribute to undermining the whole concept of crowd-funding. And I think it's crucial that independent grass roots project funding campaigns like these exist. Otherwise everything innovative will eventually come to rely on government and corporate largess to make them happen. And we all know where that has gotten us so far.
 :tellme:

4wd

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2015, 12:16:31 AM »
Blog post about the latest firmware update:

Quote
This version is largely a maintenance release with fixes including memory leak, EMMC issue, and HDMI output display errors. We have also made numerous preparations in this version to get ready for the soon-to-be-announced release of AdHoc mode and Local Play mode. Stay tuned !

As one comment mentioned:
Quote
Hey devs - it's great you released this update, but so you know, this update is only relevant to the 500 dev units you already shipped. The other 24,021 final units aren't given a single mention and it comes across a little teasing/harsh to literally 98% of your audience in these updates. In the future I'd recommend you try to give some sort of update to 98% of your audience that's patiently waiting, in addition to the 2% of dev units already shipped. :)

Still twiddling my thumbs.

Deozaan

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2015, 12:32:15 AM »
Yeah, I was left wondering what the point was of sending out that email. It sounds like the update will install automatically the next time you power it on, so even if you were one of the few who got a device, why would you need to be notified about this version update?


Deozaan

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2015, 09:36:39 PM »
So, when is it time to start a class action lawsuit or whatever to get a refund since they seem to have gone AWOL? I see some comments in the KickStarter mention something about August, but I don't see any of the recent updates say anything about updates/shipments happening in August.


Deozaan

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2015, 02:35:35 PM »
Here's a recent update:

Quote
Last fall we promised you support for AdHoc mode and Local Play as our Kickstarter stretch goals. Well, we are super excited to let you know both features are now available. Just download Matchstick’s latest Android or iOS set-tup app from Google Play or AppStore and you will be all set to go.

With AdHoc mode, you can connect your mobile device to Matchstick directly and fling content from that device to your TV without requiring any Internet connection. Bring your favorite content to any big screen TV and share your stories with friends. Or bring your own entertainment to your hotel room next time you travel. The possibilities are endless. No complicated setup or pairing required. And Local Play lets you stream content from your local servers to the big screen. SAMBA is supported.

So give it a spin and let us know how you like it. We’d love to hear from you on any suggestions for improvements and bug reports. Thanks for helping us get this far.

Once again, another update praising the awesome new features that barely any of their backers can use since we don't have the hardware.


CWuestefeld

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2015, 02:58:46 PM »
But it says all we have to do is download the latest...   :mad:

I suppose that they're (a) talking to developers and (b) letting us see a pulse. But it's awfully tone-deaf for them not to realize just what responses this will evoke from those of us that funded it.

mwb1100

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2015, 12:46:01 AM »
I see some comments in the KickStarter mention something about August, but I don't see any of the recent updates say anything about updates/shipments happening in August.

We’ll cut to the chase; Matchstick is not going to ship in February.

It’s been a very busy couple of months and we’ve had to make some hard decisions about how to move forward. We’ve decided to release the product when it is ready, and anticipate that to be in August 2015. Let us explain more.

...

Deozaan

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2015, 05:01:50 AM »
Thanks for that, mwb1100. I got curious about that question again and found that today.

They've not mentioned August since then. And they haven't posted updates regarding the development of the hardware. If I was trying to scam people out of nearly a half million dollars, that seems like a simple trick to stall for more time...


mwb1100

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2015, 08:56:16 AM »
I'm not following the project - more importantly I didn't pay any money - but I don't get the sense that they're scamming. However, if they don't deliver because they found themselves in over their heads, then the end result to supporters is more or less the same.

Hopefully the product will be delivered, just later than promised.

wraith808

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2015, 03:41:26 PM »
I'm not following the project - more importantly I didn't pay any money - but I don't get the sense that they're scamming. However, if they don't deliver because they found themselves in over their heads, then the end result to supporters is more or less the same.

Well, not in my opinion.  If you pay and someone fails, you helped someone to try.  If you pay and they run with the money and don't put in effort to deliver... you got scammed.  One makes me disappointed- the other makes me angry.  Mostly with myself for not seeing the signs.

4wd

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Re: Matchstick - A streaming stick using Firefox OS [Kickstarter]
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2015, 10:40:02 PM »
Apparently there was some confusion about who the last update was aimed at:

Quote
There seems to be some confusion from our last update. This is just to clarify that we have not yet shipped out any production quality Matchstick units. The last update regarding ad hoc mode enhancement was mainly intended for those who had purchased and received the Matchstick developer units end of last year. Since ad hoc mode and local play were promised as our Kickstarter stretch goals, we thought it would be helpful to let folks know our progress in meeting our commitment to deliver on our stretch goals. 

We are continuing our product development effort. Stay tuned for more announcement !