Content streaming is nothing new. However, even with the number of options available today, it still has room to grow and improve. Enter Matchstick, the first Firefox OS-based HDMI stick.
While it's directly taking on Google's Chromecast, Matchstick was not built out of a need to compete. In fact, the people behind Matchstick were quite excited when Chromecast came out. Unfortunately, they were ultimately disappointed with the Google product. Knowing that it's possible to create a better, more open product was what gave birth to Matchstick.
"Matchstick represents an entirely new product category for Firefox OS: the first streaming stick built on Firefox OS and certified by Mozilla. Matchstick and Firefox OS are a totally open platform, (both software and hardware), that lets developers explore any streaming content from video to games, and bring their apps onto the big screen in living room. Thanks to its openness, Matchstick is truly 100 percent open and 100 percent fun," said the company.
Matchstick is fitted with a dual-core Rockchip 3066 processor, with 4GB onboard storage and 1GB DDR3 memory. By using a bigger processor and higher memory capacity, the HDMI stick will be able to offer better video playback and boost performance, accommodating any kind of custom overlays a user might want to employ.
To stand behind its claim of being truly open, Matchstick made hardware schematics and reference designs available for download. Aside from letting anyone see what's inside a Matchstick, this also makes it possible for anyone with the necessary know-how to create their very own HDMI sticks based off Matchstick.
To use Matchstick, simply plug it into any HDMI-ready monitor or TV. Let it connect to a Wi-Fi network and setup will be initialized. Once everything is set up, users can now "fling" content. Flinging essentially refers to sending content and apps to a monitor or TV from a computer or Android or iOS device. Once anything is flung, laptops, smartphones, and tablets can be used to control media.
Because apps help expand Matchstick's capabilities as an HDMI stick, a developer program was launched for qualified developers. Through this program, they will be provided with the tools and information they will need to begin porting and developing apps for the Matchstick.
When the Matchstick becomes available to the public in February, it will be priced at $25, $10 less than what the Chromecast costs. Kickstarter backers got the HDMI stick cheaper at $12 for the Early Bird pledge and $18 for the Basic pledge. Matchstick reached its goal of $100,000 with 29 days left in its Kickstarter campaign.