Qualcomm’s Chromecast-like dongle is the device your 4K just might need

by on February 16, 2015

Stephan Jukic – February 16, 2015

As 4K video kicks into higher gear and the ecosystem around it grows ever more, Qualcomm is participating heavily in developing this same ecosystem to new levels of consumer convenience, as also reported by Slashgear.

This is where the latest announcement by the company about its upcoming streaming stick dongle comes into the picture. Qualcomm has developed the device to deliver UHD video straight to consumers’ UHD 4K TVs in a straightforward plug-and-play manner. The dongle uses one of Qualcomm’s famous Snapdragon processors, in this case the 800. The dongle is also something we’d covered earlier in 2014 when some early rumors about the device first started flying.

So far however, the new dongle is only a reference design so it’s not yet available on sale anywhere and there’s also a decent chance that the dongle itself won’t even end up reaching the consumer market at all if other, more practical projects develop along the way. However it definitely does demonstrate some of the interesting possibilities that are being created in the landscape of 4K entertainment.

If Qualcomm itself doesn’t go any further with the 4K dongle, other companies could at least create their own similar devices based on what Qualcomm’s reference design pioneers. Furthermore, if Qualcomm itself does go ahead with the dongle stick, the addition of the even more powerful 4K capable Snapdragon 810 chip into its guts would really lead to an interesting 4K video entertainment tool.

If the 4K dongle goes on sale to the public, it might come with the heavy-duty upgrade of a Snapdragon 810 SoC chip

If the 4K dongle goes on sale to the public, it might come with the heavy-duty upgrade of a Snapdragon 810 SoC chip

So far, according to what we’ve seen of the concept design, the prototype streaming stick makes use of a full version of the latest Android OS and thus has the potential flexibility of being a fully-interactive streaming device with interface or a simple video streaming stick, similar to the already existing Chromecast by Google.

In other words, the 4K streaming adapter, with its bright red little box design is a full-scale Android smartphone just without a touchscreen and battery inside it, that’s been converted into a home entertainment dongle built with 4K native content fully in mind.

Other highly interesting features on the dongle include compatibility with the latest, most powerful version of WiFi as well as the even more interesting technology of LTE broadcast support.

This latter ability, LTE, is of particular interest as far as ultra HD 4K goes because it could allow mobile operators to send TV signals over the air to their subscribers through 4G connections and through the dongle, these subscribers could then stream that 4K content directly to the TVs they plug it into.

The 4k streaming stick is also able to use 5GHz frequencies in a way that lets it create small, localized LTE areas, which in turn means that it can greatly increase the capacity of the overall 4G network and its already very large bandwidth capacity. This is a vital technological advancement when it comes to being able to move ultra HD movies across the broadband system and between devices inside a home or other localized area.

Again, what we’ve so far seen is just a reference design prototype of the 4K streaming stick but if it does turn into a real thing for the store shelves, we could see millions of consumers suddenly having access to a very cheap and straightforward means of getting 4K content to their UHD TVs.

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