Mozilla unveils $25 Matchstick HDMI dongle

Everyone’s trying to go after Google’s $35 Chromecast dongle lately. Microsoft recently announced its Wireless Display Adapter, which is more expensive and limited to Miracast-enabled PCs and devices. Mozilla is also in the running, and it may have a better solution. The organization has unveiled the Matchstick, which it bills as a “better and more open” alternative to the Google dongle.

And unlike the Microsoft device, the Matchstick will be cheaper than Chromecast, at $25.

Mozilla says the Matchstick team was excited by Chromecast’s promise but disappointed with its limitations. As a result, the Matchstick runs Firefox OS, features an open developer toolkit, and is powered by a faster processor with more memory. According to the Matchstick Kickstarter page, the open dongle “gives you a much better video playback cache and increased performance for whatever games and custom overlays you might dream up.”

The Matchstick is already “fully functional,” the Kickstarter page adds, and manufacturing is scheduled to ramp in the next month or two. The team is hoping for a commercial release in time for the holidays, though it concedes that’s a tight schedule. The Matchstick may not actually arrive until “the first few months of 2015.”

At launch, the Matchstick folks will have a number of key apps ready to go: Netflix, HBO Go, Pandora, ESPN, ABC, and “many more.” But the team is courting developers and asking them to add more. There’s a developer site with “everything you need to begin working with Matchstick,” and developers can apply for a free device here if they “commit to building and porting apps for Firefox OS on Matchstick.” Apparently, porting existing Chromecast apps to the Matchstick takes “less than an hour.”

I wasn’t all that enthused by the early prototype of this thing we heard about in June, but the Matchstick has really shaped up. If Mozilla plays its cards right, this might be the HDMI dongle to have next year.

Comments closed
    • Welch
    • 6 years ago

    Simple request……. Wired PC clients can stream to the damn thing. Nothing pisses me off more about Chromecast that wired PCs can’t stream content. WHY? There is zero physical or even virtual limiter preventing the two devices from talking to each other. As long as they are both on the same physical WiFi and aren’t isolated from each other this should be a no brain supported feature. My desktop could then start to double as an HTPC with full screen mirroring.

    • Milo Burke
    • 6 years ago

    Does this require a computer to use the Netflix app? If not, I’ll buy it in a heartbeat.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 6 years ago

    If this runs a web browser onboard it would be awesome, and way more flexible than dongles which merely mirror-stream another device. I take it Firefox OS can run a browser.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 6 years ago

    Look, Butthead, it’s an ‘open dongle…’

    Uuhhh huhuh huh

    • imabug
    • 6 years ago

    already have a Roku 3, Chromecast and blu-ray player (for when i want to go old school) dangling off my TV. think my TV is out of HDMI ports now

      • Welch
      • 6 years ago

      Yay for HDMI splitter/selectors…… or, uhh… not.

    • Laykun
    • 6 years ago

    If they make it easy to stream local files then I’m onboard. If there’s one big disappointing feature about the Chromecast it’s that one.

      • Namarrgon
      • 6 years ago

      Take a look at the VideoStream and Plex apps. They do exactly that.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 6 years ago

    Still love my Roku 2….it’s more expensive ($70) but has apps built-in and doesn’t require another device to stream. The Juice app lets you cast all that stuff through the Roku also.

      • willmore
      • 6 years ago

      Can they stream local content, yet?

    • Neutronbeam
    • 6 years ago

    I wonder if Chromecast users will switch to this? I think one dongle is enough for most people.

      • weaktoss
      • 6 years ago

      That’s what I was thinking–this sounds great and I’d definitely grab one…if I didn’t already have a Chromecast.

      • superjawes
      • 6 years ago

      It all depends on functionality. If Matchstick can workaround some of the app coverage issues that Chromecast has (Kindle and Amazon video don’t work, for example), then I think people will switch.

      On the other hand, you’d spend $60 to get both…that’s cheap…REALLY cheap. You might not use both, but for $25 you might try Matchstick just to see how it works.

      EDIT: also…is this thing HDMI powered? Chromecast comes with a USB cable to tap the extra power it needs. Eliminate that and Matchstick does become a little more attractive…

        • slowriot
        • 6 years ago

        USB powered.

        [url<]http://www.matchstick.tv/developers/hardware.html[/url<] I hope they move that micro USB port. It's in a poor location. But their efforts to not mention this fact makes me think they're just going to roll with it.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 6 years ago

        It would be completely dead in the water if it was HDMI powered, too few TVs would work with it

          • UberGerbil
          • 6 years ago

          Which is going to be the problem with USB-C ones. That is the perfect solution — one port that provides power, accepts the video signal, and can pass through other USB traffic — but right now it is on zero TVs and the installed base will be effectively zero for a long time even if TV manufacturers embrace it (and it’s far from certain they all will, at least at first). Maybe there’s a chance if USB C becomes common on 4K TVs early and a well-designed 4K-capable USB-C dongle appears quickly, but it’s still a long slow climb as TV ownership turns over.

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