Lots of companies have come out with TV dongles to compete with Chromecast. Netgear might be on to something with their new NeoMediacast NTV300D HDMI dongle, which they announced at CES yesterday. Along with being a mouthful to say, the NeoMediacast dongle is very versatile and may even offer television providers a way to enhance your home services.
The new Netgear dongle runs on Android 4.2 and is packed with features. It has a microSD card slot, making it easy to sideload movies or TV shows that you own. No need to stream them over your local network; just load the files onto a microSD card and pop it in. It supports both 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, which means you can easily add a Bluetooth remote or video game controller. The NeoMediacast has the Miracast wireless display technology build into it as well, allowing it to act as a secondary display for any of your Android devices.
The NTV300D features support for 1080p H.264 and MPEG4 video playback, has a micro USB OTG port, an HDMI 1.4 connector, and is powered by a simple USB port. Because it runs Android 4.2, it can provide you access to apps like a web browser, music player, and your favorite social networks. It looks like it supports Adobe Flash. Netgear even included support for Samba network sharing, allowing you to wirelessly connect to shared local storage drives and access media content on them.
The NeoMediacast NTV300D will let television providers offer their services on your TV while also supporting third-party apps. Providers can offer this option instead of having to create their own set-top boxes. This would let your cable provider stream shows from the main TV to one in your bedroom while also providing you access to the Netflix or Hulu Plus apps.
The NeoMediacast dongle packs all of the features you could want for home media playback, and offers a way to TV companies to make use of it too. As a competitor to Chromecast, it offers a lot. It also may be more confusing to set up and use than Chromecast. That's not to say that the NeoMediacast will be a pain to deal with, but Chromecast is dead simple. Netgear wants to bring consumers more. The NTV300D should launch in first half of 2014. No pricing is available yet.