In addition to announcing new wireless range extenders and a "personal" router, Netgear introduced on Monday the NeoMediacast HDMI Dongle (NTV300D), a customizable, Miracast-enabled platform for TV operators to lease or resell to customers.
Based on Android 4.2, this device can turn any HDTV into a Smart TV, and will likely play host to popular services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and others not provided by cable companies. So far it's unclear whether this stick, which seems to have the same "vented" design as the Android-based Gamestick, will be compatible with Google services like Google Play and more. However, Netgear hints that current Android apps may already work on this stick.
"Service providers can leverage the Android apps they have already developed to support linear TV on tablets and phones. Combined with NTV300D support for DRM, this offers service providers a low-cost alternative to set-top boxes. By supporting this seamless portability of existing Android applications and the cost-effective development of new applications, the NeoMediacast Dongle enables service providers to instantly turn any TV into a Smart TV."
According to the specs, this device will sport two USB 2.0 ports: one for powering the stick, and one that supports OTG connectivity such as external drives, keyboards and mice. There's also a microSD card slot, RF support and an infrared port for using a legacy remote control. Other features include 1080p/60 full HD, H.264/MPEG4 video decode, Miracast capability, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wireless AC connectivity.
Could this be a Chromecast competitor? Given that this device will only be served up by cable companies and the like, you'd think that Google would have nothing to fear. But Netgear has set out to replace the set-top-box, so Google may have a while before competition begins to heat up. Then again, this could be the start of the next-generation Android TV wave.
"Consumers are clamoring for new options for accessing digital content across their screens, including their wide-screen HD TVs. With the NeoMediacast HDMI Dongle, our service provider customers have the means to provide a plug-and-play solution to their subscribers that also provides opportunities for additional revenue stream," said Michael Clegg, senior vice president and general manager for Service Provider Business at Netgear.
For more information about Netgear's TV stick, head here.