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Mozilla’s Matchstick Firefox OS streaming dongle delayed until August

By April Taylor , Feb 09, 2015 08:34 AM EST
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Mozilla has officially announced that its Matchstick streaming dongle running Firefox OS will no longer launch this month, but in August.

Back in late October, Mozilla successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign for Matchstick, a Firefox OS streaming dongle aiming to complete against the likes of Roku, Google's Chromecast, Amazon's Fire Stick, and others. Mozilla's gadget relies on open hardware and software and aims to provide a superior streaming experience, complete with Ad-Hoc network support.

Mozilla put its Matchstick streaming dongle on Kickstarter back in September, initially seeking to raise $100,000. The company met that goal in no time and continued to raise funds past that initial pledge, with the campaign eventually closing in late October with $470,287 in funding.

More than 17,000 backers supported the project and the Matchstick was supposed to start shipping in February of this year, but Mozilla has now announced a delay. According to the company, the gadget is now expected to ship in August 2015.

The reason behind this delay is that the company wants to make some changes to the hardware, as well as the software. At the same time, content providers will also be able to stream using the Firefox OS-powered Matchstick hardware.

"It's been a very busy couple of months and we've had to make some hard decisions about how to move forward. We've decided to release the product when it is ready, and anticipate that to be in August 2015. Let us explain more," the team announced in a comprehensive Kickstarter update.

"Matchstick is, at its core, a group effort to bring a solid, open, and affordable alternative to the world of video streaming. Manufacturing is hard, but the totality of what makes a product experience complete includes so much more. That collaborative effort includes the hardware, the software, the content providers, and of course, the independent developers that will build on the Matchstick platform."

Hardware

In terms of hardware, the company has been apparently looking at several applications and potential experiences for its HDMI stick, and it's determined to "give it as much power as possible." Consequently, Mozilla wants to replace the dual-core chip with a quad-core one for more processing power, as well as enhance the Wi-Fi performance so as not to be affected by the location of most HDMI ports on HDTVs. The team explains that it spent a good while reviewing solutions to improve the antenna so the gadget won't have issues with Wi-Fi connectivity.

Software

When it comes to software, the team wants to take advantage of the new processor and bump things up on the software side as well. The Firefox OS-powered Matchstick will get an upgrade to support DRM, as premium content providers such as Netflix and others require this capability.

"Matchstick has undertaken the mission to develop DRM as an independent project with the open source community. In fact, we'd love for you to get involved! If you're a developer specializing in EME, MSE, and CDM technologies, we'd love to hear from you. We plan to use the Microsoft PlayReady technology and are excited to bring premium content to Matchstick. We'll keep you updated as we work to contribute newly developed source codes for DRM back to the open community. It's our goal to make sure open source technology doesn't mean 2nd tier content and experiences!"

In other words, Matchstick is still evolving and will be more powerful than initially announced, but it will take longer for the HDMI stick to become available. The gadget is now estimated to start shipping in August 2015 rather than February, if no other delays occur along the way. Backers, however, will not need to pay anything else to benefit from these improvements. We'll keep you posted as soon as more information becomes available, so stay tuned.

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