I'm a big fan of Google's Chromecast; I get a lot of use out of something that cost me just $35, and I have several friends who share my enthusiasm for the device. Within my circle at least, Chromecast is a hit.
But competition is always a good thing, so today I want to draw your attention to the Kickstarter project for Matchstick, a device that aims to take on Chromecast.
Matchstick is different from Chromecast in a few ways. For one thing it's cheaper. An $18 Kickstarter pledge gets you a Matchstick in February, if everything goes according to schedule. If Kickstarter isn't your thing, Matchstick will retail for $25 when it launches so you're still saving $10 when compared to Chromecast.
Second, it runs on Firefox OS and is completely open. It's so open that they've published the schematics in case you want to make your own.
Third, it's more powerful than the Chromecast, with a faster processor and more RAM. Matchstick says "The bigger processor and increased memory gives you a much better video playback cache and increased performance for whatever games and custom overlays you might dream up."
At launch the Matchstick team will make sure there's support for "a core set of content" (Netflix, Pandora and HBO Go are mentioned by name) and they're sending out early prototypes to developers so hopefully by the time end consumers get their Matchsticks there'll be a robust library of supporting apps available.
I threw down my $18 pledge (and it's worth noting they made their goal in a day, so the project is already funded) and should get a unit in February if all goes according to plan. I've been meaning to get a 2nd Chromecast for the upstairs TV but I can wait a few months in order to see how Matchstick compares.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.