Features Television

Back Pedaled: Matchstick TV dongle goes up in flames but doesn’t burn backers

Some crowdfunded gadgets are famous for shaping the market while others are infamous for never making it to market. Sadly, this often leaves backers in the lurch. In Back Pedaled, we’ll look back on these projects and what went wrong. If you’ve been burned by a gadget project that’s incurred significant delays or didn’t make it to market, get in touch.

Google’s Chromecast, a small, inexpensive gadget that connected to the HDMI connector found in most TVs, popularized a new approach to getting content from mobile devices to the big screen. The Chromecast was not the first streaming stick, but form factor inspired products like the Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Microsoft Wireless Device Adapter. Its success has attracted a broad array of content services to use the Google Cast technology it uses.

Music Technology

Stream delivers open source multi-room music streaming

Multi-room, Wi-Fi music systems have become increasingly popular as emerging technology standards in the category, including AllPlay, continue to try and gain a foothold. But Sonos and other options on the market, such as the Core multi-room speaker system, are too costly for many consumers, often coming in at $300 or higher.

Stream is being touted by its maker as a highly affordable option, coming in at $199. Like similar products, Stream enables users to listen to music from Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, iTunes and their own personal music collections in all rooms of their homes. It’s an open system that can be connected via a free app for Android and iOS devices. Alternatively, iOS users can run Stream via AirPlay. Stream will ship in May. Its maker is looking to raise $50,000 by March 24 to give the manufacturing supplier a first order and pay for research and tooling costs, according to Stream’s Indiegogo campaign.

Stream holds promise largely because of its price tag, which separates it from much of the rival pack. But it’s not clear if that will be enough of a selling advantage. For now, the actual quality of Stream’s sound isn’t known, and that’s the most important feature of any music system.

Connected Objects Music

Bullet-like Archt One wireless speaker system spreads sound around consistently

When it comes to home audio, gone are the days of complex stereo equipment, speakers mounted and positioned just so all over the room, and the treaded jungle known as “the A/V closet.” Now, people want a simple, aesthetic, solitary device to handle it all.

The ARCHT One offers just that. Despite looking more like a coffee brewer or a lava lamp, the ARCHT One delivers room-filling stereo sound despite being a single device. With compact, omnidirectional surround sound speakers, a proprietary digital signal processor and digital analog converter, and intuitive one-touch controls, the ARCHT One just needs to go where it looks best, and the speakers take care of the rest. With support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, USB, and auxiliary cables, the ARCHT One is perfect for any situation. ARCHT Audio’s fundraising goal is set at $70,000 to handle production and shipping, and those who want one can get an ARCHT One for $349, delivered in February 2015.

With a sense of style all its own and enough power to handle all but the most demanding home audio needs, the ARCHT One is great for entertaining guests, removing cluttering audio devices and speakers, or just enjoying sound from anywhere in the house.