Qualcomm is working on a Chromecast-esque dongle designed to stream 4K content to TVs.
This device, discovered at a Qualcomm industry event, can only beam 4K content you’ve made at home to your TV but it’s thought that future versions could be used to deliver Ultra HD content from the likes of Netflix to your TV in future.
Additionally, it could be used as a wireless dock for smartphones and tablets for instant screen mirroring, in a manner similar to Google’s popular TV streaming stick.
The above shot comes courtesy of technology analyst Patrick Moorhead who described the device on Twitter as a “Wireless Qualcomm 4k Stream Adapter prototype”.
Qualcomm told PCWorld in a statement: “Qualcomm is currently working with hardware OEM/ODM and software partners to help deliver 4K streaming between smartphones and tablets, and 4K TVs.”
We know that Qualcomm’s 810 Snapdragon chip supports WiGig which in theory means that phones with one of these inside will be able to beam 4K media to your TV.
The company said the device was for demonstration purposes only but its existence suggests that a Chromecast-sized dongle could one day make its way into our living rooms.
As you’d expect from a product manufactured by Qualcomm, it is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor and uses UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) so you shouldn’t be limited by the device you want to stream content from.
Qualcomm is also working on developing software to work with the device, including proprietary Android media players such as BubbleUPnP, VLC and MXPlayer.
Although a number of providers are offering 4K content, the spread is pretty limited at the moment. Netflix is already up and running and Amazon’s Ultra HD service is due to launch this month.
Both services will only allow you to stream limited content, including Breaking Bad, Smurfs 2, Ghostbusters and House of Cards. Even then, you’ll need to have at least 20Mbps of bandwidth free at all times if you want to stream 4K smoothly. In short, if your broadband service sucks, you’re not getting any 4K.
But if you’ve already got 4K content stored on a phone then your bandwidth issues (or lack of) are irrelevent.
Aside from streaming 4K content, broadcasters are continuing to develop and define broadcast standards for 4K Ultra HD TV. Sky recently tested out its 4K kit at the Ryder Cup golf tournament while the BBC shot a fight scene in 4K, shot at an eye-melting 600fps.