The success of Google’s Chromecast HDMI has sparked the interest of Orange. So much so that, according to l’Opinion, they’re currently working on a ‘similar but different’ model of heir own. No word yet as to what the key differences will be. Chromecast was launched in France in mid-March. While Google hasn’t announced sales figures for Chromecast in France, it is known that 65,000 units of Chromecast have already been sold in SFR boutiques since their launch.
While the triple-play box has long been the gateway to the TV, Orange is taking note of growing popularity of HDMI keys or dongles as an alternative and was to avoid the scenario where tech giants Google and Amazon dominate the space. While Stephane Richard regards the impact of HDMI keys in France as limited, he acknowledges that only focusing on the Livebox, offering some type of dongle would enable them to propose innovative content and services to those who are not Livebox subscribers. Presumably, offering some type of dongle could also be an entry point for non-Orange customers to move to other Orange services as well (e.g. more or perhaps even Livebox). While Stephane Richard confirmed that Orange had been approached by Netflix, reportedly, about a potential partnership, no final decision has been made. However, if there were to be some sort of deal there between the two (rather than a rivalry), on the content side of things, Orange’s dongle could become quite interesting.