As we wrote about mid last year, Orange has been preparing its own HDMI to compete with Google Chromecast. It looks like Orange will finally be bringing its competitive connected HDMI key to market this April. Given their growing footprint in eastern Europe, they’ve already been testing this same type of key in Romania, which given the impending launch in French, looks like it’s been a success thus far.
While Google’s Chromecast enables users to transfer content from a television to smartphone or tablet, Orange’s offer will differ in that it will focus on Orange licensed or delivered (ie via their Livebox) content, including 50 tv channels, Dailymotion, and even Youtube. All of these will be included in the standard pricing of the key. They’re also looking to eventually include paid content as well from sources such as Canal+ or BeIn Sports. Obviously, the priority users for the key will be Orange’s existing customers, with first focus on their low cost offer Sosh and Open, their end-to-end service. Their goal is ultimately to deliver a better client experience, which according to Les Echos will feature prominently in CEO Stephane Richard’s 17 March presentation laying out the French telco’s 5-year strategy.
It remains to be seen how Orange will compete head-on with Google Chromecast which has already gone on to move 10 million units. Orange is only projecting ‘tens of thousands’ of users of their HDMI key in the first year, so presumably they plan for following years is a lot more ambitious.