Google Takes Another Stab at TV with the $35 Chromecast Device

This might just be crazy enough to work.

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Google's $35 Chromecast device plugs into the HDMI port of your TV.

This might just be crazy enough to work. Take the idea of Apple’s AirPlay feature, make it work with more than just Apple devices, and charge $35 for the thing that connects to TV sets instead of $100 for an Apple TV box.

That’s ostensibly what Google’s just done with the $35 Chromecast, a device resembling an oversized thumbdrive that plugs into an open HDMI port on the back of your TV set and draws power via a USB connection.

Once connected, you’ll be able to hand video and audio content from your phone, tablet or computer off to your TV set, where it’ll be available for all to see (or hear) on the biggest, nicest screen in your home. This works cross-platform, too – not just with Google devices. Google today demoed how it works using an iPhone, for instance.

Some apps – most notably, YouTube and Netflix — will feature built-in Chromecast support via a “Cast” button residing somewhere in the interface. Press the button, and the Chromecast – which runs a stripped-down version of Google’s Chrome operating system – will grab the video feed from the cloud and play it back directly from the Chromecast device. No actual slinging from the phone, in other words. The idea works the same for music from Google’s music service and Pandora.

Where things get more interesting is when using Google’s Chrome web browser on a PC, Mac or Chromebook computer. The Chromecast features support (albeit in beta for now) for slinging whatever you’re looking at in your browser to your TV set. Remember when a bunch of broadcasters blocked their content from being played via Google TV way back when? For $35, this latest trick from Google appears to offer a relatively elegant workaround.

The Chromecast adapter is available now from the Google Play store. Harry was at the event today where Chromecast was announced and has a review unit in hand. Check back here later for some of his first impressions.

From TVs to tablets: Everything you love, across all your screens [Google Blog]

7 comments
tracy.cmpbll
tracy.cmpbll

Can I cast something from my iPad/iPhone directly to the TV? Or is that feature restricted to Android devices? I was going to buy an Apple TV specifically so I could watch HBO Go on my TV instead of my computer screen, and right now my only option is AirPlay. If I could save $65, I'd definitely take it. But I'd rather not take the time to transfer files via the USB, and I can't do that with HBO Go anyway.

danastabenow
danastabenow

If it works like a Roku, that's a savings of $15.

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

you may have said it and i just missed it since i'm technologically retarded, but will this only play downloaded and streaming content or will it hook up with cable/dish as well?

dreamlife
dreamlife

"The Chromecast features support (albeit in beta for now) for slinging whatever you’re looking at in your browser to your TV set. "  

What does "albeit in beta for now" mean?  Does it mean they might take away or charge for this feature down the road, or does this mean it is still in the testing phase?  

Doug_Aamoth
Doug_Aamoth moderator

@dreamlife I take that to mean that the feature is in beta while any rough edges are worked out. I'd be very surprised if Google charged for it. Gmail was in beta for something like five years, so I'd look at this more as an easy way for Google to deflect criticism of the feature if it doesn't work perfectly for everyone.

dreamlife
dreamlife

@Doug_Aamoth @dreamlife   Thanks for the clarification.  I already use an HDMI cord to display my laptop content on my HDTV.  I guess the advantage of Chromecast is avoiding the chord and also being able to use it on other devices (cell phone, tablet).  For $35, it sounds like a pretty good deal.  

butcherchop
butcherchop

I'm waiting for it to hit Amazon. I will buy 2.