Google reveals Chromecast: video streaming to your TV from any device for $35
Google is making another foray into the living room with the Chromecast, a small $35 dongle that allows users to stream videos from a phone or tablet to their TV using Chrome. Essentially, it turns every TV into a smart TV, but it lets you control it through whatever device you’re on rather than providing a new interface. “Everyone loves their phones, tablets, and laptops,” said Google. “Unlike other solutions, we will not force you to have the same operating system on all your devices.” It connects over HDMI and is powered by USB, and can be plugged right into an A/V receiver if your TV doesn’t have an extra port. Google says that future devices from partners — very likely TVs and set-top boxes — will also have Chromecast built-in.
Read our hands-on impressions of Google’s Chromecast streaming TV stick right here!
The Chromecast doesn’t directly mirror your screen to devices a la AirPlay, though the two concepts are pretty similar. After what Google promises is quick and painless syncing, it turns your phone or computer into a remote, allowing you to queue up and play videos, control volume, or even turn on the TV; from there, you can use other apps without interrupting playback. It will also continue playing even when your phone is asleep, and unlike Google’s failed Nexus Q, it will work the same on Android and iOS — Windows Phone, at least for now, is not supported. Speaking of the Nexus Q, it appears that the Chromecast is the true successor to that device.
On the traditional PC side, it supports Chrome on recent versions of Windows and Mac OS X: users can stream the contents of tabs directly from the browser, including HTML5 and Flash content, though Silverlight and Quicktime video aren’t supported. Somewhat ironically, the only currently supported Chromebook is the high-end Pixel, though wider support is coming. Google says this particular feature is in beta, but will be finalized with the release of Chrome 30.
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