Google announces Chromecast: A $35 dongle that streams videos to your TV

chromecast

At Google’s “Breakfast with Sundar Pichai” event today, the company introduced a new device called Chromecast that plugs into your television’s HDMI port, and instantly adds video streaming capabilities to it. The best part about this device? It’s a tiny dongle that costs just $35.

The dongle connects to a Wi-Fi network, and lets you use your Android or iOS device or laptop to “cast” online content to your TV. Chromecast currently works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music and more apps coming soon. There’s also a Google Cast SDK for third-party developers that lets them add screen-sharing abilities to their iOS and Android apps via Chromecast.

Google is also giving a three month Netflix membership free with every Chromecast, so the effective price of the dongle comes down to just $11.

chromecast-1

Though Chromecast’s “screen sharing” concept is very similar to AirPlay, the technologies are very different. Unlike AirPlay, where the content is sent from your iPhone or iPad to the TV, Chromecast itself fetches content from the cloud, so the devices just do the initial pairing and present UI elements to control the stream. While this arrangement works well for video and photo streaming, it proves to be limiting for other tasks like mirroring and gaming.

Another differentiating factor from AirPlay — this time a positive one — is that you can continue multitasking while content is being “casted” to your TV, letting you check your mail, surf the web even as a video or a photo is being streamed.

Chrome will also add support for Chromecast and allow web apps to send content like photos, videos etc. to your TV.

Google notes that Chromecast, which runs a toned-down version of Chrome OS, will soon also be embedded in a number of products from several manufacturers, eliminating the need for a separate dongle.

Tell us what you think about the Chromecast in the comments below. Is its reliance on the cloud for streaming a feature or limitation?

For more information about the Chromecast, and to purchase it, head over to this link.

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  • John

    I’d say its dependence on the cloud is more of a limitation. I’d much rather depend on WiFi data transference and be able to mirror my computer display to my TV in real time rather than a delayed signal being indirectly sent from my display sharing device to the cloud and back to the external display. Call me old school, but I’m still a bit edgy with cloud-based or dedicated online storage of important information. E-mail is enough for me. Who knows who’s (the government, hackers, cyber terrorists) towering, monitoring, or waiting to steal and use our private information in the “cloud”? It may simply be my high distrust of the government, but the gov’t has admitted to putting chemicals in the air as they still do, and they also mass contaminate our water systems and subject citizens who use sink water to mass drugging without consent every second when they use their sink, shower, etc.. I used to hack Yahoo, nothing too devious, and remembering it being quite easy to obtain information without getting caught, until I got caught and threatened by Yahoo that they would sue, though that was in my much younger and immature days, 10+ years from now I’ve changed. No matter how tight security is, there’s always a hole as long as there is an entrance. Hard drives and servers don’t come out being perfect. Clouds, figuratively yet literally, no matter how blue the sky is, are always foggy.

    • DickyDarko

      Big brother paranoia aside, I agree it would be better to also have the ability to stream local content. I assume that is coming pretty quickly, I’m hoping this becomes an awesome little plex client!

  • Jim

    It was $42 with shipping and tax. Seems like a good idea for the price. Will easily let my wife share content from her phone and pad on the TV (I use an HTPC and Roku for local stuff already so this is a good complement).

  • Nicholas Boullester

    I really wish this could stream from my home NAS… I have hundreds of movies and shows and my xbox just stutters like a bitch. I was going to get an mk808 to hook up and stream then I saw this… looks like I’m getting an mk808 still

  • Guest

    Try Raspiberry Pi. You can stream local content with XBMC + a lot of other stuffs.