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It's available in the U.S. starting today, with other countries to follow

Google introduced a media streaming stick today that allows users to watch videos from services like YouTube and Netflix on their TVs. 

The streaming stick is called Chromecast, and it connects to a TV's HDMI input to wirelessly sync with mobile devices or the Chrome browser allowing users to view videos, photos and more right on their TVs.

In other words, if you choose a movie from your smartphone's Netflix app, you can use Chromecast to play it on your TV.

The Google stick performs the duties of a media streaming box and a remote control. Chromecast is compatible with Android and iOS-powered smartphones and tablets, allowing users to not only use these devices to choose the videos they want to watch on their TVs, but also wirelessly control the videos with them (play, pause, stop, rewind, etc.). 

Chromecast is also compatible with the Chrome browser on any PC or Mac. 

A couple of other cool features include screen-mirroring, which will show the user's activity on their Chrome browser including videos and photos, and use of multiple devices to control Chromecast (for instance, if you play a movie from your smartphone's Netflix app, you can use your tablet as a remote control). 


Chromecast will even automatically switch your TV to the correct input upon choosing to watch videos, photos, etc. via Chromecast.

Chromecast's hardware measures a mere 2 inches, and it supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 802.11. It can play back 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound, and comes with a USB power cable and a power adapter. 

At launch, Chromecast can only support four apps: Netflix, YouTube, Google Music and Google Movies. However, an upside to this is that Google is offering both new and existing Netflix users three free months of the service if they buy Chromecast. 

Despite its limited app selection, Google said more options will be coming soon. But for now, the tech giant is hoping to use the device's convenient features and low price of only $35 to draw customers in. 

Yes, I said $35. So it doesn't have the options that competitors like Apple TV and Roku's Streaming Stick have, but the attractive price should set sales in motion. 

Chromecast is available starting today in the U.S., and will come to other countries later. 

Google has had a busy week of launches so far. It also unveiled the new Nexus 7 tablet, which features a a quad-core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a 1920x1200 pixel resolution, a 7-inch 1080p HD screen, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, dual stereo speakers, and prices of $229 for 16GB and $269 for 32GB. 

Additionally, Google introduced Android version 4.3 Jelly Bean -- which will power the new Nexus 7 tablet. 

Source: Google Chrome Blog



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I'm confused
By bug77 on 7/25/2013 3:52:12 AM , Rating: 1
What does this do for a smart TV with built-in WiFi? Other than setting you back $35.




RE: I'm confused
By seamonkey79 on 7/25/2013 7:31:18 AM , Rating: 2
Less. But $35 also costs less than the difference between most 'dumb' TVs and their 'smart' TV counterparts. Toss in 3 months of Netflix ($8.75 for streaming only) it works out to being $8.25 (plus taxes and shipping). Combine that with the much nicer interface on the device apps than searching for something with the arrow keys on a remote, this seems pretty nice. That being said, I tried ordering one and my Google wallet page keeps closing on me rather than ordering it, so... I may or may not be able to find out if this actually is as nice as I'd hope.

Total with tax and shipping was $41.44. When I bought my Samsung 40" TV the difference between 'dumb' and 'smart' was $275.


RE: I'm confused
By bug77 on 7/25/2013 8:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is, in a few years all TVs will be "smart". I don't see Google trying to tap into a waning market.


RE: I'm confused
By karimtemple on 7/25/2013 8:31:21 AM , Rating: 2
This. I'm fairly disinterested in Chromecast because even where it's meant to fit it, it doesn't really fit in.

It doesn't do a very good job of making your dumb TV smart because it needs a computer to tell it what to do. Or you can use CEC which, let's face it, is in a pathetic state.

The ability to tote it around with you is the best argument for it. It's similar to having an HDMI cable coming from your phone, if you only use the cable to display video streams. I guess it could be good if you stay in a lot of hotel rooms or something.

However, the promo pictures are crazy misleading, as you have to plug the Chromecast into a power source. Not that big of a deal ultimately though, and if your TV has USB you may be in luck.

The 3 months of Netflix also applies to existing users though, which is nuts. So it really is $11. It's just that I haven't yet thought of a scenario where I'd be somewhere and urgently need to stream video to someone else's TV, who doesn't already have YouTube and Netflix on their TV.


RE: I'm confused
By othercents on 7/25/2013 8:41:39 AM , Rating: 2
Being able to search YouTube on the tablet then stream to the TV is a nice feature compared to searching with the 10 key remote. Also, if Google added compatibility with the photo gallery then I might have a need to use it when visiting family. I could also turn my work monitor into a video player, but they need to expand the applications to include VLC Media Player.

Overall this item is extremely late to market and Google is hoping to sell a bunch due to the low cost of the units. I might still pick up one due to the low cost even though I think it will just sit in my bag.


RE: I'm confused
By bug77 on 7/25/2013 10:23:02 AM , Rating: 2
Well, at least Samsung has an application for Android that let you use the tablet as a remote control. It has a Picasa app in there, too.


RE: I'm confused
By Guspaz on 7/25/2013 10:29:37 AM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, Samsung's SmartTV software (which they also use on their BluRay players) is painfully slow, making browsing Netflix on the TV an exercise in patience.

Being able to browse a fast and responsive touch interface to find Netflix content instead of waiting 20-30 seconds for pages to load using nothing but a d-pad on a remote control would be a huge improvement.


RE: I'm confused
By ipay on 7/25/2013 11:45:16 AM , Rating: 2
Slow is right. Aside from one of their Smart TVs, I also have their top of the line BR player. It's smart feature-set is super slow too, and I had frequent audio sync issues with streaming media, such as Netflix. I went with a full-out HTPC instead.


RE: I'm confused
By Schrag4 on 7/25/2013 12:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
I also have a Samsung BR player that does NetFlix, YouTube, etc and I agree, it's incredibly slow. I might buy this thing just for that TV. We already pay for NetFlix streaming, and if the other post here is correct (that existing customers also get discounted 3 months) then this thing really is a steal at $35.


RE: I'm confused
By Souka on 7/25/2013 5:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
as you have to plug the Chromecast into a power source. Not that big of a deal ultimately though, and if your TV has USB you may be in luck.


If your TV supports HDMI 1.4, or whatever you'd liek to call the current HDMI standard, it will get the power from the HDMI port itself.

Otherwise yes, you will need to plug into a USB port on your TV, or use a cell phone charger -> micro-usb cable -> Chromecast.


RE: I'm confused
By umop apisdn on 7/26/2013 12:12:33 AM , Rating: 2
The 5v pin can only support 50mA max. Good luck powering a radio with that.


RE: I'm confused
By seamonkey79 on 7/25/2013 10:32:13 AM , Rating: 2
I have no plans on replacing my TV in 'a few years' and I know lots of people that have no plans to replace their TV until at least 4k is at the same price point 1080p is now.


RE: I'm confused
By FITCamaro on 7/25/2013 1:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. I have a 50" plasma I don't plan to replace. I have my 360 and PS3 hooked up to it already but it'd be sweet to be able to just shove content to the TV wirelessly from my computer.


RE: I'm confused
By quiksilvr on 7/25/2013 11:49:27 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe I have a 32" TV NOW that needs some YouTube and Netflix love and I don't feel like spending hundreds of dollars.

I agree in a few YEARS that will be moot, but that's a long time.

Also $35 to turn your dumb tv into a smart tv. Seems pretty legit to me.


RE: I'm confused
By Moishe on 7/26/2013 2:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
Irrelevant. Bring your ChromeCast with you on vacation... Instant access with no hotel charges.

Once there are more apps, you'll be able to access the same things on ChromeCast as you would on the Roku. All you need is a wireless connection, which is easy to get on the road

Not to mention the fact that just because all *new* TVs will be "smart" in a couple years doesn't mean that there won't be a large body of "dumb" TVs in use for another decade.


RE: I'm confused
By XZerg on 7/25/2013 8:11:46 AM , Rating: 2
why would you buy a "smart-tv" dongle when you have a smart tv? if you are dumb then sure you will be set back $35. although that's your way of reasoning. but if you look at what else this device offers [3 months of netflix and potentially a better user interface/interaction (andriod/ios device remote control)] then it could be worth it overall.


RE: I'm confused
By Digimonkey on 7/25/2013 8:33:25 AM , Rating: 2
Smart TVs will get old. People won't necessarily want to upgrade their TVs just for smart features if the screen still fits their TV watching criteria.

Also, the portability factor of this has to be taken into account. While they may have a Smart TV at their house, what about when visiting friends and family? Maybe you'd like to watch netflix at a hotel on their TV...that is if their wireless option doesn't suck.


RE: I'm confused
By Moishe on 7/26/2013 2:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
This ^^^^

Hate to say it, but "smart" devices are out of date pretty quick. I have a nice blu-ray player that has all of the smart features and they don't release new apps. The "smartness" fades.


RE: I'm confused
By bug77 on 7/25/2013 10:24:39 AM , Rating: 1
Who said I was going to buy one? I was just asking why would I go with a dumb TV (that will disappear in a few years anyway) and a Chromecast, instead of a smart TV.


RE: I'm confused
By Reclaimer77 on 7/25/2013 10:35:39 AM , Rating: 2
Then don't buy it?

Seriously, I don't think Google is claiming this is some all-in-one solution or a fully featured streaming box. Are they?

But for some people and situations, this is pretty damn cool.

And if you think it's going to take a "few years" for 'dumb TV's' to disappear, you're pretty optimistic.


RE: I'm confused
By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 11:11:41 AM , Rating: 3
I know, what is so hard to get about this? It's not for every TV... It's for the millions and millions of TV's out there that dont support wireless video.

For a mere $35, you plug this tiny dongle into any HDMI port and that it, you have wireless streaming from any device, your tablet, your phone, your laptop, whatever.

The other thing is the UI. Its one nice and easy UI that can do it, where your existing UI might suck. For me, I have a Tivo HD. The Tivo's UI is great for TV, but the other options, Netflix, Amazon, etc are absolutely horrible. Even most smart TV's UI's are crappy. I would get this even though I dont need it, because for $35, you cant go wrong. Its not for everyone in every situation, but its a good cheap and easy option for those that can use it.


RE: I'm confused
By Spuke on 7/25/2013 3:43:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For a mere $35, you plug this tiny dongle into any HDMI port and that it, you have wireless streaming from any device, your tablet, your phone, your laptop, whatever.
BAM! NONE of my TV's are smart. This is a Godsend as far as I'm concerned. And, yes, I'm on the buy list. Too bad I didn't find this out till this morning before they all sold out. Even the wife is impressed.


RE: I'm confused
By bug77 on 7/25/2013 11:15:50 AM , Rating: 2
When I said they'll disappear, I meant from vendor's catalogues. I know people will hold on to their TV a while longer.


RE: I'm confused
By Rukkian on 7/25/2013 11:15:36 AM , Rating: 3
It is your option, but paying ~$300 extra for a "smart" tv, where most of the apps are not updated very often and have a clunky interface instead of $35 for a portable device that should work with any HDMI (practically) TV, does not sound smart.

All of the so called "smart" tvs I have played with have older interfaces, that rarely update and are not as easy to use.


RE: I'm confused
By bug77 on 7/25/2013 12:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, the difference is not $300. It may not even be $200.
Second, "dumb" TVs are also limited to "100Hz" or so (using the marketing speak where 100Hz can mean a lot of things). Smart TV routinely do 200, 400 or more.
So yes, I got that someone who doesn't have a smart TV could use this, but it doesn't save you nearly as much as you'd think.

Also, the apps on my Samsung seems to be getting a few updates each month. Don't ask me what they do, I don't get a change log. The YouTube application which I use the most has gotten some nice improvements, tho.


RE: I'm confused
By Rukkian on 7/25/2013 12:54:32 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 240HZ LG LED 42", and it was more than $300 more than the equivalent smart LG. I have no need for a smart tv, cause I have a pc next 2 it with an hdmi out, but I am still ordering one of these, cause it is cheaper than adding a bt keyboard and mouse to use from the couch. I also dont have to pay the extra price if/when I change out my tv again.

While it may not be for everybody, I was responding to those that say there is absolutely no need for this and will be replaced by smart tv's.


RE: I'm confused
By Moishe on 7/26/2013 2:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly.... the control mechanism, portability, and price make this a no-brainer.


RE: I'm confused
By XZerg on 7/25/2013 12:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
your argument is invalid! there, happy?

this merely serves as an option for those who have tvs that do not provide features this device does or want some device that they can control via their ios/andriod devices.

heck i wonder if i can connect this to my monitor and watch movies off of it. imagine that.


RE: I'm confused
By Flunk on 7/25/2013 9:45:49 AM , Rating: 2
Basically, this $35 device makes the extra money spent on a "smart" TV a complete waste by offering similar features with an easier to use interface for anyone with an HDMI port.


RE: I'm confused
By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 11:19:28 AM , Rating: 2
Well put... Also great for the millions and millions of non-wireless HDMI TV's already out there.

Even if its something as simple as a sharing photo's. Friends/Family come to visit and you you want to show them the latest photo's on your tablet. Instead of a bunch of people hovering around you on your tablet, just switch the input to the HDMI port with Chromecast and boom, its on the TV and everyone can see it. For only $35 you cant go wrong.

A great idea.


RE: I'm confused
By Reclaimer77 on 7/25/2013 11:49:40 AM , Rating: 1
Yup. This is way better than AirPlay because it doesn't require a $100 piece of equipment and is universal, and it's WAY more portable.

For $35 I'm buying one just because. Never know when I'll need something like this on vacation, vising family, just whatever.


RE: I'm confused
By bug77 on 7/25/2013 11:51:09 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think browsing a few sites qualifies as "similar features". Granted, smart TVs have their share of useless applications, but they do cover a wider range of uses nonetheless. Some of the pricier models can do Skype video calls, which is rather sweet on a 40"+.


RE: I'm confused
By TakinYourPoints on 7/25/2013 10:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. This looks like Google's best hardware product so far, brain-dead simple and very useful. Chrome integration is awesome.


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