Print 68 comment(s) - last by Cheesew1z69.. on Jul 27 at 3:34 PM

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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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
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.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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