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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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No device video/audio streaming = game stopper
By Tony Swash on 7/25/2013 12:43:23 PM , Rating: 3
When I first saw the reports about Chromecast I thought it was some sort of platform agnostic and very cheap alternative to Apple TV and Airplay but it seems it's not.

For a start you cannot actually stream video or audio from a tablet or phone to your TV, you can only use Chromecast to view material on the web on your TV and use your phone or tablet to control the web play back.

The other limitation is that Chromecast cannot stream to non-TV devices (at the moment) so no playing music out of networked speakers as with Airplay.

I am sure that Google will sell a lot initially but how much traction Chromecast will get is hard to judge, being restricted to web streaming seems very limiting.




By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 2:05:43 PM , Rating: 1
"For a start you cannot actually stream video or audio from a tablet or phone to your TV, you can only use Chromecast to view material on the web on your TV and use your phone or tablet to control the web play back."

That is the whole point. It's not using your phone/tablet's CPU or battery to get it done, its getting it direct from the web. It's a $35 device that handles almost everything most people need from it.

You just cant stand any company that competes with your precious Apple that is all. It somehow threatens your manhood in the sick "company is all important" world where you dwell.

I say this to you with all friendliness and concern... You really need to get a hobby outside of Apple.


RE: No device video/audio streaming = game stopper
By momorere on 7/25/2013 2:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
It seemed to be doing well as it sold out in less than 24 hours. But, we all know that Apple are crushing this. LOL


By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 2:19:36 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... I know. "What is this? A new device from a company that competes with Apple? I must find something negative to say about it"

I just cant see anything negative on this. It's a $35 dongle that does what alot of people need. It's one of those "if you need it , i'ts great, and cheap" type of devices and if you don't, just don't buy it. There are no downsides at all to something like this, unless the whopping $35 is just out of your budget - in which case, you probably don't have internet access anyhow (or electricity for that matter).


By Rukkian on 7/25/2013 2:50:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For a start you cannot actually stream video or audio from a tablet or phone to your TV, you can only use Chromecast to view material on the web on your TV and use your phone or tablet to control the web play back.


While it may not come directly from your phone, it does work with local files (on a computer share, or network share) and has been tested by several already.


RE: No device video/audio streaming = game stopper
By Rukkian on 7/25/2013 4:02:16 PM , Rating: 1
I would be willing to bet that if somebody changed the name to icast, changed the logo, locked it down to only do a few things with only one type of device and charged $350 instead of $35, you would probably think it is the second coming, and the device to rule all others.


By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 4:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely. "no one wants a phone larger than 3.5 inches". "No one needs 4G". "No-one needs multitasking" I even remember back int eh early days of the 1st iPhone "No one needs Exchange active sync support" LOL.


By Tony Swash on 7/25/2013 6:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose if all you want is to look at the web on your TV and use your device to control it then Chromecast looks like a cheap and simple solution. If you want to stream straight from your device, say to play a game on your TV, or stream music from your device to some networked speakers away from your TV, then Chromecast is not for you. The fact Google went for a web centric solution is hardly surprising given their business model.

Maybe there is a big market out there for watching web movies on your TV. The primary way I use Apple TV is to stream movies and TV shows from my Mac to my TV and to stream music from a device, almost always my iPhone, to whatever set of speakers I happen to be near in my house so Chromecast is not a replacement for that.

Different strokes for different folks.


By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 6:44:49 PM , Rating: 2
"the primary way I use Apple TV is to stream movies and TV shows from my Mac to my TV and to stream music from a device, almost always my iPhone"

That is all good, but it requires you have an Apple TV. This will work on any display with an HDMI input. Not really a comparison, as its a very different product... As usual, Google lets you interface with everything and Apple makes a very tightly knit world where you can interface very well, but only with Apple stuff. Depends on what you want out of it. There are plenty other solutions as well, but none of them anywhere near $35.


By aliasfox on 7/26/2013 12:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
It does 2/3 of what an Apple TV does for 1/3 the cost.

Most people are crowing that it's 1/3 the cost

Tony's complaining that it has 2/3 the functionality.

Both are legitimate arguments, both are legitimate products, one is (more or less) a subset of the other.

I believe the AppleTV can do screensharing now (and thus play anything from anywhere as long as it can play on the host), so that would be of interest to me, but if you get your media strictly off of streaming services (like my gf does), then this is a near-painless solution.


By Tony Swash on 7/25/2013 6:47:59 PM , Rating: 2
This a good analysis of Google from the reliable and always interesting Ben Thompson at the Stratechery site, amongst other topics it touches on why Chrome matters more to Google than Android

http://stratechery.com/2013/understanding-google/

On Chromecast he has this to say in summary:

quote:
CHROMECAST IS AN OBVIOUS PRODUCT
Everything I’ve described makes the choices behind Chromecast clear:

Google believes that the future is multi-screen, and the most prominent screen in most consumers’ lives is the television

As a horizontal company, Google wants to be on every screen, and their vehicle to accomplish that across verticals, both from a technical and brand perspective, is Chrome

Chromecast works on all devices – including iOS – not just Android
Chromecast is priced as low as it can be

Chromecast has both a relatively easy go-to-market as a standalone device as well as allure for television makers

It helps that Chromecast looks to be very well-executed – everything Google TV wasn’t, in every way.

As I wrote in The Google We Always Wanted, Google is laser-focused right now. They have a clear identity as a horizontal services company, and from that perspective, just about everything they are doing makes sense.


RE: No device video/audio streaming = game stopper
By Rukkian on 7/25/2013 9:58:47 PM , Rating: 2
I am not shocked by this, but you obviously are not very educated in what this is. It does stream from your local computer (Mac, windows, chrome). All you have to do is use chrome and put in the address (for windows, it would be c:\.....) and it will play it. I don't know how the path would work on a mac, cause I want devices that can do more, but I am sure it can be done.


By Tony Swash on 7/26/2013 4:32:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am not shocked by this, but you obviously are not very educated in what this is. It does stream from your local computer (Mac, windows, chrome). All you have to do is use chrome and put in the address (for windows, it would be c:\.....) and it will play it. I don't know how the path would work on a mac, cause I want devices that can do more, but I am sure it can be done.


You are right I had missed that feature, this make Chomecast much more interesting. It's clear how central Chrome is to Google's efforts to be a universal horizontal service layer and to encourage maximum web/browser based activity. Clearly the replacement of Andy Rubin by Sundar Pichai (head of the Chrome team) as head of the Android team, in fact the merger of the two teams, was even more strategic than it appeared. It's Chrome not Android which is central to Google's strategy.


RE: No device video/audio streaming = game stopper
By bug77 on 7/26/2013 6:31:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's Chrome not Android which is central to Google's strategy.


Why would you assume that? Having millions of users capable of being served ads is not central to Google's strategy? In order to achieve that, they must make sure there are affordable smartphones to begin with.


By Cheesew1z69 on 7/27/2013 3:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
Because, he secretly wants Android to fail so his precious doesn't have a competitor that is better... isn't it obvious?


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