Google has unveiled a nifty gadget to take on Apple in the living room. Chromecast is a USB powered thumb drive that plugs into the HDMI port on your flat screen TV and allows you to stream Internet content on your TV from your computing device. You can use your phone, tablet or laptop to browse, play and pause, control and stream content on your TV with Wi-Fi access. The best part is that it works across devices and platforms, and you need not have an Android device to operate it. The functionality is made possible in part by a Chrome extension available on the Chrome Web Store.
Chrome Web Store details how it works:
The Google Cast extension enables you to find and play content on your Chromecast device from your Chrome browser. When on Cast optimized sites like YouTube and Netflix, you’ll see new options that let you play video on your TV via Chromecast – using your computer as a remote to browse for videos and to control playback. You can also cast any of your tabs in Chrome to your TV, letting you enjoy sites, photos, or even video from the best screen in your home.
You don’t need to turn on your TV. When you do it on your Smartphone, it turns on the TV, switches it into the required mode and starts playing the content. You can even queue multiple videos in a playlist and watch them at a go. Right now Chromecast works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV and Google Play Music, but Google has promised to add more services like Pandora in the future.
Chromecast is on sale in the US for $35 starting today on Google Play Store and Amazon. Best Buy will start selling it from July 28. As an added advantage for early buyers, Google is offering $24 worth of three month free Netflix service, making it an amazing dirt cheap net worth of $11 for those who would have gotten Netflix anyway. It is already sold out at Play Store so get yours from Amazon before that runs out of stock. For skeptics who are looking for alternatives, an Apple TV box for $99 or the cheapest Roku box for $80 is still expensive when compared to Chromecast’s price.
Google has failed miserably in its previous attempts to connect televisions to the Internet. It previously tried to embed Google TV into pre-manufactured TV sets, but that flopped. An orb like gadget Nexus Q offering similar wireless capabilities was debuted last year only to be pulled back from the market. Google definitely learned from those failures, and Chromecast is a cheap little irresistible device which is ready to kick Apple TV and other devices out of the living room.
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