Google on Wednesday announced Chromecast, a jump-drive-sized gadget that lets users watch content from their smartphones, tablets or laptops on their TV.
Users will be able to plug the Chromecast into their TV using an HDMI input. To make it work, they’ll also have to connect to their home WiFi network.
Once the device is set up, users can control their TV and the content they watch by simply using their smartphone or tablet like a TV remote.
With Chromecast, you can easily enjoy your favorite online entertainment on your HDTV—movies, TV shows, music, and more from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome. No more huddling around small screens and tiny speakers. Chromecast automatically updates to work with a growing number of apps.
The device works, for example, by finding a YouTube video on a smartphone and tapping on a new “Cast” icon to tell the device to send the video to the TV through Chromecast.
But while Chromecast talks to smartphones and tablets to figure out what content to play, the content itself is being pulled from the cloud. That means users can keep using their smartphone for other tasks while playing video on Chromecast.
However, unlike AirPlay and Apple TV, Google said Chromecast will work with many types of mobile devices, not just their own. Google said Chromecast will work with both Android and Apple iOS devices.
The Chromecast uses an AirPlay-type system to provide content to the device. From Android or iOS, users simply hit a button on YouTube to load the video on the other screen. Quick and easy.
Chromecast is essentially Google’s answer to AirPlay. But it’s available on more than just one platform. It also features group playlists, continues playing the media back while the phone is doing other things and even streams while the device is asleep. The big downside is that, as of right now, this feature requires the Chromecast device — it’s not available on countless devices like AirPlay. At least not yet.
Best yet, any device can be the controller. Start a video on one device, turn it off, and another device can still control the video started. It appears to be seamless.
Desktops connected to the same network can also act as a controller. Click the cast button, the video will play and the computer will continue to play the media as it does other tasks.
The device itself is a small HDMI stick similar to the Roku Steaming Stick. It’s powered by USB and Google TV VP Mario Queiroz bragged that it features quick and easy setup.
The Chromecast is just $35 and is available today in the U.S.
Google said Chromecast will work with Google Play movies and TV shows, YouTube and Netflix. The device will also work with music apps, such as Google Music and Pandora. Other developers will also be able to make their apps work with Chromecast, Google said.
Using the Chrome browser, users will also be able to project whatever website they are seeing on their laptop to their Chromecast device and TV.
Chromecast will be available for $35 starting Wednesday from Amazon, Google Play and Best Buy.
Check it out!