We were already expecting to see Android 4.3 and a new Nexus 7 announced at the Android and Chrome event hosted by Google today, but completely out of left field, Google has unveiled an incredibly cheap TV streaming stick that you connect your phone, tablet or computer with. Chromecast, as Google is calling it, comes in at only $35 and could totally up-end the set-top box industry.
With Chromecast, viewing media on any television in your house just got a lot easier. Simply plug the Chromecast dongle into an HDMI port on your TV, connect the USB power cord, and you’re ready to start using Netflix, YouTube, Google Play media services or Chrome in your living room. Instead of using a traditional remote, you use your phone, tablet or computer. Apps like Netflix and Pandora will now feature a Chromecast button, to push content to your TV, as will Google Chrome.
When using Chromecast mode on Google Chrome, your TV essentially acts as a second display. The only difference is that the version of Chrome that shows up on your TV will be optimized for content consumption, so things like the address bar will be missing. When using apps, you can still use your phone and content will continue to play on your TV. You can even turn your device’s display off.
Chromecast will work with Android 2.3 and up, iOS 6 and up, Windows 7 and up, Mac OS 10.7 and up and Chrome OS on the Chromebook Pixel (more models are being added soon). Any of these platforms can sync Chromecast information across devices, allowing multiple phones and tablets to pause and resume Netflix shows, YouTube videos and more.
Chromecast is available in Google Play right now for just $35 with three months of Netflix included. If you do the math, that means that existing Netflix users, who will be paying their bill either way, will get the Chromecast dongle for only $11 before a couple dollars for shipping. Chromecast may not feature a compleatly unheard of feature set, but its price sets it apart from the competition. I’ve already bought mine, how about you?
Amazon now has the Chromecast on sale for $35, with free shipping!