As previously rumored, Google on Wednesday unveiled a Chromecast device that connects to a TV in order to allow users to extend their media consumption experience to a bigger display.
The Chromecast dongle measures just 2 inches and runs a basic version of Chrome. The service can be easily setup, as it only needs to be plugged in the TV’s HDMI and to be connected to the wireless network. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to “cast” videos from YouTube and other sources – including Netflix, Google Play, Vimeo, and other online sources – directly from the cloud to the TV.
The device will also work with various music services including Google Play Music and Pandora, and we’ll expect it to work with others in the future.
Furthermore, an entire web page as shown in Chrome can be cast to the TV, allowing users to browse the web – well sort of – directly on the TV set.
However, what the Chromecast won’t do apparently is to mirror the display of a device, or at least not now.
Interestingly, you won’t necessarily need an Android device to get the job done, as the cast feature works across platforms. You’ll be able to cast to your TV from Windows, Mac and Chrome OS devices, as well as iOS Android tablets and smartphones.
Developers will be able to take advantage of new Google Cast SDK – a developer preview will be available later today – to bring their apps to the bigger screen as well, so the cast feature won’t be restricted to video playback only.
Android devices will also work as remote controls for TVs that have a Chromecast attached. You’ll be able to turn on the TV, send video to it (and queue videos for it) and adjust the volume directly from a phone or tablet.
Unlike that expensive Nexus Q that was also focused on media consumption, the Chromecast will only cost $35, so you’ll be able to buy one for each one of your TVs. The device will be available later today in the USA from various retailers including Amazon, Best Buy but also Google Play.
Furthermore, each purchase will bring you three free months of Netflix.
However, a release date was not mentioned, but since you’ll be able to order the device today, it would make sense to assume it’s shipping soon.