Chromecast dongle official: specs, features, release date and pricing

by: Chris SmithJuly 24, 2013


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.

Specs and features

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.

google chromecast features

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.

Release date and pricing

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.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    I did buy it, but the lack of 5GHz wifi is a killer for anyone in an apartment/flat situation

  • Matty

    Will get his, but would like to know if you will be able to use it for games so that you can have Angry Bird on your tv!

    • Victor V.

      can you play angry birds through a chrome browser? if so I think you should be able to right?

  • Alvaro Cabrera

    Does not support android 4.1, 4.2

    • I think it supports anything from 2.3 and up from what I read.

      • Alvaro Cabrera

        Yep, you are right, thanks

  • Dave

    will this work in the UK if a friend ships it to me from the US?

    • Ugo Marceau

      I’d like to know as well ! For France and Canada for me though…

      • CS

        It should. The issue has to do more about the availability of content. Youtube should work fine but that is not the case with netflix and certain other video streaming services.

  • Piyush

    this is most awesome device for everyone , great job google, bye bye apple tv , ouya and roku.

    • APai

      hmm, ouya can do a bit more no ?

      • Lastb0isct

        Definitely keeping my Ouya forever…But I’m also getting this. The Ouya will not really lose it’s usefulness, especially with all the awesome emulators!

  • Alex L

    does chromecast play your android device’s downloaded/recorded videos and pictures and music on the SD card? like I can do with Samsung link to my Xbox device? formats?

    • Snives

      Not today. Right now it only works with a few select apps and works by syncing streams from the web, not by receiving data from your device . i.e. Device says it wants to watch video on YouTube, Chromecast stick gets the video from YouTube directly… makes it so it doesn’t matter how strong your device is, you always are able to have high def versions. They are currently working on screen mirroring so that the TV would show whatever is on your device.

  • SM

    Does the dongle need power? I think HDMI does not provide power to devices. How does it compare with an Android TV stick?

    • joser116

      The power is supplied by USB.

      • The video shows it attaching via HDMI though. SM has a point: where’s the power?

        • joser116

          The power is supplied by USB.

        • p3ngwin

          the golden plug you see is the HDMI plug that goes into your HDMI socket on your monitor/TV, and there is a USB socket on the end of the CHromeCast where you supply it USB power.

          most modern TV’s have USB sockets anyway, but the ChromeCast comes with a power adapter also if neeed :)

          • joser116

            Even my Vizio has one.

          • Unfortunately, the Polaroid LCD in our bedroom doesn’t have USB. On second thought, I’m just glad it has HDMI.

          • Snives

            ‘Modern TVs’ is a bit vague. TVs that conform to HDMI v1.4+ offer power of HDMI. The USB power is for people with TVs that are v1.3-. (1.4 was released in 2009, commonly used by 2010).

        • joser116
    • Scott

      A reviewer on Amazon who apparently already has the device (developer I think) says that the device can be powered directly off an HDMI v1.4 connector without using the USB power brick. If your HDMI connector isn’t v1.4 or doesn’t provide enough power or whatever then you’ll need to use the USB power brick. I can’t confirm this myself yet but it would be consistent with active HDMI accessory behavior. The HDMI spec only requires that the source device provide “at least” 55mA (at 5V) but many devices provide much more and therefore could power the dongle, although I have no idea how much power the dongle requires but it can’t be much given the form factor. See for more info about HDMI accessory power requirements.

  • Awesome! Is it just Chrome and streaming video or does it run full Android OS?

    • Snives

      Basic version of ChromeOS from what they’ve said. ChromeOS is much lighter (almost no overhead or hardware requirements) and more energy efficient than Android making it more suited for things like this. Android is a more robust OS making it capable of more function.

  • tuan ngo

    mirrorcast dongle only cost about 10$ to make . so this is not cheap at all .and why you have to do it with only chrome ? good idea but it is some thing that can be duplcated in a much better way . wait a couple months to get something better for a lot less (from china but any thing that not from china now day anymore ?)

    • p3ngwin

      this is much more useful than Miracast, as ChromeCast uses HDMI-CEC.

      look it up and realize the difference between simply “mirroring” a screen, and what HDMI-CEC offers.

    • mmmmmbop

      Having it as a feature in Chrome enables them to make it work across platforms that they don’t control (windows, iOS, osX, linux distros, etc).

  • PhilWild

    All in all, I’m a bit disappointed. I was really hoping for display mirroring which is one of the best features of the Apple TV. As an example, the high shool my daughter attends has an Apple TV hooked up to a display in each classroom. The teachers use this for presenting content. As kids do work on their own iPads (mandatory that each child has one), they can share their work with class and teacher through the Apple TV. My son’s school have adopted Android as a tablet format (Asus). They can not do the same thing. I guess it is not core to what Google are doing though…

    • This is better than display mirroring. It hands off all control to Chrome. Further, with SDK the sky’s pretty much the limit.

    • Xillra fe

      It will happen soon, no worries.

  • PJ

    This would be more useful while traveling using Bluetooth with my devices. Since WIFI is not always available.

  • Tyler

    Is it 1080P im not finding any specs on it!

    • Xillra fe

      I bet my life on the fact that it will be.

  • Specs? Surely you can do better than its 2″ length.

  • androidiggity dawg

    If you can’t download android apps from any other sources other than Google play than this device isn’t all that great. Android TV Sticks are great. Except that Equiso device. Yikes.

  • LongDuckDong

    how is this thing powered??????

  • Guest

    Was very much hoping for some more in depth specs

  • Ryan Shanks

    Was very much hoping for some more in depth specifications.. For example what wireless standard does it use?

    Edit, they can be found here:

    Too bad no 5ghz wifi, though for $35 that would be difficult I guess