Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) today announced Chromecast, a HDMI dongle that uses home WiFi to stream content from YouTube, Netflix and eventually services like Pandora to a consumer’s television for the price of $35. Chromecast has a release date of Wednesday and comes with three months of Netflix, included for free with the purchase of the device for new and existing customers of the service.
Chromecast will release on Amazon.com, BestBuy.com and Google Play today, and be available in Best Buy stores later this summer. “Why not just make your phones, tablets and laptops work with your TV?” Google VP Mario Queiroz said. “Your personal device should be your remote.”
The Chromecast is a dongle running a version of the Chrome operating system (OS). It plugs into any open HDMI port on a television, gets power through USB and connects to a home’s wireless network.
To send content from a laptop, smartphone or tablet to the Chromecast, users have to press the “cast” button from within select apps to bring HD video, streaming music, photos or the Chrome web browser itself to the television. Since Chromecast downloads videos directly from YouTube through the cloud, users can have a video playing on the TV while using the phone to do other things like answer text messages and browse the web.
Google demoed a Chromecast owner watching a YouTube video and bringing it from their phone to their television and back again – the video starts where they left off on another device. Chromecast currently has Netflix support, and users will be able to watch movies and TV shows purchased from Google Play as well. Chromecast also works for music, Google showed the device working with Google Play Music and Pandora. Pandora support is not available but will be made available "soon," the company said.
Chromecast works with iOS devices as well, much like a smaller version of Apple TV.
Clicking “cast” button in the Google Chrome browser also sends content to the television. The app does not send the full desktop, but merely the content from the Chrome Browser. Chromecast allows users to continue using their tablet or device while playing a video onto their TV and will work with "most Windows laptops, most Mac laptops, and Chromebooks," the company said.
Google also said that they would be publishing a developer’s library so that app makers can add Chromecast functionality to their Android apps.