Google Chromecast is $35 HDMI dongle to take on Apple TV

24 Jul 2013

Google Chromecast

Google today launched the Chromecast HDMI dongle, a cut-price add-on for any TV with an HDMI input that brings music and video streaming from phones and tablets.

Google Chromecast works with Android and Apple iOS devices, allowing you to stream from the latest Android tablets and smartphones as well as the iPhone and iPad. Like Apple TV + AirPlay + iTunes combination, the Chromecast dongle also allows you to stream from the free Chrome browser on any laptop or computer. 

Launching in the US for $35, the dongle works over WiFi and allows you to stream any content from within the Chrome web browser on a portable device, including music, movies and pictures.

The dongle is also compatible with the Netflix and YouTube apps, plus any content from the Google Play store.

Connecting via HDMI, the dongle looks like it will take power by connecting via the other end to a USB input. Google hasn't 100% confirmed this as yet.

Once connected and streaming, your tablet or phone will work as a remote control for your content.

The Google Chromecast dongle looks like the deathknell for Google TV, so it will be interesting to see to what extent Google pushes the latest Google TV boxes, such as the Sony NSZ-GS8.

Google Chromecast vs. Apple TV
Naturally compared to the more expensive Apple TV box, which allows you to access content from the Apple iTunes store and stream directly to the box from iOS devices, one key difference is that the Google Chromecast dongle doesn't support streaming of your own content at launch.

Apple TV allows for 'mirroring' of any content on your phone or tablet, including your own videos and images, to any connected TV. It does however only work with Apple phones and tablets, or via iTunes on a computer. 

Sadly, the Google Chromecast is not yet available in the UK, with no word on a UK price or release date - despite going on sale (pre-order) today in the US for $35.

The Chromecast in fact sold out via Amazon and Google Play in the US, though it's due to go on sale in all Best Buy stores in America this Sunday. 

Google originally offered 3 months free Netflix for anyone who buys a dongle, but the day after launch cited "overwhelming demand" and withdrew the offer, according to a statement to the LA Times. We will keep our eyes peeled for news of a UK release.

The Chromecast was launched at a Google event which also saw confirmation of a new Nexus 7 tablet.

Would you be interested in a cut-price, Chrome-toting streaming dongle from Google? Let us know in the comments below.

HANDS ON: Google Chromecast review

 

by Joe Cox

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Comments

Does that mean I could watch my BTsport app on my tablet/laptop & then stream it to my tv?

The hands on review on theregister (here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/25/chromecast_review/ ) confirms that USB is used for power - either from a USB socket on your TV, or via the supplied mains adapter.

Google did say its USB powered at the event.

If you look at it and what's included in the box on play you'll also see USB power cable and PSU is included...

Your Youtube comment is wrong. I just reread the article:

 

The dongle is also compatible with the Netflix and YouTube apps, plus any content from the Google Play store.

 

I think they will add more useability as time goes on.

Upon reading Facebook intro I was almost ready to post "Buying!", but Chrome is the limitation here. If it was able to stream whatever was on my device's display via Bluetooth or WiFi I'd have been sold, but now I have to think about the limitations of always having to - and remembering to - use Chrome when I want something on the TV, rather than using dedicated apps offered by the likes of YouTube and Twitch. It requires us to take a step backwards in mobile usability.

Scenario: I'm using the YouTube app and see a video that warrants watching on the big screen. I now need to load Chrome - which is arguably pretty clumbsy to use on a mobile, - navigate to YouTube and re-find the video again to stream it. Saying that, if it translates to £20/£25 over here it'd still be worth the investment, despite how little I imagine using it.