It is easier than ever to find the best streaming device. Apple’s Apple TV has long offered consumers the ability to beam music and video from any Apple device to their living room’s TV. However, the caveat is that it only works with Apple devices. Google doesn’t agree with this approach and closed minded attitude, and today unveiled the Chromecast. If you’re not sure whether the Chromecast is right for you, read our comparison of the Fire TV vs the Chromecast. If you’re looking for a streaming device on a budget, you should also look at the Roku LT.
Chromecast plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and assuming you’ve paired it with your home’s network, you can stream video and audio from any device, be it a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. During launch only Netflix, Youtube and GooglePlay will be compatible with the Chromecast. That said, early adopters will receive a 3-month trial to Netflix. If you want another streaming option, you should also read our review of the Roko SE unveiled (specs, price, release date).
Built-in to those aforementioned app will be a Cast button. If you’ve ever used YouTube’s “Pair” function – this allows you to push YouTube videos to your SmartTV or PS3 via WiFi – it seems to be of a similar look and feel. Moreover, Google says that anything streamed inside of their Chrome browser, which should apply to computers and smart devices, can be “Cast” to the device.
For newer generation TVs, Chromecast can just be plugged into the HDMI slot and used almost immediately. For older generation TVs, Google includes a USB power cable and power adapter, which makes the whole setup a little less streamlined but tolerable.
At $35 I think it’s a steal. Especially since your not limited to your SmartTV’s eco system, which doesn’t provide access to streams that are less than “legal”. So for instance, Project Free TV could be used, and provided you’re running it in Google Chrome you can “Cast” it to your television.
Google and Amazon both sell the Chromecast for $35. You can order it today from Google’s Play Store and is said to ship by August 7th. No word on when Amazon will begin to sell it.