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It seems Google has hopped on the bandwagon in terms of providing a low footprint, affordable piece of hardware for streaming video to the television set. Recently announced is the new $35 tiny streaming video device called the Google Chromecast. This is after their failed attempt in this arena with the Nexus Q.

The goal for them was to provide a device for streaming television that offered zero setup time, and the Google Chromecast gadget attempts to provide that. It simply plugs into an empty HDMI port on the TV set. Computers and handhelds can be used as remote controls for the device. It gets its Internet signal for the streaming from the wireless router, so calling it "zero setup" isn't completely accurate but it's supposed to be super simple and ready for streaming in minutes.


The Chromecast device is two inches long and looks like a thumb drive. Once plugged in and connected to the WiFi, you simply use your phone, tablet, or computer to decide what to stream to the device.

"The television is missing in the (streaming-video) picture. it is really, really difficult to get your online videos on the television," said Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Android, Chrome and apps, at Wednesday's press event.

It's not just Android phones that are supported either. The device works with iOS phones as well. The streaming takes place direct from the WiFi, rather than ported through the device first. This frees up the device for other tasks once the command is sent on what to stream.

The big drawback at this time though is that the device currently only streams content from YouTube, Google Play and Netflix. Pandora and other apps are expected in the near future though. There is a feature however (currently in Beta) that allows the streaming of a tab from the Google Chrome web browser which opens up more possibilities.

This small device aims to take a slice of the pie that is currently being eaten by the likes of Apple TV and the Roku Box. And it may stop PLAir in their tracks before they have a chance to gain momentum. I hope not though. The PLAir devices are multi-colored so they have that going for them.

The streaming stick is available for purchase right now from the Google Play store and Best Buy. As an incentive for purchase, you get 3 months free of Netflix when you buy it (Edit July/26: it has been announced that the Netflix promo is no longer available - it has been mentioned that the offer was pulled after already distributing a quarter of a million Netflix promo codes), which satisfies almost half the cost of the already affordable streaming device.

If you are super excited about the idea, while you are waiting for the device to get to you (because apparently there may possible delays in shipping), you can always attach your laptop to the TV and control it from a wireless keyboard and mouse. Then anything on your laptop screen with project to the TV. It's the same but close.

Sources: www.cnn.com
 

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Looks like everybody is getting into the "smart tv" business. I wonder if the cable/sat providers will start to fight back? The price of the unit does make it attractive and you get netflix discount on top of that.

Only thing is I think they are kind of late to the party. Most if not all new tv's already have "smart" features and most folks who are interested most likely already have a roku or appletv. Should be interesting to see how this one plays out.
 

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I think this is pretty awesome!!! I saw the news blurb and instantly went on Amazon and put an order in. We stream everything in our home (have Roku's in each room). I want to see how this streamer compares.
 

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I just wish you could use av or component inputs. I have an older 1080p TV that is getting more and more outdated due to the lack of no hdmi input. I bet I am not alone on this.
 

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I just wish you could use av or component inputs. I have an older 1080p TV that is getting more and more outdated due to the lack of no hdmi input. I bet I am not alone on this.
I am in the same boat but mine is 1080i. No hdmi while the picture is great. I am currently researching to find a replacement thou. My current set is a 55 inch so I want a 60 inch or above.

The new tv will most definitely have hdmi no question about it! Same with my potential new receiver replacement! .. :)
 

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Just to update. Looks like the low low price helped sell out the Chromecast everywhere and ending the netflix tie in special.

See link here.

"Following the announcement the device quickly went up for sale on the Google Play Store, and before we knew it went from now shipping, to now showing that it will ship in 3-4 weeks. Which basically means they’ve sold out, and need time to get more stock. Today Google’s confirmed the 3 month Netflix promotion has been canceled sadly, and cites the overwhelming demand required them to end it. "
I must say I am impressed. Guess lot of people want their tv's to be "smart".. :) Plus, the low price I am sure helped! :)
 

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I have had one for a week now and have to say I am really impressed with it. I also have a smart tv, blu ray player with internet apps and a Roku and for watching youtube content the Chromecast is hands down the best device and worth it just for that.
 

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For the low price of $35, you can't beat that. Roku and Apple TV are much more expensive. Granted, the chromcast only has a few apps right now but they will grow to compete with Roku and Apple TV.. Just a matter of time.

If I were Roku and AppleTV, I would be worried. :)
 
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