For just $35 you can transform your TV into a media center that streams video and music from the web. You can watch YouTube and Google Play video or listen to Pandora. Google is also running a special deal which gives you Netflix free of charge for the first 3 months.
The Chromecast is about the size of a USB thumb drive (2 inches) and plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. Then it connects to your WiFi network and lets you send music, videos and photos from your smartphone, tablet or laptop with the push of a button.
That’s the real beauty of the device.
Your mobile device (that you already know how to use) becomes the remote you use to pause, play and stop the media. There’s nothing new to learn – check out the one minute demonstration on Youtube. You can even turn the Chromecast off from one device and then pass control to another on the fly. For example, your buddy using his Galaxy S4, can assume control of the media after you leave the house with your iPad.
Chromecast is similar to the Roku Streaming Stick and is essentially Google’s response to Apple Airplay. One of the key facts that distinguishes the Chromecast from Apple is that it spans multiple platforms; in other words, the consumer isn’t confined to the Apple ecosystem. Chromecast is platform agnostic and therefore maximize flexibility for consumers.
Ultimately, I think the Chromecast is a veritable coup for Google. The beauty of the Chromecast is that you don’t have to learn anything new because it’s controlled by software you already know how to use. You just use your existing devices like your iPad or smartphone to turn the Chromecast on or off. Your device is your remote control.
And that’s why I called Chromecast a coup – it really is a brilliant victory for Google because instead of being driven by Apps it’s driven by devices. You can use it on almost any device (Blackberry and the Windows phone didn’t make the cut).
If you need to make your ordinary TV into a SmartTV, I suggest that instead of planning to buy a new TV, save yourself a thousand dollars and check out Chromecast.
I have to tip my hat to Google on this one.