Chrome Unveils the Chromecast, an HDMI Stick for Streaming VideoGoogle

Chrome Unveils the Chromecast, an HDMI Stick for Streaming Video

Alan Henry , Gawker Media

Chrome Unveils the Chromecast, an HDMI Stick for Streaming Video

Google took the wraps off of the Chromecast, a tiny thumb drive-sized stick with an HDMI port on one end that's Wi-Fi enabled and designed to make it simple to push video from your home network, smartphone, or the web right to your TV screen.

The Chromecast looks a bit like a cross between a Google TV, a Nexus Q, and some HDMI sticks that run XBMC that we've seen before , and that's a compliment. The Chromecast can be controlled remotely from any Android device, iOS device, or computer running Chrome, as long as you're using a Chromecast enabled app (in the demo, we saw YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, and Google Play Music, Movies, and TV).

The video or music plays directly from the web without going through your phone or tablet first. Even if you decide to do something else with your phone, or if someone else needs to control playback with their phone instead, your movies or music keep playing without interruption. You can toggle between your phone and the TV easily, or build shared playlists with friends if their devices are in the same room as well, similar to the way the Nexus Q worked .

The Chromecast will also work directly with Chrome on the desktop, which will get a ""cast"" button for the toolbar that will push whatever's in your current tab directly to the TV. You'll be able to continue using your desktop while your tab is being projected, even if you open a new tab and keep working.

In the demo, one person used their Android phone, iPhone, and laptop to push YouTube video, music from Pandora, and even music from Google Play Music to a TV in the same room, much like AirPlay, and even controlled volume and playback from the phone. Then they left the YouTube app entirely and opened up Gmail on their phone, all without interrupting the video experience on the TV. You can put your phone to sleep, charge it, or just put it to the side without stopping the video. Pick up your phone and you can control playback from the lock screen or directly from the screen.

The Chromecast is available to purchase now from the Google Play Store (and it'll be available at Amazon and Best Buy soon), and it'll set you back $35.

Chromecast | Google Play

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