Product Launch by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday July 24, 2013.
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The worlds of Android and Chrome are intersecting with the launch of Chromecast, a small accessory that plugs into an HDTV and gives users the chance stream media or their Chrome browser onto to their television.
Chromecast is Google's latest foray into the living room, but it has a less ambitious goal than the Android-powered Google TV. Chromecast works for the sole purpose of turning an existing Android or iOS device into a controller for streaming video, music, and photo to a TV. It works by plugging in a small dongle into a TV's HDMI port, draws power via USB, and then connects to a local Wi-Fi network. A user then connects to the same network on an Android, iOS, or Chrome to start streaming content on the TV.
Chromecast does not stream media from a phone or tablet. Instead, it uses an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablet to act as a remote. The mobile device merely sends the signal to Chromecast to seek that content on the web. The failed Nexus Q devised a similar method for accessing content. Chromecast can play YouTube videos on a TV or play Netflix movies and TV episodes. It can also stream music through Pandora (upcoming), browse through a photo gallery, or even mirror the web content of what someone access in their Chrome browser. Android and iOS apps act as the remote controls to adjust volume or navigate to different content through select apps.
Google could potentially make Chromecast access even more media because it has developed an SDK that will allow developers to make their existing mobile apps compatible for remote streaming. YouTube for Android and Netflix can send commands to Chromecast to start streaming content, but Spotify, Amazon, or anyone else could just as easily do the same. The challenge could be that developers may be hesitant to embrace yet another attempt at connecting the web and television from a company that has yet to be definitive about its methods. Google tried and failed to connect TV's to the web with Google TV and a proprietary competitor in the Nexus Q, which didn't even make it to the release stage. Will content providers believe that the third time is the charm?
The Chromecast's price could aid its hopes in being Google's first successful entryway into TV set-ups. The device is available for sale in the U.S. now for only $35. The low cost could lead to wider adoption and encourage reticent developers to embrace supporting Google's new streaming effort. Chromecast will debut in more countries later this year but U.S. customers can order it starting today at Google Play, Amazon, or Best Buy. Buyers will also get an offer to have a 3-month free Netflix trial.source: Google
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.