Yesterday on Google’s press event, they announced “Chrome Cast”, a USD 35 device that plugs into any HDTV in your house to bring online entertainment and video on it. This is a two-inch-long dongle that looks more like a USB flash drive than anything else, but in fact it plugs into the HDMI port on your TV. This is not an interface module like Apple TV, in fact this does not have any remote. You find the content on your phone or tablet and stream it to the Chromecast, so Chromecast is plugged in your TV and you can enjoy Youtube, Netflix, video on TV.
In the Youtube, Netflix, music, or video app on your phone, there’ll be a little icon on the “now playing” screen. Tap it and a list of places to send the song or video will pop up. Select the device’s name (The name you have given to your chrome cast device) and boom, it will start playing on your TV. While content is playing on TV, a user can multitask on their device. For example, a user can search for a video on their phone’s YouTube application and then send it to their TV via a Google Cast device. They are able to play, pause, seek, and control volume using their phone and still be able to check their email while the content keeps playing on the TV.
This supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 802.11. It can play back 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound. Currently, the Chromecast on iOS supports Netflix and Youtube, and adds in the native music and video player if you are using an Android phone or tablet. Google says they will try to add more services like HBO and Hulu Plus. Chromecast beams the highest available resolution of the video to TV.
There is one odd thing though. HDMI port is not the power supplier of Chromecast, so you have to get power from somewhere else. Most of the modern TVs coming with HDMI port has a USB port so you can use it as the power supply. Luckily this device comes with a USB power cable and a power adapter, so no worries. Chromecast is available in USA from yesterday and will come to other countries later.
For developers, you can use Chromecast SDK to enable your web and mobile apps to cast content on TV. The sender may be a phone or a tablet running on Android or iOS, or it may be a laptop computer running Chrome OS, Mac OS, or Windows. The sender application on senders device uses the Google Cast API appropriate to its operating system to discover and transmit to the receiver application running on the receiver device. Adding Google Cast support to an existing application requires less than 200 lines of code.
The receiver API lets you customize the messaging between the sender and receiver applications for authentication and other scenarios.
So it looks like Google has figured out a pretty smart way to alter the way we are entertained.