Google Chromecast - In depth look at Google's streaming TV device

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You've probably already heard the buzz about Google Chromecast. It's Google's next attempt at streaming TV and it's hot right now, very hot. Any HDTV with an available HDMI port can take advantage of this new, tiny, inexpensive streaming device. It retails at $35 and eBay's at more than $100.

View attachment 2517 Tablets, PCs, and smartphones (Android and iOS) become the remote controls that beam video to the TV screen (via the Chromecast). Once beamed, the "remote" can be used as normal, as the signal comes from the Chromecast's wireless connection, and doesn't bog down the smartphone, computer or tablet.

The Chromecast reportedly sold out within hours on Amazon and the Google Play store, and not long after at Best Buy. And it seems many people scooped up more than one to test their luck at profiting from their purchases by selling to the "must havers" on eBay. Seems a little "tickle me Elmo" to me but hey, it's a cool little gadget.

Sadly, they are now without any free Netflix months

Initially, Google was providing Netflix coupon codes with the purchase giving new and existing Netflix subscribers three months for free. At a value of $24 for the free months, this makes the cost of the Google Chromecast a mere $11, which for such a gadget is a drop in the bucket. With that said, after a significant number of sales (reportedly around a quarter of a million) Google pulled the Netflix promotion, but that didn't stop the craze.

Related: Google Chromecast vs Roku 3 vs Apple TV (3rd Gen)

With the hiked price on eBay and people still "needing" to get their hands on this device even without the Netflix months, is Google kicking themselves for not charging $100 to begin with. And do you think that they are second guessing the Netflix deal wishing they hadn't done it from the onset? I doubt it. Those two factors are what created all the buzz in the first place. It's a marketing lesson to be sure.

You can beam Netflix of course, YouTube, and really not much else at the moment

View attachment 2518 It's nice that the Google Chromecast device can be remotely controlled by many devices (and the controlling can be taken over pretty easy from another device). These options include: iOS and Android handheld devices )tablets and mobile phones), Chromebooks, Windows computers, and Macs.

But as far as what you can send to the TV, currently the options are limited. Right now it works with Netflix (the king of streaming video subscriptions arguably), and YouTube (amazing content in all genres). It will also allow you to watch TV shows and movies, plus listen to music from the Google Play store. Now, I would hope those would be included in a Google streaming product by default, so the support for those apps are no big shocker.

And well, it doesn't stop there. The picture isn't all that bleak when you consider that the device will also mirror (currently in beta) a tab from the Google Chrome browser. If you wrap your mind around what that means you will suddenly understand that this opens up a whole lot more content. Essentially, anything that can be seen in the browser tab can be seen on the TV screen. Sure, we can make that happen to some extent with MHL technology and computers with TV-out or HDMI, but that's still pretty darn cool.

Google has released a software development kit for the Chromecast so more integration is on the horizon for sure. Also, Pandora was promised as "coming soon" and is probably already available by the time you read this.
 

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