After seizing your computer to the hilt, Google have today decided to plunge in a step further. The web colossus has now announced the launch of Chromecast, which is essentially a dongle which is able to plug into your telly. With Chromecast, users are able to stream films, TV shows and music from smartphones, tablets and computers – this is useful for watching Netflix or LoveFilm on your television rather than your laptop for example.
Google are now hoping that the Chromecast is a viable alternative to Apple TV, a product which is more expensive, retailing just under a hundred pounds at £99. Google’s device is available right now, immediately in the US for $35 (£23) but launches in other countries have yet to be announced but are expected in the short term.
“It works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music, with more apps like Pandora coming soon,” explains Google’s introductory blog post. “With Chromecast, we wanted to create an easy solution that works for everyone, for every TV in the house.”
The device plugs into the HDMI port of a high-definition TV, and enables smartphones, tablets and computers to stream (or as Google have called it “cast”) music, video and games to the bigger screen in the corner of the room, AirPlay style.
Many of the major players have considered entering the TV market but are yet to make a serious attempt. There has been much talk about the phantom Apple iTV, but nothing concrete has emerged. It is however something extremely attractive, especially when you consider the potentially huge profits to be made from advertising revenue. You’d consider that when a big player, like the Apple iTV, comes into the game with gusto, it’ll be a sophisticated, well-oiled device and not a dongle.
Google have tried to capture the attention of the next generation’s TV market in the past, but failed last year with a Sony collaboration in the form of a set-top box.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the conglomerate, Google though, as Apple announced rough figures in May that indicated it’d sold around thirteen million units worth of the Apple TV Box, with around half of them sold in the previous year, though chief executive Tim Cook has tended to describe the product as a “hobby” for the company – despite rebuttals and deflections when quizzed and questioned about any further ambitions that the company Apple has in the TV market.
At $35 each, Google may well sell more of its Chromecast dongles, especially if it convinces lots of people to buy several to cover “every TV in the house”.
Here is the full original blog post’s details:
Remote-free Once your Chromecast is set up, you can use your phone, tablet or laptop to browse and cast content to your TV, play and pause, control the volume, and more. But unlike other streaming solutions, you can still multitask—send emails or surf the web—while enjoying what’s on the TV screen. It works across platforms—Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Chrome for Mac and Windows (more to come), so your personal device is also now your remote control. Cast the web to your TV In addition to apps like Netflix, you can use Chromecast to bring a broad range of content available on the web to your big screen, thanks to a new feature in the Chrome browser that allows you to project any browser tab to your TV. From sharing your family photos to enjoying a video clip from your favorite news site, it’s as simple as pressing a button. This feature is launching in beta, but we’re excited for people to try it out and give us their feedback.
Google Cast SDK preview for developers To ensure a great Chromecast experience over time, we’ve built Google Cast, a technology that enables developers to build consistent, intuitive multi-screen experiences across mobile devices and TVs. Today, we’re launching a preview version of Google Cast with more information for developers on our Google Developers blog. A handful of early developers are already working on enabling Google Cast technology in their apps, so more supported apps are coming soon. And while the Chromecast device is the first instantiation of Google Cast, we expect the technology to be embedded in a range of hardware from our partners in the future.
The new Nexus 7—the sharpest 7” tablet screen ever Together with ASUS, we took what you loved about the original Nexus 7 and made it even better. The first thing you’ll notice is the sharpness of the screen: the 323 pixels packed into every inch of the screen makes it the world’s highest-resolution 7-inch tablet. It’s lighter than ever, with more than nine hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing or reading. Nexus 7 now features stereo speakers and virtual surround sound from Fraunhofer (the inventors of the MP3 format), giving you rich and immersive audio. Android 4.3—a sweeter Jelly Bean Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with Android 4.3, the newest version of Android. Tablets are perfect for sharing with others, so in Android 4.3, we’re introducing restricted profiles, which let you limit access to apps and content. For example, restricted profiles enable parental controls, so certain family members are prevented from accessing mature content. Likewise, retail stores can use tablets to show off product information, and shops can use tablets as point of sale systems. Android 4.3 also now supports Bluetooth Smart technology, opening the door to mobile apps that connect to new devices like fitness sensors. Android 4.3 is rolling out to Nexus devices starting today. Ready to Play The new Google Play Games app brings your friends together with the games you love, where you can invite a friend and start challenging gamers around the world, compete for top achievements, and race to the top of the leaderboard. You can also enjoy the world’s largest collection of eBooks, listen to millions of music tracks and immerse yourself in thousands of movies, TV shows, magazines and apps on Google Play. Plus, Nexus 7 comes loaded with your favorite Google apps, like Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Gmail and Google Now.
How to get Chromecast and the new Nexus 7 Starting today, the Chromecast device is available for $35 on Google Play, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. It will be available in Best Buy stores across the U.S. starting July 28. For a limited time, you also get three months of Netflix included. More info available in Google Play. Nexus 7 starts at $229, and is available in the U.S. beginning July 30 (with more countries coming soon!). Buy Nexus 7 online on Google Play, or check it out at Best Buy, Gamestop, Walmart, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, Amazon, Home Shopping Network, Radio Shack, J&R and B&H Photo. Nexus 7 (LTE) is coming soon with support for T-Mobile and Verizon in the coming weeks. Learn more on our Nexus site.