By Alexandra Burlacu | Jul 26, 2013 04:36 AM EDT
Google announced its new Chromecast HDMI streaming media player, which aims to battle the likes of Apple TV and AirPlay for the living room.
The new Chromecast measures just two inches and comes with a low price tag of $35, but it has immense potential. The HDMI dongle will allow users to turn their living room into the center of Internet media consumption. With a simple click of a button, users will be able to send Pandora and Google Play music, Netflix and YouTube videos, Google Play Movies and TV, pictures and web pages to TV and enjoy that content on a big screen.
Google tried to take over the living room once before with Google TV and failed, but the new Chromecast is a completely different product on all fronts, including price and functionality.
"To help make it easy to bring your favorite online entertainment to the biggest screen in your house-the TV-we're introducing Chromecast," Google announced in a blog post. "Chromecast is a small and affordable ($35) device that you simply plug in to your high-definition (HD) TV and it allows you to use your phone, tablet or laptop to "cast" online content to your TV screen."
"With Chromecast, we wanted to create an easy solution that works for everyone, for every TV in the house."
One of the key advantages of Chromecast is that it is a cross-platform device, meaning that it will work on any platform. While Apple TV and Airplay lock users into their own ecosystems, Chromecast will work with iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, Chrome browsers, without discriminating.
Moreover, Chromecast will allow users to operate their device (the smartphone or tablet from which they are mirroring content) independently once they've sent content to a TV. With Apple's service, meanwhile, users can no longer use their device for something else once they start Airplay. That device would only serve for mirroring content, so it's either making a call or using Airplay.
Google's new Chromecast also wins in terms of simplicity and functionality. Instead of complicated Smart TVs, set top boxes and cable-provider restrictions, Chromecast allows consumers to enjoy their favorite content with familiar interfaces. In other words, what users already watch and listen to on their phones will be mirrored to a TV, as simple as that.
Chromecast currently works with YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV and Google Play Music, but the company promised to add more partners such as Pandora soon to widen the available pool of content. A Google Cast SDK, meanwhile, will allow developers to bring their apps to the large screen.
The company said that Chromecast will be available for purchase from Google Play, Amazon and Best Buy, sporting a $35 price tag. The accompanying app is already available for free. Google is currently taking pre-orders for the gadget and promises to ship it by Aug. 7. As an added bonus, the purchase of a Chromecast dongle will also come with three months' worth of free Netflix. Check out the video below to see the new Chromecast in action.
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