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Google has announced the Google Chromecast, a small device that lets you stream online content and sync your phone, tablet or laptop with your TV.
Google is getting back in the TV game with the Google Chromecast, a small device that plugs into your television’s HDMI port and connects via the cloud to either your smartphone, tablet or laptop. The Chromecast, which runs a simplified version of the Chrome OS, is designed to be easy to use; if you know how to use Youtube on your phone, you will know how to use it with Chromecast.
The Chromecast is designed to sync with any mobile device, even iPhones and iPads. Right now, only a few apps, like YouTube and Netflix, have incorporated the cast button, although more content providers are is expected to join that list. You can also use Chromecast directly from your Chome browser. You simply press the cast button in the app or in Chrome and you are given an option to sync your mobile device with any television in your house. The content then transfers to your TV and your mobile device becomes your remote.
While content is playing on your TV, you can continue to use your mobile device as you normally would; the content continues streaming from the cloud even as you check email or do searches. You can build a Chromecast playlist on your mobile device while your video plays, and multitasking won’t disrupt the Chromecast since content is streaming from the cloud. (It won’t drain your battery, either.) In fact, Chromecast will even work when your phone or tablet is in sleep mode. When you wake your device up, you will be able to pause your content or skip to the next video without unlocking your “remote.”
Chromecast will also sync with multiple mobile devices so that you can seamlessly transfer control of the Chromecast between them. This is useful if someone leaves the house and another person wants to continue watching a show. Friends can also connect their devices to your Chromecast to stream content to it, or you can set up a network playlist to which everyone can contribute. You can also control the volume directly from your phone, tablet or laptop.
You can also project digital photos directly to your TV, and the Chromecast will project only the window you’re looking at, leaving out your laptop’s background and URL bar. You can set photos as a slideshow that will work on your TV, just as it does on any other device, although at today’s demo there appeared to be a slight time lag from the control device to the television.
For every TV in the house
The Chromecast will be available Wednesday at Amazon.com, Best Buy and Google Play. It will cost $35