This week Google unveiled to the press their new, HDMI equipped wireless “dongle” that goes by the name of Chromecast. This $35 (yes, I said $35) dongle plugs into your HDTV display or other HDMI equipped device -think AV preamp or receiver -and allows the user to stream, basically, anything they see, hear or interact with online to their display. Cooler still, Chromecast allows for any of your Google enabled devices to become touch screen remotes. Again, all for $35.

While it’s not wholly uncommon for displays, Blu-ray players and such to have Internet connectivity, few work as seamlessly or as comprehensively as Chromecast. Moreover, those Internet streaming devices -apart from any and all built-in HDTV functionality -require “bulky,” outboard boxes. Chromecast is a dongle, a mere two inches in length, that plugs into any HDMI port. Yes it does require power, which is delivered via USB (or USB to wall wart adapter). The need for outboard power isn’t a deal breaker as most displays have USB ports near their HDMI inputs, whereas those who may connect their Chromecast dongles to an AV preamp or receiver, will likely have a power center or strip nearby.

Google’s new Chromecast installed. Image courtesy of Google.

Another thing to keep in mind, Chromecast is not being delivered content via your mobile or wireless device, meaning if your wireless device becomes inactive so too will your enjoyment. No. It is merely being sent the requisite info needed to access said content on its own -though it can still be communicated with via your mobile device for commands such as play/pause, shuttle, skip and even volume (where applicable). For those who believe in streaming -count me in -this effectively turns your Chrome/Google enabled mobile device or laptop into your only source component.

What really excites me about the Chromecast is the fact that it can effectively turn any aging or legacy AV device -think non-Internet connected AV preamps or receivers – into Internet streaming monsters without having to dole out a lot of money, or make space for in a rack. It also brings IP-like control to these same legacy devices with far more sophisticated control and options than even the best in the business today. For those with music accounts such as Google Play, it allows for, finally, the streaming of your unlimited Google Play library to your AV system complete with cover flow, metadata etc. all from the palm of your hand. This is huge, for I hate to say it, but devices such as Sooloos and others, hell even inexpensive media centers, may have just received their walking papers.

The Chromecast is going to be available soon -like in a few weeks -and, according to Google, development of Chromecast apps and services are ongoing. So while Chromecast’s initial compatibility may seem “light,” you can expect far more services to come online in short order. My advice, snatch up a new Google Nexus Tablet and a Chromecast for under $300 all-in and say hello to the future.

As always I thank you all so very much for reading. Until next time, take care and stay tuned…

Andrew

  • CaliforniaLDS

    I dont buy google. They warehouse your activities and are moving to a dangerous monopoly. No thanks.

  • AndrewRobinsonOnline

    So does everyone. Welcome to the digital age my friend.

  • CaliforniaLDS

    Google already has proven to hand over emails to the government without a 4th amendment required warrant. Plus, google stores this info for advertising matching. They have a higher requirement to warehouse and sort through this info than most others. Also, Google is one of the few that has their hands in every industry. Not so with many other firms.