Google Chromecast wireless streaming Hands-on

July 24, 2013

Views: 2072

Just as exciting as Android 4.3 and the new Nexus 7 tablet, is Google's latest device, the Chromecast. A tiny HDMI dongle the size of a thumb drive delivering endless YouTube, Netflix, Google Music, Pandora, and web content to your HDTV for streaming anything and everything. Easily stream content to your big screen for only $35. We have some hands-on so take a peek after the break.

As you can already tell from the images, the Chromecast is a 3-inch dongle the size of most USB thumb drives. It has micro-USB on one end (for power, FYI) and the other is a full-size HDMI plug to stream 1080p video right to your TV and home theater. You'll need micro-USB to power it, which wasn't mentioned. Overall it's small, and extremely portable, but we're worried the bubble on the end will waste two HDMI ports, which could be an issue for some.

The size aside, which hopefully isn't an issue, this thing has some serious potential. Plug in the micro-USB for power and start throwing HD video, Netflix movies (Arrested Development) and anything you'd like right to the television for the entire family to enjoy. Using a Wifi 2.4 GHz band (no 5 GHz) to talk to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, the Chromecast will let you instantly stream things to the big screen.

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Chromecast has some serious potential, and we're looking for more details (such as mirroring) but for now it only works with a select set of apps. Those being YouTube, Netflix, Pandora Radio, Google Play Music, TV, and Movies, and of course full browsing using Chrome. The idea is dead simple too. If you're familiar with controlling any of those on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, it will be a breeze on the Chromecast because you use the device for controls. I can't wait to use my Galaxy S4 to stream HD video to my TV, then the Infrared port for a remote control. Our Android phones can truly control the entire experience now.

One important aspect is the Chromecast works on all devices, and is built to scale perfectly too. You can go from streaming a video from your Nexus 7, to swapping it out and "casting" a tab from Google Chrome on your iPhone 5 in seconds. It does it quick, accurately, and scales perfect. Oh and it works in sleep mode so you don't waste screen time and battery life. So that's a plus. It sounds too good to be true, but it's indeed real, and we have one!

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Small reminder, once the SDK drops and developers get a hold of this, expect the options and things we can do with it to skyrocket. For $35 this is a steal. Check out the pictures below, expect a video shortly, and head to the Google Play Store and buy this amazing little addition right now for only $35.

Play Store Link

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  • quido

    I need something like this but for my projector. I have no TV, just a projector in my living room. So I need a HDMI dongle that has dvb-t received and audio output. Otherwise Its useless for me. Still the best for me is an older windows 7 laptop with Windows Media center.

    • superlinkx

      Might be able to find a box to go in between to split the signals. Probably not cheap though

  • superlinkx

    I was looking at the play store spec sheet, and it says it comes with an extender. I was worried it wouldn’t fit in nicely with the other two hdmi inputs I have on the TV. Luckily, with the extender, that shouldn’t be an issue. Now to find out if my TV supports CEC so it can turn on my tv and switch inputs automagically.

  • Conor

    My PS3 already lets me stream YouTube from my phone and my laptop, so this is a very good product, but if you already have a PS3, well you may not need this.

    • Marcus Townsend

      True, and I was thinking the same thing, but this is quite a bit better for that functionality. First, you don’t have to turn on the PS3 and open the Youtube app (which we can probably all agree is clunky). Second, this works with way more apps out of the gate whereas you only have control of youtube for the ps3. And switching between those apps only requires a quick switch between apps on your phone, instead of loading up another app on your PS3 as well.

      All in all it’s cleaner, faster, and dirt cheap in comparison (especially considering they give you 3 months of Netflix free). For that price I’m willing to buy it in addition to my ps3.

    • superlinkx

      Xbox is the same way, but it’s a hassle to get up and running. Plus this has Netflix and a few other things you can’t currently stream through a console and remote control from your other devices.

      This is basically a hassle-free version of the Xbox/PS3/SmartTV/etc of controlling youtube on your tv.

      • Alan

        not sure what you’re smoking, Both my PS3 and XBOX can stream via multiple apps including Netflix,Amazon Prime, and DLNA sources today.

      • superlinkx

        I said you couldn’t stream them and control them through a separate device. Netflix on Xbox can’t be controlled by netflix on my tablet, etc.

        The Xbox can do all those things, but honestly, I never felt like it could do them particularly well. Especially Netflix. God that UI.

  • Looks like a great doodad – would be awesome to take along when visiting family/friends, plug in to see photos etc. I wonder if Plex will incorporate casting.

    • this guy

      i dont think its for local files. might only work with web content so maybe facebook or g+.

      • Carl Hill

        Or, upload photos to Google Drive?

  • Scott Breitbach

    Infrared port?

  • Flynn Clark

    Great Device. This one can work with my RAVPower Wireless Media Streaming Hub. All of my movies are in my external hard drive. With the RAVPower filehub i can access all the movies and pass them through chromecast to my tv.

    • Parag

      How did you cast all your external hard drive movies through chromecast to my tv.?

  • Alan

    I think this is a great product for those TV’s that aren’t already connected to a media player/console etc, like those kitchen/bedroom TV’s.

    A remote is a remote, yes it less menu options than my xbox or ps3, but not by much. I believe I have all the same functionality from my consoles and media players, but I’ll grab a couple for those non-internet connected 2nd/3rd TV’s.

    Its interesting that it comes with a browser, Personally, I hate using phone keyboards/remote controls to type the URLs and surf the web, I still use my tablets or PC to do the most of my surfing, not sure this will change that. In talking with some friends it seems we’re still consider surfing the internet a private activity, having all the family watch while you update your facebook or read forums etc still feels slightly uncomfortable.

  • socalrailroader

    This will be especially awesome for one thing being missed here, TRAVEL! Just plug this into your hotel tv and wham, instant streaming wherever you stay!

  • his will be especially awesome for one thing being missed here, TRAVEL! Just plug this into your hotel tv and wham, instant streaming wherever you stay!