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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Chromecast

Plug Google's Chromecast stick into your TV* and you'll be able to stream video content from the cloud straight to your TV. 


This is fantastic news if you want Smart TV functionality without forking out for a whole new TV set. It's not the first piece of hardware to up-smart a TV - think Roku, or the new Fan TV device in the US for example - but it's so cheap at $35, and it comes with the might of Google behind it, that it's bound to reach a much larger audience.  It's certainly flying out of the shops.

It's a more open system than Apple TV because it allows you to stream any content that you can play in your browser. If you've got a big iTunes library then Chromecast won't help - you'll need an AirPlay device like Apple TV to access that on your TV. Chromecast is all about streaming from the cloud - not playing content you have locally.

Chromecast is really great news for over-the-top video services like BlinkBox or Lovefilm.  It's a piece of cake for them to add support for 'casting' so that if your browser detects you've got a Chromecast, you'll immediately have the option to cast the video to your TV rather than just watch it in your browser.

It's not such good news for cable and satellite operators, because more and more people will use systems like Chromecast and the internet streaming services to get high-quality content onto the big living-room screen, without paying for an expensive TV subscription package.

What's really great is that it's going to bring forward the vision that we have shared for some time for controlling big TV screens from your mobile or tablet device. And as an open system it's good news for discovery services like Tank Top Movies, because content streaming isn't siloed into service-specific apps as it is on Apple TV.

No news yet on a UK launch, but we'll get hold of a US version somehow. If you get yours first, tell us all about it, OK?  

* It also needs to be plugged into a power supply via micro-USB.  But you have a power socket near your TV, right?