Google launches TV streaming dongle

Google has launched a low-price TV dongle designed for people to stream web content to their TV set.

ChromecastGoogle said the Chromecast device is designed to “make it easy to bring your favourite online entertainment to the biggest screen in your house”, and is its latest attempt to break into the living room, launching alongside its existing Google TV devices.

The dongle, which is available to order now in the US for US$35, plugs into the HDMI port of an HD TV and lets viewers use their phone, tablet or laptop to “cast” online content to their television.

The device sees Google step up competition with the likes of Roku, which launched a similar HDMI Streaming Stick last year priced US$99.99 in the US, and Apple, which also lets users wirelessly stream what’s on their iOS device to their HDTV via an Apple TV set-top box.

“Once your Chromecast is set up, you can use your phone, tablet or laptop to browse and cast content to your TV, play and pause, control the volume, and more. But unlike other streaming solutions, you can still multitask—send emails or surf the web—while enjoying what’s on the TV screen,” said Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichai.

The device works across platforms with Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads and Chrome for Mac and Windows supported at launch. In terms of content, the dongle works with Netflix, YouTube, and Google’s Play movies, TV, and music store, with “more apps like Pandora coming soon.”

A new feature in Google’s Chrome web browser also allows users to project any browser tab to their TV using the Chromecast device. “This feature is launching in beta, but we’re excited for people to try it out and give us their feedback,” Google said.

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