Google today announced a new tool that it hopes will improve the experience of sharing YouTube videos from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to a television set. Chromecast resembles a USB thumb drive, but plugs into any HDMI port on the back of a TV set.
Chromecast accesses the internet via Wi-Fi. Android, iOS, and Chrome devices can then see the Cast button, which appears in the YouTube app, and push whatever video they are watching to Chromecast. The Chromecast device will turn the TV set on and automatically switch it to the proper input. The video will then play automatically. Pressing the Cast button again in the app on a smartphone will cease playing the video on the TV and bring it back to the phone.
The Chromecast offers similar, but much improved, functionality to last year's Nexus Q living room device. The Chromecast works with content that is in the cloud, such as Google Play movies, Pandora music, and other third-party content sources. It does not pass content that is stored on a smartphone's local storage to the TV for viewing. It works with Android, Chrome, and iOS, but not BlackBerry or Windows Phone. Chromecast is available today for $35. It can be purchased from the Google Play Store.
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