Google has had some successes and failures with their various projects. Chromecast looks like a winner.

It is a dongle that lets you stream videos from smartphone or mobile device to the television through Chrome.

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Looking at it another way, it turns any TV into a smart television. Instead of a dedicated control unit, you can use your existing phone or tablet. Google says that they are working with partner TV and set-top makers to get the technology built right in to future models. Currently, Chromecast only offers access to Netflix, Google Play and YouTube.

Google Chromecast HDMI

HDMI Dongle

The dongle itself is HDMI format with onboard Chrome OS. Once it plugged into an HDMI slot on the TV, you can stream YouTube, Netflix, Google Play music and more. Here is some good news: You don’t have to learn any new menus or commands. It used software you already know.

Google Chromecast Dongle

Basically, your device becomes the TV remote. Instead of all those confusing buttons like on your real remote, here you can adjust the video volume, play videos and turn off the TV with ease. It works in the background while you are off using other programs. Here’s a useful twist: It will even work when the device goes to sleep, which they always seem to do at the wrong time.

Developers are quickly creating new products using the Software Development Kit and the API. The Washington Post is going to be offering their PostTV video product throught Chromecast.

Google Chromecast Mobile Device

Android and iOS

Google Chromecast is available for Android and iOS. Windows Phone is not supported at this time. On your desktop computer, it will work with modern versions of Windows and Mac OS X. What about an actual Chromebook? Yes and no–the only model supported is the Pixel.

Chromecast is offered through Google’s Play store for $35, although reports are the current inventory vanished quickly. Amazon and Best Buy are both scheduled to carry it near the end of July.

Get Google Chromecast