Want to stream Internet video to your high-definition TV but don’t want to run an HDMI cable to your computer? Google has a $35 solution for you: Chromecast.
Chromecast is a small peripheral that plugs into the HDMI port on your television. Once it’s plugged in, you can use the device to wirelessly connect to online video sites like Netflix, YouTube and Google Play and then stream that video content to your TV.
You can control the videos using a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The only requirement: a WiFi network for both the smartphone/tablet/laptop and Chromecast.
But there are several other restrictions. For now, Chromecast is only compatible with Android- and iOS-based devices, meaning if you use a BlackBerry or Windows-based smartphone or tablet, you’ll be forced to use a laptop.
Also, the only way to control your video with a laptop is by using Google’s own Chrome browser, meaning it’s not currently compatible with Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox or the many other web browsers out there.
Even so, Chromecast is an easy way to access high-def video on your TV without fumbling with annoying (and somewhat expensive) HDMI cables.
So far, it looks like consumers are loving the idea. Even though the device was only revealed late last week, Best Buy, Amazon and Google Play all report being completely sold out.