Google just announced a $35 HDMI dongle that pushes movies, TV shows, and music from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome to your TV from smartphones, tablets and the Chrome browser. According to Google, Chromecast can switch control from one device to another without skipping a beat.
Unlike the more expensive Apple Airplay, which sends video to a TV set via streaming right from an iPhone or iPad, Chromecast makes its own connection to the Internet from home wifi networks making it more reliable. UPDATES
The cherry on top? The purchase of a Chromecast device will come with a complementary three-month Netflix subscription.
UPDATE 20130725: It seems that Chromecast is currently sold out on Google Play, but just saw it posted on Amazon. We didn’t buy one…we got two!
UPDATE 20130728 Bittersweet news:
The GOOD: My new toys arrived. The installation on our HDTV + Nexus 4 + Nexus 7 + iMac + MacBook Pro took about 10 minutes all together. It doesn’t get simpler than this.
The GREAT: Confirmed! Chromecast not only works with Netflix and YouTube, it can also play ANY VIDEO file stored on your computer or external hard drive. First install the Chromecast extension, then drag and drop the video to the browser and lastly share the tab to your TV.
The BAD: Both Google and Amazon cancelled the 3-month Netflix promo ““due to overwhelming demand.” Not cool. It seems that Google will honor the promo for orders placed before 1PM PST on 7/25. Amazon will only make the Netflix offer available to “customers who ordered their Chromecast prior to 5:31 PM PST on July 24. Apparently a gift code via email within 5 days of their product’s ship date. I ordered mine within the “lucky” timeframe but haven’t received the gift code.
UPDATE 20130729: I am very impressed with Chromecast’s multi-platform compatibility. It works with iOS, Android OS, Mac OS, and Windows OS. AirPlay is limited to iOS, Mac OS and very limited support for Windows through iTunes. In a nutshell: AirPlay is Apple and Chromecast is Google.
UPDATE 20130730: I spent 45 minutes yesterday with Amazon’s customer service discussing the Netflix issue. I just received an email with my 3-month promo code and additional information that might help some of our readers.
“Get a 3-Month Netflix Gift Code with Purchase of a Google Chromecast
Purchase a Google Chromecast and receive a Netflix gift code redeemable towards 3 months of Netflix streaming service on a new or existing account. The gift code will be emailed to you a week after your Chromecast has shipped.
Follow the instructions below to redeem your code:
1) Go to netflix.com/chromecast.
2) Enter the Netflix code from your email and click ‘Continue’.
3) If you are a new member, you will be asked to create a Netflix account. No billing information is required.
4) If you are an existing Netflix member, login into your Netflix account and your subscription will be credited for 3 months worth of streaming services.
This Offer expired on July 25, 2013 at 5:30 PM PST.
Netflix gift codes expire 12/31/13. Valid for 3 months of Netflix service on the $7.99 (a month) Unlimited Streaming plan (for total value of $23.97). Valid for previous, new and existing Netflix members. Offer available while supplies last. A computer or other device that streams from Netflix (manufactured and sold separately) and broadband Internet connection are required to watch instantly. Offer is not redeemable or refundable for cash, subject to applicable law, and cannot be exchanged for Netflix Gift Subscriptions. You may apply the value of the offer to a different plan, or other services offered by Netflix. Exchanges in this manner may alter the duration of the offer. Limit of one promotion will be applied towards each monthly membership fee for your Netflix account.”