Google’s new take on TV: Chromecast

Google Chromecast

Google seems to be determined to play a role in the changing world of television. Already the Android based Google TV platform is used by a number of hardware manufacturers like Sony and LG and there are a lot of Android based HDMI sticks that turn your “dumb” TV into a Smart TV.

And then there was the Nexus Q, the failed attempt to bring a Google device in the living room to compete with products like Apple TV.

After the acquisition of Motorola, there was hope that Google would come up with a better set-top box, especially since Motorola had a large set-top box unit, but that was quickly sold to Arris after the acquisition.

Instead of a set-top box, Google is introducing a HDMI-dongle dubbed Chromecast. With Chromecast you can easily stream content selected from your Android or iOS device to your television screen. It does not stream through your mobile device like Apple’s AirPlay, but the device connects to the indicated service through WiFi itself.

Chromecast might seem like a minor development for Google, but it could be part of bigger development. In the past, mobile devices where called the second screen as the television was supposed to be the first screen. This television was to become Smart or should get a set-top box connected to it to act smart. But more and more one can see evidence now that the mobile device is actually the first screen. It is used for discovering streaming content, sharing it, discussing it and even for watching streaming content. Obviously watching your favorite tv show on a big screen is a much better experience, so sometimes one needs a way to stream the content to bigger screen. Enter Chromecast. Based on the same idea as Apple’s AirPlay and other competitors like Flex, Google now offers a way to stream content selected from a mobile device (or even laptop) to the big screen. No longer that screen needs to be smart and no extra remote or keyboard is needed. Just WiFi and the app on your mobile device.

The Chromecast dongle will cost USD 35 and will support Netflix, Google Play and YouTube to begin with, with more services to follow. And thanks to the integration with the Chrome browser (mirror a tab through what Google calls Tab Casting), anything that can be streamed there will also be available through Chromecast on your television.

Updated YouTube app for iOS let’s you stream from your iOS device to your television

YouTube Send to TV

If you have ever used Apple AirPlay or Miracast, you know the advantages of pushing a stream from your telephone to your television. Much easier than using the remote control and much more logical too, as you are probably using your tablet or smartphone already to discover and select streaming content. On YouTube for instance.

Google figured this too and decided to update the YouTube app for iOS with a ‘Send to TV‘ functionality. With that, your mobile iOS device connects automatically with your big screen en let’s you display the content there.
The functionality works automatically with Google TV enabled devices and with Xbox and PS3 consoles after creating a manual handshake.

This news is particularly interesting in view of the recent rumours of YouTube preparing for paid channels. Just imagine what would happen if YouTube would start broadcasting the latest series and films. That would mean serious competition for Netflix and Amazon on the one hand and traditional TV channels on the other.