Recently launched in the UK, Google’s Chromecast allows you to stream content from a smartphone, tablet or laptop to any TV with an HDMI port.
Supported mobile operating systems include iOS and Android, while supported desktop operating systems include Windows, OSX and recent distributions of Linux.
Apps and services will need to be compatible with Chromecast before you can stream them, with the main advertised Chromecast-ready services including Netflix, Youtube, BBC iPlayer and Google Play.
It will also include the ability to stream your web browser to the Chromecast if you are using Google Chrome. Mozilla have also announced future Chromecast support for Firefox.
At current the Chromecast can be bought from Google, Amazon and Curry’s with a recommended retail price of £30.
The Chromecast needs to have an external device – such as your tablet computer – in order to work. This is not always convenient, and if Google was able to make the Chromecast stand-alone with it’s own remote control it would definitely be an improvement.
Another limitation is that it is designed to fit better with TV’s which have a usb port for power, and so with many older models of HD TV you find yourself with another device needing to be plugged in at the wall, with the included power supply being on the short side.
The third limitation with the Chromecast is that while it does support both iOS and Android, it does not support many other mobile operating systems, such as Windows Phone or Symbian.
Also, with only being launched recently there are still a limited number of apps that support it, although that problem should fix itself over time.
Despite its limitations the Chromecast is easy-to-use, likely to improve over time and at only £30 is a definite bargain. It’s a less bulky way to re-invent that old HDTV in the corner without having to splash out, and will likely prove very useful for business presentations in the future.
Cover image © Erica Joy – Flickr.