Chromecast_dongleRoku and Apple TV have sold more than 18 million streaming media players by Q1 2013, GigaOM reports. These devices connect to your network and stream media over the wireless Internet connection by way of built-in apps on the set-top devices.

Google’s Chromecast, a recent streaming media player, turns this proven formula on its head through the use of casting. Chromecast uses existing devices such as smartphones, tablets and your computer’s Internet browser to control the device. It has a limited number of on-device apps for viewing — opting to “cast” data from a computer screen to the Chromecast. Media venues, such as CNN, question how Chromecast will change the streaming media and television playing field.

Size & Simplicity

Chromecast is small and helps cut back on the endless clutter that surrounds your home entertainment center. Google designed it to be approximately the size of a thumb drive that plugs directly into your HDMI port on the television. Compared to a collection of the cable box, video game consoles, AppleTV, Roku, and other home stereo equipment, it’s a space-saver.

The technologically inclined are experts at connecting a desktop computer or laptops to the TV for playing media directly from the PC to the big screen. Chromecast helps make set up easy. Its limited app support may turn off users who are accustomed to Roku and other media players. But for anyone who wants to easily stream media from their computers to the television, Chromecast creates a seamless and simple streaming experience.

Google’s Plan

The $35 Chromecast is an excellent piece of equipment, but for millions of people who already own a streaming media box, it seems redundant. Google uses Chromecast as part of a long-term plan to make inroads in the cable television chokehold. Vice reports that Google is courting television channel owners in order to bring traditional television content to streaming over the Internet. One practical application for Google to attain a channel bundle is to add cable television content to a device that can already stream directly from your computer, play Netflix and bring YouTube to the living room.

Google’s fiber service also plays into this overall plan. The fiber service provides high-speed streaming that helps move media from the cloud to the device, providing Google with more ways to penetrate into the living room. Chromecast isn’t innately feature-rich as other streaming media devices, but it boasts flexibility.

Chromecast works on the Chrome operating system that’s found on devices such as the Chromebook. It’s a simple operating system open to hacking though. Developers can hack into the device to manipulate the operating system, create compatibility with new apps and hack other features into it.


Guest article by: Sonia Piper