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Shiny Object: Chromecast

Has Google found a way to fix television?

If there’s one issue in the tech and media world that everyone agrees on, it’s that the way we’ve been watching television for decades is dying a slow death and changing dramatically, and most people think it’s broken. More and more people are watching television online exclusively.

But a web browser on your TV is still a work in progress. In 2010, Google launched Google TV. Think of that as Orville’s first flight; it crashed and burned. Now Google has introduced the Chromecast, and that might just take wing and fly.

Chromecast is an inexpensive HDMI dongle (which is just fun to say) that lets you send supported web services like Netflix and Youtube directly from your phone, tablet, or laptop to your TV.
Cool, right? And best of all it’s affordable (at $35) and relatively easy to install. Good news for Google—demand for Chromecast has been off the charts. Good news for users—it works!

The dongle itself (still fun to say) measures less than 3″ (which for dongles, is a GOOD thing) and plugs into the back of your TV. The Chromecast does need its own power and comes with a mini USB. It also comes with an external power adapter for your wall outlet—kind of a backup in case you want to turn your TV off but want Chromecast to remain on. Seems that TV ports shut off when the TV does. But aside from a little bit of extra wiring flibbety (hidden behind your TV), the inconvenience is negligible.

Getting your WiFi network to recognize the Chromecast is pretty easy—just download the setup app (choose Mac, PC, or Android), follow the prompts, and you should be up and running in a few minutes. Pressing the “Cast” button streams the desired video or music to your TV. It really is that simple. Pretty cool.

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