Chromecast – Another 'Cable Killer'?

At some point, applications and devices like Netflix, Roku, Xbox One, Boxee and the upcoming Intel Media were given the name "cable killer." Now will Google‘s newly launched Chromecast, which turns the biggest screen at home into a smart TV, be added to the list? Specifically, the device that looks like an oversized thumbdrive, can be connected to HDMI inputs and enable viewers to move content via WiFi from secondary devices to TV.

The device works with Netflix, YouTube and GooglePlay platforms and will support other platforms like Pandora in the future. Perhaps the most interesting feature is its ability to turn your PC or mobile devices into a remote control, allowing streaming to TV, content browsing, playback, and volume adjustment using the device. Once content is streaming wirelessly, users can multitask with other apps. Available for $35, Google originally offered 3 months of free Netflix to Chromecast customers but later pulled the promo, citing overwhelming demand. The company also launched a developer program to encourage more innovation around the platform. For now, the device is designed for online content and only comes in the form of an HDMI stick.

Going forward, Google expects the technology to be embedded in a range of devices from its partners, company execs reportedly said during a Chromecast demo. The device is Google’s latest attempt to enter the living room entertainment market, following its $2.35bln sale ofMotorola‘s set-top unit to Arris. Google is also working on Google TV, a smart TV platform co-developed by companies like IntelSony and Logitech. Launched in ’10, the Android-based platform allows consumers to view content through the Chrome browser, using their smartphones and tablets as remote controls. Initial Google TV devices were made by Sony and Logitech, with more manufacturers announcing their support for the platform this year. Last year, Google introduced and quickly dropped the Nexus Q, a $300 streaming device that could be connected to an HDTV to play video content from Google Play or YouTube. Meanwhile, some cable MSOs have somewhat embraced OTT devices: Time Warner Cable launched its own channel on Roku. How about some cable apps for Google?

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