Google’s Chromecast is a handy little piece of hardware, but it doesn’t do everything — it doesn’t pretend to. Particularly, the Chromecast’s Wi-Fi connectivity can be a little slow at times, especially if you’re located in a signal-congested area, or your TV’s in a Wi-Fi dead-zone. Luckily, Google has a fix for that.
No, we’re not talking about a new improved Chromecast with better Wi-Fi and a bunch of new features — as cool as that might be. No, what we have here is even better for existing Chromecast owners: a dongle that adds wired Ethernet as a connectivity option.
If you’ve ever seen a Chromecast, you’ve probably noticed that it only has one port, which it uses for power. For this reason, the new Ethernet dongle actually works as a power adapter. The only difference is that this one has another port that adds a 10/100 LAN connection.
While having to run another cable is never fun, it’s actually for the better that the port is located on the “brick” side of the power adapter. This way the cable is hidden behind or underneath the TV, instead of snaking up the wall in plain sight.
This on its own is interesting, but it also makes it easy to wonder what kind of other functionality Google could add to the Chromecast through future dongles. The connection is limited, but if Google can do this, it isn’t impossible that down the road we could see a power adapter with a microSD slot or extra USB port built in.
Google might not have announced a new Chromecast yet, but it continues to update its software. Earlier this year Google added two new APISs, Game Manager and Remote Display, both of which are aimed at improving gaming-specific functionality.
The adapter will cost you $15 and is available direct from Google. It’s currently out of stock, which makes it seem like there is higher demand than Google originally anticipated, but if it is truly flying off the shelves, we’re sure that it’ll be back in stock in no time.