What’s so revolutionary about Chromecast? It’s cheaper than a tank of gas

Chromecast TV

Today, Google dropped a bomb. In the ashes and rubble you can find pieces of Apple TVs lying atop of melted and charred Xboxes – their curious Kinect eyes staring vacantly into the Roku rubble next to them. Blown up boxes of Boxees with “property of Samsung” stickers on them are scattered among some old, abandoned TiVos. In the center of the carnage, a single Logitech Google TV reaches its cord out, desperate for a plug – betrayed by its own brethren. It’s a gory sight, but a necessary one. Today, set-top boxes entered a new era. The Chromecast has arrived.

Earlier today, Google unveiled its replacement for the set-top box, and it costs $35. You can already buy it here. Using the Chromecast is simple. Plug it in; connect it to your home Wi-Fi; and you can instantly stream YouTube, Google Play, Netflix, and Pandora from any Chrome browser, Chromebook, or Android/iOS device. Streaming is as easy as clicking a little button on your screen.

It won’t be long before we get support from apps like Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify, and more.

You may ask: What’s so great about this? The answer is simple. It’s cheap! No, Chromecast can’t do a ton yet. Right now, it’s a glorified YouTube and Netflix player, but when you get down to it, $35 isn’t a bad price for dead-simple access to Netflix and YouTube. Yeah, both of these apps are already available everywhere, but if you’ve ever tried to search YouTube videos on an Xbox, you’ve likely already pre-ordered Google’s dongle. These online services are almost always easiest to use on a phone, tablet, or PC. The problem has always been: How do we find the best way for that device to communicate with our big-screen TV? There are solutions like AirPlay, but there always seems to be a catch – like having to own a household of Apple products – to get them to work.

Chromecast is cheap enough that anyone can buy it as an afterthought. That’s the key. But that afterthought holds a lot of promise. Instead of trying to lock users into Google devices, Chromecast is compatible with almost every type of computer: Windows and Mac PCs (via Chrome browser), Android tablets, Android phones, the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad. Unless you’re a BlackBerry or Windows Phone devotee, you’re all set. Soon you’ll be able to stream PC tabs from your Chrome browser, and because Google is releasing a developer kit, it won’t be long before we get support from apps like Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify, and more.

The TV of the future may not have a set-top box beneath it. Instead, you may just have a TV you can control with every other device you own. It’s just another screen in the house.

Maybe this is all hot air, though. Maybe no one wants a $35 dongle to stream Internet TV and music. That’s possible, but judging from the response inside the Digital Trends offices, Google may have a hit on its hands. Usually, everyone on staff says “oh, that’s cool” to new devices, but this time, a huge portion of us have already bought one. It even comes with three months of free Netflix. I’ve already purchased two of them and several other writers told me they were buying them today. Anecdotal, sure, but few products have gotten us to whip out our wallets so fast.

Chromecast is exactly what the Nexus Q wasn’t. It’s cheap, it has a straightforward purpose, and it’s easy to use and set up. Google has learned a lot in a year. Some report that Google now accounts for 25 percent of all Internet traffic each day. If it keeps coming out with useful products like this, that number may grow substantially in the months ahead.

Mobile

The Asus ROG Phone 2 may launch as the most powerful phone in the world

Asus will launch the ROG Phone 2 (that stands for Republic of Gamers, for those new to the company's gaming brand) on July 23, and rumors of its specification and more have been leaking for a while.
Deals

Boost Mobile takes on Amazon with Apple iPhone deals during Prime Day 2019

Boost Mobile's two-day sale has discounts on both Android and Apple smartphones, and we rounded up the best iPhone deals right here. You'll have to act fast, though, as this online sales event lasts for Monday and Tuesday only.
Deals

The powerful Razer Phone 2 costs just $400 thanks to Amazon Prime Day 2019

The Razer Phone 2, a follow-up to the original Razer Phone, has a ton going for it, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a 120Hz screen refresh rate. For Prime Day 2019, the phone is available for a massive 50 percent off.
Mobile

Miss physical keyboards? Unihertz is creating a rugged phone that has one

Recently, only BlackBerry's phones have offered a physical keyboard. Not any more. Chinese manufacturer Unihertz is preparing to launch the Unihertz Titan -- a rugged phone with a built-in physical keyboard.
Apple

At just $169, Amazon Prime Day now has the best deal on the Apple Watch Series 3

Amazon Prime Day comes once a year, and with it, you'll find the best deals on your favorite Apple products. Right now, the Apple Watch Series 3 is just $169. Get yours while supplies last.
Deals

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a 35% price cut for Prime Day

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is currently the latest model in the Galaxy Note range that normally lists for $1,000, but this is no ordinary day. You can get the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for just $650 with Amazon's Prime Day deal.
Mobile

Visible is giving away the iPhone 7 for $100 and Moto G7 Power for $50

Visible has announced a few awesome new deals on some great phones, including the Apple iPhone 7 and the Motorola Moto G7 Power. Both phones are available for $100 off, bringing the iPhone 7 down to $100, and the G7 Power to $50.
Mobile

Get ahead of the game with one of the best prepaid cell phone plans

By paying in advance you can make sure that you know exactly what your monthly bills are going to be. Find your ideal prepaid cell phone plan right here, as we run through the top options and highlight what they have to offer.
Deals

These eco-friendly Pela phone cases are up to 25% off for Prime Day only

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly phone case, then you owe it to the environment to check out Pela. This unique brand makes its cases from compostable bioplastic, and for Prime Day, you can take up to 25% off the entire…
Deals

Prime Day brings out the best deals on Amazon’s Kindle and Fire tablets

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is here, and it brings with it some of the best deals on all kinds of tech products. Notably, Amazon's Kindle and Fire tablet range of devices have gotten some pretty major discounts,.
Wearables

The Best Prime Day smartwatch deals: Fitbit, Samsung, and Apple Watch discounts

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is around the corner, and while there are likely to be deals on TVs, gaming consoles, and more, there will also likely be some great deals on smartwatches. Here's what we know about all the smartwatch deals.
Deals

Amazon cuts 33% off on the HP Sprocket Photo Printer for Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day sale is officially live. The HP Sprocket Plus Instant Photo Printer normally sells for $150, but Amazon cuts $50 off from its original price making it now available for a discounted price of only $100.
Deals

Best Prime Day smartwatch deals: Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa, and Samsung Galaxy

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is finally here, bringing with it a number of great smartwatch deals. Whether you're into Apple's Apple Watch, or prefer a smartwatch that has Google's Wear OS wearable operating system, there should be a something for…
Cars

Waze now tells you the cost of toll roads along your route

Navigation app Waze now tells you how much you'll be paying for toll roads, should you decide to take them. Enter your route and the app will display the various tolls you'll be paying on that particular trip.