Unboxing and first look at the Google Chromecast [VIDEO]

The Google Chromecast was unveiled earlier today at Google’s San Francisco event. If you don’t know what it is, it’s pretty much the Nexus Q we’ve all been waiting for — 10x more awesome, and 10x more cheap. I’ll let you stream content from your phone, tablet, or computer browser to any TV the multimedia dongle is hooked up to.

Whether it’s YouTube, Google Play Music, Pandora or the like, you’ll be able to get a wide range of content onto the big screen, and with an SDK more apps are sure to follow. Unfortunately we didn’t have immediate access to a TV, but we’ve taken it out of its box to show you what to expect once you’re able to pick one up for yourself in a few days’ time. Watch the video above.

[via Chromespot]

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  • Tarun

    Question: Is it possible to go to a site (not youtube), play an online video, go fullscreen and then chromecast it to the TV? Effectively watching an online stream on your TV in fullscreen mode?

  • Matty P

    Do you think this would have the ability to create a queue within youtube and google music similar to the way you could create a queue on youtube with the youtube app on gtv?

  • PhineasJW

    Can someone confirm the multichannel audio output?

    Can you connect it to TV HDMI1 for example, and have TV HDMI2 (ARC) return the multichannel audio back to your receiver?

    Or, do you need to connect an extra optical cable from your TV to receiver?

    • jakep_82

      Why wouldn’t you plug the Chromecast directly into your receiver if it has HDMI? That’s what I’m going to do with mine.

      • PhineasJW

        Will do that if it works. Though I think it would require manually switching to that input with the receiver remote, however.

        • quick

          Yes it would require switching the input on your AVR. Should get yourself a harmony remote to take care of that for you.

          You should have all your video devices going through your AVR really.

          • PhineasJW

            All my video devices are going through my AVR. :)

            I was asking, because if it was connected to the TV and the HDMI ARC worked to return the audio, and with HDMI-CEC working to automatically change the input, then you wouldn’t have to do any extra switching with the remote.

            But I’ve got one on order. I’ll play with the various connection possibilities when it arrives.

          • http://www.techmantis.net/ Minja Miketa

            I can vouch for that Harmony remote. Those things are sweet, very glad to have picked one up.

      • PhineasJW

        I did. It works!

        So, the only issue so far is that Chromecast doesn’t passthrough YouTube’s multichannel audio correctly. It decodes as Dolby ProLogic II. Netflix does decode as Dolby Digital.

  • pr0xidian

    I wonder if they will create some kind of vlc plugin. I’m sick of transferring my .mkv anime to my ps3

    • snapper.fishes

      It does not work like that I am afraid. The Chromecast does not actually stream video from your phone, tablet or PC. Instead, the video must be accessible from the internet, i.e. it must be an online video. So your videos must be uploaded to a server accessible from the internet.

      • GlennStile

        But you could have a home web server (lamp / wamp) a local website using the chromecast api and feed all your movies via chromecast.

        My mate is off to America for a holiday next week so hopefully he can pick up a couple for me to test this theory with.

        • snapper.fishes

          Yes, a home media server should work, but you will need to write the code yourself, which might be a problem because Chromecast API is closed source apparently.

          http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=169737&page=5

          Then there’s also the issue of codecs because the video has to be decoded on chromecast instead of your computer/tablet/phone. A commenter on the following website did a test on mkv files and found that there is no audio output, plus the video was choppy.

          http://www.droid-life.com/2013/07/25/tip-you-can-play-local-video-files-through-chromecast/

          A further problem is that anime mkv files nowadays are usually 10-bit, and on android very few apps can decode a 10-bit 1080p video perfectly. In other words, if you are planning to use the Chromecast to stream your animes (which was my plan when I first heard about it), you are probably going to be in for a huge disappointment.

          • GlennStile

            Simple answer … Plex. Transcodes in realtime, straight to browser window, chromecast, done! :)

            Apparently its been tried and it does work, wish I could get my hands on one sooner to try myself.

    • snapper.fishes

      Okay, just found out that the Chromecast cannot playback mkv files

      https://developers.google.com/cast/supported_media_types

      It does support H.264 and AAC coding however, so if you convert your mkv files to MP4 they should play.

  • Jordan Pfingsten

    You didn’t even come close to reboxing it correctly. That drove me absolutely insane. Sorry.

    • quick

      He has only one hand (other managing the camera) also most likely a camera in front of his face blocking his vision.

      It bugs me too anyway, but still you don’t have to post this lol.

      • Jordan Pfingsten

        Oh commmon. It’s Chris. He know’s I’m messing with him! :D

    • Bud Lutz

      lol i was thinking the same thing….it wouldn’t have bothered me had he not tried to put the slip on cover back over everything haha

    • LiterofCola

      Wow, really?

  • Dan

    not available in Canada :(

  • simpleas

    I’m so gettin this! ps – Is there something like this but for my pc to stream to tv?

    • shonangreg

      This will stream from your PC to your TV — as long as you can see it in a tab on the Chrome browser (under Windows and Mac for the moment).

      This is going to open the market for Chrome extensions. Anything that is visual/multimedia rich that we can’t currently do well in Chrome, photo collection viewing, perhaps for one example, will be adapted to work.

      The Chrome browser is becoming a multimedia platform.

      • andrew__des_moines

        Yet another card Windows no longer holds against ChromeOS. With MS pissing off all their hardware partners and Intel going all-in on mobile chips, its just a matter of time before Widows is forced to circle the wagons around Enterprise — and even there, Google is firing warning shots.

      • simpleas

        This is really awesome news. Thank you.

  • tq745

    bestbuy still has in stock, also free shipping with bestbuy.

  • zim2704

    Any news if you can power this from the usb port on the tv itself?

    • shonangreg

      If it uses a 500mA current, then that should be the norm. Being so small and having no display, I’m nearly certain this is all the case.

    • steveb944

      If I recall the Play Store says cable required, but we’ll have to wait and see until we have some hands on trials to see.

    • rjday83

      If you look closely during the unboxing on the inside cover of the box it shows how to connect it. One of the configurations has the usb cable plugged directly into the TV.

  • Cory Skelton

    So, is Google going with this and killing Google TV? Because if so, major boo because I had a side account where I was saving money for the best Google TV I could find, guess I can buy something else now.

    • shonangreg

      No, you don’t have to buy something else. I’ll take the extra money, if it makes you happy ;-)

      Seriously, though, can I use this in my home, then take it to a friend’s house and have him play stuff from his computers and devices to it? Is it locked to one account?

      I also wonder if you took it overseas if it would work in any hotel around the world or if it is region locked . . .

      • andrew__des_moines

        I’ve thought about taking my Roku when traveling, but all hotels have the terms and conditions page pop-up that makes that impossible without a PC and additional hardware — probably the same roadblock with Chromecast.

        • shonangreg

          You mean you can’t get direct access to the HDMI ports on their TVs? I don’t understand how pop-ups can get in the HDMI stream.

          Or are you talking about the network the hotels offer? There they might have you screwed unless you’re carrying your own portable network MiFi device. But in that case, with just a network problem, you would still be able to play all your local content.

          • andrew__des_moines

            Yes, the hotel wifi network. I would use the Chromecast or a Roku to watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. if I could.

    • andrew__des_moines

      You can buy any TV you want and turn it into a Google TV for $35.

    • Chad Vincent

      Nobody said anything about killing Google TV. This is a stripped down version. it doesn’t do anything itself (like running tuners, etc) like Google TV does.

      I’d like to see them add this functionality to Google TV, too. But this is pretty different.

    • indio7777

      I have the latest LG Google TV and love it…recommend it. 3D is built in (which wasn’t a big deal to me but actually works pretty well). I love being able to voice search via the QWERTY remote control :)

      • Cory Skelton

        Oh, nice what model is it? (Just so I can find it easier to look up online.)

  • Y314K

    I hope there is a FireFox Addon to get this to work in it too on both PC & Android… Any chances of that… I don’t use chrome much… Maybe thru CM or AOKP…

    • LiterofCola

      Or a Dolphin edition

      • Y314K

        Yeap… There is no reason why this should be a Chrome only feature…. Since it’s an Android & IOS feature…

        • egern

          Google is using Chrome as their unified platform to deliver its services. You can complain that things are “Chrome exclusive”, but the beauty is that Chrome is a universal platform usable on Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, etc. Same thing with the Chrome game demos they did at I/O where users of all sorts of different devices could line the devices up and play a web-based game. Congrats to Google for creating an extremely popular cross-platform “web-platform” that all can take advantage of.

          • Y314K

            Not complaining that this begins on Chrome… This is to be expected… What I don’t expect & have not been seen any confirmation that this will be a Chrome exclusive… Unless I missed that… But I don’t see why the code for this compatibility would not be available to FireFox & other browsers… The whole point of this is to get more ad revenues… So the more browsers the better for Google… The other browsers will probably still need to use/hook into Google servers anyway…

            I keep Chrome as a back up browser now… So I will be able to use ChromeCast now… But I would prefer more choices… Has anybody confirm that one must be logged into u’r YouTube account or Google account to send/start a cast??? Other then for the PlayStore… I don’t like staying logged in to any Google service non stop if at all ???

  • Learn from the past

    Still only available in one country. Another clusterfkcu launch by Google.

  • oneloveonehate

    I know its only $35 but my PC does all this and it stays connected to my TV

    • steveb944

      This is to allow you to be more portable and wireless. You not only get PC use but also tablet and smartphone use, be it iPhone or Android. It makes your TV ‘smart’ with the cheapest offer yet.

  • bos

    This thing looks like a big winner. Hope they can keep up with demand.

  • steveb944

    Everyone is ecstatic about this device, as am I, but what happens to my Google TV? Obsolete tech after 1 year?

    • dreadnatty08

      You bought a GTV?

      • steveb944

        GTV * device. I would never buy into an actual GTV as support from Google is mediocre in that related market

  • Seth Forbus

    Was anyone else checking skype for missed messages as watching the video?

  • Ryan5609

    I am a Google TV owner, and a Roku owner. Together I think I have pretty much every type of streaming locked down. Someone please give me a reason to buy this? Love or hate GTV, it can more or less do this already. I am concerned though, did Google just kick GTV to the curb? Not being a troll, just looking for a reason to give Google some more of my money.

    • SUMmaro400ex

      Three months free netflix, even for current subscribers, means this only effectively costs $11. Not sure much more of a reason than that is needed

  • Roaduardo

    Is this a Roku killer? Or something meant to compliment products like Roku?

  • RK_Kamikaze

    Lets get the get the guys at XBMC working on a Android update and this this will rock!!!

  • egern

    Haven’t been able to find a straight answer on this – I know it requires a USB connection to charge, but can I just use a very short cable and connect it from the Chromecast device to my TV’s USB port that is literally right next to the HDMI port? Will that charge it?

  • CaneInAlabama

    Does it require you to be connected via wifi or can you send streams straight to the device via your lte connection?