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Google Chromecast launches down under

As revealed by last week's Dick Smith leak, Google Chromecast is now available in Australian stores.


From today, Australians can purchase the device in Dick Smith, JB Hi Fi and on the Google Play store for an RRP of AU$49.

The device, which launched in the US in July of last year and 11 countries in Europe in March, is a dongle that plugs into an HDMI port. It then allows users to stream content from their mobile phones, tablets and PCs to their HDTV via Wi-Fi (the Chromecast and connecting device have to be on the same Wi-Fi network). It is supported by Windows, Mac, ChromeOS, Android and iOS.

Google applications such as YouTube, Chrome, and Google Music and Movies are supported across any OS where those apps are available. Firefox support is not available yet, although according to Mozilla meeting notes, it is coming soon.

What this means is that you can stream content from those applications to your TV. In Chrome, for instance -- Chrome support is currently only available for PCs, not mobile devices -- you can use the Google Cast Chrome add-on to stream one tab to your TV screen while continuing to browse other tabs on your PC.

When you are using it on your phone or tablet, the mobile device works more like a remote control.

In Australia, we will not have access to popular Chromecast-compatible apps in the US such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go, although global apps such as Pandora, Crackle and Plex, which allow you to stream content hosted on your own server, are supported.

On the local front, Foxtel's Presto subscription will be launching for Android tablets in July with Chromecast compatibility, and Quickflix is in the final stages of adding Chromecast compatibility on Android and iOS. The ABC is also adding Chromecast compatibility to its iview apps.

Google noted that over 5,000 developers worldwide have now included Chromecast support in their apps, which include slideshows, music, movies and TV, drawing apps and even games. Unfortunately, Google has not yet provided an easy way of finding them; there's a Chromecast wiki and a free third-party discovery app for Android available, however.

Meanwhile, developers looking to add Chromecast support to their own apps can do so using the open SDK released earlier this year.

Got yourself a brand new Chromecast? Grab the Android app here, the iOS app here and the Chrome browser app here.