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Google's Chromecast is an HDMI dongle

Designed to plug into the back of any TV with an HDMI port, the Chromecast dongle is intended to provide easy access to streaming video. It's available for just $35 starting today in the U.S., with availability in other countries to follow.

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People like streams

In introducing Chromecast, Google reiterated the popularity of online streaming video. Almost 50 percent of such video comes from Netflix and YouTube.
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YouTube streaming and more

The compact 2-inch device will work with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music at launch, with support for future services, such as Pandora, coming soon.
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More than just a stick

As sleek as the Chromecast device looks, Google's initial presentation skimmed over some of the rougher edges. The specs in the Google Play store list both a USB power cable and a power adapter, which indicate that the Chromecast will have some wires hanging off it -- it's not truly "just a stick." It's the same method PLAiR used to power its similar HDMI-based streaming stick.

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Tiny but powerful

In addition to HDMI, the hardware itself supports 2.4GHz WiFi 802.11, which isn't quite as nice as the dual-band Wi-Fi offered on Roku's Streaming Stick. The internal processor is capable of playing back full 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound.
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Simple setup

Google stressed the simplicity of getting Chromecast connected, a marked difference from its complex Google TV effort.
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Netflix streaming

Netflix: handled.
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Smartphone control

The Chromecast is designed to be controlled from any smartphone, tablet, or PC running the Chrome browser.
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Smartphone view

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Multiple screens

If you have more than one Chromecast in the home, you can push video to any TV.
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Music support

Chromecast also works with Google Music at launch, with Pandora support coming soon.
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Browser integration

Here's how it works from the YouTube Web site.
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Chrome browser broadcasting

The dongle can also show Web pages on a TV.
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Hands on: Tablet control

CNET's editors got some hands-on time with Chromecast on a tablet.
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Hands on: Device connected

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Hands on: 'Just missed'

Here the tablet shows a Google Play Movies feature: a card that will pop up with more details when you're looking at a movie.
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Hands on: Music streaming

Here's a look at Google Play Music streaming to a TV...
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Hands on: Music streaming

...from the tablet...
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Hands on: Music streaming

...to the big screen.

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