Watch Chromecast Video walkthrough!

43 sec read

Google rolled out a new Nexus 7 tablet on Wednesday. But a much smaller, much cheaper new gadget may be the one that makes a seismic impact in the consumer technology world.

Chromecast is a glorified thumb drive that enables Web streaming to television. At $35, it’s also practically free, considering that it comes packed with three free months of Netflix.

Streaming media onto the (relatively) big screen is nothing new. Set-top boxes like Roku and Boxee have provided the service, at least in part, for years. More recently, Google’s now-defunct Nexus Q has battled Apple TV for the hearts and minds of consumers who have grown used to on-demand video on their laptops, tablets and even phones.

With Chromecast, though, Google appears to have stripped down Web streaming to its purest elements.”It looks like they have learned from their mistakes, and radically simplified the experience,” Janko Roettgers wrote for tech blog GigaOM.

“Gone are the attempts to integrate existing pay-TV offerings, recruit app developers for yet another medium and ship devices with hideous, complicated remote controls.

“Instead, Chromecast is pure simplicity: Search and discovery of video content is happening on the mobile device or laptop, and all Chromecast does is stream media from the cloud.”

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