Owner of the world’s leading search engine, Google Inc. (GOOG) has unveiled a device that sends YouTube and Netflix Inc. (NFLX) videos from phones, tablets and laptops to televisions, bolstering competition with Apple Inc. (AAPL)
The device, which they named Chromecast, looks like a USB stick and costs USD 35. It is plugged into a TV’s HDMI input and it wirelessly syncs video being watched on a customer’s mobile devices and TV. the customer will control online videos without having the remote control.
The Chromecast works with Android devices as well as Apple’s iPhone and also enable users to continue using other phone for other activities while streaming.
Pichai said the device will also work with Pandora Media Inc. (P)’s music-streaming service and other content partners in the future. It goes on sale today through Amazon.com Inc.
“Of course people would want to watch YouTube and Netflix on the device with the biggest screen, but the user experience on the TV has been so difficult,” said Rishi Chandra, a director of product management at the Mountain View, California-based company, in an interview after the event. “If you have to stop using your phone just to watch something on TV, it’s not a viable solution.”
The announcement of Chromecast came after Google introduced an updated Nexus 7 tablet, which has a sharper screen and is being made in partnership with Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. (2357) in tablets, devices running Android software have been gaining share versus Apple’s iPad.
The transformation into televisions was as a result of previous unsuccessful efforts for Google, including a media-streaming device called Q that never shipped due to poor initial feedback, and the Google TV set-top box that has lagged the competition.
Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai said in an interview that the company would continue pushing Google TV, which turns TV into an Android device capable of playing apps and other content.