Chromecast connects straight to HDMI ports to stream content from users smartphones, tablets and personal computers
Google is desperate to make inroads into the living room as it would provide a lucrative new channel to sell more advertising
Tiny gadget offloads all data processing to the synced device, allowing Google to keep retail price competitive
By DAMIEN GAYLE
Google has unveiled a new streaming video gadget which will give users easier access to Internet content on their televisions - taking aim straight at Apple's attempt to move into the living room.
The new device, called Chromecast, is a small stick roughly the same size as a USB flash-storage drive that can be plugged directly into an HDMI port on flat-panel TVs.
It syncs with users' smartphones, tablets and personal computers to bring Netflix, YouTube and other Internet content to what is usually the biggest screen in households.
Chromecast dongle as it is announced during a Google event at Dogpatch Studio in San Francisco, California
Google wants to have a presence on TVs because it could open up a lucrative new channel for it to sell more ads, which bring in most of its revenue.
In a show of its determination to make inroads on TVs, Google yesterday began selling Chromecast for just $35 (£22.85). That price undercuts the most popular Internet-streaming devices made by Apple and Roku.
An Apple TV box sells for $99 (£65), while the least expensive Roku box capable of showing high-definition video goes for $80 (£50).
Roku, a company that formed within Internet video subscription service Netflix, also sells an Internet streaming stick similar to Chromecast for $100 (£65).
Chromecast providing an easy interface to display the content on the big screen
Chromecast, which leans heavily in Google's widely used Chrome Web Browser, is just the latest product from the company intended to make inroads into the living room. Previous offerings haven't worked out well.
The company initially tried to embed an operating system called Google TV into sets made by TV manufacturers, but that flopped.
Last year, Google introduced an orb-like device called the Nexus Q in hopes of delivering more Internet video to flat-panel TVs, only to quickly pull the product from the market.
With the Chromecast, in a move that has allowed Google to keep costs down, the hard work of processing video is done on the synced device, with the stick merely providing an easy interface to display the content on the big screen.
The Apple and Roku streaming boxes, by contrast, are standalone gadgets connected directly to the Internet which rely on a standard remote control to select content.
Chromecast shown controlled by a Google Nexus tablet: By offloading the hard work to a separate device, Google has been able to keep costs down to a very competitive $35 (£22), including three months of Netflix