After numerous false starts and teases, Google's Chromecast streaming dongle finally, finally, lands in UK stores today. Seriously!
Available for £30 from Amazon, Currys and PC World (as well as direct from the Google Play Store itself), the dongle is all-but identical to its US counterpart, being a USB or mains powered HDMI dongle that can stream content straight to your TV. Controlled by an Android, iOS, Mac or PC device, as well as Google's own Chromebooks, the dongle connects to Wi-Fi and streams video content itself -- your controlling device is merely just that, a Chromecast remote control, taking the strain off a laptop or mobile device's battery power. Chromecast can also mirror an open tab from a computer's Chrome browser -- though Google stresses that this remains a beta feature for the time being.
As well as playing back videos from Google Play Movies and YouTube (as well as tunes from Google Play Music), Google has made sure the UK release of the Chromecast comes equipped BBC iPlayer and Netflix functionality. No extra apps are required -- the existing Netflix, iPlayer and YouTube apps will all display a Chromecast streaming option once the dongle is recognised as being connected to your home Wi-Fi network.
As well as the UK and US, Chromecast is now available in 10 other countries: Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Priced so competitively, and with the distribution of an SDK now promising further app support for the Chromecast in the future, it'll be interesting to see what Amazon's rumoured streamer offers up to compete against it. Smart money seems to be a focus on gaming.