Among the applications: Red Bull TV, music video site Vevo, Viki – which airs Japanese anime and a range of Korean, Chinese, and Filipino dramas – and Songza, a music recommendation engine in the mould of Pandora. There's also a trio of free multimedia platforms: Plex, Avia, or RealPlayer Cloud. (For the full list, navigate over to the Chrome page on Google+.)
Chromecast, which retails for $35, is advertised by Google as is "the easiest way to enjoy online video and music on your TV." Plug the thing into the HDMI port on your TV set, and you can wirelessly stream video from your smart phone, tablet, or computer straight onto the big screen. Pure bliss, in other words, for anyone who's got a crick in their neck from trying to watch Netflix in bed, on a laptop.
"[I]f you’re the type who routinely watches things on a laptop and just wants an easier, cleaner way to get those things on a TV, the Chromecast is a no-brainer," Nilay Patel of the Verge wrote in a largely positive review of Chromecast from July. "Think of it as a wireless display cable for your laptop and you’ll get the potential immediately – there’s a reason all these companies have been trying to put a browser on TV for the past 15 years."
Speaking to CNET, Rio Caraeff, the CEO of Vevo, called Chromecast a natural fit for the Vevo player. But in the future, he predicted, the hardware required to beam content from phone or laptop or tablet to television will be incorporated into TV sets themselves.
"I believe that the vast majority of people on the planet will use their mobile device as the set-top box to get video to the television," he said. "We're going through a very rapid transition period of experimentation, of game consoles and awkward hockey pucks and lots of HDMI dongles and appendages. I think we'll look back in time, a year or two from now, maybe three years, and say, 'Remember when I had to buy that $49 thing, or that $99 thing?' Or: 'Remember when I had to change inputs, or remember when I used to have this thing hanging off the back of my TV?' This will seem like Stone Age type of stuff."
[Editor's note: The original version of this article misspelled VEVO's name.]