The people at Google charged with putting Web multimedia on TV haven't just
spent the last few years getting kicked around the living room: The new
Chromecast shows the company's learned something from the flops of Google TV
and last year's abandoned Nexus Q.
This $35 thumb-sized pod plays audio and video from apps on an Android or iOS
phone or tablet, but its utility doesn't depend on the cooperation of
potentially uncaring media companies: It can also play what's in any Chrome
That makes it an interesting alternative to two older, almost-as-cheap Web-
media receivers: Apple's $99 Apple TV and Roku's $49.99-to-$99.99 players.
**Setup: **Google wins this with a nifty routine that never puts a keyboard on
your TV's screen. Instead, a Chromecast boots into a hotspot mode, which
Google's Android, OS X, Windows or Chromebook Chromecast app (iOS is due soon)
connects to; then you select your network and enter its password on your
mobile device or laptop. The only non-obvious part is running the included USB
cable from the Chromecast to a TV's USB port or an adapter plugged into an
Apple and Roku don't require setup help from other devices, ...