Google TV didn’t work out so well, but the company just announced a simpler, cheaper way to colonize your living room.

Chromecast is a small $35 gizmo that plugs into your television’s HDMI port and allows you to stream video and audio from YouTube, Netflix, Google’s own content store, websites and other channels from your laptop, tablet or phone. It’s iOS and Android compatible, and, unlike Apple’s AirPlay solution, you can use your portable device for other tasks, such as checking email, without interrupting the stream.

For example, you could use your iPad to put a show on for the kids and then continue to work on your spreadsheet.

Its diminutive size and price could make Chromecast Google’s most successful play for the living room after two successive failures — the Google TV, which didn’t take off, and the Nexus Q, an overpriced but attractive audio streamer that was ultimately shelved prerelease.

Stand-alone media streamers such as Apple TV and the Roku3 are pretty common, but usually cost around $100.

Why is Google so determined to get on screen? Unlike Apple, which is merely under pressure to show Wall Street it can grow into new product spaces, advertising is everything to Google, and the company has made no secret of its desire to get its wares — including ads — onto the biggest screen in your house.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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