Chromecast is a line of digital media players developed by Google. The devices, designed as small dongles, enable users with a mobile device or personal computer to initiate and control playback of Internet-streamed audio/visual content on a high-definition television or home audio system through mobile and web apps that support the Google Cast technology. Alternatively, content can be mirrored from the Google Chrome web browser running on a personal computer, as well as from the screen of some Android devices.
The first-generation Chromecast, a video streaming device, was announced on July 24, 2013, and made available for purchase on the same day in the United States for US$35. The second-generation Chromecast and an audio-only model called Chromecast Audio were released in September 2015. A new model called Chromecast Ultra that supports 4K resolution and high dynamic range was released in November 2016.
Chromecast was favorably received by critics, who praised its simplicity and potential for future app support. The Google Cast SDK was released on February 3, 2014, allowing third parties to modify their software to work with Chromecast and other Cast receivers. According to Google, over 20,000 Google Cast–ready apps are available, as of May 2015. Over 30 million units have sold globally since launch, and it was the best-selling streaming device in the United States in 2014, according to NPD Group. From Chromecast’s launch to May 2015, it handled more than 1.5 billion stream requests.