Chromecast debuted in 2013, offering users the ability to plug a USB device into their HDMI outlet and syncing their phone or tablet to their television, streaming Web content, movies and TV shows into their living room television in HD. The Chromecast itself cost just $30. However, unless a user’s provider had codecs specifically compatible with Chromecast, getting the TV to display anything else was rather difficult.
In particular, users had to jump through hoops to get YouTube to work on their Chromecast. However, this may become a problem of the past because Google has quietly added YouTube to Chromecast. Now, users of Chromecast can stream YouTube videos without having to view them through a specially compatible browser, since the device now supports functionality from the popular video site.
Currently, the only clips that won't work with Chromecast are very limited. Private footage and live streams, for example, do not work on Chromecast, but thankfully these types of videos are actually quite rare in the first place. In addition, videos that are listed for use on desktops only are also prohibited, but that's a given considering that Chromecast is not a full computer in itself.
What this means is that the concept of a “Smart TV” does not actually require consumers to go out and purchase a brand new television to take advantage of it. New Ultra HD TVs may have internet access in their own right, but currently cost thousands of dollars that the average consumer simply can't afford on impulse. Chromecast, on the other hand, brings almost all of the same advantages for an easily affordable price, meaning that Smart TV will be more accessible to the common public in general. As similar devices emerge, more people will be able to have direct Internet access within their own living room, to enjoy with friends and family.
Edited by Ryan Sartor