With its typical anything-you-can-do bravado, Google has built Chromecast, an HDMI streaming media player in the vein of Apple TV and Roku, but...you got it. Better. So they say.
Chromecast's tidy, fat middle finger-sized stick replaces the larger, wired, less portable boxes heretofore seen as conduits for replacing the crap on the television with the crap on the Internet. It plugs directly into an HDMI port and requires no setup, less connecting the device to your WiFi and clicking a corresponding button in compatible apps or Google's Chrome browser. More desirably, Chromecast also projects in HD macrocosm squinty smartphone/laptop/desktop streams of Netflix, YouTube, et. al. for cheap. Like, cheap cheap. Ramen cheap. Tara Reid cheap. Christian Laettner in an NCAA Tournament Final cheap.
Official Chromecast compatibility spans Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play movies and TV. However, with some very minor techie sorcery involving Chrome tab projection from a desktop or laptop, users can also access all other Web streaming services. The stick works with both Android and iOS, so phones, tablets, and computers with different subscriptions or movies downloaded can all get some play on the big small screen.
Basically, Chromecast unleashes no real technological breakthroughs with its release. But it does perhaps make a tastier pie out of the same cherries other media players have already been picking.