Google's released an odd accessory for its Chromecast TV dongle: an Ethernet dongle.
Chromecasts plug into a telly's HDMI port and deliver video beamed over WiFi. That arrangement usually works well, but strikes problems when WiFi goes wonky.
Enter the Ethernet adapter for Chromecast, which offers a power supply, USB cable and single Ethernet port. The idea is that instead of relying on WiFi, you'll run a cable into the adapter, then slot the USB plug into the Chromecast's waiting port. Once you've done all that - voila! - you'll be able to pipe video into your Chromecast over a wire instead of through the ether.
Google says you need a “Home network router with available Ethernet port near TV” to make this work, which sounds a bit off because if your router is near the adapter, why's the WiFi so bad? Plenty of routers live in rooms that tellies don't inhabit, and plenty of folk use Ethernet-over-power or run cables under floors to deliver signals into other rooms that WiFi can't reach.
The text ad giant looks to be handing those folks a lifeline, and thereby making Chromecasts more interesting. And of course making it more likely people will buy Chromecasts, download content from the Play store, run Chrome to beam that content into Chromecasts and build one big, round, happy virtuous circle of Googly goodness.
The US$15 device, available only Stateside for now, has apparently sold out in a day. ®