FCC Reveals Google Chromecast Hardware and More

A few interesting tidbits have popped up since Google introduced Chromecast less than 24 hours ago, including some of the specs and tips on how to load up videos stored on a hard drive. Google's streaming gadget went on sale for $35 on Wednesday, only to immediately sell out, making Chromecast a seemingly cheap and popular alternative to purchasing a set-top box or Smart TV.

According to the specs, Chromecast is powered by a Marvell "Armada" DE3005 chip and an AzureWave 2.4 GHz Wireless N chip. The details were spilled by updated FCC documents that originally evaluated the device as a Google H840 Device labeled H2G2-42.

Unfortunately, Marvell doesn't show the DE3005 on its website, so we couldn't get the specifics -- the chip could be a custom solution for Google's gadget. The closest relative would be the Armada 1000 (88DE3010) which has two "Sheeva" cores clocked up to 1.2 GHz, dedicated hardware acceleration for multi-format video and audio decoding, and a Qdeo processing pipeline. This chip supports HDMI v1.3.

There's also the Armada 1500 (88DE3100) which is a bit more feature-rich, packing two ARMv7 compatible PJ4B CPU cores with symmetric multi-processing and clocked at 1.2 GHz, a dedicated security engine, support for USB 2.0 OTG, support for HDMI v1.4, a Vivante GC1000 graphics core, 512 kb of L2 cache, a Qdeo pipeline and so on. We're betting the chip used in Google's Chromecast is similar to this one.

Based on the FCC shots, the AzureWave chip used in Chromecast may be the AW-NH387. This combo chip combines Wireless N, Bluetooth 3.0 + HS and FM radio into one solution. FM bands are supported, the specs read, and supports the European Radio Data Systems (RDS) and the North American Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) modulations. If this is indeed the chip, does this mean Google plans to open up Bluetooth and FM radio capabilities in the future?

As for the whole power cord aspect, the FCC shows an image of the device plugged into the back of an HDTV during testing. The power cord is clearly dangling from the device, meaning despite Google's presentation of merely connecting and steaming with no visible wires, that indeed is not the case. Chromecast doesn't have a battery, so users will either need to plug it into a wall outlet, or possibly a spare USB port on the HDTV to provide power.

As for additional Chromecast specs, the device sports Micron D9PXV 4 Gb DDR3-1600 RAM and 4 GB of Micron flash memory (29F16G08MAA). The device also supposedly uses a simplified version of Chrome OS instead of Android to better handle media tuned in from a Chrome browser on a desktop or laptop. Chrome's browser extension for the gadget, which will essentially let users play any Flash-based video on Chromecast, can be installed here.

One Reddit user discovered that Chromecast owners can play any video from their hard drives as well. Simply open the Chrome browser, type in C:/ in the address bar, and navigate to any locally stored video. Actually, this should work on any mapped hard drive.

Getting a new $35 Chromecast may be a bit difficult for now. Various reports point to stock selling out quickly both online and offline. Google Play is now showing a three to four week delay in shipments, and Amazon is currently listing it as "out of stock." Best Buy's product page says it's sold out online.

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  • acadia11
    Apple TV you are so expensive!
  • digiex
    Regarding the power, I thought, HDMI has a 5V pin for power.
  • Darkk
    I ordered mine yesterday. Should get it around Aug 7th. As for power if you look on Google's website it said:

    USB power cable
    Power adapter

    So it has to be externally powered.