ChromecastGoogle’s Chromecast was released last week with little fanfare from Google – but tons from the press.

It sold out within days.

But what, exactly, is Chromecast? What does it do… and where can you even get one?

Let’s start with what it is…

Chromecast is a device that plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. The device is about the size of your thumb. There is also a power cord that will need to be plugged in to a power outlet or a powered USB slot on the TV.

The need for power is something Google has been criticized for de-emphasizing in its promotions (Google’s introductory video shows it being plugged in cord-free).

Now for what it does…

Chromecast “broadcasts” (sometimes… more on that in a moment) what’s on your computer/smartphone/tablet screen to your TV screen. So, basically, your big screen TV can be used as a big computer monitor.

Yes, we could to that pre-Chromecast, but it required a hard connection through an HDMI cable. With Chromecast, it’s done via wifi.

To do this, users must be using a Chrome browser, click on the Chromecast menu, then “cast entire screen.”

Be aware though, the full-screen cast is still in beta testing.

Through the Chrome browser, webpages can also be cast to the TV screen, which allows for watching videos and the like by streaming them from the computer/smartphone/tablet to the TV.

And, Chromecast currently supports Netflix, Youtube, and Google Play for – direct – streaming from the internet to the TV.  In this scenario, your computer/smartphone/tablet doesn’t actually stream the content. Instead, it acts as a fancy remote, and the content is delivered through the wifi network straight to the TV.

Reports indicate that, in most cases, the streaming is a better quality coming straight over wifi to the TV, rather than streaming from a computer.

So, with Chromecast, the idea is basically to take what’s on the computer screen and throws it up on your big HDTV.

OK, so how do you get it…?

That’s tricky, at least for now.

Chromecast has done exceptionally well in sales and is currently sold out from most online retailers.

If you are willing to wait, both Google Play and Amazon report they will have Chromecasts back in stock within 3 to 4  weeks.

If you are a go-getter who has to have one now, you will be able to find Chromecasts on eBay, though you will no doubt end up paying more than the device’s $35 retail price.

eBayer’s aren’t quite getting the premium prices one might expect though. Looking through the last half dozen completed listings that sold, most went for under $70 (including shipping).

A number of 3rd party sellers also have Chromecasts listed on Amazon under $80.

And there have been a few reports of people still finding them on the shelves of a few local Best Buy stores, though online they are reporting that they are sold out.

Have you gotten your hands on a Chromecast?

Tell us what you think of it below – and be sure to Like, Tweet, G+ and Pin this page to pass it on to your friends!