The Chromecast is by no means Google's first attempt at a TV product. The Google TV box (remember that?) was almost a complete disaster, but the Chromecast should be precisely the opposite.
At £30 it's well within reach of everyone, and it's very simple to use. The only snag is that you need an iPhone or Android smartphone to use as a remote control, since it doesn't ship with one in the box like every other media streamer you can buy.
This slightly unorthodox setup does make sense, though. Instead of requiring a user interface, you simply use existing apps on your smartphone and tap the Chromecast button (in those apps which have one) to send the video to your TV. Unfortunately, that does put the onus on you to find and install apps which support the Chromecast. Currently, there's BBC iPlayer and YouTube and a few others.
The list of apps is pretty small right now, but developers are quickly adding 'Casting' support. For instance, BT Sport has just updated its app.
It's important to understand that the smartphone acts as a remote control - the video isn't beamed from the handset to the Chromecast dongle. Instead, the phone merely tells the Chromecast which programme or video to stream.
It's possible to send photos and video to your TV from your phone, but this is currently via third-party apps which are a bit hit and miss in terms of performance.
This is ok as long as you don't want to watch video, as the audio was out of sync and playback was choppy in our tests.
If you're willing to take a small risk, the Chromecast is worth buying on the basis that more services and apps will support it in the future.