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Lenovo unveils a $49 Chromecast competitor

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Lenovo has unveiled its own media sharing device to keep up with the Chromecasts and Roku Streaming Sticks of the world. But the Lenovo Cast differs considerably from Google's similarly named device, and not just because it looks like a puck instead of a stick. You start by plugging it into the HDMI port of your TV or monitor (it supports HDMI 1.3) and sync up with your WiFi network, like similar products. But from there, it taps into your DNLA or Miracast-enabled smartphone, tablet or laptop, to output up to 1080P video to your big screen. That's unlike the Chromecast, which uses its proprietary (though ubiquitous) Chrome browser environment.

Gallery: Lenovo Cast media streaming device | 5 Photos

While that might make setup a bit more messy than Google's dongle, Lenovo's Cast should be a bit more versatile. With dual frequency WiFi (5GHz and 2.4Ghz), the disk will let you cast in most formats up to 20 meters (65 feet), even through walls. The DLNA and Miracast capability also means plenty of video, image and sound formats will be supported, and you can mirror any content from a smartphone. All that will cost you $50, which is a bit more than a $35 Chromecast, but the same as Roku's Streaming Stick and Amazon's FireTV stick (though the latter also includes a remote). The Cast will arrive this August at the same time as Lenovo's incoming Surface 3 competitor, the ThinkPad 10 tablet.

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