Lenovo is jumping into the low-cost streaming game with its hockey puck-like Cast, which it says is sensitive enough to receive signals through two walls and up to 20 meters away, or 21.8 yards in ‘Murica.
The $50 Cast supports wireless streaming from DLNA- and Miracast-enabled devices, so you can beam media directly from most gadgets running Android 4.3 and up, as well as some Windows 8.1 and iOS devices. Lenovo’s media streamer features a 2 x 2 antenna array and uses a RealTek RTL 8192DU MIMO chipset. That means it supports 802.11 a/b/g/n, but not the full speed of newer 802.11ac routers.
The $50 device also has an HDMI 1.3 port that can be plugged into televisions, complete with support for HDCP 2.0 content protection.
Why this matters: Cast is Lenovo’s first streaming device, but it’s certainly not the first available. Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick have been hot sellers so it’s natural everyone wants to climb aboard the bandwagon. Interestingly, at $49 the Lenovo Cast will be pricier than the competition, which usually hovers in the $35 range—though its full DLNA and Miracast implementations also gives Lenovo’s puck a fuller feature set.