The latest build of Google Chrome, version 51, now includes a built-in Cast option, meaning users will no longer be required to download a browser extension if they want to beam media from their devices to their TV. While you'll still need to physically plug a Chromecast device into your telly's receiver, it's now simply a matter of right-clicking a tab and selecting the "Cast" option to send it over.
What's more, Google has streamlined the delivery, allowing Chrome to control the parameters automatically, so users are no longer asked to tweak settings for the resolution, bitrate, or quality of the cast.
Chrome 52, which is already on the horizon in the beta channel, seems likely to allow users to cast a tab into a video Hangout. This will require a touch more involvement from the user—you have to check Enable Cloud Services first. Says Google:
Cloud Services allow you to share the contents of your browser tab or your desktop with other users through services like Google Hangouts. It is only available if you are signed into Chrome. Turning this option on will result in Chrome showing you other services you can share your screen to, including Hangouts that you're currently participating in or have scheduled on your Calendar, or other users of Chrome who've chosen to make their device available to you.
Google released a new version of its Chromecast hardware at the end of last year, making it faster and adding support for 5GHz Wi-Fi. Ars liked it when we reviewed it earlier this year.
Chrome version 51 is rolling out to users now; if the Cast option isn't immediately available, it should be soon.