For a while now, Google has been struggling to get into our living rooms.
First, they gave Google TV a go and we quickly realized that it is essentially a dead product. Later, Google produced Chromecast and it has become increasingly obvious that this is the hit they have been reaching for.
Price Point: $35.00
- Manufacturer: Google
- Part Number: H2G2-42
- Type of product: TV streaming adapter
- Compatibility: Android phones and tablets, iPad ,iPhone
- Dimensions: (WxDxH) 0.5 in x 1.4 in x 2.83 in
- Weight: 1.2 oz
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi
- Functionality: Content streaming, Web browsing
- Internet Streaming Services: Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, Chrome, Amazon Instant Video
The Good Stuff:
Low Price: As everyone likely already knows, Google’s Chromecast is especially cheap in comparison to other video streaming devices. This is great for budget conscious people who already own a smartphone or tablet.
Lots of Channels: Currently, Google Chromecast is able to stream quite a few channels with more and more being added all the time. These channels include Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Google Music, HBO Go, as well as whatever web content you might want to stream (think Hulu.Com or CBS.com).
Compact Size: Another great thing about Google’s Chromecast is that it is extremely small compared to other streaming boxes. It is great for those who travel and would like to stream video from their hotel room or friend’s house. Consisting only of the Chromecast unit, the adapter dongle, and the power cord, the Chromecast setup is very easy to tuck inside a suitcase or a purse.
Plug and Play – Once you have the device inserted in your TV, it will prompt you to visit the online set-up process on your laptop or smartphone, where you will begin the download of the Chromecast setup app. Even so, this process is VERY quick and will have you streaming video in less than 5 minutes. Google’s helpful illustrations and step-by-step directions make the process very easy and straightforward.
The Bad Stuff:
No Dedicated Remote – Unfortunately, your TV watching experience will not be as simple as picking up the Chromecast remote. In fact, there isn’t one. To control Chromecast, you will always need your smartphone or tablet handy. This likely won’t be an issue, as most of us have out smartphones handy anyway, but the lack of dedicated remote takes away from the traditional “sitting-down-to-watch-TV” feel that some of us are looking for.
Shoddy Screen-Mirroring – Although it sounds really great, the beta ‘screen-mirroring’ feature simply does not work as well as it should. This will leave most users resigned to watching only the supported apps. While this number is growing, a mere $15 dollars more can purchase a Roku Box with infinitely more channels.
Not As Pretty As You Think – If you have a smart TV with a USB port, you can simply plug the Chromcast unit into the TV with no other issues. However, if you have a traditional flat screen TV that requires you to use the HDMI adapter dongle, you will also have to use the power cord to supply the Chromecast unit with the necessary electricity to operate. While the promotional pictures of Chromecast lead most people to believe that they will just be plugging the flash-drive-style stick into their TV, for most users, it will be a bit more complicated than that.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Google’s Chromecast is a cheap way to add the streaming of music and videos to your television. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated remote and a similarly priced Roku box can provide infinitely more channels. A big selling point for Chromecast, however, is its portability aspect and if you plan to travel a lot, the Chromecast unit is definitely the way to go.