The new Chromecast HDMI dongle from Google is an affordable streaming technology solution, which allows you to stream media directly from the internet onto your television.
It is the perfect device for those of us that do not have the finances to invest the latest smart television technology. If you are missing out on numerous shows, videos and funny clips from streaming media companies like YouTube and Netflix, then Chromecast is the answer.
Everything you need for US $35 or £30
At an affordable price of $35 in the US and probably around £30 in the UK, the chromecast will suit people who wish to move away from watching streaming media on their computer and leverage the screen dimensions of their LED or LCD TV.
The price is one of the most attractive things about the Chromecast. In comparison to other streaming devices on the market (some from companies you may have never heard of) you will still pay two or three times the cost of the new Chromecast.
Many televisions, DVD players and games machines like the Xbox already give you the opportunity to watch Netflix and YouTube apps on your television, but the Chromecast is much easier to use.
What initial channels are available?
Chromecast will stream videos directly from the Internet for Netflix or via your chrome browser on your computer device. The direct route is better, but you will be limited to YouTube, Netflix and Google Play apps for direct streaming in the early days. There will be a stream of additional apps available for the chromecast once the device is established on the market.
Is it easy to setup?
Compared to its competitors, which includes Apple TV, Chromecast is quick and easy to set up. Chromecast will become an accepted extension for all of the computer devices around your home.
At worst, the chromecast will take 5 minutes to setup and configure. Simply plug the Chromecast dongle into the HDMI and the USB ports. If you haven’t a USB port handy, you can simply power the device plug with an AC supply that is included with the Chromecast.
Once you load up the app on your tablet or mobile phone, you will only need to press play to begin watching your favourite programs. With some televisions you may need to change your television’s input, but Chromecast will do that for you if it’s plugged into an external A/C adapter.
The user friendly instructions that come with your Chromecast dongle make it easy to setup the device. Once the chromecast is setup correctly, you be able to use your tablet or mobile phone as a remote control.
You will find a ‘cast’ button has been added to your Netflix, Google Play or YouTube app. Just tap on it and your media will play on your television; otherwise the apps act just as they did before.
Casting from other devices.
Once the device is configured, you will be able to send videos and other media from other devices on your network directly to your TV through Chromecast. Stream directly from your desktop, tablet device or from your smartphone.
What’s included in the box?
Apart from a short user guide, you’ll find the dongle, a short HDMI extender cable, a USB cable for your power and the plug-in USB A/C adapter for alternate power. For the price, you cannot complain.
Quality – what is the streaming quality like?
The quality of the streaming will depend upon your Wi-Fi signal and the speed of your Internet connection. Where both of these are excellent, you will be able to watch HD quality programs without interruption.
Is it a viable alternative to the Apple TV?
Apple supporters who are often anti-Google and Android make high claims for Apple TV, but it does cost around three times as much. The Apple version is able to play from many more services than are currently available on Chromecast, but like the Apple versus Android battle in the apps market, the differences will soon be few and far between.
One of the advantages of Apple technology is how well it all works together, and linking your iPad or iMac to your Apple TV service is very easy. If you are mostly an Apple person, Apple TV will work well for you, but if you have some Android gadgets in your home, you might find that Chromecast is the better option.
Should you buy one?
If you want to bring high-quality Internet streaming to your television, then pound for pound, Chromecast is probably the best device on the market at present, especially when you consider the number of companies that will add their streaming facility as soon as the developers are up to speed.
In a year’s time perhaps, there won’t be much difference between the availability on Apple TV, your Xbox or your Chromecast dongle, but the price of the Chromecast is likely to be extremely competitive and the app will simply show up on your computer and be updated without you having to move a finger.
The Chromecast is likely to be difficult to get hold of when it arrives in the UK because of the price.
Official Chromecast site – here
Chromecast Wiki page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromecast
A big thank you to Our IT Department London for use of the images and their hardware J
- cheap at £30
- excellent HD reproduction for YouTube and Netflix
- the ability to stream browser tabs on your television
- very few apps available at launch
- initial supplies are low
- a slower and lower resolution for Internet media streaming
David is currently writing for numerous technology companies across the UK and the US. David loves getting freebies and reviewing them!