The Chromecast is an easy enough idea that someone should have thought of this before, but Google’s attempt is low-priced and cross-platform. Instead of having a little box that runs the software and requires developers to develop just for that device, this allows developers to just add a feature onto of their current application on iOS or Android. The$35 device hooks into the TV through a HDMI port, at the same time needing to be powered by plugin it into USB port. Google had glazed over the device needed to powered through USB. This was a non-issue with many because they have USB ports on their TV., however my TV did not. I did have a Xbox 360 which has 3 or 4 ports on the back, which I used to power the Chromecast.
The Chromecast had issues with my Acer Chromebook but did work great with my Windows 7 laptop. The device also works great with the new 2013 Nexus 7 and my Galaxy Nexus. The Android app for the Chromecast allows you to change settings on the cast, while having the Android device also be the remote wither its locked or you’re using another app. The streaming at first was spotty, but I changed the location of the cast to where it got better signal, and that helped the ability for the device to stream 1080p content. You’re also able to stream(mirror) full tabs from your Chrome browser, but there’s lag and a lot of issues with flash components not working properly. Although Google has released the new SDK for developers to add this feature on top of their app, there is little reason a lot of developers will. There are big names like Pandora working on adding this to their mobile and desktop apps.
There has also been talk from Google that the ‘Cast’ standard will come to other devices, and support will be there for Google TV in the near future. I am really surprised that this little dongle did not run Google TV and just add this feature in, because at this time Google has yet to build their own Nexus TV box yet. They have allowed other companies such as Sony to build, market, and support the devices. This has been a compete failure so far, and needs some big help from Google in the near future. The price is cheap and this allows Netflix to stream content to your big TV for about half the price of say a Roku 3 or Apple TV. Which undercuts Google TV at the same time because most of the boxes that run Google TV are similar priced to the Apple TV/
I know everyone is comparing this to Airplay, which it’s almost like but it takes a different route than Apple did. On Apple it mirrored the screen of the device you wanted to use. This device works with the app to stream just the movie, music, TV show, or browser tab that you want. You’re able to move away from that app or tab and the cast won’t be interrupted. As I was writing this I casted the editing page to the TV to see how the post would look the big screen, which it looked decent but we could work on it. When the Chromecast is idol, the TV shows a slideshow of different landscapes, with the name of the Chromecast, current time, and what wireless network the device is connected too. The Chromecast and your mobile device have to be connected to the same wifi network for the two device to talk to each other. This is a small issue, but everyone should have a wifi network that’s purchasing the device.
Overall the device is a great offering for the low price tag, and once back in stock should keep selling to a range of people. It is easy to use, fits most people’s lifestyle, and has support for Netflix which is the biggest way to stream movies and TV shows. Once Pandora, Spotify, and other apps start to support casting than we can see more users take interest and outfit all the TV’s in their house with one of these little baby’s. I would recommend this little device to a normal consumer over an Apple TV. One the device has a low price, two its super easy to set up for anyone with a laptop, or mobile phone. Tell us if you’ve gotten one set up or you bought each TV in the house one of these streaming dongles in the comments below!?