Worth $35 if you have an HDMI port on your TV? Yes, especially if you don’t already have a Roku, Apple TV, game console, etc. to stream from the interwebs. Or if you have Google Movies or Music content already. Or if you travel and want a streamer that’s super portable.
I’m an Android diehard. I carry my Samsung Galaxy Note II with me everywhere I go, my husband sports a Motorola Android phone and we have an ASUS Transformer tablet. Chromecast fits neatly into that picture.
I suspect I’d love my new Chromecast if…
If I couldn’t already stream Netflix on our Roku.
Or if I had content already purchased on Google Movies or Play.
But since neither of those is true, it’s just a nifty gadget for me until more apps come on board to extend its functionality.
Operating Chromecast is simple: Plug it in to your TV’s HDMI port and power it via USB or standard wall outlet. Then download and install the Chromecast app for Android or the Chrome browser extension (PC/Mac). The Chromecast app talks to the Chromecast dongle plugged into your TV and operates it like a remote control.
Chromecast works with 4 apps now (Netflix, YouTube, Google Movies & Google Music). Notice that 3 of those are Google owned.
From your PC you can also use your Chrome browser + the Chromecast extension to mirror your browser content to your TV. This feature is in beta, but I got Amazon Prime Video to stream in full screen from my PC with no problem. Decent picture, but my connection was freezing so I had to degrade the quality in the Chromecast extension’s options. You can also use your browser to stream local files to your TV, but I haven’t tried that yet. Read about this tip and more at CNET: Tips and tricks to improve your Chromecast experience.
Rumor has it that Pandora, Redbox, HBO Go, Vimeo and others are looking into supporting Chromecast as well (via Gigaom).
Chromecast’s Interface is decent, set up was easy, menu visuals on the TV are nice. We have five different Wi-Fi points here at home to connect to (a couple of extenders in the mix) and Chromecast didn’t balk at being connected to a different signal than my phone.
I’m rooting for Chromecast – our Roku is flaky and sometimes just plain old doesn’t work for no discernable reason. I’m hoping Chromecast can eventually take its place in our media lineup.