So I finally got a Google Chromecast. I’ve been wanting to get one since it was first announced about a couple of months back. What kept me from getting one? At first, I wasn’t really sure I needed it. Then when I decided to get one, it ran out of stock everywhere – Google Play Store, BestBuy and Amazon. I had to wait several weeks before stocks came back. My first choice was Amazon since I had Amazon Prime but because they still didn’t have any in stock, my next best option was BestBuy. Bought it online, did store pickup, and finally got my hands on the Chromecast last week.
So what is Chromecast? It’s a USB TV dongle that allows you to stream online videos from your smartphone, tablet, laptop straight to your TV. It works with any Android or iOS mobile device and for now supports the following apps: YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music and Pandora. To get a better idea on how it works, check out this video:
Here are some unboxing photos I took:
To use Chromecast just plug it in the TV’s HDMI port, turn on the TV and select the input source where you plugged it (HDM1, HDM2 or HDMI3). Install the Chromecast app on your smartphone or tablet device and launch it. The app will detect any Chromecasts within range. From there, just follow the on-screen instructions. Setting it up is very quick and easy. It took me less than 5 minutes to set up my Chromecast.
Take note, the dongle requires a power supply. The package includes a USB cable that can be plugged into a USB port on the TV and a power adapter in case there are no available USB ports. You should remember this if you plan to bring the Chromecast with you on trips or when visiting family and friends.
Although it isn’t officially supported, playing local video files on Chromecast is possible (via a workaround) on the desktop or laptop. Make sure you have the Google Chrome browser and the Google Cast extension installed.
Find the path of the local video that you want to play and paste it into the address bar on Chrome.
Click on the Chromecast icon, select your Chromecast to cast it to your TV.
Because this feature isn’t officially supported, video playback isn’t the best. There’s a slight frame rate drop and resolution is maxed out at 720p. Also, not all video formats are supported – if Chrome can play it, then most likely it will play on Chromecast.
At only $35, it is an awesome deal. It can play videos from YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play Movies, play songs from Google Play Music and Pandora, and play local video files. It’s very flexible – works with Android, iOS, Chrome for Mac, and Chrome for Windows. The only cons are: for now, app support is limited and mobile mirroring is not supported. However, with the API and SDK available for app developers, we can expect a lot of new apps like the AllCast app by Koushik Dutta or support for Plex and new functionalities added in the near future like “official” support for local video files, etc. I wish they’ll also add support for Amazon Prime videos.
So far I’m loving my Chromecast. It allows me to watch videos wirelessly from my HTC One and Nexus 7. It’s so easy to use, there’s no learning curve. Even my 6-year-old son loves it and knows how to use it to play his favorite shows and videos.
Anyone else got a Google Chromecast? How do you like it so far? What new features would you like to see added to future updates? Please share your thoughts.
I found it to be a good deal for the price, the Chrome browser streaming can be touchy if your wireless network isn’t solid and all components close to the router but isn’t bad. Overall though the Roku is by far a superior product and the Roku 3 gives more options though you have to be willing to pay 3x as much.
I want to eventually see the ability to stream Chrome browser or other apps from iPad/iPhone to Chromecast, not just YouTube/Netflix, and if they get more app/service adoption it will grow faster.
Thanks for sharing Justin. That’s true. I’m having some connectivity issues myself because of the Internet connection, not because of Chromecast.
Haven’t tried Roku but I know it’s a better solution for most users (for now) because it supports more apps and local media. Do you have a Roku?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to the time when Google approves the release of 3rd-party apps for Chromecast. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of new supported apps and new features as well.
Nice….. Thanks for sharing JP, I’m going to buy one or two hehehe
You’re welcome Stev! I’m sure you’re gonna like it since you always use Netflix. :D
Wow JP, I think I’m going to get one as well! Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome! Let us know how your experience with the Chromecast goes.