When I first heard of it, I thought Google’s little HDMI nub was mostly a gimmick. Boy, was I wrong. While I still have yet to actually own the device, there are plenty of people who have spoken out both for and against the little dongle. Google’s streaming device has done extremely well, selling out on Amazon after its release and topping the charts on the website. Adriana Lee from readwrite.com has written a lovely article on exactly how the Chromecast is different from other streaming devices, and how it is truly a useful and efficient product.
Why is Google’s little stick so useful? Well, let’s look at a few important aspects of it. Unlike Apple TV, which is useful only if your household is pure iOS, or if you rely exclusively on iTunes for all your media needs, Chromecast is usable will all of your devices that are Wi-Fi accessible. Unlike the Roku streaming device, the Chromecast does not have an inefficient remote, instead it utilizes a feature that we are all familiar with: our device’s screen and keyboard. You can use your phone or tablet’s native QWERTY keyboard, which we are all very used to by this point. While some other streaming devices have apps that allow you to do this, you still have to jump in between devices at some point or another, making the Chromecast more convenient.
The Chromecast allows for extremely convenient media viewing. As the Chromecast gives you the media functionality of a smartphone with the audio power of a television set, it is truly a force to be reckoned with. Since the Chromecast uses Wi-Fi instead of an alternative means of communication, like infrared, you do not have to be within eyesight of the device to use it. You can have your TV playing music in your living room, and you can pause, change tracks, or change the volume from anywhere that you get Wi-Fi reception. You can also ‘cast’ YouTube on to your TV, allowing for the entirety of the millions upon millions of YouTube videos to be accessed on the big screen. There is also a feature that you can use on YouTube called “TV Queue” that allows for you to place videos in a queue that will play automatically on your TV, which is very convenient for detailed videos that you may not want to watch on your tinier smart device screen.
Obviously, the Chromecast has limited uses for those of us that do not use media streaming that much. For those of you that do, however, the potential is almost unlimited. Google has been very secretive with the Chromecast’s development kit, which means that there are only a select number of apps available to ‘cast’. While the Chromecast supports 14 of the biggest streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, HBO GO, Pandora, Plex, and VEVO, there are plenty more that are being left in the dust. Now that Google allows for more app development and has made the Chromecast more open via the SDK, we could start to see many more media streaming sources embrace the Chomecast. For $35, the Chromecast is hard to beat. If you are interested in picking one up, you can do so off of Amazon, Google Play, or many other retailers like Best Buy. If you have any thoughts on the Chromecast, whether you own one or not, let us know in the comments!