The technology juggernaut Google is venturing out its comfort area with its new streaming device. The company exploded in size and profit because of its search engine and computer software, and has recently entered into the mobile market with the popular line of Nexus phone’s. Now Google has set its sights on your television too, with the unveiling of the fully loaded Chromecast.
The small device looks like a usb stick, but it plugs into the hdmi port of a tv. The Chromecast connects to your home wifi and streams videos, music and photos from various apps and devices. You can play certain videos from your computer, or watch your Netflix movies from your phone on the bigscreen.
The list of supported apps is relatively small so far. The Chromecast initially launched in July with seven popular apps such as Pandora and Hulu. Google has just recently updated the device to run seven more apps in time for the holidays. Device support is quite broad, covering all computers and most smart phones (Windows phone users are left in the dark for the time being).
Concerning whether its worth the $35 pricetag, the Chromecast has both good and bad qualities. Setup was a breeze, the streaming stick was easy to unpack and instructions were easy to understand. The whole process of setting it up took about 5 minutes and was virtually painless. Most problems arise during day to day use of Chromecast.
The device, it being the first version being sold, does have some hiccups and glitches. The device had trouble connecting to my wifi, needing to be reconnected every time I used it. However after changing my wifi password, of all things, Chromecast has been connecting without a hitch.
The largest thing that gave me pause in buying the device was the tiny selection of apps that are able to connect to Chromecast. This is made all the more frustrating by the fact that Chromecast could support a suite of handy and useful third party apps, however Google has locked its device to only the few applications that they approve of.
Chromecast’s value varies for each person. I personally bought it because my family decided to stop paying for cable tv, and I needed something to fill the gap and keep me updated on my favorite tv shows. If you’re someone like me that needs more substance than the regular broadcast channels can provide, i would say that the Chromecast is worth it. If you use Netflix heavily but don’t have anything to stream it to your tv, then i would also say that the device is a good deal. Otherwise, i would recommend waiting until Chromecast has more features. After they inevitably add more compatible apps and fix the initial glitches, Chromecast will be a much better product.