Google Chromecast

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Reviewed by codybrom (Currently owns)

This stick is really a lot of great ideas in one. The problem only comes when those ideas don’t, or perhaps can’t, deliver. Let me start with setup. Plug & Play? Not quite.

Step 1: Plug stick in TV. The Chromecast will switch your TV to the correct input and instruct you on how to configure your wifi.

Optional Step 1a: If the HDMI port on your TV is unable to connect to the Chromecast because it will not fit, connect your device to the included HDMI extender and then connect it to your TV.

Optional Step 1b: If the Chromecast does not power itself from the Plug the included USB power adapter into your Chromecast and plug it into your TV.

So it’s as easy and plug-(and optionally plug)-and-play. Not the end of the world really, but you guys have no idea how ugly this sucker looked hanging off the side of my TV, especially with the USB cord dangling off of it.

Once I was booted up I had to download and install a piece of software on my computer, that I’ll likely only use this once, to configure the wifi on my device. Google says that iOS support for this part is coming soon. After the program installs I’m prompted to do another install, this time for a Chrome extension. Sigh. Okay. A few dialog boxes later I’m setup. Finally.

I’m a long-time user of Google products. Function first, then the pretty finish. And honestly, once your up and running, the UI of the Chromecast is pretty nice. Except of course for the lack of a physical remote. You must use a compatible app to start playing and control content. I’d never put much thought behind how much I actually preferred a physical remote. I use the Roku remote app on my iPhone a fair bit, but honestly, for simple pausing and rewinding, the physical remote is great. This is part of the design of the Chromecast, and I honestly don’t fault it for it. Is it frustrating? For Netflix? Yes. For tab streaming from Chrome? Not really.

What really peeved me about the Chromecast is that no matter what happens, if I’m using my iOS device, the content I want to push to the Chromecast MUST be available online.

Local photo sharing? Nope. Local screen mirroring? Nope. Music? Well, Pandora support is coming… but local music is a no. And no Google Play Music app for iOS means no way for iOS users to play music at all for now.

I’m not mad I bought a Chromecast. With the now defunct Netflix offer it was a steal and I look forward to seeing Google make it into something a little more useful than its current state. But honestly, the ideas and promises of the Chromecast made me lust after something else. Something that does do those things. Something I can buy today. Apple TV.

The Breakdown

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  • Design 8
  • Software 8
  • Content selection 3
  • Performance 8
  • Accessories, remote 2
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