On Wednesday Google announced the Chromecast $35 media streamer. I absolutely love my ROKU’s but I’m a sucker for gadgets so had to pick one up. At $35 it was such an impulse buy. I didn’t think it would get here so fast but Amazon had it to my house yesterday so I quickly unpacked it and gave it a test. Here are a few pictures of the packaging and what comes inside the box:
This is one tiny dongle that is for sure. Setup was very easy. Plug the device into a free HDMI port and then plug in the included USB cable. I used a free USB slot on my TV to power the dongle. It is unfortunate that the USB is needed for power but it’s not a huge deal since you can’t really see the device in the back of the TV.
Once it powers up the screen tells you to go to the Chromecast Setup Page with your phone or computer. I set the device up completely with my phone. The page takes you to the Google play store where you can download the Chromecast app for android. From there the application automatically found the dongle via a direct WiFi connection that the application automatically setup. From there I simply entered my WiFi password and it was ready to go. Extremely easy to setup and much easier than the Google TV boxes.
The apps on my phone that it does work with work great. I’ve used the Netflix, Google play music and video, and YouTube services. Once the device is on the network the apps automatically find it and give you the option to “cast” to the dongle. It’s really quite cool and easy to do. There is also a beta feature that allows you to cast the currently visible tab from Google Chrome to the device. It works OK but there is a noticeable 2-3 second delay from what’s on the computer screen to what shows on the TV. I used it to display a slideshow of pictures from my Google Plus account and my son really enjoyed it. I tried viewing videos from the browser and it just didn’t work for me. Audio/Video sync was way out and that made it unwatchable for me.
That’s about it though. There are not many apps that support it yet and hopefully that changes quickly. If you’re looking for a Netflix/YouTube dongle that will fit in your pocket you can’t beat it for the price but it’s not a Roku replacement yet.
I’ll be giving it 4 out of 5 stars for now due to the lack of app support. It really needs to support Amazon video and music, Hulu, vimeo, spotify, etc… before it will cause my Roku’s to collect dust.