The trend growing now-a-days is not to subscribe to cable TV and instead use Netflix, Hulu-Plus and watch TV content online on the content provider’s website. I also do the same. While I’m able to save money by not subscribing to cable television – it is not quite a smart solution.
Apple TV is a great product, which dominates about 50% of the streaming content. I’m really excited to see a product from Google, which might be an Apple TV killer – Chromecast. Google’s has just launched the $35 Chromecast, a device resembling an oversized thumbdrive that plugs into an open HDMI port on the back of your TV set and draws power via a USB connection.
With Chromecast, you don’t need to reach out for a remote. All you have to do is open your Netflix or YouTube app, find the video you want to watch, and press a little “Cast” button to send the video to your television (quite similar to how you can send the video from your Netflix or YouTube app over to TV.
Chromecast streams straight from the Internet; your phone or tablet merely sends the instructions to Chromecast. This functions saves battery life and leaves you free to do other things on your phone or tablet while the video plays on your TV. Another advantage Chromecast has over Apple TV is that it can play on Android devices as well.
Chromecast has received positive response, however, the experience hasn’t been always positive. Initial setup seems to suffer from a few hiccups. Also, it needs your TV to have a USB port, else it won’t work.
The bigger drawback for Chromecast is that it only works with a handful of apps: YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Music and Google Play Video. Pandora support is said to be coming soon, and other developers are free to add Chromecast support to their apps.
Chromecast also has a beta feature – it lets you send any browser tab to the big screen from Chrome on a Windows PC, Mac or Chromebook.
The Google Chromecast is a great alternative, which costs only $35. It plugs into your HDTV’s HDMI port and lets you stream media from Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play through your smartphone, tablet, or notebook. It’s more limited than the Apple TV and Roku 3, but costs a third of those devices. It’s an incredibly inexpensive way to access online media and Google Play’s generous movie and music libraries on your HDTV.
With more streaming-service support, the Chromecast could get much more appealing. The future of the device feels like it’s in the hands of developers.
Availability – Amazon, BestBuy and Google Chrome