Last week, Google announced a new product which is meant to transform television. Chromecast is a HDMI dongle that allows for users to instantly place media from their phones, tablets, and laptops to their television sets. But is Chromecast the future of our living rooms?
Chromecast is Google’s new approach to changing how people connect with their media and the internet in the living room. Most will recall the Nexus Q, the awesome looking sphere with the insane price tag. It looks like Google found a much better solution.
The setup of Chromecast is very easy. All it takes is to plug in the Chromecast into one of your television’s HDMI ports, Plug the supplied USB cable into a USB port on your television (a wall outlet adapter is also included with the Chromecast incase you television does not have USB ports), then using the Chromecast app for android, or the Chromecast website on Chrome Browser, you connect your Chromecast to your wi-fi connection, and you’re ready to stream. The setup takes no more than five minutes, and once it is complete, it is even easier to start using the device.
In order to use Chromecast, all one needs is the Google Cast extension for Chrome, or the YouTube, Google Play Music/Movies, or Netflix apps for either Android or iOS (These are the only apps that support cast at the moment, it is promised that more will come). A new icon will appear in these apps, and once your media is selected, you tap the icon, and the selected media will begin streaming to your television. You can continue to use your device as normal and even make a playlist of different media to play.
Real Life Performance
Now this all sounds amazing, but how does it actually perform? Surprisingly, it performs nearly identical to the demonstration that Google showed. During my use, I have experienced very little lag, and almost no buffering of video content. I was amazed at the speed at which I could change videos, or even change which app is connecting to my TV. I truly enjoy the functionality that the Chromecast adds to my living room. The only thing that I have found somewhat different is that it seems as though video quality starts out poor while watching a video, however it will gradually become better. This may be due to the quality of the video, or it may be the Chromecast itself. It will take further testing to determine.
Now when I use the Chrome Browser instead of my tablet or phone, I do see more lagginess and delay. There have been times where the audio might fall out of line with the video, or part of the display will not show. While there are these problems, I can still say that it performs better than I initially expected, and I am sure that there will be updates that make a more fluid experience.
The Google Chromecast is a great device at an even better price that will change how you use your televisions. While there is still some limited functionality, as time progresses and the Chromecast gets more popular, there should be many updates to allow for more apps, and better experiences. This is Google’s first (productive) step towards taking over our living rooms, and I like it!
Find out more about the Chromecast here.
Review by guest author Kyle Hotchkiss.