Chromecast Review (a Year Later)

So as promised, I’ve been anticipating writing this blog, because it’s a thought that has been inquired while purchasing/owning this product. From first glance, it looks like a single dongle that you plug into your HDMI port. For those who are just catching up to the technology scene, a dongle is basically a device that allows you to communicate with another wireless device. It’s pretty simple & convenient. Setting up the device is VERY simple. You plug it into the HDMI port, follow the connection steps. One important element is to make sure that you have the proper smartphone to work with this app, as well as make sure that the device has the Chromecast app installed on it before going any further. This device mostly turns your simple HDTV into a Smart TV without paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars towards a TV with a bunch of programs that you may never even use. Even worse, in most instances, you have to connect a piece to the TV (similar to this dongle) & this device does it all for you. This works with ALL platforms (Android, Windows, & Apple…YES Apple). One of my friends I call my brother has confirmed that it works with his iPhone. Now, those who know about the product are pretty aware it’s a Google product. Before I go any further, I’d like to educate my non-techie friends on a few things. For starters, the Chromecast device i tied with Google. You don’t see it plastered all over the product, but the web browser (Google Chrome…thus the name) is a part of the Google network. Of course, when it comes to the smartphone & tablet category, they’re affiliated with Android. Some people may think I’m being funny writing and breaking all of this down, but a lot of people don’t know. When it comes to the Windows side of things, Windows has a smartphone & tablet, but they’re not as big as the Apple & Android devices. Of course, Apple has their iPad & infamous iPhone products. I won’t jump too far off subject with the iPhone, because that will be a blog all by itself. As I mentioned earlier, though this is a Google product, it works very well with the Apple tablet & smartphone. If I’m not mistaken, it works with the iPod (mp3) touch as well.

OK, I’ve rambled on & on about the product & it’s apps & devices it “plays nice” with. Now, the capabilities & how I’ve tested it. One thing I will tell you is that you have an Xbox, you’ll notice that it runs a lot of apps similar to the Xbox (I’m on the 360, but I’m assuming that the Xbox One is the same). It will play apps like Pandora, Netflix, Twitch (I’ll go into that in a moment), Crack, & YouTube to name a few of the big apps. The biggest competitor that the Chromecast has is the Roku, which does what this does with a bit of a larger price tag & a remote and a much larger app selection. With the Chromecast as a whole, however, your smartphone or tablet (and even your laptop) functions as the remote. Many people feel that having this device makes them feel there’s no need of having TV, because you can stream most of your apps through the Chromecast & possibly save a bill. One app that it supports that is the best example of this is Hulu Plus, which is a reliable source to catch up with various programs & shows that come on TV. I also forgot about HBO Go, which is compatible with this product. Take in mind, again, that you may think that this device is boring if you can access a lot of these apps on your video console. The difference, however, is would you rather take around your console or just bring this over someone’s house & mostly stream audio & video through the device. The app that I wanted to test more than any other app is the infamous Twitch, because that’s normally most of my TV watching. It works VERY well. Now, the Twitch app (that’s application for your noobs who are seeing this word for the first time) doesn’t support Chromecast currently. I feel that will come within the next few months. Also, take into account that Twitch just got an app on the phone a few months, because you could only access it through your computer or a console. The main thing with this product I would tell everyone is to give it time. It’s literally over a year old (July 24, 2013 was it’s release date), so they have had time to work out all possible kinks they can. I was able to find a third party that will handle Twitch called Lakitu. It will take whatever stream that you’re watching from your phone & show it on your TV. The chat feature doesn’t work the best, so for that, you can open your Twitch app & go for what you know (mainly use your phone for chatting and the TV for watching. One thing I will say is that the device has a long ways to go. It’s not 100%, but it’s much better now than where it was when it first came out. That’s going to be my lasting shot.

When you see these new products come out, never purchase them when the first come out. The reason being is that you want to allow them to get any bugs out of their system. Plus, it allows you read and get feedback on the product. The best & most reliable source for purchasing the product is another consumer that’s going to use the product just as much, if not longer, than you. One thing I see with this product that’s still an adjustment is whether the Chromecast is still running even when you don’t have your TV on that particular HDMI port. That’s something I still have to adjust to. As of now, I just unplug the power source from it & go from there. Oh, & that’s another thing. Your TV has to have a USB port OR you can plug the power source into your wall. That’s about the most frustrating thing about it, but for me, my TV had an open USB port & HDMI slot, so I had nothing to worry about. Obviously, this won’t be the case for everyone, so think about this when making your decision.

I hope that everyone has enjoyed reading this & taking something from the experiences I have had so far in the past week with the Chromecast. I think that everything isn’t for everyone, but I personally enjoy this device & I feel that it’s good to bring with you (along w/ your smartphone), because someone will probably have Wi-fi and access to hook up your Chromecast & provide a source of TV or music to go away from looking at TV in certain instances. And this device is sold worldwide. However, I don’t want you to get me started on whether it will play on a TV in England if purchased from the states. Until next time, this is BT signing out.

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