Being the techie nut that I am, I’ve tried to piece back things that I have given up since I was laid off a couple of years ago. Only a few months ago, I just got back internet to my home. I relied on internet service from my work, in-laws, and apps iPhone and iPad to take care of my entertainment needs. This was a limiting option that I dealt with but still manage to have enough get me by. For my birthday, I got an Xbox One which was great to have since this model was wireless and did not have the restriction of the Xbox Gold membership to tie up my streaming movie/tv apps. I love this system but for just watching movies and such, especially late night, the system stays on though it should turn off after inactivity. The Google Chromecast was something I had my eye on for sometime to help with this problem.
Before I go into the setup, I had bought the high-end Roku system for about $99 for my mom a few years back. Cost was not the issue but rather ease of use for her. The setup was easy but I had to login to each account and have it setup for her. The handy remote is convenient but not so when typing in your user name/password one letter at a time on the virtual keyboard. The Chromecast has a lower cost and the setup is a bit easier though confusing.
When you get a device that has little to no user manual, I would like to think this very user-centric and intuitive product. Take the product out, plug it into you HDMI port and in my case, there was no USB plug on my tv so I used the external power cord. There is no remote other than using your devices and in my case, my iPhone and iPad. Just like the Xbox One, the second glass control from my devices are way cool and I can control the Chromecast the same way but make sure you have enough power in your devices. Unlike the Roku remote, you can change the batteries and you’re off and running because charging a dead device can take some time.
Let’s say you are good to go with power on your devices, the Chromecast tells you where to go to begin the process. When I went to my Chrome browser, I was directed to download the Chromecast app. When the process was done, I went to the Discover Apps section; this is when the confusion came in. There was Hulu Plus, Netflix and the others so I picked one and then I get sent to the iTunes Store and this would not get resolved. The little spinning loading logo appeared and stayed spinning for sometime. This went on longer than I expected as I soon discovered, I did not need to do this at all. I already had the apps installed on my device but I thought the Chromecast app was going to be the single destination and had to re-download what I had. So now, I have saved you some time.
Now, I opened Netflix on my device and there was the Chromecast icon on the top of the app. Once I touched that icon, voilà, it worked. I tried again and Hulu Plus and voilà, that was so cool. I tried to open my Amazon Prime and there was a problem. I tried Flixster and there was a problem. I had movies I’ve download through iTunes and other apps and there were problems. This morning, I added the Chromecast extension to my Chrome browser so I believe many of the problems I am experiencing will be resolved. However, to have access to this I would need my laptop. While my Chrome browser is link on every device and computer I use, the extension are not available with I use the Chrome app on my devices.
Overall, aside from the bit of confusion on the setup, it’s fairly quick and straightforward. The price is better than the Roku plus you don’t need a separate device to control your desired programming. I’ll need to update this entry after I get these kinks out but so far Google Chromecast is a big winner.