Review – Chomecast : Now available in Australia – What’s all the fuss? – EFTM

Review – Chomecast : Now available in Australia – What’s all the fuss?

The Google Chromecast has been available in the United States for almost a year, yet for some reason its international availability has been staggered and it’s only now hitting Australia....
Chromecast in your TV

The Google Chromecast has been available in the United States for almost a year, yet for some reason its international availability has been staggered and it’s only now hitting Australia.  So what’s all the fuss?  What is a “Chromecast”

Dick Smith accidentally revealed a date and price for the Chromecast in Australia recently, and while someone is still recovering from the arse-kicking over that drama, we’ve had that confirmed as Google announces the availability and price.  Today, and $49.  You’ll find it at JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith and in the Google Play store.

DSC_0046So what’s all the fuss.

Well, Apple TV has been available for some time, and at just $108 it’s a superb device that allows you to use it to watch iTunes content directly, and to stream content from your iOS device.

DSC_0053

Chromecast does some of those things, but not all.

Chromecast in your TV

Chromecast in your TV

It’s a tiny tiny dongle, and it plugs direct into your HDMI port on the TV.  Powered by a USB cable which you plug into one of your TV’s USB ports, the Chromecast requires a PC or Device to control it.

The setup is pretty straight forward, connecting to your WiFi network and from then it shows up as a “device” to stream to – in compatible apps.

Screenshot_2014-05-27-23-40-16
On your device, it’s conceptually very similar to Apple AirPlay.  An icon appears to confirm the Chromecast availability then you simply press it and start wirelessly streaming from your device.

Chromecast is available on iOS, but the apps are limited, the main one you’ll likely use is YouTube, or perhaps Google Play Music for music streaming.

Adding videos to playlists or playing direct on Chromecast

Adding videos to playlists or playing direct on Chromecast

Over on Android it’s a more integrated story, however in reality you’re still going to benefit most from Audio and Video apps like YouTube and Google Play Music, but you’ll find the icon in more and more apps.

YouTube allows you to “queue for TV” which means you can create a playlist that pumps direct out of the TV while you can do other things on your device. However, While it works well, ending the stream always seemed buggy to me.  Videos would keep going, or in one case  the video repeated on my phone once complete on the TV.

Watching YouTube via Chromecast

Watching YouTube via Chromecast

Of course photos can be shown on your TV too – but I am continually asking myself why?

Now for $49 – anyone who uses Google accounts and looks at services like Google Play Movies or Music, then it’s a great way to watch that content on the big screen.

So much talk around about Netflix this and Netflix that, while the average Aussie doesn’t have a Netflix account so the lack of apps like that should come as no surprise.

Should you get one?

The default "on" screen with photo slideshow - Google Chromecast

The default “on” screen with photo slideshow – Google Chromecast

If you’ve got an Android smartphone or tablet – get yourself a Chromecast – so cheap, and a great way to share YouTube clips with the family and stream music – that alone is enough to justify it.

Google Chromecast - Available in Australia
Date Published: 05/28/2014
Its good, but not great - It's a long way behind Apple TV, but offers wireless streaming that Android devices have long needed
3.5 / 5 stars
Categories
Tech

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
5 Comments on this post.
  • Greg
    28 May 2014 at 5:35 pm
    Leave a Reply

    …But you can already show videos on your TV with a PS3 & its YouTube app

    • Trevor Long
      28 May 2014 at 8:10 pm
      Leave a Reply

      IF you have a PS3 mate.. :) This thing is $49:)

  • Jason Wheeler
    29 May 2014 at 8:26 am
    Leave a Reply

    I think I will give it a miss as my Hisense TV comes with Android operating system built in, so don’t know one 😀

  • David Gorton
    11 June 2014 at 9:12 pm
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    I bought the chromecast last week and am very impressed even thought I also have apple TV. It is well worth getting the crackle app for a range of free TV and films.

  • R Cohen
    19 June 2014 at 11:47 pm
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    I’ve found it rather useful. Streaming video from youtube is amazingly clear. Plus it switches channel and wakes the tv up from sleep.

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