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.
So 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.
Chromecast does some of those things, but not all.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.