After the success Google had with their new Chromecast States last year, Google have released it upon the UK. For those of you that have been looking for a cheaper alternative to Apple TV, Roku or other streaming devices, this is it.
Chromecast simply plugs into an HDMI socket in the back of your TV and is controlled by Mac, Windows, iOS or Android devices. You can then stream Netflix, YouTube or even Google Chrome tabs with video content to your TV. We won’t get the likes of HBO Go, but the updated BBC iPlayer app makes up for it.
There has been a lot of hype regarding the Chromecast. Let’s see if it can really stick it with the big boys.
It’s a lightweight plastic dongle, about 2.5 inches long when plugged in and that’s about it. There is a Micro USB slot, LED indicator and a button on the rear of the device. Small and simple. The USB slot is used to power the device through an adapter that plugs into a wall outlet. You could also use a USB slot on the back of the TV if you have one spare and close by. Google also supply you with an HDMI extension if you don’t have the room behind the TV to plug the Chromecast in.
The iFixit.com team took the Chromecast to bits to uncover its inner workings. It features an Azure Wave AW-NH387 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth and FM combo module IC chip. It also holds a Marvell DE3005-A1 system-on-chip, 4gb of flash memory and 512mb of RAM.
To get the device casting you need to plug the device in and download the set-up app for Mac, PC or Android. This will enable you to get the device online. It is important to remember that the Chromecast will only support 2.4Ghz networks. You can then name your Chromecast, download the Chrome extension on your device and you are good to go.
The Chromecast does not offer streaming from other devices such as a NAS drive. If you plan on rewinding, pausing etc you will need to head back to the native app/webpage to use those features.
For the cost and features the Chromecast is a brilliant buy at only £30.00. It can turn any TV with an HDMI socket into a Smart TV and at a fraction of the cost of other streaming devices.