The Chromecast arrived today. There’s not much to it, which is why this post will be short. It is pretty much as advertised, and it was only $35.
The good: it is extremely easy to setup. You plug it into an HDMI port on your TV, attach it to a power supply (USB or regular plug), load the software onto your device (I stuck it on my Galaxy S3 and Nexus 7), take a few seconds for it to find your wi-fi, and you’re done. The video is 1080p, at least for Netflix and YouTube. That is better than either my cable box or my Roku box can deliver. As for the applications, they, too, are easy as can be. You load YouTube or Netflix or Google Play Music onto your device (say, your Android phone), start playing the media, and press a little icon that sends stuff through the Chromecast to the TV.
The not-so-good: There aren’t many apps. I’ve already listed Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play Music. Add Google Play TV & Movies and you’ve listed everything you can run via the Chromecast. OK, that’s not quite right … you can also send tabs from your Chrome browser to your TV.
But there is, as of now, no Amazon Prime, no Hulu, no Pandora, no HBO Go … considering Roku has a gazillion choices, this is pretty important.
Also, there is, as of now, no way to send the audio through your receiver, so you are left with the speakers in your TV. (There may be some complicated way to make it work, but I haven’t seen anything practical.)
So, I’ve got a new $35 toy that doesn’t do anything my Roku box can’t do (other than Google Play material), with better video but worse audio.
Of course I love it.