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Chromecast – muy cool

August 8, 2013

So we got the Google ChromeCast dongle yesterday, and having read the reviews, I was prepared to be underwhelmed. Certainly, Roku and Apple TV have way more things that you can do.

Not so fast. The way it works is that you can use any device (I tried Nexi 4, 7 and 10, and iPod touch) to direct a stream from Youtube and Netflix to the device, and here’s the kicker, you can literally turn off (hard shut down) the controlling device, and the Chromecast will keep playing. So the stream is going directly to the Chromecast, not via the controller. The quality is excellent, even over our congested 2.4 GHz wireless neighborhood.

The downsides are 2:

1) There aren’t many apps yet that implement the ChromeCast API – for Android, it’s the above Netflix and YouTube, as well as Google Play Movies. For iOS, it’s just YouTube and Netflix.

For PC’s and Macs (I don’t know about Linux) it’s just the Chrome browser with the downloadable Chromecast extension (which can be used in ‘incognito’ mode, for those of us who are paranoid about Google tracking our usage).

2) This Chrome implementation, in beta as yet, is a bit lame, as it simply ‘mirrors’ what you see in a Chrome browser tab, but it does let you browse local and network files for media content. Functionally, it’s not as comprehensive as an HDMI cable from the back of your computer to the TV, or even Miracast, but hey, it’s only $35 for the ChromeCast dongle.

What’s really neat is that the API for it is now out there. It is to be hoped (and prayed) that apps like Skifta and all the other media players will implement it so that we can wirelessly watch all of our device, local, network and ‘cloud’ content on our HD TVs.

Promising.

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Categories: computery stuff
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