9,732 of 10,160 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2013
I actually ordered a Chromecast the day it was announced from Google. However the next day, I was told that they were available for purchase at bestbuy. I was anxious to try it out so I went and bought another one and gave it a try.
Setup was easy and within 5 minutes, I was watching a youtube video on my 65" TV. The quality was VERY good. I tried a 1080p video first "Big Buck Bunny" and it looked, played and sounded wonderful. Next, was playing music from my Google Play music app. Same result, the music sounded great.
I moved on to my Macbook Pro, and again, the videos was clear, without lag, no audio sync problems at all. Same for my Windows PC.
Those considering buying the Chromecast should consider what the Chromecast actually is and does, instead of what they wish it could do. So here are some facts:
1. The Chromecast is not a streaming device of local digital content. In other words, it does NOT play digital music and videos that is stored locally on your network drives or computers. However there is a work-around for this:
Use PLEX Media Server. If you don't already have it, here's the link:
Once you download it and point it to your files,it will act as a proxy and allow your music and videos to be played on your HDTV using the Chromecast through the Chrome browser. Simply launch the PLEX Media Manager in Google Chrome browser. Pick a file to play, Hit the Google Cast button and you'll get seamless playback of your own files. [Edit: Please see comments to see an alternative method].
2. The Chromecast is not a DLNA or Miracast device or Apple's airplay. This is a lot like my number 1 fact, but I wanted to make this clear. If you want device mirroring (display whatever is on the device's screen), the Chromecast, is NOT for you. The video and music does NOT stream from the controller device (Your computer, tablet, smartphone). Chromecast works by fetching the content from a website or cloud service itself, NOT from the device you're using. Here's what's cool about that:
A. You could start playing a video using your smartphone,tablet,computer as a "remote" and still be able to browse the web, play a game, check your social apps, write a book report, put the device to sleep,turn the device completely off (I tried this myself), or leave the house, and the video WILL still play without issues.
B. Your battery life is saved! Because your phone, tablet or computer (not plugged in)is not actually streaming to the Chromecast, your battery consumption is minimal. You could Play dozens of movies over several days and still have most of your battery life remaining (Of course this would depend on what else you do with the phone, tablet or computer and how long your device can stay in standby).
C. Every device connected to the Chromecast on the same network can take control of playback, adding to the queue (what's going to play next). Pause, fast forward, rewind, etc. So if your roommate, friend, parent, sibling, spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend has to leave with their device, you don't have to worry.
D. You can play content from thousands upon thousands of sources using your computer. Using Google Chrome, nearly every webpage, that has content can be viewed using Chromecast. Of Course, this depends what protocols the site is using. If the site has trouble playing on your computer, then it probably won't work well on the Chromecast, either.
3. Chromecast IS cross platform (works with multiple devices). As I said, I tried it with several devices with different operating systems. At the time of this review, it works on Windows PC's, Macbooks, and android devices. The app for iOS devices is coming soon. Everyone knows the Apple App store has stringent policies and at times, it can be a long process. Look at the Onlive game streaming app. We won't get into how Apple has been trying to eradicate google applications from it's ecosystem anyway. I'm sure the app is waiting for approval. Just be patient. [Edit: Please see comments for a reply to it working on iOS devices].
There are several youtube videos that can show you how to set it up or how well it works. I made a video myself:
Watching my video isn't required, but it does help to verify what I'm saying.
4. The device you use with the Chromecast, must be on the same WIFI network. The important word here is WIFI. If you are trying to use it, with a ethernet (wired) connected device, even though it's on the same network, it will NOT work! Yes, that sucks, but not being able to use sink water in your gas tank, kind of sucks to. If that's a deal breaker for you, then you shouldn't purchase it. It's how they chose to implement it's use. It is, what it is. [Edit: Please see comment section].
5. The Netflix 3 months free limited time offer is over! I received 3 months free with both my purchases. I live in the eastern time zone. Even though I bought my second Chromecast on July 25th at 6:46pm. I realize that when the offer was no longer available, it should have been posted immediately so that consumers could factor that into their decision to buy the Chromecast. Instead of calling it a limited time offer, they should have said "while supplies last." Never the less, the features and functionality of this device has nothing to do with the inadequacy of a bonus offer. To help people make a decision about a future purchase and if it will work for THEM in the home configuration they have, is paramount in my book.
6. The Chromecast REQUIRES power through USB connection or from your wall outlet. The required peripherals ARE provided to you in the retail box. Some people are saying if you have an HDMI 1.4 compatible port on the back of your TV, the device can be powered by the HDMI port alone, without the USB cord connected. I CANNOT speak to that, as my HDMI ports did NOT power the Chromecast. I had to use the provided USB wire and connect it to a USB port available on the back of my TV.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the purchase. I've read some of the other reviews, particularly the 1 and 2 star reviews, because it's an indicator of what can possibly go wrong with the device. I would suggest that people make their decision based on people that have actually bought the device and have experience connecting, setting it up and ACTUALLY using the device. Most of the bad reviews are from people that have not used it, didn't understand the features of the device, or, to be honest, has a problem with the competition between Apple and Google and wants to dismiss this product because of their affinity for Apple products. Look at the features and functions of this device and consider them for yourself.
I hope this review helps someone who may be considering this device.
EDIT: Recently more apps were added with chromecast support, including the PLEX app! Other editions are: HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Vevo, Redbull.tv, Songza, Post TV, Viki, Real Player Cloud.
7,068 of 7,731 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2013
So I have no idea why Amazon decided to remove my 1500+ Helpful Review. I have had this product for weeks so I was able to give more than just a short term insight. In fact, I like the idea of it so much that I ordered two additional through Amazon yesterday before they sold out (Google only gave me one to test with).
Anyway, I was contacted by fellow Amazon shoppers to repost it - so here it is:
I want to provide an honest review with an actual understanding of what and how the product works having had it for a couple weeks, without violating my NDA.
Look - you can give your "Review" once you have in your hands. Make assumptions based off an uneducated guess or incorrect information just looks stupid, I'm sorry.
What it Is:
It's a HDMI dongle that is powered by Chrome OS that is designed for Streaming.
How it Works:
You have to connect to the same Wi-Fi network for it to work. Once it's setup you'll see the Chromecast logo and a basic Home Screen with some of the first apps available for Chromecast. A lot of development is going into it, so expect to see more apps from the Google Play store work with your TV. See your phone/tablet/computer more of a remote, rather than an actual streaming device.
I only tested on the iOS side (I don't have a Droid) and I can tell you that it works very well. It is NOT like Apple's AirPlay where your screen is mirrored, but rather uses "the Cloud" to access your content. It works smoother than AirPlay because it doesn't require buffering from your device, but rather directly to the TV. The only "syncing" that occurs is the Cloud communicating to the Chromecast where you're at. For example: I'm watching a Netflix movie and I'm at 1:06:17. I hit the Square button with the wi-fi looking icon called "Cast" and it syncs it to my Chromecast. This is only different for web-browsing through the currently Beta Chrome Tab Cast, where it'll show exactly what you're looking on Chrome, onto your TV. It's less functional than straight up mirroring like the Apple TV, but it works. You can't switch between apps and have that show on the screen. This is particularly useful in web-based presentations or while you check your email and your friends are watching Netflix.
Battery Drain on Mobile Devices:
Because of the way Chromecast works, it's streaming information from the Cloud vs. from your device. I noticed very little increase in the usage of battery on my iPhone 5 and my Macbook Air running Mountain Lion OSX.
Support for Streaming Services:
Right now, Streaming Service support is limited. Netflix, Google Services (Google Play, YouTube) and Web-based Streaming is allowed. I had issues trying to load Hulu the past couple days, telling me that my browser was unsupported, but I'll update once I get a chance.
The power adapter is an optional requirement. In fact, most modern TV's with HDMI 1.4 or higher spec are supported. The Chromecast can draw power from the HDMI port it's plugged into. If your TV doesn't support that, there's also a USB cable and power adapter included in the box. I have a 2012 LG LED and a 2013 Lenovo 27" Monitor with HDMI input and the ports power it with no cable.
All in all, I feel like it's still a huge work in progress. The SDK will allow for some exciting developments, and I'm happy to say that Google has committed to support this device for quite some time. It gives me piece of mind that this won't become out of date each year.
That being said, it's only $35. What a steal for a device that really brings value to any TV.
1,145 of 1,264 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2013
1. Relatively inexpensive ($35) compared to other options (Roku, Apple TV,...)
2. Easy to setup (takes only 5 min)
3. Can control using multiple devices (smartphone, PC, tablet) on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Windows)
4. Can stream anything on the Chrome browser (duplicating what's on screen)
5. Can cue up multiple play items
6. Doesn't consume battery on the smartphone (initiate streaming and move on to do other things or even put the phone in suspension mode
7. 3rd party apps will continue to make this device more useful and will eventually allow streaming of anything on the PC or phone to the TV
8. Tiny footprint that can easily hide away in the back of TV (if the TV has a USB port, then the device can be powered by a USB cable without a power supply connected to the wall outlet)
9. Can connect it to an audio device/receiver and stream Spotify or Pandora continuously without turning on the TV- this is a very good feature!
10. No additional service fee or subscription fee other than services that you choose to pay for (such as Netflix or Google Play)
1. Doesn't support any local storage media directly (you can connect the storage media to your PC/laptop or smartphone and stream from there if necessary, though)
2. No remote controller (you can use your PC/smartphone as a remote, though)
3. ... can't think of any more cons!
364 of 447 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2013
Just got the unit in the mail and set it up. Set up is a breeze: you plug it in to HDMI, plug in the USB for power (either to the TV or to the included USB power plug), connect to its ad-hoc network via the chromecast app and then it's good to go.
Content is currently limited to: Google Play media, YouTube, Netflix, and tabs from Chrome browsers on Windows, Mac, and Chromebook (Pixel only at this time). Pandora is coming but not available yet. Content must come from the internet at current and does not support local file streaming (except in a loophole where you can load local files in to a chrome tab, those will be streamed).
The streaming functions work really well, there's a small small delay since the device acts as a remote more or less. Web browsing, which is in beta form, is noticeably laggy. Slower than direct streaming (e.g. WiDi, AirPlay or Miracast) but that's due to again, it working more like a remote. It all works very well and if you have any experience with AirPlay from iOS/Mac you'll be used to how it works from an end user standpoint. Technically it works differently as again AirPlay streams from device to AppleTV or similar device, Chromecast doesn't send content from the phone to the Chromecast directly but instead allows the Chromecast device to pull the content from the internet/cloud. The negative of this is no direct mirroring and limits functionality to application specific implementations BUT it allows the device to be turned off or removed from the network or other tasks to be done on the device. So it's an interesting comparison.
So what's not so good: It's limited to 2.4GHz wireless, which is slower and more congested than 5GHz spectrum. It does support 802.11 N at least. The selection of content/apps needs work, but it's brand new and will get better - hopefully.
But here's the great thing. It only costs $35. Not only that, but if you ordered soon enough it comes with 3 months of Netflix for new OR existing customers (although limited to one code per account so if you buy multiples you'll get multiple codes but can only personally use one of them). When you factor that in you're getting $23.97 of a service you're probably already paying for. The puts the net cost of the device at just $11.03 plus tax. Eleven Dollars!! If you weren't lucky enough to order by then - it's not as good a deal but the device is still worth $35. If you only use this thing a small handful of times, just to quickly stream a chrome tab up on your TV or to watch a youtube video it's worth it. But with how well this has been selling I imagine we'll be seeing more apps support it soon.
+++ Cost - $35 or $11 depending on when you ordered
++ Cross platform (Android 2.3 or higher, iOS 6 or higher, Chrome for Windows, Mac, Chromebook)
+ Easy setup
+ Small/portable (just need to bring the USB power and the device)
+ includes HDMI extension, usb cable, and usb power supply (amazing for the cost)
- Limited content for now (no local content either)
Overall, again it's not perfect. I'd love to have seen 5GHz wireless support and I want more content/apps and I'd love to see some direct streaming or an easy way to get photos streamed (I hear you can do videos but haven't tested yet). But for $11 I'll bet on the future of the device.
-= Notes on content source =-
I've seen on forums that people have questions about streaming from your device or the playback of local files. Chromecast, in the current form, does NOT support streaming of local content. The source for all content must be online, your phone/tablet is used for content discovery and control/credentials ONLY. There's a loop hole to this in that local files can apparently be opened in a chrome tab and then displayed via Chromecast but this is an exception (see: [...]
See the image on this post for a visual representation: [...]
-= Notes on power source =-
Also for clarity, the pictures that Google uses to show the device plugged in to the TV neglect to show the USB cable attached for power. HDMI is not capable of supplying enough power and as such you need to use the included USB cable to power the device (some TVs have a USB port for debugging/update purposes that can be used). Some reviewers are pointing out that HDMI can power it but it cannot. HDMI only supplies 5V @ 50mA, you'd need roughly 10 times that power (5V @ 500mA) to power this. The included charger is rated for 5V @ 800mA which goes a long way to supporting that HDMI alone cannot power the device. As a side note: MHL ports could power the device but I can't find any confirmation that this supports MHL.
To some of you this may seem trivial/obvious but I've had more than one friend ask for clarification about this so I thought it might be of important note here. They did a good job of explaining this at the press event but apparently not as well elsewhere.
-= Notes on comparison =-
Roku/PS3/360/AppleTV/etc - This isn't meant to compete directly with these, yet. Content is too limited for now. This is changing and should get better. A key distinction is the mechanics of it. While it presents itself as something similar to AirPlay it functions as more of a hybrid between AirPlay and using a remote app (Roku, SmartGlass, Remote, etc) on your smart device. Essentially the content comes from the internet/cloud - the device is used for content discovery and control of the content but the content comes from the internet. Another key distinction is cost. Even at Roku's cheapest this is still 80% cheaper (after netflix cost factored out). Even if this is the full $35, it's still roughly 1/3 the cost of Apple TV.
If you already have one, or more, of the devices (I do) the utility of this device is a little more limited in terms of uniqueness but there's one very very key difference, one I'm excited for, and some unique overlaps. With Roku or PS3, your account (e.g. Netflix) has to be tied into the device. So someone visiting has to sign in on their account or use your account. This isn't ideal. But with Chromecast as long as they're signed in on their device (Android/iOS) they can connect to wireless and see the Chromecast and then stream from their own account. This makes it a perfect device for visitors and will ultimately replace my use of a Roku in my guest room for this EXACT reason. While AppleTV with AirPlay rivals this it has two drawbacks: it's iOS only and doesn't allow the streaming device to be used for anything else or to have the screen turned off. The cross platform nature alone is a notable distinction and again a welcome idea for guests. The fact that with Chromcast your phone/tablet can do other things or have their screen turned off will save battery.
So while the distinctions aren't as explicit - arguably on the face it functions much like a cross platform Apple TV would in certain cases - the subtle differences add to it. Content discovery (and account info) come from the iOS/Android device but do not require that device to be on/active/present to continue streaming and can be picked up/resumed from another device. Again, these issues don't exist with Roku/PS3 but in those cases your account has to be used on the Roku/PS3 - Chromecast allows for easy user swapping and multiuser control. So while it's hard, on the face, to see the distinction it's there. It's that overlap of features included in a single device that drives this as a unique thing. While it may not be much, for the few dollars it costs it could be of use in those specific scenarios. If you already have multiple devices (e.g. AppleTV and PS3) and don't see specific use in that distinction or cross platform nature then it's likely not for you but I'd bet for $11 you'll find some use for it.
-= Questions =-
If you have any questions about the device, technology, experience or anything I can try and test let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to answer as soon as possible.
1,051 of 1,314 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2013
It works great with youtube, netflix and basic web browsing, but not Amazon. Nor is it compatible with the Kindle Fire HD.
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2014
I recently purchased the chromecast (refirbished), I purchased it from ocean reef, I received it quickly. I had a little bit of trouble getting it set up, which I'm sure was mostly my fault, anyway I did get it set up, & I started streaming from netflix right away without any difficulty, I watched several episodes of different programs, and it was flawless. I was looking for other video apps, like hulu, and some of the others when I came across the Tv portal chromecast app, I have used the Tv portal app on another tablet, as well as my phone, I was so happy to see the Tv portal app for chromecast, Tv portal has a huge selection of movies, and Tv shows, it would take forever to watch everything on this site, as they are continuously adding new shows, they even have movies that came out earlier this year, and the best thing about tv portal is, you can upgrade to Tv portal premium for only $2.99, that's all, no monthly charge, and you don't have to renew every year, just the initial $2.99, I set it up on my phone, as my kindle doesn't seem to want to accept the Tv portal chromecast app, I have just the Tv portal app installed and it works fine but just won't accept the app with chromecast, no big deal. So far I'm really enjoying the chromecast, it meets my needs, and once set up it's easy to use, now all I have to do is explore more video streaming apps. Hope those of you who. choose yo purchase the chromecast
50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2013
As soon as I saw Google released this item and it costs $11 after Netflix code, I didn't think twice to buy it.
Got my Chromecast yesterday and hooked it up with my TV really easy setup. It works with most of the websites I watch streaming videos. I noticed at few instances there was a slight delay in video between laptop and TV. I noticed videos got stuck at few instances and it adjusted by itself after few seconds, think my wi-fi connection drop.
Before Chromecast I used to connect my laptop using HDMI cable which wasn't long enough to bring laptop to couch and ugly cable hanging out of my TV. Now this reduced cable clutter and solves my issue with just $11, no one can beat that price factor.
Five stars for the price, usability and does what I expect it to do.
594 of 756 people found the following review helpful
I was excited when I read that Chromecast would allow me to cast anything from my chrome browser to the tv. Since I've already got a Roku HD Streaming Player (and because not everything I watch is on Netflix), that was really the only feature I really cared about. Given that I ordered early enough for the Netflix promotion, I thought it was worth the $11 investment.
Despite my interest in casting Chrome from my computer, my first trial was casting Netflix from my phone. It worked beautifully, and I was very happy with my purchase... until I got around to casting from Chrome. That was an utter failure. We've got enough bandwidth that streaming video has never been a problem, either on the computer or through the Roku. But stream to the computer and Chromecast to the tv, and suddenly stops and starts so much, it's unwatchable. In the moments when it's playing instead or pausing, the video doesn't even match the audio.
I still think the Chromecast has potential if more developers start incorporating it, and it works well if all you watch is Netflix and YouTube. But if you want to stream video via Chrome, Chromecast won't cut it.
UPDATE: Just a few additional notes, based on comments posted by other users.
1. Chrome tab casting is in beta. Thanks, for the reminder. Let's hope it gets better.
2. Computer performance can significantly impact quality of casting. Our macbook is several years old, so that could be a contributing factor.
3. Video quality settings can improve the performance. We tried the low resolution setting. It improved the performance but not to the point of making it watchable.
SECOND UPDATE: I'm not sure if there have been upgrades to the firmware or if it's because I've been careful to make sure all other programs and browser tabs are closed before starting a video, but I've been having more luck with streaming video via Chrome. We use it regularly now, and, although it still has issues, it's no longer "unwatchable." It freezes or produces mismatched video and audio most times we use it, but those issues rarely occur more than once (sometimes twice) in an hour-long show (I do have to restart the video whenever this happens). Given the problems we still have, we don't even bother trying the HD stream. But if other users are having trouble, definitely make sure your computer isn't trying to do anything else while Chrome is casting, and that may help. Although it's still not perfect, it's performing quite capably for a $35 piece of equipment.
89 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2013
I'm giving the Google Chromecast two stars because it really is a good device that works exactly as advertised but it doesn't support enough streaming media apps to really be useful. Buyers should understand that if all they want is to stream YouTube or Netflix from their iPad to their TV, this thing is great. It's inexpensive, easy to set up and it works just fine. The problem is, that's all it does. It streams media from YouTube, Netflix, and music and video from Google Play. You can also pop up web pages from your PC, but not from your Android or iOS device. What you can't do is stream video through Chrome, which seems odd.
Something really promising about this device is that it lets you use your smart phone or tablet as your remote. That's an amazing feature and it works really well; almost flawlessly. Some of the negative reviews complained about that, but it's a really cool feature and other devices could take a page from Google's book on this kind of integration. If this thing supported just one more app, I'd be tempted to give it 4 or even 5 stars, but with it's current limitations I just can't do it.
Google promises that more apps are coming, but which ones? If this device supported the TWC app or HBOGo, I might have kept it. If it could stream music or video from Windows Media Player, I might have kept it. The bottom line is, what I really want is a Roku box and what I should have done was shelled out the extra coin to get what I was looking for rather than hoping for a less expensive solution.
Don't get me wrong, one day this little gizmo is going to give Roku a run for their money. Unfortunately, that day is not today so I'm sending mine back and I'll invest my pennies in a more full featured device.
205 of 260 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2013
In this review, I will focus on a feature that has not been covered well by other reviewers. In Google's introduction of the chromecast device, they showed how they could press the chromecast button in the youtube app on smartphone and the TV would automatically turn ON and switch to the correct input to play the youtube video. I can confirm that it works exactly like they demoed. It is pretty impressive :-)
There a few things you need to do to make it work. Firstly you have to enable the HDMI-CEC feature on your TV. HDMI-CEC is marketed under different names by different manufacturers. Panasonic calls it Viera-Link, Onkyo calls it RIHD and Toshiba calls it Regza link. You will have to read your TV manual and find out how to enable HDMI-CEC correctly in the TV settings. For my Panasonic TV, I set the "Viera Link" to "ON" and "Power on Link" to "Yes". The "power on link" setting allows the chromecast device to Turn ON the TV when you send a video to the chromecast device. Also, for the chromecast device to Turn ON the TV, it should be plugged in directly to a power outlet using the included adapter. If you power chromecast though the USB port on your TV, it will lose power when you switch OFF the TV. Chromecast device with no power cannot turn ON the TV. Make sure you turn OFF everything after changing the settings to test the Auto power ON functionality.
After you setup the TV as described above you can send the video to TV and chromecast will turn it ON and switch the input to the one you have plugged the chromecast device into.
For users who have an Audio Video Receiver (AVR), the above setup may not be the best. I could set up the TV to send audio to the receiver through Audio Return Channel(ARC). But for some reason ARC would pass through only stereo sound. Not the DD+ 5.1 sound from Netflix. I don't know if this is an inherent limitation of ARC. Also, after watching a youtube video, switching back to cable TV is a pain. You have to manually switch the input on the TV and the receiver.
So in my final setup, I plugged in the chromecast device directly into the receiver. With this setup I can receive DD+ 5.1 sound from Netflix movies. With this setup, chromecast can automatically turn ON the receiver and switch to the correct input on the receiver. Note that you have to have the HDMI-CEC functionality enabled on the receiver for chromecast to be able to turn on the receiver and switch the input. Thanks to Mr. Godwin for pointing out that you can use the HDMI-CEC functionality on the receiver to turn On the TV itself. So your chromecast can turn ON the receiver and your receiver could in turn switch ON the TV. I couldn't get my receiver to turn ON the TV. But it has nothing to do with the chromecast device itself.
One another benefit of plugging chromecast into the receiver is that you don't have to turn the TV ON if you just want to listen to google music or audio from youtube videos through your receiver. Since my TV does not get turned ON when the receiver is turned on, I can chromecast a song or youtube video from a different room and it will turn ON just the receiver and play the music. The best part is that it doesn't drain my battery as the video is not playing on the phone and hence I do not need to keep the screen on.
Overall I am very happy with chromecast. As others have mentioned, the setup was incredibly easy and trouble free. I was pleasantly surprised that a 1.0 device worked so well out the box.
I think Google made a smart move by creating the hardware for Google cast and integrating that functionality into two of the most used video apps youtube and netflix. If they had introduced the googlecasting protocol in Android and left it up other manufacturers to implement this feature, it would have met the fate of Google TV, Miracast etc. Now that there is a reference implementation where Google has shown what a good experience looks like third party manufacturers and app makers will take this and run with it. I am excited about the future possibilities.