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  • Customer Reviews



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.
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on May 26, 2015
I'll get to my review of the Chromecast in a minute, but first, I want to describe a Chromecast issue that I *just* experienced, and share how I resolved it:

After several months of working *flawlessly*, both of the Chromecasts in my house completely stopped working. When I say "stopped working", I mean that they were displaying the photo slideshow on screen as usual, but none of the devices in my house could "find" either Chromecast on the WiFi network. When I tried resetting both, and then configuring each from scratch, I wasn't able to complete the setup process. I was baffled, so I turned to Google's support forums.

The answer? RESET YOUR WIRELESS ROUTER. (In my case, this meant unplugging it for about 30 seconds or so, and then plugging it back in.) As soon as I did that? *BOOM* Problem fixed. All of my devices now recognize both Chromecasts!

I'm still not sure if the issue was the result of a Chromecast update or a router update (pushed out by my ISP), but resetting it by cutting the power for a few seconds completely fixed the issue. So, if you're having similar issues, maybe try that first.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alright, so here's my Chromecast REVIEW, which I'll gear toward total BEGINNERS:

---So what is this thing?---
The Chromecast is a USB dongle - created by Google - that plugs into the back of your TV. Its purpose is to allow audio or video content (TV shows, music, movies, YouTube videos, lectures, etc.) to be streamed via your wireless Internet connection (wifi), from the Internet, into the Chromecast. The Chromecast then displays the content via your TV and/or its speakers.

---How do you control it? Does it come with a remote?---
Nope. There's no remote. Basically, what you do is this: You navigate to the thing you want to watch or listen to using a device in your house (usually a device that's on the same wireless network as the Chromecast).

So, for example:
* You might browse to a YouTube video using the YouTube app on your smartphone. Then, if you want to watch that video on your TV, you tap a little icon in your YouTube app, and the phone then hands the video off to the Chromecast, which proceeds to start showing the same YouTube video on the screen. If you want to pause, fast-forward, or rewind the video as it's playing on the TV, you use controls which will appear on your smartphone.

Another example:
* Let's say you normally watch a particular show on Hulu Plus or Netflix right on your laptop, but you'd rather watch it on the TV. To do this, you'd start the video on your laptop like usual, and then - when you want to watch it on your TV - you'd click a little Chromecast icon on your monitor, which will hand off the show to the Chromecast, which will then cause the show to appear on your TV. Again, if you want to pause, fast-forward, or rewind the video, while it's playing on the TV, you'd use the controls that would appear on-screen on your laptop.

---So hold on... I need another device to control the Chromecast?---
Yup. To control the content that you display on the Chromecast, you'd need a wifi-enabled laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Preferably, your laptop, smartphone, or tablet would be connected to the same wifi network as your Chromecast (your home wifi / wireless internet connection, for instance).

---What kind of stuff can I watch?---
Lots. Apparently, it's pretty easy for a software developer to add Chromecast compatibility (which is what adds the little Chromecast icon I talked about above) to their application, so lots of things are Chromecast-compatible. Unfortunately, Amazon Prime video streaming isn't yet, but Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, YouTube, Pandora, and a bunch more are all already compatible. This means that if you have a device that can play any of those things natively (on the device itself), then you can probably use that device to "cast" (i.e. hand things off to) the Chromecast, and watch / listen to that content via your TV... provided you have a Chromecast plugged into the back of it. So yeah... Google maintains a list of all of the services that are compatible, so I suggest checking to see if your preferred services are supported.
(Link: https://www.google.com/chrome/devices/chromecast/apps.html )

---So how does this thing compare to the Roku or Fire TV?---
The Roku (including the Roku Streaming Stick) and Fire TV (including the Fire TV Stick ) can do many of the same things as the Chromecast, but in reality - because they don't require the use of external devices - and because they come with their own remotes - the Roku and Fire TV really are different animals. In some regards, they are better than the Chromecast, but in some regards, the Chromecast is better.

How the Chromecast is better:
* PRICE - Obviously, the Chromecast is one of the cheapest - if not THE cheapest options, so that's a huge advantage of the Chromecast.
* PORTABILITY - If you wanted, you could easily unplug the Chromecast and bring it with you to a vacation house or a relative's house (assuming said house has wireless internet), and it would almost be plug and play.
* EASY SHARING - Let's say you're sitting in a living room, and you find a YouTube video on your laptop, and want to show your spouse / kids / sibling / friend. With the Chromecast, you can just send that content directly to the TV, without having to look it up (i.e. browse for the video again) via a separate app. Oh... and did I mention that this also works with websites? That's right - if you're using the Google Chrome browser on your computer, you can "cast" a web browser tab right to the TV. This is perfect for those "Oh! Let me show you this article" moments.

How the Roku or Fire TV are better:
* CONTROLS - As described above, the Chromecast requires you to use one of your existing devices - your smartphone, tablet, or computer - as the "remote" for the Chromecast. In contrast, the Roku and Fire TV have their own remotes, which many people will prefer - especially in situations where a smartphone, tablet, etc. are unavailable.
* LEAN BACK EXPERIENCE - This one is a bit more difficult to describe - and is kind of tied to the "controls" item above, so bear with me here. In addition to having their own dedicated remotes, the Roku and Fire TV just feel a bit more immersive. In other words, because you can just set your phone / laptop / tablet aside while you watch (because you don't need to use it to control the show / movie / music / whatever), you might find consuming content via the Roku or Fire TV a bit less complex. Both the Roku and Fire TV have pretty decent interfaces, so both make browsing for content and navigating from app to app pretty easy, compared to the experience of controlling content via a second screen (e.g. YouTube app on your smartphone).
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on January 10, 2014
We just got this gizmo ($29.95 with Prime 2-day shipping) and already have watched the latest Downton Abbey online, on our TV. There are a number of web sites that have videos that are not in Vimeo or Youtube that we are interested in. Also audio casts. All of these are now available to us on our TV (convenient) with Chromecast using Google Chrome browser.

The video and sound quality is not usually as good as HD TV or DVDs but it has been quite good enough to watch full length videos. The most useful application to us is viewing and listening to media from sites that aren't included in Blu-ray or Roku (Sony Blu-ray seems to have more than Roku now.)

Chromecast setup is almost automatic and very easy. This along with the Sony BDP-S5100 Blu-ray player gives us access to more than we are likely to view.

From a Cruft blog:

"From the start with Chromecast, set-up is simple. You need a Wi-Fi computer to download the set-up software and here is where it gets good. I think most consumer broadband routers come with WEP, WPA, or WPA enabled by default and before you connect to the wireless network, the device has to be configured--usually just selecting the SSID and key is sufficient. With the Chromecast, the only way to connect is via Wi-Fi but if it can't get on the Wi-Fi network, where do you start?

Simple, the installer disconnects your laptop from your Wi-Fi network and (I think) puts it into ad-hoc mode so that it can connect to Chromecast. Once it connects, the application selects the last SSID your laptop used under the assumption that Chromecast will connect to that SSID as well (and you can change it) and then you can have the application automatically pull in the WEP/WPA, WPA2 key used to connect to the SSID. I didn't need to do enter a key. Once the configuration is set, Chromecast connects to your Wi-Fi network and the application restores your last Wi-Fi profile and then verifies it can communicate with Chromecast.

Anyone can set-it up. I'd feel comfortable giving this to my mother and letting her do the set-up. I have a very strong feeling that the Google engineers could have simplified the process further by simply disconnecting from the WLAN, grabbing the last SSID and Key, and then reconnecting the LAN with out any user interaction and been right 99% of the time. It would make sense.

Using Chromecast is also simple. I launched Youtube on my Sammy found a video and pushed it to Chromecast. Simple. Easy. Idiot proof."

I've submitted 3 customer images to illustrate how to show full screen mode from a site like PBS (see customer images) I hope this helps.
review imagereview imagereview image
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on April 7, 2015
I'd seen the advertising, watched some of the instructional videos, and read plenty of reviews about Chromecast but I was still disappointed by this product. It's very simple to install, though not immediately obvious how to do so, and the available functionality is minimal at best even though I have numerous tablets and phones that are all modern Android.

Setup & Installation:
------------------------------
I was actually really surprised how bad a job Google did presenting/describing this. I'm extremely tech savvy, being a computer programmer by trade and a tech geek in general, yet it took me a little hunting to figure out how to initially setup the device. It's simple enough to plug into your TV and the wall, and easily identifiable when you switch your TV's video input to the device. Once you do so however, the only instructions are to go to a specific website on your computer, tablet, or phone. I did so on my computer and was presented with the basic info website for setting up the device. What they don't make obvious is that at some point you're going to download and install a program on your computer, find the Chromecast dongle with it, setup the WiFi access on it through the program on your computer, and then you'll have functionality. The website had what effectively amounted to advertisements for the browser plugin to allow you to cast your screen (I was using Chrome) but doesn't indicate that the "download the app" button isn't for an identical standalone program. Google clearly slipped here, and "app" is something that's installed on a tablet or phone whereas an "application" or "program" is what's installed on a PC. By calling both an "app" it seemed that the browser plugin was all I needed. Furthermore, the language on the website even says that all I needed to do was to install the Chromecast browser plugin to "get started". This was a blatant falsehood, a program MUST be installed on your computer to setup the Chromecast device the first time, and only then can the browser plugin or tablet/phone app be used to connect to it. After giving installing the "app" on my computer a shot, it did become clear quite quickly that it wasn't actually an app at all and was likely what I needed. I was using a Windows laptop to install this program on, and I was very disappointed in what has become a standard Google problem with their installation programs. I opened the downloaded program from my Chrome browser by clicking on the completed download item in the bar at the bottom and it opened the program like I would expect. Instead of opening an actual window though, it popped up an overlay that ran through the "downloading" and "installing" steps like some programs do. That's perfectly fine since it goes by quickly and I didn't even notice that it wasn't an actual window at first. The problem was that after the "installing" step it asks you to accept a standard "we can use your data for anything" agreement. I'm fine with the agreement itself, but the non-window it was presented in pops up behind every window you've go open (like my browser). Since there's no actual window associated with this pop up, it looked like the installation just stopped and didn't work. I made a lucky guess, minimized all my windows, and found this underlay(?) that would allow me to continue the install. The setup itself using the program was rather painless, with each step after the program was started being reflected by both a screen change on the TV as well as the change in the program's window (it actually has a window once it's installed and fully running). The lag time in these changes however was oddly disconcerting. The TV showed a new screen with information about the next step almost 3 minutes before I saw the window on my computer changing from a spinning icon "thinking" screen into the screen reflecting the next step. This happened in 2 of the 5 steps required to setup the device. Each step was however extremely painless, including the fact that my device had to download and install new firmware as part of the setup (less than 10 minutes start to finish, most of the time waiting for the computer program to catch up).

Features:
------------
This is probably one of the most controversial tops about Chromecast, drawing the most arguments regarding comparison to other similar products like the Fire Stick and Roku. To put it bluntly, Chromecast does almost nothing yet is the same price as these other products. The Chromecast device makes no attempt to do anything at all itself, it merely serves as a way to wirelessly display the screen from your browser, phone, or tablet. The products it's competing with however all attempt to provide a full TV content interface that can optionally support wirelessly displaying the screen from some phones, tablets, and computers. Toward this end, there are two competing wireless display "standards", Chromecast and Miracast. Miracast is an actual standard developed between companies that almost all Samsung and Amazon products support, with Windows support coming soon or available in limited varieties. Chromecast however is a Google only thing that some companies have been trying to support. Chromecast is built into Android 5 natively for most devices, and is supported through the Chromecast app on tablets and phones for a number of Android version (and apparently some iOS versions).

Use:
--------------
Chromecast as a product is relatively simple, focusing on wirelessly displaying a screen and nothing else, but it doesn't do that in a particularly user friendly way. Instead of forcing the screen on your device to landscape mode when start natively sharing your screen out of Android, or when sharing through the Chromecast app, it instead keeps the screen in portrait layout if that's how you started the app (like every person does on their smartphone). On the TV you see a narrow video with large black bars on either side as it keeps the aspect ratio of the video that matches your phone. This seems smart-ish, but most of the time you want to see full screen which is what it does when you turn the phone to landscape (assuming you're allowing the orientation to adjust and don't have that off). Google being stupid about the looks of things, their new Material design immediately makes everything unusable when you do this since they have a gigantic bar across the top of both the phone and TV screens that covers the top 1/3 of anything you might want to be looking at. Basically it's pointless/worthless to use the Chromecast app other than to start and stop sharing your screen if you don't have native support already. From apps the functionality is hit or miss. The Chromecast app lets you literally duplicate your screen onto the TV, but Chromecasting from apps that have support for it on their own causes a special video presentation format to show up on the TV that doesn't necessarily match what you're seeing on your phone/tablet. This is a much better way to do it, but requires special support be added to the apps themselves to do it. Youtube for example gives you a set of controls for the video you're playing and the usual list of "related" videos while it plays the video full screen on your TV regardless of the phone/tablet orientation (that's actually nice that they ignore the orientation). Coursera does the same thing, but doesn't provide the list of "related" videos. Some other apps however don't do quite so good of a job in their presentation so the whole usage is inconsistent between apps and there aren't really any standard set of capabilities.

Summary:
---------------------
Overall the product is only useful if you have an Android phone and some specific apps you want to watch video from on your TV, or if you have something in the Chrome browser on your computer you want to show on your TV. It's not even slightly comparable to a Roku stick that's only slightly more expensive and has tons more useful features, and is basically useless if you're trying to use it with an Apple device or anything in Android other than the handful of apps that have their own support for it.
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on March 25, 2015
Why are you even reading reviews of Chromecast? If you're on this page, just scroll back up and buy it. It will be the best $35 you'll ever spend if you have an HD TV and a smartphone. You can use your phone to control Netflix and Youtube, stream Google Music, and dozens of other useful apps all on your big screen TV. Background mode lets you point it to a folder in your Google Photos and it will drift through them intermingled with other interesting photos from the web when not actively playing an app. I would recommend creating a new folder and handpicking the photos you put in it, because it can get awkward when your mother-in-law is over and a picture of your friend mooning the Vegas Strip pops up.

The technology isn't 100% perfect yet - sometimes Youtube loses control over the video when it's been playing for more than a few minutes and sometimes it just can't find it. But it's nothing resetting your phone or unplugging the Chromecast for a minute can't fix.

It also works great for multiple TVs - I own 3 of these, and love that I can throw a video or song to any one of them whenever I want. It was also very useful when my girlfriend was stuck in bed with a broken leg and sent me on a mission to find something in her car - I cast my phone screen to the TV in the bedroom, called her on speaker, and then turned on my phone's camera. She could then see wherever the camera was pointing to broadcast on the TV, and was able to direct me to her critically important, must-have-right-now makeup bag or whatever the hell girls call that little purse thingy.

It's actually become easier to use Netflix through Chromecast than it was via my PS3 or DVD player, because instead of a second remote you just use your phone. I really can't recommend this enough for anyone looking to boost their entertainment experience.
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on September 12, 2013
Pros:
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)

Cons:
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!
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on January 6, 2015
Actually it does "easily" cast Amazon prime to your TV. The newest update of chromecast from 2 months ago "cast to screen option" in Chromecast now works on a lot more 4.0+ and 5.0 android phones. I have the Samsung Galaxy s3 and the Nexus 7 2013. All you have to do is go into the chromecast app and turn on the option to cast your whole phone screen to your tv. Now that everything on your phone screen is on your TV just got to your Amazon shopping app and in the top left pull down tab select Amazon video. You are now watching Amazon prime on chromecast. NOTE: you need the newest Amazon Shopping app to access the movies from your Amazon shopping app. The newest Amazon Shopping app is not available in the play store, but only directly from Amazon's website for free. I have two chromecast and was here to buy a third when I saw all of these silly negative reviews from those who don't take the time to learn how to use chromecast. Just another note: If you're having a lot of buffering issues with YouTube, Netflix and other video apps and you're using Comcast's or TWC's all in one combo modem? These combo modems can show a high speed test up and down and still drag opening pages and streaming video. Often rebooting corrects it only for a few hours. Get a separate Modern and separate Wifi Router. When I finally did this my speeds got night and day faster; 3 times faster as in really fast. No more constant rebooting and buffering and picture quality went to highest video streaming quality. Netflix streams picture quality setting to you based on your network quality. From Amazon I got the Arris/Motorola Surfboard 6121 modem and Netgear AC1450-100NAR wifi router. The Netgear TL-WR1043ND is also a good choice. The AC1450-100NAR is a little faster and easier to change firmware to DD-WRT. The stock firmware is also very good. All are at very good price on Amazon. Remember, when you look at these reviews to first hit the sort order to Newest Review first. Looking at out of date reviews can be misleading when firmware, updates in the apps have fixed old issues or just recognizing that some poor reviews are simply a lack of knowledge in how to use the product. I love the Chromecast product. I have one on every TV. have fun.
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on March 20, 2015
I'd say I like it--I've never tried Roku, and all my phones have been Android, so there's that.

It connects easily, and enabled mirroring via the Android Chrome App, so I can end my futile quest for other hardware that never worked for that with my phone (LG e970 Optimus G for AT&T). The app also worked great for my ASUS TF300T tablet.

I had NO luck using the Chromecast with hotel WiFi recently during a few trips, but a)I was dealing with Marriot FREE WiFi (Google it), and b)I didn't want to pay the hotel chain the add'l fees they've cooked up to gouge everyone who tries to stream in their rooms.

At home, however, this little gadget became my overnight favorite, making it even easier to let go of my ancient Logitech Revue setup, as well as some other PC-based Android interfaces I'd messed around with. Also note here I am currently NEVER thinking of rooting my Chrome in any way, mostly because I learned how it actually works.

Which is:

It employs 3 types of interfaces for casual home consumers--for all of them you'll have to download/install/run the FREE Chromecast app for Android or iPhone. Once you've done this, you'll notice the install setup familiarizes you with the various apps currently sporting little Chromecast icons somewhere on their screens ('Chromecast-Ready' apps) which will allow you to immediately view whatever you're streaming on whatever TV you connected your Chromecast device.

Among the more popular streaming apps with Chromecast functionality built-in are: Youtube and Google Play (of course--it's why Google bought them in the first place), Netflix, Hulu, many movie channels (HBO, Showtime, Encore, Epix, etc.), and tons of sports broadcasters (ESPN, etc.).

One gripe I have (with Time Warner, not Google) is that Time Warner has apparently decided to continue its longstanding history of neglecting its customers, and has opted NOT to make their own TWC-TV app Chromecast-Ready, forcing users to use the Chromecast app's Cast Screen function (mirroring) to throw whatever is on my phone screen, tablet, onto the device. Again, we all know this is less Google's problem than it is just Time Warner protecting its best interests in not overdoing it as far as what they offer for basic cable service, anyway.

The Chromecast's Cast Screen feature works great on my smartphone, but I've yet to get anything to come up from my tablet. I'm sure these are device-related issues and many, maybe more, other tablets will do just fine (again, my tablet is an ASUS TF300T--it's too old to even have wireless N built-in).

Overall, the Chromecast seems like a very affordable option for fun streaming options at home.
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on February 24, 2015
This isn't as easily setup as the Roku. I bought this for the mirror cast which it doesn't accomplish very well. This feature is only available in a selectively few add ins for Chrome. It shows up with Netflix, not Amazon prime unless you use Chrome as your internet browser. This will show a mirroring icon that can be selected. The mirroring works fairly well from Google Chrome with a slight lag. I had a hard time setting this up as it doesn't work with IE or Safari. It does work with Netflix (you will see the icon in the video window) and YouTube, not with Amazon Prime. Google does expect you to use this with Google Chrome. There is a tab for bouncing the screen from your computer to the Chromecast dongle that plugs into the HDMI a of your TV. The Chromecast gets pretty hot and according to Google Chromecast help this is normal. It gets hot enough to prohibit handling until it cools down. I wouldn't want to go away and leave this on for extended periods.
Bought it for the mirroring which it only does through a few special apps, and through Google Chrome using the tab on MacBook Pro, not iPad. I wanted to use this for large screen music sheets for groups of musicians to follow. The only work around was to open files from Chrome (on MacBook) then select the mirroring icon and open the file from Chrome.
I had to install and reboot a few times for the Google Chromecast icon to actually show up in Chrome Using my MacBook Pro, doesn't show up with iPad. I'm pretty tech savvy and this did not install in a few minutes and is tricky to get it working other than streaming video from acknowledges apps. Going to do a little more research to make sure I'm not missing something before returning this.

But for the cost, this is a decent streaming video option. I wouldn't purchase this with hopes of mirroring.
I've included photos of iPad screen for Netflix (you can see the streaming icon) and Amazon Prime (No streaming icon).
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on December 10, 2014
I'm a complete idiot for not buying this sooner. Over the last couple years, I have shifted my viewing from cable, on demand, downloads, to streaming anything I can get my hands on. Finding a way to get it onto my tv has been a challenge. I don't own a Smart Tv, so I was relying on using my very loud/slow Xbox 360. That ended up not working because the fan on the console had become so loud that I could hardly hear what I was watching. I was also limited to Video Apps. Next came streaming from my computer. My computer is an older model and didn't have an HDMI port, so I was relying on a VGA and Audio cord. The result was a sub par picture, inconsistent sound, and having to set up my computer right next to the tv. I knew HDMI was the answer and was about to purchase adapters that might have solved the answer until I started looking for other answers. Then came ChromeCast which beat all the other streaming devices in almost everything.

Pros:
-The new Beta ability to cast Google Chrome tabs was the ultimate selling point. With all the other streaming devices, you rely on video apps like Netflix, Hulu etc... Chrome uses those too, but it also allows you to cast any video in a Google Chrome web browser tab. You do need to use a fast enough computer though because unlike it's other features which bypass your other devices and streams directly to the ChromeCast, this feature streams from your computer first. This feature is equivalent to connecting your computer directly with an HDMI cord, so if your computer is not up for the job, this feature might not be usable for you.

-The video and sound coming off the device is fantastic and casts up to 1080p.

- The price: I got lucky and purchased it on Cyber Monday for $23, but $35 is still more than reasonable and much cheaper than the competitors.

- Setup is very easy. Plug it in, connect to your wifi, name your Chromecast and then just connect your devices to the new Chromecast network. (You will need to download the Chromecast app from the app store for your smartphone/tablet and download the Chromecast extension for Google chrome on your computer to make them compatible. After the initial setup, all you need to do is change the input to the appropriate HDMI source on your tv, choose one of your devices to cast from and hit the "Cast" button and you're good to go.

- Like other streaming devices, ChromeCast is also dependent on Application compatibility. So you get your Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, but some apps don't support it, including Amazon Instant video. This was originally a set back until I discovered "TV Cast" available on the iOS App Store. This application allows you to surf the web in a browser and cast nearly any video on the page to your tv, the same way you would in the Netflix or other Apps. This app alone makes ChromeCast the perfect option, especially if you don't want to pay for services like Netflix or Hulu. The app also means I can run the App solely from my phone and never have to rely on the ChromeCast Beta feature which is unfortunately not up to par.
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