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Best Selling Media Streaming Dongle ....... Here's why
on 19 March 2014
After numerous unsuccessful attempts to penetrate the HDMI dongle streaming market, Google finally nailed it ..... and the competition for that matter.
The fact that the Chromecast has taken Europe by storm, becoming a best seller in under a month speaks for itself!
Many simply cannot afford or justify upgrading to a new Smart TV. Others might be fed up with wires associated with set top boxes and want to view mainly online media. This dongle will do the job in style. And the good news does not end there.... It is very cheap, sticks to the back of your TV and can be controlled via a myriad of devices.
Very true, the market is flooded with HDMI dongles, yet the Chromecast is the clear winner and a best seller thanks to "Heavy weight" Online Media companies embracing it into their apps. Since releasing the SDK (Software Development Kit) in February 2014, many app developers are hopping aboard the Chromecast wagon, in the hopes of getting a slice of the market. Terrific news for the Chromecast owners!
○ Does what it promises on the tin ... and getting better.. ( The popular VLC v3 is rumoured to support Chromecast)
○ Converts your conventional TV to a Smart TV
○ Package comes bundled with everything you could possibly need to get you up and running in no time (including a UK mains adapter)
○ *Automatically switches on your TV and tunes to the CC channel when media is routed to it. *USB must be powered from mains adapter and not from TV itself
○ Provides seamless streaming of high definition web media such as Youtube, Vimeo, Netflix, Vevo, Realplayer Cloud, BBC iPlayer (for UK only), Google Play movies, and more (depending on country)
○ Cross platform compatibility (Windows/Android/Mac/iOS Computers, Tablets and Smartphones)
○ Can be controlled via your smartphone rather than a dedicated wireless keyboard, which would probably cost as much as this device itself
○ Tiny and portable. Great for taking to a friends or family house to share media on the big screen
○ Negligible power consumption. Plug and forget. Uses no bandwidth when on standby (except for the occasional firmware upgrade)
○ Maximum Stealth. Plug and forget.
○ Unbeatable Value
- Single band Wi-Fi antenna operating on 2.4Ghz (802.11b/g/n). The inclusion of the 5GHz band would have been welcome, albeit few phones support it.
- Amazon LOVEFiLM subscribers will find that they cannot view their movies. This is not a limitation of the Chromecast itself ........ Amazon has launched its own Amazon Fire TV in the US (2nd April), so it is unlikely to see CC support. Yet never say never... as mentioned before.
- Streaming of local media stored from certain devices .... Update :Being addressed by Plex, BubbleUPnP, Allcast among others budding every other day.
- Mirroring of the Google browser screen is still in Beta version. UPDATE: Much faster now
THE CHROMECAST (In a few words) :
The CC is a 3inch dongle which plugs into an HDMI port on an HD TV or a/v equipment and is powered via the provided USB cable (a mains adapter is also included just in case the TV lacks a USB port). Once set up it automatically connects to the internet. It provides seamless streaming of many "popular" web media services. The Chromecast can be controlled via smartphones, Android & iOS devices and desktop computers. No need for some clunky remote controller!
* As Trustedreviews website rightfully pointed out.... QUOTE "Google Chromecast does not come with a remote control at all. Instead, you use a phone or tablet to act as the middle man between streaming services like Netflix and your TV." UNQUOTE.
What it does best is what it was designed to do: streaming of media stored on the web.
INSTALLATION & SETUP:
Locate a free HDMI port on your TV (or a/v equipment). You might find that there is not enough room to plug the device due to its relatively thick base. The included extension interface is narrow enough to fit next to existing occupied HDMI ports, and the Chromecast will snugly fit over it. The next step powering the device. If you do not have a USB port on your TV, or are using it for a keyboard (you won't need it any longer most probably), a mains adapter is included in the package. The micro USB power supply needs to be connected to the device itself. The unit will spring to life, indicated by a flashing LED light on the unit itself.
Setting up the CC is very easy and straight forward, An app named "Chromecast", available for iOS and Android will aid you in configuring password settings for your home Wi-Fi. The Chromecast will then automatically log on to the internet and remain connected. That's it!
HOW IT WORKS:
When viewing online media, the Chromecast will use your broadband connection directly, and not hop the signal through the device you chose to stream from. The controlling device is just a remote control. This is particularly handy when using a smartphone. There is no battery drain on the phone and it can be used as a keyboard whilst still being able to function as a phone.
However if you chose to stream local media (ie stored on a phone or computer) things get a bit more complex. Yet to be fair, the CC was not designed to handle such content.
The following apps have varying degrees of success in streaming local media:
"Plex" works on any platform and is free
"BubbleUPnP" (Chromecast/DLNA)- Android phones and tablets
"EZCast" app has partially addressed seamless streaming of media stored on iOS/Android devices.
"PlayOn" Paid subscription is required, yet it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.
I personally consider this device the best, unobtrusive, cost effective solution for steaming web media on your TV. Yet that is only my humble opinion.... Check out PC Advisor and TechAdvisor "Best free apps for Chromecast you don't know about" for some cool apps. There's no denying that this tiny device does what it was designed to to really well.
Highly recommend, especially to those who do not have a Smart TV, Apple TV or a Roku box.
I hope you find this review helpful. Please feel free to comment or ask any questions :)