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4.2 out of 5 stars
Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player
Price:£28.85+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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1,389 of 1,458 people found the following review helpful
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!

Pros:
○ 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

Limitations:
- 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.

Current limitations:
- 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

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THE CHROMECAST (In a few words) :
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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.

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INSTALLATION & SETUP:
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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!

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HOW IT WORKS:
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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.

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CONCLUSION:
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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 :)
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424 of 461 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2014
So easy to set up!
Open box, remove dongle and power cable (there's a flexible HDMI adaptor in there too if you need the dongle to sit flush with the TV, if you're TV is wall mounted for example) plug dongle into HDMI inlet, power cable into USB port (or plug into mains adaptor if you don't have a USB on your TV - also supplied) connect power lead to dongle, then open your Chromecast app (I'm using the iOS version) It then locates your device, you confirm your network password and bosh!
That's it! Good to go...
You get a wonderful crisp 1080p picture, (I have experienced no buffering issues so far either - and that's on a measly 3 Mbps connection, so much better than is the norm on my YouView box :-$)
You've got UK support for YouTube, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BT Sport (!) Vevo and some others too, which will work from their native apps on your phone/tablet similar to AirPlay.
In addition, if you use Chrome as your browser on your PC/laptop then unsurprisingly there is a free browser extension available from which you can beam your browser screen to your TV screen, which effectively gives you access to all of the other players available or pretty much anything else you wish to view.
Purchased as a cheap alternative to the AppleTV on our main TV, this works just as well on a technical level and the browser extension gives me potentially just as much content.
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125 of 137 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2014
Takes about 10 minutes to setup with updates very simple. Once you up and running casting is very easy even for me and I've never streamed media before. I wasn't sure it if it would work with my PC but you simple download the cast extension for your chrome browser, chromecast is designed to stream media already available online like BBC Iplayer Netflix and Youtube or media that is playing in the chrome browser to your TV and it does this perfectly. , time to say goodbye to cables. Best £30 I've spent in a long time.
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67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2015
Fantastic little device that has changed my viewing habits. I now use BBC iPlayer with my iPhone or Nexus 7 casting to my big TV via this device - much, much less pfaf than trying to use iPlayer through the VirginMedia interface. From the Nexus using Chrome browser, can also cast videos from most modern websites - ie not just YouTube.

Have had the odd, rare glitch, but usually easily fixed by unplugging it and plugging in again.

For those not familiar with the device, worth understanding that it does not stream from your iPhone etc, but instead you use the iPhone to send commands and the Chromecast streams directly from the internet via your WiFi. You can pause and play from the iPhone etc.
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497 of 557 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2014
Superb device, and so cheap. Works brilliantly. An absolute must buy. But... Pathetic Amazon won't allow the tab browsing function of desktop Chrome to sream Lovefilm videos to Chromecast. Absolutely fed up with Amazon and their petty refusal to work with Google, especially as the whole Kindle operating system is a knocked down version of Google's own Android OS. As well as refusing to allow me to access my Lovefilm account on any Android device, this latest petty stance from Amazon makes me mad. Closing Lovefilm account and getting rid of any Kindle software and devices. Had enough. Sort your politics out!
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89 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2014
I had my doubts about this but bought one for my neighbour (early Christmas present) and... "what the heck, only 30 quid"... one for myself.

I am gobsmacked how well this works. Plugged it into my TV HDMI socket, then power from a nearby socket (my TV has no USB port, which can be used to supply power ......No power on HDMI? What an oversight!...), switched TV input to that HDMI input and there was my Chromecast, ready to connect to the Internet and update itself (controlled using Chromecast app downloaded to my laptop).

After a couple of minutes, I was selecting a programme to watch on BBC iPlayer on my Android tablet, pressing the iPlayer "cast" button, and watching my programme (in pretty good HD) on my TV!

I also tried YouTube and we had great fun selecting old Top of the Pops clips on the tablet and casting them to the TV.

ITV, Channel 4 and 5 are not supporting this device. Sky are thinking about it. Well I think they will all have to think very carefully about this as this device is a huge winner and they will be the losers. Well done Auntie Beeb for having the foresight to support Chromecast which I LOVE. I am perfectly happy with all my BBC programmes (though no radio) as well as the odd YouTube video. Yah, boo, sucks to the other broadcasters!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2014
I bought a one of these devices to plug into a TV in my bedroom. Installing it caused a few issues, but nothing serious.

However, when I tried to use it, I discovered the big problem - the "cast" extension for the Chrome browser (which was the real selling point for me) isn't supported on the Android version of Chrome, only on the "real computer" version.

I originally finished the above paragraph by saying that the lack of Chrome support on Android rendered it much less than a useful multimedia tool. That's that you get for writing a review too quickly...

I then read through 'Unlock the power of your Chromecast', the book I bought at the same time as I bought the Chromecast, and it has completely changed my mind. By investing a trivial amount of money in the Plex application for Android, and installing a Plex server on my desktop machine, I've now got what I was aiming for - a very useful tool that allows me to play movies from my desktop computer on the TV in my bedroom, all controlled by my Android tablet.

My main complaint now is that if I hadn't got the book, I wouldn't know what I was missing. So unless you're already a digital media geek, you really need the book to tell you now to glue all the bits together.

Incidentally, I don't understand why Amazon are offering a bundle that includes a power supply - the Chromecast comes with one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2015
Works really well after a farily easy setup process.

Be aware that if using a work laptop, you may find Chromecast is blocked by your firewall software (eg Mccafee). If you have admin rights on your work PC (which you will on your personal machine) you can allow Chromecast to work.

I strongly suggest to also buy "Air Parrot", a third party piece of software that allows you to share any software window to Chromecast. By default you are limited to pages/video etc via the Chrome browser.

Air Parrot allows you to share photos, videos, Spotify, Powerpoint etc.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2015
This superb device works with both Android and Apple iOS devices to turn any TV into a Smart TV ( requires an HDMI connection ). I mostly use it to watch BBC iPlayer and You Tube but I also use it to view photos and video which I've taken on my phone and tablet.

By the way, the Chromecast itself doesn't do anything. It just receives instructions from your phone and tablet.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I was really annoyed when the YouTube TV app stopped working a few weeks ago. It was something I had used regularly and to withdraw it felt like a cynical marketing ploy to force us to pay to go down the WIFI dongle route. And, to a certain extent, it does still feel that way.

But I guess we have to move with the times though. After comparing the respective technical merits, I decided that Chromecast would meet my criteria, so I forked out my hard-earned (£30 or a little less if you look around for deals) and eagerly rushed home to set this bad boy up. The trickiest thing was trying to recall my WIFI passwords and the passwords for my Apple and Android apps stores! Luckily my Blu-Ray player had a spare HDMI in socket, so the Chromecast went in there and the USB lead plugged into my TV ( so no need to use the separate power supply).

After a few minutes downloading (automatically) the latest software updates to the Chromecast and getting the respective apps for my iPad and Xperia phone, I was ready to rock.

Well I'm happy to report that old favourites like YouTube and iPlayer work perfectly and it's really cool using your mobile or iPad as a remote control. But there's more; there are so many apps out there that the full potential of this device has yet to be seen. For example, you can get mirroring apps, so your photos, games and apps like Google Earth and Street View will look amazing on your big screen. You can turn your phone's video feed into a CCTV system. You can even play some bespoke games.

A lot of the subscription download services are now compatible with Chromecast and there's a vast amount of free material out there too (YouTube is great for obscure 1970s European movies!).

Keep checking out the Chromecast forums for the latest news. This really does seem to be the little must-have device that keeps on giving and, if you have any interest in home media, this is an essential purchase.

Top tip? The advert above says to plug the Chromecast into your TV, but if you use a Blu-Ray system for your surround sound audio, then plug the Chromecast into that instead.
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