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4.2 out of 5 stars
Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player
Price:£29.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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1,404 of 1,474 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! Android lollipop 5.x now supports screen casting/mirroring.

Pros:
○ Does what it promises on the tin ... and getting better.. (Videosream works great for streaming local media, albeit at 720p max)
○ 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 Videostream, 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:
Latest Android Lollipop v5.x works great and with minimum lag in casting your device screen to TV
"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.

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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2015
I have a Chromecast in the living room and we have two more in bedrooms. They are brilliant inventions. Not only are they very cheap and easy to set up and use, but they are so much better than alternatives.

The main thing that sets the Chromecast apart is the interface that you interact with. It's your phone or your tablet. Everyone is comfortable using a phone or tablet and simply pressing the "cast" icon in your apps feels natural. With alternatives like Apple TV/ Fire TV/ Roku, the interaction is far more clunky. You are using an input method (a remote) that is designed for quick, simple interactions, not scrolling through lists of movies or Youtube clips. A Chromecast is better because you are using apps which are easy to navigate and a pleasure to use.

The other great thing is the app support. The majority of streaming services are on board now. iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix, Now TV, BT Sport... the list goes on. There are even games, like 'Big Web Quiz', which you can play with anyone who has a phone or tablet, and they are a great laugh.

There are a couple of small gripes. One is a lack of support for Windows Phone, although I'm sure that doesn't effect many. Next, screen mirroring is not as good as Airplay on iOS. It tends to lag, even on a fast connection, although it is still useful. And finally, some of the big apps (like Spotify and Amazon Prime Instant Video) don't support Chromecast because they want you to use their own streaming methods. You can get around some of these issues (Spoticast lets you stream Spotify but it can be hit or miss, and you can mirror your screen to the TV for other services), but there might well be something that you simply can't stream.

Last of all, I'd like to mention Local Cast, which is an Android app that lets you stream any local media to your TV. It's brilliant.

Overall, I think the Chromecast is not only the best way of streaming content to a TV, but Google's best product in many years. If you are even slightly tempted by one, get it. It is impossible to beat the convenience of tapping an icon in an app and watching the content up on a big screen.
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432 of 471 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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130 of 144 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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500 of 562 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2015
Great gadget but i am amazed that despite reading lots of Amazon reviews, i saw no reference here to the known problems setting it up with BT homehubs 4 and 5. Luckily i came across this in Chromecast Help [Cast Router Compatibility] before i tried setting up. Basically you switch off the "smart setup" in the routers advanced settings otherwise get lots of problems.. I had already downloaded the chromecast app to my ipad air and it was very easy to use this app to set up Chromecast and within minutes was able to watch BT sport on my standalone TV in my holiday house. Picture quality is excellent.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 February 2015
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Mirroring (mirroring the screen as "Miracast") is now officially supported by Chromecast. Move to the end of the review to the heading "UPDATE: Mirroring" for more information!

Original review: I have now owned this well made Google Chromecast for several months. I knew well before purchasing what I was getting myself into and used it initially for Google Play Music and Play Movies and especially for Youtube, which worked great, always and anytime. With the SDK having now been released for a while, the consequence is that third-party developers apps may ask for it in the Play Store. This has resulted in powerful Android Apps being made available: first of all, AllCast: For almost all videos, pictures and songs, these can be sent from your smartphone/tablet to the Chromecast. This process has worked better and better with each successive update and leaves little to be desired. And secondly, Library Cast: This free app combines all the multimedia libraries of public broadcasters and allows the Chromecast to play their posts by the media servers on your TV and that too in HD as well!

For under £30, this is seriously one of the best equipment you could buy today to convert your standard non-smart TV into a truly Smart TV. It's just like a USB stick, all you do is simply connect it to the HDMI TV and voila, that's it. The Chromecast takes care of the rest pretty much. Setting up is not very complicated - it is actually quite intuitive. For those that may struggle however, there are plenty of forums and help online.

With the help of this beauty, I am now able to reproduce YouTube videos (on the big TV) from my mobile and PC. Plex Media Center is a fantastic supplementary app that I have found to be very useful: I now have all files organised on my computer and am able to send multimedia content from the website Plex straight to the Chromecast. The need to upload files to a pen drive is now a long distant memory: I can now watch series, movies and videos straight onto the TV directly from the PC using either Plex Media or from the Google web browser using the "Cast" functionality. The quality is also rather quite good. No complaints at all.

To make it easier to read, I have included a short bullet point overview of the pros and cons of this device:

Pros:
1. Cost-wise, it is relatively cheap keeping in mind the competition. It's three biggest competitors in Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku are all twice/thrice the price. So for value for money, this is right up there.
2. Setup is pretty simple and intuitive. The Chromecast does most of the work and therefore it doesn't take too long. A few minutes at best.
3. Can be controlled using various devices (smartphone/tablet/PC) and works with various software platforms (Android/iOS/Microsoft).
4. Due to the release of the SDK, there's a plethora of applications on the market available to use for the Chromecast.
5. Can connect it to an audio device/receiver and stream Spotify/Deezer continuously without turning on the TV - this is a very handy feature!
6. With the added functionality of Screen Mirroring, the ability to "mirror" whatever is on your phone (such as pictures) onto the big screen is a fantastic opportunity to share pictures with friends and family.
7. It is small that it doesn't really look much different to a USB. Can easily be placed behind the TV, slotted into a HDMI port and you wouldn't even know it's there!
8. Haven't noticed it to impact the battery life of my smartphone. It is fairly stealthy in that regard.

Cons:
1. It's limited to 2.4GHz wireless, which is slower and (more congested) than the 5GHz spectrum. It does support 802.11N at least, which is a plus.
2. There isn't any storage space on the Chromecast player itself (no in-built storage) and therefore it is not possible to store content on the Chromecast locally.
3. Content wise, it's pretty limited. But that will improve over time.
4. No "separate" dedicated remote controller.

I have also included below an FAQ for those that may have questions unanswered from the review above:

FAQ:
Question: What can the Chromecast actually do? Answer: The original function was to directly tap into sources from the Internet (eg YouTube) and their contents to be displayed up on the TV directly. PC, smartphone or tablet was to used as an initiator and remote control.

Question: How does the Chromecast power itself? Answer: The HDMI is not capable of supplying enough power and therefore is included in the package a USB cable to power the device (you'd therefore need a free socket into which you'll plug the power source).

Question: Can I send content to the Chromecast and then minimize the YouTube app on my smartphone (i.e. still use my phone uninterrupted)? Answer: Yes. The Chromecast works independently and takes care of playing (displaying) the content, while the smartphone can continue to be used for calling, WhatsApp or whatever else is required. The same is true for tablets.

Question: Following the start of say a Youtube video, do I still have the ability to fast forward and rewind? Answer: Yes. You can even used phone A (Android smartphone) to start a Youtube video, use phone B (iPhone) to jump to the end of the video, use phone C to go back to the middle of the video and use a telephone D or a Tablet/iPad to stop playback - as long as all are on the same WiFi with the Chromecast. Quite a neat bit of functionality!

Question: Can I send (watch) videos that are located locally on my device to a Chromecast to see them on my TV? Answer: Yes. From a PC, this can be achieved by using the Google Chrome extension (just play the video with Chrome and used the tab "cast") and from an Android smartphone/tablet, this is possible with several apps, including "AllCast" or "Bubbleupnp."

Question: Can I "screen mirror" ("mirroring") so that everything that is present on my device be seen on the TV, i.e. 1 is transferred to 1 on the TV? Answer: This is currently possible on a PC/Laptop, not yet to on a smartphone/tablet(!) For the latter, meanwhile, an app "Mirror" is being currently developed by the same developer as "AllCast". Presently, it only works on the Nexus 5 and that too only with root. However, this change in the future. For those who wish for this functionality, you should rather focus on "Miracast". Miracast-HDMI dongles for TV are minimally more expensive than a Chromecast, but vary greatly in their performance. Appropriate research in this matter is necessary as to whether it's better than a Chromecast.

Question: I live in an apartment - therefore, can I "protect" my Chromecast with a password so as to shield usage from roommates? Answer: No, as of yet, this is not possible unfortunately. So it could very well happen that you could be watching a specific video on your TV in your bedroom and as a joke, your roommate could have a YouTube video displayed on your TV about anything but what you're watching. As Chromecast works on your WiFi (which will be shared with your roommates), it is possible for this to happen.

Overall, I'd give the Chromecast a solid 5star rating based on the fact that it's small enough to not be a distraction, powerful enough to run without a hitch, clever enough to allow a varied list of functions (streaming/screen mirroring) and convenient enough to put aside the idea of buying a specialist Smart TV! A highly recommended buy due to the amount of options it provides to the end user!

UPDATE: Mirroring.The Chromecast has finally officially been dealt with a software update that now allows screen mirroring. This allows EVERYTHING that can be viewed on a smartphone/tablet to be viewed "live" on the TV. I used the term "live" loosely as it is quite relative because there is a small delay (0.5 - 1 second), rendering it useless for games. Photos, music and movies (even Full HD) work perfectly, however. Sound is transmitted perfectly as well. The only two thing to keep in mind though are: 1- You need at least Android version 4.4 (KitKat) on your device in order to use this feature. 2- Only a few devices are officially supported which mostly include the more recent high-end smartphones. The list is however still growing.
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69 of 78 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2014
There are numerous 3rd party applications that expand the capabilities of this device way beyond the advertised headline applications. While I am still waiting for decent apps to mirror a mobile screen, and tab-cast from a mobile browser, there's nevertheless a solid selection of available apps, from ones that play local media from your phone to custom-built games.

The device itself is neat and compact, and fits snugly behind the wall-mounted TV. I chose to power it independently rather than via the USB, and even with the power cord attached, it remains comfortably hidden behind my Samsung Series 7. Setting it up is effortless, and other than a periodic firmware update (initiated from a Chromecast mobile application), it requires no maintenance.

Clutching at straws, but the only downside is source switching. While initiating a "Cast" automatically switches the HDMI source to the Chromecast, when you're finished casting, it doesn't switch back to the TV source. Instead you remain on (admittedly good looking Chromecast home screen). This may be more of an issue with the TV, but it's an absolutely minor inconvenience to have to use the TV remote to switch back to the TV channels.

While it would be an exaggeration to say it has revolutionised the way I consume media, it has undoubtedly improved it. While casually "casting" BBC iPlayer and YouTube media to the TV is a nice-to-have, the real value I have found is in the ability to utilise 3rd party apps to play media directly from my phone; saving the hassle of having to fiddle around with cables.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2014
We purchased the Google Chromecast specifically so we could watch Wimbledon 2014 on our TV in the bedroom instead of having to watch it through our Virgin Media box and TV downstairs on our days off.

[We work from home and normally watch Wimbledon via iPlayer on our iPads whilst working].

Purchase and delivery was less than 24 hours using our Prime account.

We have a Samsung TV upstairs so all I had to do was plug the Chromecast into my HDMI port then using the USB port below plug in the power cable and attach the other end to the Chromecast (I was hoping this was possible as I didn't fancy having leads trailing from a wall socket to the TV). Basically this means the TV is powering the Chromecast.

After turning on the TV and waiting for the Chromecast to load I downloaded the official Google Chromecast app.

The app discovered the Chromecast straight away and I selected configure new device. It then asked me to select the Chromecast under my wi-fi settings. Once this was done it asked me to rename the Chromecast (handy if your planning on having more than one device) and select my wi-fi network.

After giving it a minute or so it was all set-up and ready to use.

Using my iPhone i then opened my iPlayer app and selected BBC Two and once it started streaming to my iPhone I pressed the little Chromecast icon in the top right corner and the match appeared on the TV.

How easy was that?

Since receiving tit on Tuesday PM its has been pretty much been used constantly and we have had no problems with sound or picture quality and switching between BBC One and Two has been a breeze.

Yes we aren't watching it in HD (I have a 7dayshop Nano HD TV Digital Mini Media Player that I am going to try with it) and yes for a split second the quality can pixelate but being able to watch Wimbledon on our TV far outweighs any minor negatives.

I would highly recommend the Google Chromecast and were seriously considering cancelling our Virgin Media TV package and using another Google Chromecast downstairs instead!
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