Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prefect to watch Netflix, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player (Personal Computers)
This is a really neat device that performs well. Now to put that in perspective.
I am on a broadband line that, according to ThinkBroadband, gives an average download speed of around 3600 bps which is as expected for my 3.7 km from the exchange.
I have a quad core 2.4 GHz Vista desktop hardwired to the router. I can play Netflix and iPlayer beautifully on this machine. Netflix reports a consistent download speed of 3000 bps and I can watch in their so-called HD (1292 x 897). The big buffer of about 5 minutes that Netflix builds means it can ride over any temporary broadband problems.
I also have a low power Revo 3700 with an Atom dual core processor and ION graphics running Windows 7. It is silent and sits behind the TV in the lounge as a Media Centre. This machine can record and play back broadcast HD TV at minimal processor loads (5%) because of the hardware acceleration provided by the ION graphics. BUT it misses occasional frames when playing Netflix. Netflix uses Microsoft Silverlight to stream the video. Call up the A/V data for a Netflix stream and it says it is using hardware acceleration. Unfortunately all the decryption of the DRM is done in the CPU resulting in a high CPU load that averages at about 50% but clearly every few seconds peaks at over 100%. The result is watchable but the dropped frames spoil the experience. I see a streaming speed of 3000 bps (just like the faster quad core machine). The frame-dropping is not associated with streaming but with the stupid way Silverlight decodes video. Thank you M$.
I also have a Nexus 7 tablet that can stream Netflix without dropping frames.
Now to the Chromecast. I plugged it in and let it walk me through the installation process. I had one little glitch when I could not get it to attach to my network. Then I remembered that I had a MAC filter turned on at my router (for security). I went to my router and added the MAC for the Chromecast to the filter list and bingo I got a clean connection. The Chromecast immediately updated itself and after a restart I was able to watch Netflix without any missed frames at the same resolution and streaming rates as I saw with the quad core PC.
I found one down-side with my Panasonic TX-L24X5B TV. When I plugged the Chromecast in, I could no longer get broadcast HD TV on the set, but SD was unaffected. It was almost as if the Chromecast was attenuating the TV signal. As soon as I unplugged, HD re-appeared. HD TV has always been a little problematic on this TV so I put it down to a peculiarity of the TV. No such problem with my Panasonic TX-L32D25B for which I had actually bought the device. This is about 5 metres from my router and it worked perfectly. Now I can watch Netflix in my lounge without dropped frames.
So the bottom line, for £30 I got the same quality for Netflix as with an expensive PC and a better quality than with a £400 media Center PC. I also tried Youtube, iPlayer, Vevo and Red Bull with the same excellent results. The Chromecast will only get better as more content providers sign up to the device.
Just to reinforce a point about the Chromecast. Your tablet or phone is only a remote control. Once you have started a video and ‘cast’ it to the Chromecast, the Chromecast gets the video stream from the net and not your tablet or phone.
If you want to watch Netflix then the Chromecast is a no-brainer at £30.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Apr 2014 18:23:00 BDT
Mike_Amazon says:
And BT Sport comes on next week :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2014 13:49:54 BDT
RJ Rushton says:
Can you confirm this Mike? Maybe post a link (if allowed). I'll not buy this device until BT Sport is available and frankly I don't believe it will happen!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2014 14:40:34 BDT
Mike_Amazon says:
Yes RJ. From BT Sport:

https://sport.bt.com/watchnow/programmes/bt-sport-announces-chromecast-partnership-S11363890277685#

If the URL is stripped out, this is the announcement:

Last updated: 03 April 2014, 22:45 BST
Print this story
BT Sport has announced a new partnership with Chromecast, Google's media streaming device.

This means BT's broadband customers now have another way to watch the BT Sport App, in addition to the existing BT TV, Sky and Virgin Media platforms.

BT Sport is the latest addition to a Chromecast line-up that already includes BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Netflix, plus Google Play Movies and Google Play Music.

Chromecast, which retails at £30, allows customers to `cast' video to their television from the BT Sport App on a tablet or smartphone.

Pete Oliver, managing director of BT's Consumer Commercial and Marketing, said, "Chromecast has been a tremendous success in the US and we feel it could take off in the UK as well. "We are already delivering BT Sport via our App and we are seeing some impressive viewing figures, which demonstrates that customers appreciate this option.

"Customers with Chromecast will be able to enjoy the BT Sport App, which is free with broadband from BT, on a large screen, allowing customers to cast a Barclays Premier League match to their TV, rather than watching on a smaller screen. "This helps us to deliver on our aim to bring the best quality sport to BT customers at affordable prices across a wide number of platforms and devices."

From April 7 the 'cast' button will appear in the BT Sport app on Android and iOS devices. Chromecast is a small dongle that works with any television with a standard HDMI port.

Not a BT Sport subscriber? Find out how to get BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN at bt.com/sport

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2014 13:55:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Apr 2014 13:55:57 BDT
RJ Rushton says:
Brilliant. Thank you, just picked one up from PC World as I couldn't wait another day or two for delivery. This device is superb. I cannot believe the quality of the stream on the BBC iPlayer! Roll on Monday for BT sport...

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2014 13:24:01 BDT
Mike_Amazon says:
Just tried it now, and the chromecast cast icon is now there, on the BT Sport android app on my phone. Initially you have to sign in with your usual BT email and PW. Then we you choose a clip, it loads up reasonably quickly and plays full screen without buffering, and looks a nice picture.

I only mentioned it for the benefit of other readers, as we already have it on our BT YouView box.

But anyway, glad you like chromecast.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2014 13:52:30 BDT
RJ Rushton says:
Thanks for the update. I'm less interested in the video clips but keen to understand the quality of the LIVE streaming. I read an article yesterday that many major UK broadcasting firms are reluctant to offer Chromecast support due to poor LIVE streaming (e.g. ITV Player, 4od, 5od & TV Catchup). Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2014 15:09:51 BDT
Mike_Amazon says:
RJ, I only tried a clip to check it worked, as I couldn't see any live games on at that moment. I still can't, but as ultimately clips or live games would be delivered by the same BT servers, I can't see where the results would be different? I'm happy to try it later, and report back.

Of course, there's always lots of talk about poor this, that, or the other, but in many cases this relates to mirroring, or casting live video from one local machine to chromecast. Those functions can work but I've suggested many times that if those are your main needs, buy something else.

Chromecast works best with the ONLINE optimized apps, such as BT Sport. If your internet is fine, those apps will be fine. BT Sport looks just like an OTA broadcast, as does Netflix and BBC iPlayer. They work by streaming the online content direct to the chromecast. The phone or tablet or computer isn't involved in that - it hands over, and has acted only as an initial remote to choose the content.

The services you mention are NOT optimized apps. They do not work (directly) on chromecast. The only way they could be "cast" is actually by watching them in a chrome browser on a wireless PC or Mac and "mirroring" the screen to the TV via chromecast. CC is just acting as a wireless receiver of whatever is being pushed to it. The success, or failure, of that will depend on the kit being used and the local network, and if that's the main requirement, as I say, I'd always suggest buying something else.

Any content provider saying they are reluctant to add their app is failing to understand how it works and how the results look on a big TV. The BBC understand. BT understand. The other catch-up players may or may not add support to their apps, which already exist on android. TV Catchup I only use when I go upstairs. I doubt it will ever add support. Where's the need? If I want to watch normal TV on the big screen, I just watch terrestrial OTA. Despite its name, it offers no catch-up service, of course.

Let me know re a test on a live game. Rgds, Mike

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2014 15:26:26 BDT
RJ Rushton says:
Thanks Mike - I will check the quality of live streaming on the BT Sport Android app when I get home this evening. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 and the wife has a Nexus 5 so I'm guessing at least one of us will have the latest version of the BT Sport App

I'm an Android & BT man so not bothered about anything from the darkside (aka Sky & Apple)

Also not really interested in the beta element either - what I would like is Android app support from 4oD & ITV Player

I also can't get my head around why Amazon have launched an Prime Instant app for iOS & their forked version of Android yet leave the most popular mobile OS out in the cold...!

I'm seriously considering ditching Prime Instant - especially so since they've mingled in paid content with Prime content on the PS3 app

Rant over..!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2014 18:27:24 BDT
Mike_Amazon says:
No worries RJ :-)

Quick check on Google Play and you should get the current version. Actually, as I have GP open all the time, I've checked, it's here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bt.btsport&hl=en_GB

On kit, we are as one.

I have an N4 (and N7) and the wife has a GS4. They all work great with the online apps, and I can mirror from the laptop, but it's not my main use. We've got Amazon Video on the TV from the old Lovefilm days, but use Netflix far more now. It has more of what we want to watch (Breaking Bad, etc) and there are no issues with android.

You'll probably know the move from LF to AIV (Instant, or pay per view) and APV (Prime, free with the Prime service), was a bit of a mess, and they broke the app on some Samsung TV's, including ours. They had to pay compo. Many customers are saying the mix of free and ppv is confusing, as is the interface, with elements scattered all over Amazon.

My Prime renews this month at the existing £49 so as they've added the streaming and reduced what was my LF subs to reflect that, I'm actually in front - although I've used the saving for Netflix. So I won't change anything till next April. If I cancel Prime because I don't want the video, I'll buy less. They'll cope, I'm sure.

The US launch of Fire TV shows how they want to go. Their content, on their kit.

Funnily enough, some sort of Android TV solution is being rumoured today, so they're all at it. They can't all win in the living room. For us, adding Netflix and Google Play Movies to our existing line-up, for £30, was a complete no-brainer.

The other 3 UK catch-up services have android apps, so, who knows. Just needs some coding to give the cast icon and functionality, as BT did, and voila! Again, we're reasonably well place, as we have a BT YouView box so have them all now.

Bit of a pick n mix house ours :-)
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