I have had a Chromecast for three days and I love it. It doesn’t boast 750 channels or play games, but it is the most amazing thing I have ever plugged into an HDMI port. Chromecast is amazing for what it does, what it can do, and what it might do.
What Chromecast Does
If you use the Chromecast the way Google advertises it, you will be amazed. Plug this $35 dongle into your tv, run the setup utility, and start ‘casting’ netflix and youtube. You can cast these from a phone, a computer, or a tablet using the user interface you already love. Chromecast is a great Netflix and Youtube streamer and Netflix and Youtube are what most people want to stream to their televisions.
What Chromecast Can Do
‘Tab casting’ — streaming the contents of a tab in the Chrome internet browser — is a flexible technology. All the demos show a screen being mirrored to the television. Most complain of ‘lag’ between the PC and the television. I have not experienced this lag. When I navigate on my PC, the television screen immediately updates. Even given a marginal network and an aging PC, this would be suitable for navigating a presentation for a meeting. Imagine plugging your Chromecast in the projector or display at a meeting and streaming your pitch without wires. How about a staff meeting with each presenter presenting off their own laptop without using wires. Each device would find the dongle and take control as required. If you can open the presentation in Chrome, you can stream it to a Chromecast. I love this.
Of course, the same goes for entertainment. I’ve streamed Plex, Playon, and individual files to the Chromecast. Files that stuttered and sputtered using the Roku Plex channel streamed flawlessly via the Chromecast. I also streamed live television to my Chromecast using Filmon and Aereo. Pretty awesome.
What Chromecast Might Do
As exciting as all of this has been, the real fun begins when people start developing apps for Chromecast. Will I be able to stream my HDHomeRun to Chromecast? Windows Media Center? Will there be an XBoxCC or a PlexCC? If I plug this dongle into a PC, will it save my streams? I’d love to replace all my DVRs with a single CastCatcher.
My favorite remote is a $140 Harmony One. It’s pretty great with it’s touch screens and how it lights up when I pick it up. I expect Google will treat us with a Chromecast Maestro app for the Nexus that does much more for much less. Maybe with an Insteon plugin?
I’ll update this as my experience with the Chromecast increases.