Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chromecast - quick review

I recently bought a Chromecast device to test.

I already have an Android based "pen-USB" streamer connected to my TV and I was curious to see how a different system was working.

Here some impressions.


The package itself is quite fascinating.
The device is quite small, actually little bit smaller than the USB Android pen device I'm currently use.
In the box, well packed, there is the device, a power supply, a micro USB cable and an HDMI extension cord, just in case is not possible to connect the device directly to the TV.


Installing the Chromecast device is quite straightforward.
Just plug it in into a HDMI port on the TV and connect the power.
Some TV have an USB hub integrated, so in this case will there no need for the external power supply.
After a few seconds a screen will appear on the TV.

At this point the best way is to use an Android system (or iOS) and follow the instructions.
A Chromecast application is installed on the smartphone/tablet and from there is enough to follow the directions.
The required time to install Chromecast is around 5-10 minutes top.


One thing must be understood immediately.
Chromecast is working with specific stream services !
In other words Chromecast can stream ONLY services that have an "app" for Chromecast.
Chromecast is NOT :
  • a generic Android system connected to the TV
  • a relay of the screen of your phone or tablet
  • a stand alone computer
Currently is possible to stream from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and few other services but a lot of people is working to bring more apps to Chromecast, to allow more streaming.
The quality of the streaming  is very very good actually, much more better than my USB pen-based Android streamer and also the WiFi management seems better and more reliable than the USB Android pen-based streamer.

The connection to the streaming servers is totally transparent, i.e. no need to set up accounts or passwords. So if somebody with a smartphone has a subscription to some service (like Netflix)  the Chromecast will use that to be connected.


Well, actually there are few problems, but I'm quite sure they  are depending about my particular configuration of the network.
On my network I have almost everything  with a fixed IP. I do have a DHCP server but the majority of the appliances have a fixed IP (for many reasons).
Chromecast currently is NOT supporting the fixed IP configuration.
So sometimes my DHCP server assigns an address that for some reasons is not working well, leaving the  Chromecast not working. 
On "standard" domestic/consumer oriented networks, where everything is under DHCP, there are actually no problems that I'm aware off.
Another issue is the impossibility to easily stream from a local server.
It is possible to have some streaming done from the phone but there is not an easy way to do so yet.
I'm sure it will be fixed for the future.


Well, for the price I would say that is a "must to have" little device.
Is NOT meant to substitute a self-contained Android terminal connected to the TV, but is incredibly useful to see on TV the most popular streaming using a smartphone or tablet as "intelligent remote".
While watching a streaming the smartphone or tablet remains free to do other things or look for other programs.
And is fun too. Friends with a smartphone/tablet (Android or iOS) can connect to the Chromecast ( after installing the application on the smartphone/tablet) and show their stream selection to everybody.


Just a quick note.
Chromecast can be used also with Apple products.
i.e. is not necessary to have Android smartphone or tablet in order to use Chromecast.
It is also possible to stream from any PC/Mac running Chrome (via  a plug-in for Chromecast) but honestly if you are already in front a computer, is not really important to stream on a TV (my opinion of course).

No comments:

Post a Comment