Hey, I bought a Chromecast. Here's my review:
I got my Chromecast.
It's a $35 gadget that claims to be able to do two things:
1. "Cast" any tab you have open in Chrome to your TV.
2. "Cast" YouTube, Netflix and a number of other services, but definitely not iTunes, to your TV. Not just from a Mac or PC, but also from any iPhone, Android phone, iPad, Android tablet, etc. etc. etc.
Physically you couldn't ask for a less obtrusive device. It's a teeny dongle that hangs off one of your TV's HDMI ports. (If you have a flatscreen, it almost certainly has HDMI ports.) You do have to hook it up to power as well, but that's not outrageous.
So how well does it work? Pretty well overall. Amazing for the price.
Its worst feature by far, though, is the one it's named for: casting a Chrome tab.
There is a noticeable lag when casting a tab. And you need a really powerful laptop to cast a tab without a lot of chop and stuttering audio. My brand new Macbook Pro can do it without stuttering, Roberta's perfectly respectable but very affordable PC laptop cannot.
Thing is, if what you want is to watch YouTube, Netflix or a similar service, you're totally golden. Because your phone or computer just tells the chromecast to go get them on its own. And that works great. My phone is now an awesome YouTube remote.
So tab casting could one day improve... if Google or someone else comes up with a way of cleverly restricting what websites include while still leaving them interesting to use, despite the 512MB RAM limit of the Chromecast. (Yes, we live in an age of miracles and wonders.) That would probably exhibit some confusing differences from what the same tab does on your desktop, though– another reason they don't do it out of the box.
But again, none of these limitations matter for things like youtube and netflix that the chromecast supports natively. Those are awesome. And the dev kit means the door is certainly open to other third party services creating their own "receiver apps" for a better Chromecast experience.
Tags: chromecast, geek, tv, web