31
Jul
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Rumors about Chrome OS running on a tiny HDMI stick started leaking out a few months ago, but we were all wrong about what it was going to be. The Chromecast is not a shrunken down Chromebox – it's not even really a Chrome OS device in the strictest sense. The Chromecast is Google's latest attempt to be invited into your living room. It also might be the first one to succeed.

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The Chromecast doesn’t try to create a new ecosystem – it simply asks app developers to append a few lines of code to give it a piece of the streaming media action. This, along with the low $35 price could point to victory. But should you be excited?

Chromecast Specs

  • Dimensions: 72(L) x 35(W) x 12(H) mm
  • Weight: 34g
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
  • Video: HDMI 1.4, 1080p
  • Storage: 4GB (not user-accessible)
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Processor: Marvel Armada 1500 ARM chip

The Good

  • Inexpensive
  • Quick setup
  • Good video quality (1080p Netflix)
  • Works wonderfully with Google Play Music
  • App integration is well-done
  • Tab casting opens up huge potential for streaming video and local content
  • Could attract plenty of developer attention

The Bad

  • A few hiccups getting activated on some networks
  • Limited app support at launch
  • Not ideal for travel
  • Needs USB power
  • No direct media push (without a WiFi network)
  • Some Google services aren't yet integrated in browser


Setup

So you've gotten your hands on a new Google Chromecast. Good for you. All you have to do is plug it right into a TV's HDMI port and start streaming. Well, you need to plug in an external microUSB cable for power first. It can plug into the wall, or a TV USB port. If your TV shields the Chromecast from an already weak WiFi signal, the HDMI extender might help by setting the device several inches back from the TV. It becomes a little less sleek when you actually use it. This is still less setup than virtually all the electronics you buy, but it's not as streamlined as the press images might make you think.

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It’s been reported in various places that the Chromecast can be powered by HDMI 1.4, but I haven’t found any official source that confirms that. Simply supporting HDMI 1.4 doesn't mean it can be powered by it. Indeed, some people that have dug into the device have found that the Chromecast pulls too much current to get it from an HDMI port. Straight HDMI 1.4 can output 50mA, while MHL-HDMI ports (which are still very uncommon) can offer up 500mA. Neither can handle the Chromecast at load. So you’re stuck with that USB cable.

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Once it's powered, the Chromecast will boot up almost instantly and ask to be set up via a web URL or the Android app. The website will install a program on your computer to run through the setup process, but it’s almost identical to what you'd do on Android, which probably how most users will go about it.

The app searches out Chromecasts on the network and lists them at the top. If there is one that has not been configured, or was reset, the app offers to set it up. The TV will display a short alphanumeric code after they are paired. This is done to ensure you’re connecting to the Chromecast you think you’re connecting to. Is Google maybe being a little optimistic that people are going to have enough Chromecasts in their homes to get confused about which one is which? Maybe, but it’s nice they thought ahead.

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The Chromecast itself has no UI you can interact with. All the setup and (eventually) input happens on another device. The app (or desktop program) is used to tell the device which network to connect to, and what the password is.

On a home network, or anything running standard WiFi security, the process is mostly painless. The Chromecast is a little daft, though. On dual-band routers, it will try to hop on a 5GHz network if that’s what your phone/tablet is on, even though it doesn’t support 5GHz. You’ll have to switch it over to 2.4GHz manually, but if the SSIDs are different the app will warn you the phone or tablet won't be able to communicate with the Chromecast. That’s not the case with dual-band routers, but the app pitches a fit and tries to switch the Android device over to the other network.

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Just forge ahead and it should connect, but a few failures are common (at least in my testing). Once the Chromecast is connected, it seems to stay that way. Signal strength is good, but I know some owners have been having issues. There may be some questionable units in this first batch.

Video And Audio

Once everything is up and running, you can begin sending media directly to the Chromecast. The TV screen will display a minimalist interface with a big "ready to cast" header. Your Android apps will also report the HDMI stick’s readiness. There’s nothing to interact with on the Chromecast itself – remember, the streamer is basically a dumb terminal that receives commands from the apps.

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There are two ways to get streaming internet video up on the Chromecast, the first being through your phone or tablet. This is probably going to be the most common method by far, so let's start there. When you open a supported app, the Cast button will be at the top. Simply tap it and select the Chromecast.

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The device boots into a new interface to let you know it has "seen" your device, but it won't play anything. These screens are usually just logos, maybe with a small reminder of how to send the video from the app you've chosen. When the video is started, the Chromecast actually goes out to the internet and grabs the stream directly. Thus, you can use your handset as a controller, but can also do other things with it – even turn it off and use a second device to control playback.

There are three streaming video apps at launch that work with the Chromecast: Google Play Movies, YouTube, and Netflix. Google Play Movies and Netflix have about a 1 second delay when you hit the play/pause button or scrub through the video. YouTube is a bit more responsive, but not by much. They will all provide handy lock screen playback controls. The TV queue management in the YouTube app is also super-useful.

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To be clear, all these apps are more than fast enough to provide a good experience. The video playback on the Chromecast looks about as good as any other streaming device I have. In fact, Netflix can stream at 1080p with 5.1 surround sound (if you have the bandwidth). I believe this makes the Chromecast the cheapest 1080p Netflix device by a wide margin. Netflix (annoyingly) calls this "Super HD," and the next cheapest way to do it is the mid-range Roku boxes in the $70-80 range.

YouTube playback looks awesome, and I suspect the slightly improved responsiveness is due to the Chromecast pulling down the VP8 version of most videos. It has the hardware to decode VP8, which is a very efficient codec to begin with.

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Google Play Movies also looks excellent streaming to the Chromecast, but controlling playback is a bit more sluggish resuming after being paused. I suspect this has more to do with Google's back end than the Chromecast itself.

The other way to get video streams going on your HDMI dongle is to use a computer (with the Google Cast extension installed in Chrome) and click the Cast button within a web player. The button exists In YouTube and Netflix currently – just click the Cast button and the Chromecast will grab the video stream just like it did with the phone. It’s the same video, same quality, and same minimal lag.

There are a few caveats with the PC video streaming, though. First, there is no way to send Google Play Movies to your Chromecast – it's phone only. I assume this is going to be rectified at some point. Also, you have to keep the Netflix tab alive someplace for the stream to keep going. That’s not the case with YouTube, and it's a little more inconvenient than the phone Netflix setup. This may be a licensing thing.

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The apps and web interfaces, sadly, can’t control the volume on your TV. The device supports HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronic Control), so it can turn on your TV and switch inputs, but volume control is part of that spec too. I’m not sure why it isn’t implemented here. When you increase volume on the handset or web player, the Chomecast increases its internal volume output, but you’ll have to change the TV volume manually to make much of a difference. 

The YouTube integration is excellent for playing around with when you have friends over. Almost everyone with a smartphone has the YouTube app, and it’s easy to shoot videos over to the TV.

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Music is currently available in the form of Google Play Music, and it works very well. Playback control is almost instantaneous, and the audio quality seems undegraded. Like Google Play Movies, there is no native support for the web version of Play Music, but hopefully that’s coming. If you have All Access and a killer sound system, the Chromecast could be an easy, inexpensive way to get all that music into your speakers.

Tab Casting And The Chrome Extension

The other side of the Chromecast is tab casting, which relies on a direct connection from your PC to the HDMI stick. In addition to placing the Cast button in the Netflix and YouTube player, the Google Cast Chrome extension lets you send a tab over to the you TV. This is a beta feature, and it’s not perfect, but it's really cool.

On any page you can simply tap on the extension button and select 'Cast this tab.' The default mode is to only send the page without any of the Chrome or operating system UI. This can be used for showing any random webpage on a TV, but the better use for tab casting is to get non-supported videos up on the TV. Both video and audio will be routed to the TV for all tab casting sessions.

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Take Hulu for example. Neither the Android app nor the web player support Chromecast, but you can always open the web player and send the tab over. You can even full-screen the video to fill the TV. The framerate is sufficiently high to watch video, but there is the occasional pixelation or dropped frame. That's the exception rather than the rule, though.

There are some settings for the extension to tune the projected tab quality. There's standard definition, low bitrate 720p, and high bitrate 720p. If you've got a good wireless signal, the high bitrate video should be fine. The extension will pop up a warning if network conditions cause too many frames to be dropped.

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The delay between the computer and the Chromecast is longer – upwards of 2 seconds. That makes it a little awkward to use the tab casting live, but it's fine once you get a video going.

Another capability of the extension takes us beyond the tab by casting the entire desktop of your computer through Chrome. This option doesn't seem to be working for all users, but it isn't clear why. The Cast button in Chrome has a small drop down menu with this toggle (if you have it) – it is labeled "experimental," by the way.

Just like the tab casting, this feature mirrors the entire desktop on the TV screen via Chromecast. If you have multiple monitors, they're all shown. That actually requires some scaling and big black bars that make the feed less useful. Again, it’s labeled as experimental.

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Desktop casting could be used to demo a program or project a slideshow. The feed is a bit more pixelated than a single tab. I suspect it's still crunching everything down into a 720p feed.

Still another mode in the Chrome extension is audio mode, but it seems strangely incomplete. From what I can tell, this mode currently sends both video and audio, but gives preference to the audio stream. So the video looks pixelated, but the audio is fine. I’m not sure what the practical application is for this. Maybe it would be useful on very slow networks? Otherwise, this is the most beta part of the whole extension.

One missing piece of all this is the lack of tab casting for Android. It pains me to see this feature missing, because I want it so badly. Google’s hasn’t said what the future of tab casting is, so maybe this is in the cards for Chrome on Android, but for now it’s a missed opportunity.

Local Media

This is a bit of an Easter Egg in the Chromecast. It's more or less part of the desktop extension but I’m breaking it out because this isn't even an experimental feature – it's a workaround. Let’s say you have a local media file like a video or an MP3 you have not yet dumped into Google Play Music. In many cases, you can actually get that media into the Chromecast directly from your PC.

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First, find the file path to your files and paste that into the Chrome address bar. Like all browsers, Chrome can open local hard drive locations as an index of files – a stripped down file browser of sorts. It turns out Chrome itself can play many of these files. All MP3s appear to work, and a fair number of videos encoded in h.264 (MP4), MPEG, or WMV. Matroska (MKV) is hit and miss, which is odd because Google’s VP8 uses Matroska video.

The tabs playing local content can be sent over to the Chromecast like any website you might pull up, complete with audio. This is one of the easiest ways to get a great deal of local media up on your TV. The only thing you need to install is the Google Cast extension. I would really like to see this become a more "official" feature.

The desktop casting above can also be used to accomplish the same basic thing with full screen video in a separate player, but the video quality is not going to be as good.

Travel

Because the Chromecast is so portable, many potential buyers have been wondering if this is the answer to your boring hotel room prayers. Well, I'm sorry to say it's not. The Chromecast is pretty dumb on its own (see the setup process above). It doesn't have a browser, or any kind of smarts about bizarre networks. It either connects and gets internet access, or it doesn't.

I tested this by configuring my home router to provide a guest network. I realize this is not exactly the same setup as a hotel, but I wanted to figure out if the device was smart enough to deal with a landing page of some sort. Well, the Chromecast does connect just fine, but it can't get internet access. There is no way to tell a Chromecast to enter a guest password or click a button.

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Even if you could manage to connect by getting your device’s MAC address whitelisted on the Hotel’s network, many public WiFi hotspots use client isolation to prevent devices on the network from talking to each other. Since this is required to pair the Chromecast and your mobile device, you won’t be able to use it.

There are several ways road warriors can still work this out. One approach is to bring your own travel-size access point and plug it into a hotel ethernet port. These devices do exist, but at that point, you're going to extremes just to use your Chromecast. A PC application like Connectify that creates a hotspot on your computer would also work, but again, you're going to a lot of trouble. Or, just use a mobile hotspot and destroy your data cap.

Is It A Winner?

The Chromecast is a fascinating little device. At launch it already seems to do more than the Nexus Q ever did. The video streaming through Netflix and YouTube is excellent (both mobile and desktop). While Google Play Movies is still missing some desktop functionality, and it’s much less commonly used, the video is clear.

Grabbing all this data from the cloud when possible was a brilliant approach to streaming through the Chromecast. Taking video streams from a phone or tablet would only slow the process and introduce artifacts from two rounds of decoding. It also allows you to do as you please with your device (or multiple devices) while using it to channel media into the TV.

The audio angle seems less interesting at first, but it has amazing potential. A Chromecast can instantly carry all your cloud music into any sound system with a receiver with HDMI inputs. For $35 per room, you can rig up a remote-controlled sound system. Google Play Music All Access makes the Chromecast seem like an even better deal – you can stream almost any song to your entertainment system on demand. Google Music is likewise missing desktop playback, but the mobile aspect is great.

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I don’t know that I’ve found a lot of uses for tab casting yet, but it feels important. This might be the Chromecast's killer feature in the future. There’s a ton of potential and it’s working great for a beta feature. Playing back local media is a nice bonus too.

All that said, the Chromecast is not a panacea. Tab casting from Android would be great, and app support is thin right now. I also wish the Chromecast OS (whatever it is) could be just a little smarter. If it could understand public WiFi login pages, that would be a great start. And that’s only one of the issues that keeps the Chromecast from solving the frequent flyer's problems. You can make it work on the road, but this is mainly a home device. I would also really like to see some sort of WiFi Direct functionality for sending media direct to the device.

After spending some time with the Chromecast, I'm sold. It’s really not hard to be sold on this device. It does a lot of things and it’s only $35. You don’t have to hit a homerun at that price, you just have to get a good bunt. The Chromecast is more than that, though.

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At the end of the day, this device is awesome. Not only is it the best streaming media solution Google has ever come up with, it's one of the best you can buy when you figure in the price and potential for more apps to add support. If app developers get friendly with the Chromecast, it could be unstoppable. I think Google nailed it by leveraging the booming mobile ecosystem.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Michael Pahl

    Like mine a lot. now if HBO Go will just update their app with 4.3 support and Chromecast support :)

    • Elliot Kotis

      Apparently HBO is giving in and going to provide support soon! I wish this stuff was available in Aus (HBO go etc, along with chromecast).

  • zhuowei

    The container of a video isn't always the same as the codec. To read a video file, Chrome has to be able to read both the MKV container format and the video data inside it - and that data may be compressed with a codec Chrome doesn't know about, hence the hit-and-miss.

    • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

      Even H.264 streams in a Matroska container don't play through Chrome, I've had to rename them to .mp4 to trick Chrome into playing them.

  • angel_spain

    It needs something to succed: be launched worlwide. Come on the same happened to the Wireless Orb charger, it's awesome, we all want one, but they are only sold in the US.

    This is a nonsense, Google is your marketing manager a monkey?

    • clay

      completely uneducated comment.

      • Laszlo Demeter

        Not really, he is kinda right. No S4 GE, no Chromecast etc etc

        • clay

          chromecast is a device that would need hardware revisions to release in other countries as well as passing the equivalent of the FCC in other parts of the world. not to mention possible licensing and regulations around apps like netflix, but that wouldnt be google's problem.

          • Thomas’

            Yes, and obviously not a single one company on earth managed to release its devices all over the world in a timely fashion.

          • clay

            its a beta product, why release it to the world again?

          • Thomas’

            That wasn't your point before.

          • Prasad Tiruvalluri

            It is not a Beta product. Only the Tabcasting is Beta. I think the problem is that they must have have underestimated the demand (it can happen, look at MS, even with all the experience selling, keyboards,mice and xboxes, it still got the RT estimates wrong). I think this will be available everywhere once they ramp up the production.

          • angel_spain

            I don't think so, honestly. They could have said "... and it will be available later on other countries", exactly what they said with the new Nexus 7, but they didn't.
            So I bet they have no plans of seeling it outside US in a near future, sadly.
            I would buy it just for the Chrome cast extension and youtube cast, I don't even need Netflix or that subscriptions that can be a headache to Google in terms of copyright and licensing agreements.

          • Guest

            Hahah keep moving those goal posts...

          • f

            Its not a beta product, dickhead.

          • เกรียนเทพ ดี อันลิมิเตด

            If they're not release beta product to the whole world, how could they find a problem which is relate to specific region? For example, language issue.

            And this doesn't change the fact that Nexus devices should be sole all over the world when it's released. They sell Nexus 4 in their store for $300, but it's about $600-700 for unsupported country where the price is form by LG.

            It's not just Google. Some app/game developers trend to sell their app/game only in some specific country. I don't care if it's a service like Netflix. But for a product like game or something, it's unforgivable. They just deserved to be crack, their app/game look pretty good in piracy site. If they're calling for it, I'm ready to go anytime.

          • adi19956

            -There's only one "FCC" in the EU
            -HDMI does not need revising
            -How hard is it to change a power plug? Especially because most of mainland Europe operate with the same one
            -They've already cancelled the free Netflix thing and Netflix isn't just available in the US

            -Google are being weird.

          • clay

            free netflix thing has nothing to do with what licensing netflix must do in other countries. maybe their license doesnt cover putting it on a second screen in the way chromecast does. have you read their license and what they are able to do? neither have i.

            i wasnt going for hdmi, i was going for wifi standards. while their radio might be able to use other standards, there is still licensing and standards you must comply with in order to release a product in the country.

            people think its fucking magic to release a device in other parts of the world, you have no idea what companies encounter. maybe they already had the device ready to go, but got held up by red tape.

            google is not being weird.

          • adi19956

            No way a behemoth like Google is having trouble releasing this.
            As I've said for the EU, whilst there is a substantial amount of red tape, once through it a company has access to a market of over 500 million people. Why would Google not go for this?

          • clay

            beta, limited features, small amount of time and inventory to be able to ship to 500 million more potential customers, and thats just scratching the surface. plenty of reasons why its only available in the US.

          • Mobile Phones Fan

            As I've said for the EU, whilst there is a substantial ... amount of red tape, Why would Google not go for this?

            Um, maybe because some folks over there (strident nationalists looking for headlines during the recession, a few individual countries with wacky ideas about photography and/or the usual crew of populist, anti-American politicians at EUHQ) have spent much of the past two years badgering Google on a host of issues?

            Even if we ignore the editorials and speechifying, the concomitant stream of ludicrous criminal and civil trials, plus repeated threats of government sanctions on ...

            - privacy issues (Street View)

            - 3rd-party defamation (Google Instant)

            - anti-competitive practices (name *any* Google product)

            ...all go well beyond the meaning of 'red tape'. And, please, don't even try to pretend there could be no such difficulties arising from a product like Chromecast.

            After all this, if Google tells you lot to talk to the hand -- much less, makes you wait a few months for the new hotness -- you have noone but yourselves to blame.
            .

          • adi19956

            You're suggesting that a safety testing body which would certify this product wouldn't deem Chromecast as safe because of current WiFi privacy issues with a completely separate product?
            Politicians might dislike Google, but (fortunately) they have no say in a matter like this (you forgot to mention Google's tax issues and issues with pornography in the UK).

            You then go on to blame us for Google's ineptitude at releasing products?

            We know it's possible, they released all of the Nexuses at the same time as the US (except the new N7) so why can they not release this?

          • dg

            Read your comment again, look at the number of "maybes" and just admit that, like most Americans, you dont know sh*t about other countries (unless you're bombing them!). Consider for a second, that people who live in other countries know more about them than some inbred cunt in his mama's basement who calls people uneducated. Fucking retard.

          • Elliot Kotis

            AUSTRALIA hasn't gotten an option to buy N7 2013 yet.
            Yep
            -Google are being very weird.

          • ea

            Thanks for giving us an example of an uneducated comment.

          • Elliot Kotis

            iTV is everywhere.

          • Laszlo Demeter

            As adi19956 said, there is only one FCC. We got the same problem with everything: Google Wallet, Nexus 7, Chromecast, S4 GE and so on. What's so hard ? There could be more clients in Europe than USA. Also we are not retarded, we got better technology and internet broadband than residential in USA. We, Europeans, kiss Google's ass more than USA, where most of the market is taken by Crapple.

      • LOL

        American calling someone else uneducated? LOL.

    • GlennStile

      I think it just needs a bit more time, it is less than a week old. I think we can all see the possibilities for this device just need the media companies to get on board.

      BBC iPlayer will make this a hit in the UK

      • angel_spain

        I know, it's just I don't see anything like future plans of doing it. There aren't leaks or rumours about Google negociating with Europe companies, and they said nothing about "coming soon in another countries". Anyway, is a device very cool even if it worked only with Google apps.

        Damn, I haven't rent a movie in Google Play ever, but I would do it if I knew that just with a tap it would be on my TV without killing my phone battery. And without any single wire. Even the slimport cable for my nexus is almost as expensive as this thing.

      • Wam31

        What it needs isn't time, it's a miracle.
        It seems to me Google is trying to sell its brand like Apple does. And Im an Android "fanboy".
        The possibilities for this kind of device are known by some of us for quite some time now. It's called mk808 / mk 908, and the likes.

        I really need someone to explain to me how the hell is this supposed to compete with, say, a rk3188 HDMI stick (Quad core, 2 GB RAM, Android 4.2.2, and a whole community of developers behind it).

        And, for the record, I don't consider the 30$ difference worthy of the downgrade (or even the rooting and flashing of a real Android OS for that matter...)

        • GlennStile

          This is not an android stick, its not trying to compete with android sticks or even function in the same way as an android stick.

          You must have family members with dumb TV's or even smart TV's that are not very easy to use, that's who this device is for. There are millions of people out there who want to watch things from the internet on their TV but faffing around with Google TV, Apple TV or and android stick is just a PITA.

          These same people watch YouTube on their mobiles, laptops and computers can now tap a single button and watch it on their TV, for now its just Youtube, Netflix and Google movies but this can be baked into thousands of apps and websites.

          Imagine reading a blog on your phone that has an embedded video, tap cast and its on your TV, its this simplicity that makes this a great product that the laymen can use with almost no training.

          Us geeks can play with our android sticks, htpc's and Raspberry-Pi's and have this functionality now but this is for the masses.

          Re the thousands of developers, its meaningless unless the media companies allow developers to access their content, and most of the time they don't (BSkyB!!). DRM in chromecast will keep them happy, which means consumers can actually get the content they want.

        • MrChris
          • Wam31

            Actually yeah !
            Because, first, CM is NOT meant to be for the average user while Chromecast is. And even though I flash CM on every phone I buy, it is not an argument in favor of chromecast. At least not for its target demographic.

            I guess I was just expecting that Google would wipe the competition with its USB thingy. Just expressing my personal disappointment.The sheer specs are a no-go for me. So is not being able to access internal storage. I mean, come on !

    • Frekko

      I wonder why this device is needed on the go? Do you carry a TV with u on road?
      this is a great device. Very useful. I hope that it will come to India soon

      • ad

        TV in your hotel room.

    • iamnotfan

      I can live without chrome, I already lived 30 years , so far no problem .

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      I'm in the US and I can't get one. I waited to see what the reviews were going to be like before I picked one up now there are none to buy.

    • Stacey Liu

      No one wants a charging orb. We would want one if it actually worked. Unfortunately, it has no magnets or grip, so the Nexus 4 slides right off.

    • As

      I agree. Marketing wise they need to learn from Apple. Same with Nexus 7. Why discriminate Europe? Like we're different users? Really?

  • Itchy_Robot

    Great review. You guys are very thorough, and that is appreciated!

  • Jeremy Powers

    For your no good for travel i feel you neglected one major item. Tethering and/or MiFi devices.

    • RyanWhitwam

      "Or, just use a mobile hotspot and destroy your data cap." ;)

      • Jeremy Powers

        Well as long as you are not in one of the crappy shared data plans (Verizon, AT&T) its not hard or expensive to up the data for the times when you need it. All it needs next is a way to manage streaming quality and it would be perfect for tethering.

  • SomeGuy112

    I'm so tempted to get this but it seems pointless since I already have a Roku 3 with Playon Service.. Probably will end up buying it sometime down the road once development picks up..

  • brkshr

    My only gripe with ChromeCast is that it needs a wifi connection. If it were a direct wireless connection it would be perfect.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It uses it for setup already, now we just need the same for data transfer for travel. Then it'll be perfect.

      • Nimer55

        So for the setup, do you need to manually enter the network password, or does it simply grab it from the phone?

        If it simply copies it from the phone, does it only copy your current network over, or all the saved ones?

        (off topic, but: one feature I wish was integrated in chrome/android sync was Wifi passwords. I don't like having to enter my password in my phone and chromebook, and having to redo it when I wipe one of them).

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          On the phone, I believe it wants you to type it, but on the computer, it can copy. It's about whether it can access this information or not on each OS.

      • Mike Carson

        Or just ask the hotel what type of connection they use to connect to the internet, I work front desk and also take care of the network and went with the way you would connect at home by entering the routers password no login screen and the password never changes.

    • blahmoomoo

      You would lose internet via Wi-Fi if you did that, unless you have multiple Wi-Fi cards, but such an option may be nice I guess.

    • timrcm

      Heck, it'd add some bulk, but I'd be very happy if it had a hardwired ethernet port. My apartment is a cesspool of dozens of 2.4Ghz connections. It works fine since in my situation it sits 3 feet from the router, but still.

      I'm sure the next hardware revision will at least have 5Ghz though.

      • Justin W

        In addition to this, I'd be able to cast tabs at 720p with a high bitrate easily. As it stands, I can do 480p, which is fine for now since the only TV I really watch is from Netflix, but 720p would be much better for mirroring desktop-only content.

  • PhineasJW

    A better description of it's travel capabilities would be:

    *Not ideal for HOTEL travel

    It's ridiculously portable. And, it's awesome for a party at a friend's house or weekend away. *Anyone* with *any* device on the same network can just broadcast content to it. It's removed all barriers in a way that's simple and transparent.

    A recent house guest logged into my WiFi with his S4, opened the stock YouTube app, and he was instantly able to beam a clip to the TV. He went to the order page and was ready to buy one on the spot...

  • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

    I have a few questions hopefully someone can help me out with. In your review and in the announcement, it was said that another device can take over for the device that originally started the cast. Does this mean that the new device can just override the cast (which I have successfully done), or can you actually pick up where you left off, say in the show's page on Netflix?

    Also, as far turning the TV on and switching input, I've heard that it depends on the TV you are using. Is this true and do you have to do anything to make it work, like enable a setting or something?

    Thanks for the help.

    • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

      With YouTube, say if I start the playback from my PC, and then close that tab on the PC, I can take over control of that video (pause, scrub) from my phone, no problem. Haven't tried with Netflix.

      • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

        Do I go into the YouTube app or Chromecast app?

        Edit: Ahhhh I see. Once I hit the Chromecast button in the YouTube app, it let's me control it. That's awesome!

        • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

          Yep! I stumbled across it by accident, but I was super glad to see it

    • PhineasJW

      Your TV or receiver (I have mine plugged into my receiver) needs to support the HDMI-CEC protocol, which goes by various names depending on the manufacturer.

    • Jose Torres

      Say if you have the same Netflix account on two devices. If you cast a movie from one device then both devices will show the movie's progress on whatever Chromecast which it is showing. So if you stop from one device, the other will show that too, and can be resumed from that device also.

      Whether or not if Chromecast turns the TV on and/or switches depends on the TV I assume, but it did work on mine.

    • George Varghese

      Yes you have to enable HDMI-CEC on your TV. I have described it in detail in my Amazon review of chromecast. http://www.amazon.com/review/R3MRUD8JW2GNFO/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00DR0PDNE&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

  • Jack

    Does it support a browser? Flash streaming on TV would be worth buying it for.

    • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

      You can stream flash content via the Google Cast Chrome extension. Just Cast the tab that the flash content is playing on, i.e. Amazon Instant Video.

  • Neto Cavalcanti

    I ask me if Chromecast works fine in low conections. My is 2Gb =/
    But i will buy one.

    • Daniel DS

      Nice typo

      • Neto Cavalcanti

        Yeah, my english sucks.
        So... Anybody know if Chromecast works good in slow network?
        Thanks!!

        • http://www.arealcoolhand.com arealcoolhand

          I was using it on a network with really weak wifi and it was working okay. Just took longer for things to load up. The tab on the Chrome extension also gives you a heads up about your connection. I switched to 480p as the 720p was a bit stuttery.

          • Neto Cavalcanti

            Thank you. I'm very anxious to get mine. But it might take some time since I live in Brazil.

          • Justin W

            I'm on an 802.11ac WiFi router, and it's literally right next to the TV and Chromecast, but my 720p connection was very stuttery. I think that's a software issue and not a network issue, because my router should have easily been able to handle the 720p bitrate.

          • Floss

            This only supports n, anything above that on your router doesn't matter.

          • Justin W

            Regardless, though, N should easily be enough to push through 720p at a high bitrate.

  • TomStieger

    Can you cast your Netflix app to one TV and your YouTube app to a different TV using the same phone?

    • Jose Torres

      Theoretically yes. Every time you attempt to cat something it specifically requests which device you want it to cast.

    • Jeff Baker

      Yes, and in youtube you have the option to cast to GTV in the extension drop down as well.

  • Jose Torres

    Did you get the warning while opening Google Play Music saying "Unable to cast side loaded music" ? I did, and since I did not buy ANY songs off of Google Play then that feature is pretty much useless for me.

    Plus, I tried to load a video file as you did through a tab and all Chrome does is try to download it and not play it. I'm not too impressed with it right now...

    • atlharry

      Upload your music to Google Play? Also, have you tried installing a chrome extension to enable playback of video files within chrome?

    • Jeff Baker

      Sideload on the phone does not work but uploading any of it to the cloud works.
      The way this is designed, is to favor cloud content so you don't need to run your battery down on your phone while streaming from it.

    • spydie

      I just used chrome to access my hard drive containing a ton of DVD mp4 videos and it played them over chromecast just fine.

      • Jose Torres

        Not fair! What plug ins does your browser have, if any?

  • Ashish Raj

    The free 3 month subscription to Netflix was icing on the cake!!

    • Nimer55

      I'm so sad that's gone... Especially since it was gone before coming to Canada. Otherwise I would have ordered one initially for myself to test out, then given them as birthday gifts to people I think would a) use it b) need to get netflix.

  • ModXMV

    I have found it ideal for watching Twitch.tv and Azubu streams. My girlfriend uses it to watch the Big Brother content on the CBS site.

    • Logan B.

      Holy crap...you're right! This is a great way to actually have a good party for an MLG StarCraft 2 tournament or something like that at home with your own TVs!

    • http://www.arealcoolhand.com arealcoolhand

      Yeah, if Twitch were smart they'd support this in their apps and via the website. Just not sure if they're in an exclusive contract with Microsoft for steaming via TV. Would be stupid if so!

  • Scott

    The setup on mine was really wonky. From my 2 android devices (my phone and my nexus 7) the devices would drop wireless connection and come back with a "can't find chromecast" general error. I had to use my windows laptop and download the client on there and it worked flawlessly. Not sure what was going on with that.

  • TomZ

    I bought a Chromecast and now get to experience the terrible experience of the Netflix app. They need an overhaul. Chromecast is pretty sweet though, definitely worth it!

    • http://www.arealcoolhand.com arealcoolhand

      Is that the 4.3 bug? Netflix was working fine with my Chromecast but N4 and N7 are still on CM 10.1.2 at the moment.

  • Kurt

    "I don’t know that I’ve found a lot of uses for tab casting yet, but it feels important."

    That is almost the most important feature of the whole device. You can cast any tab to your tv so you can practically watch any video from any site on your T.V....think porn.

    • spydie

      yep, porn sites make a huge screen living room TV a real orgy!

      • bse88

        A great family activity.

  • Jeff Baker

    The "Cast Entire Screen" option is dependent upon your screen aspect ratio. Adjust that and it will pop up.

    I disagree with the Bad for Travel rating you gave it.
    I've been in two hotels watching my slingbox and watching movies from my WD HDD.

    I also have a freedompop unit as well as sprint unlimited data on my rooted GS3.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/doomstang Doomstang

      I work for a hotel company and I know it won't work at our hotels. Even though we don't have a splash page, we block all guest to guest traffic. If this becomes popular enough, we may have to find a way to make it work.

      • George Varghese

        Wouldn't a travel router fix the problem. Guests don't have to use the hotel wifi or do any setup of chromecast. Just plugin the travel router to LAN port and everything would work.

        • https://twitter.com/#!/doomstang Doomstang

          Most of our hotels don't even have wired connections available anymore. We are actually removing the wired from the remaining locations that still have it.

  • Mateusz Trocha

    I don't see why the "Needs USB power" is a bad thing, hdmi can't supply enough power so complain about existing hdmi ports not the google Chromecast.

    • Logan B.

      I think the issue was that they were advertising it as being some super discrete dongle that would be virtually hidden from view (except for the big ugly cable sticking out of the back of it).

      I think that's the point they were trying to get at, anyway.

      • George Varghese

        Even with the power cable, it is still hidden from view with most televisions. As regards advertising. Well it's advertising. Apple TV's product page doesn't show any hdmi cable or power cable plugged into the device. http://www.apple.com/appletv/ Just the device sitting beside the television. Yet nobody assumes appletv works without any wires.

        • Logan B.

          No one assumes that because the Apple TV box doesn't plug directly into the set.

      • Mateusz Trocha

        Yeah, I guess you're right. And Google isn't usually the one to false advertise like that and I found out that it needs USB power in the smallest, most fain print at the bottom of their website!

        • Logan B.

          I'm not trying to say Google was false advertising. They were doing it as they should have, honestly. But it just caused a bit of confusion for the consumers once they got the box.

          • Mateusz Trocha

            But it is what they were doing, if you watch their chromecast video, all it shows is it being plugged in to hdmi and it doesn't mention anything about usb.

  • Troy Myers

    Does anyone know if it is possible to use this to cast from one device to multiple chromecast devices. Say my computer to 2 tvs with a seperate chromecast in each tv?

    • Avrohom Eliezer Friedman

      I've been wondering the same thing - my chrome cast is supposed to come Friday, but I only ordered one so I can't test it

    • Justin W

      This would be awesome and I was just thinking about this. Being able to hook one device up to all the TV's in the house and able to stream Play Music, Youtube, etc. This would be awesome for parties.

    • alexcue

      It definitely should. Every time I cast a video, it still asks me which Chromecast device to send the video to (I only have one, so I can't be positive). You have to give your Chromecast a unique name, so they should be easy to identify.

  • James Rooney

    Have you tried creating your laptop as a wifi hotspot and getting the Chromecast to join that network? If this works then once there is tab casting from android you could do the same with an android device. Or am I just being crazy?

  • Shitiz Garg

    Chrome + Plex Web Media Manager/Player = Full of epic Win (theoretically, I don't have a chromecast). Chrome can actually play almost all videos that I have, it's AC3 audio which it can't handle. Plex's live transcoding to the rescue!

  • Thomas’

    I'm just missing a Miracast receiver in the stick. It would be so much more useful!

  • Hendrick

    I can just use my Roku box for the same. Sure it cost a little more, but I have Hulu and Crackle too in addition to other services. I can also get an MK-802 Android based mini PC and that runs about $30 on Amazon and gives me the full Android experience with all apps.

    • GlennStile

      I've read this so many times.... "My {whatever} does this already"

      Yes there are other ways to stream music and movies, but this is $35, backed by google and can be baked into thousands of apps very easily.

      You have a roku, great, but there is more people that don't and they are more likely to buy this.

    • symbolset

      I have the Roku and I really like it. I'm hoping that Roku adds a Chromecast channel so I can cast things to it as well. I have the Equiso Android stick also, with all of the Android apps I love and use on my Android devices - and it's great for moving movies and songs around on uSDHC. Again, I'm really hoping for a Chromecast Android app so I can use it in that way too (and also, sling video from any device to any device with a display).

      Roku doesn't have a Youtube channel. They might consider adding one, as apparently people watch a lot of Youtube.

      Early days yet.

  • Eloy Antunez

    A friend got one yesterday evening, and this morning his main comment was, "THAT THING GOT FREAKIN' HOT FREAKIN' FAST! Like it got hot as if my htc one s was running the gps and like 10 apps plus music through a headset to drain the battery quick HOT!"

  • tyguy829

    Great review, but I have to disagree with one thing: "Works wonderfully with Google Play Music"

    Actually, using Google Play music with the Chromecast in its current state is a DISASTER. Only one device using google play music can connect at a time, and if a second device tries to connect, it will show an error saying it can't play the requested song. That means no shared queues-friends can't add/delete songs from the queue and you can't start a queue on your tablet, then later add/remove songs with your phone. I was so surprised to discover this limitation, especially since shared music queues was the number 1 selling point of the Nexus Q, which the chromecast is obviously meant to replace. Google needs to remedy this ASAP

    • Logan B.

      You've got a great point here. I never really thought about some sort of "party playlist" that you could do (I guess you could say it's been a while that I've even thought about the Nexus Q). But with the the press release showing off the demo with YouTube so much, I figured that if you've got a bunch of people with Google Play All Access, there'd be no problem doing the same thing. Hopefully they can get that function working, it would be a very powerful feature.

      • tyguy829

        Exactly. It works flawlessly with youtube , so hopefully they can implement the same thing with music fairly quickly.

    • naysayer

      A lot of people actually complained about the useless and annoying "party mode" of the NQ.

  • spydie

    I own one... but wifi is too limiting. If it were bluetooth, it could do anything, including play my hard drive full of DVDs on my RV television. It would work with anything with BT, including your phone and tablet. I think they missed the boat. Either add bluetooth to it, or come out with a bluetooth-only model. Make our phones and tablets capable of bluetoothing anything that you can wifi and you've got a killer "toy."

    • GlennStile

      it does have a bluetooth radio, maybe it'l happen. I reckon a bluetooth remote would be a good add-on

    • Beau

      You can already do all of those things with wifi... It's supported by Android and iOS phones & tablets, and you can use a laptop along with tab casting to stream those DVDs wirelessly

      • jesuguru

        But Android can't tabcast (yet), so any videos etc on an Android phone/tablet couldn't be streamed (yet).

        • Justin W

          Do you have a laptop or other Windows/Mac device able to run Chrome? If so, use it to run anything you could imagine to your TV. You can also send links from Chrome on your Android to your desktop via bookmarks or other features pretty easily. I think people are just making excuses about why they shouldn't buy this.

  • Lars Jeppesen

    I'm using the Chrome Cast from my hotel room in Las Vegas just fine.

    1) plug chrome cast to tv
    2) use a travel router with wifi access point. Now you have a local network at your hotel room, and your travel router acts like a router to the hotel network.

    3) enjoy

    PS: I'm using the TP-Link Portable wireless N Router, TLMR3040

    • George Varghese

      Although the setup is easy, I was thinking setting it up with hotel wifi everytime I travel would be a pain and not worth the hassle. But your travel router idea is perfect. Once I set it up with travel router, all I need to do is plug in the travel router and chromecast would be ready to stream. Thanks for the excellent tip.

    • Gracie Josephine

      how does one set up a travel router?

      • shonangreg

        You buy it and plug it in.

  • Tony Byatt

    I was a little upset my brother's plasma TV didn't have a USB port. Luckily the cable box has one. Chromecast is awesome...

  • David Belyea

    A few hiccups getting activated on some networks
    Fair point, but it tells you how and what to connect to and what will work better/what might not work.
    Limited app support at launch
    As opposed to all the other devices that launch that have a ton of app support when nobody knew it was coming
    Not ideal for travel
    Haven't tested but will be going to a hotel for business soon and will sure as hell be bringing it with me
    Needs USB power
    I know that there are Android sticks that don't need USB power, but most people are comparing this to the Roku, Apple TV, etc. which are much bigger and can't do USB power but have to be plugged into an outlet. Soooo, yeah, I'll take the USB power
    No direct media push (without a WiFi network)
    Well it needs an internet connection and if people are complaining about USB power they would have complained and said that using wired connection. Also, direct connection would've shot a phone's battery, so this is why they came up with the server push. And its such a brilliant idea. Which I know, you already said.
    Some Google services aren't yet integrated in browser
    And whats the biggest service you want integrated? Youtube, Movies, and Music all are. What else makes sense to wait for to launch?

    • RyanWhitwam

      Play Music and Movies aren't integrated from the browser side, only mobile. There's no Cast button there.

      But none of my objections mean I don't like the device. Simply being thorough.

      • mjku

        Play Movies can also be viewed through YouTube, where you will find them under "Purchased", so at least there's that for now.

  • apgrovas

    Why do people keep complaining that Chromecast needs to use USB to be powered, honestly if HDMI 1.4 outputs a maximum of 50 mA that is not even enough to power a Wi-Fi client during data transmission periods. Even at a low Tx power (14 dBm or so) a Wi-Fi device by itself would need more than 150 mA, forget about powering any other circuitry on the Chromecast (processor, video hardware, etc). seriously people, what did you guys expect Google to do to avoid the USB power supply (or any other power supply)? Should they have harnessed wind energy or what the f^%ck ? Please stop complaining about things that make no sense.

    • Logan B.

      I think the problem is that Google showed it off as just a simple dongle that you plug in to your TV and never have to see again. They didn't really mention the power cable and having the cable come out of the back of the device would be super noticeable, especially if you're plugging it in to a side HDMI port at the edge of the set.

      I understand power requirements, but the placement of the power port just seems kinda silly to me.

      • apgrovas

        Logan,

        The need for USB power was indeed stated during Chromecast's presentation. You can see it in 0.43.17 in this video:

        http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/07/25/the-hour-long-nexus-7-2013-android-4-3-and-chromecast-event-is-now-available-on-youtube/

        How Chromecast was introduced was literally with the following text:

        "All you have to do is plug in into any HDMI input on your TV, power through USB, connect to your home Wi-Fi and you're ready to kick back and watch"

        That people chose to forget the "power through USB" portion of the statement and then blame Google for their own forgetfulness is a different story :-)

        Just out of curiosity, if you feel that the placement of the power port is silly, why do you feel it is silly and where would you have placed it instead?

        • apgrovas

          To be honest to you, I actually feel that in the end it is actually a bad idea to place Chromecast connected straight at the back of your TV set, as doing so is simply placing it right behind a good amount of metal and other materials. The PCB on the TVs motherboard, the screen on your TV and any metal cages within your TV simply can pose a challenge in terms of the path loss between Crhomecast and your access point if the TV lies between the two. Both near field effects of that amount of metal in such close proximity to Chromecast's antennas as well as simply the addition of metal in the path between the two (Chromecast and your AP) will simply make connection to your AP potentially harder. I think because of this (and because of the added stress of having a USB cable hanging from Chromecast to your wall to power - which I do see as a potential disadvantage of the placement of the power connector) I will be placing my Chromecast somewhere else than the back of my TV that has better line of sight to my AP and simply connecting it to my TV through an HDMI cable from that spot.

          • symbolset

            I'm not seeing any issues with wifi bandwidth or signal, and my other wifi streaming devices were buffering a lot. I just plug it directly in. I suppose if I needed to I could use the extension, but I think that's really for people who have signal problems.

          • apgrovas

            That you are not seeing a degradation in video quality does not mean that you are not seeing a degradation in RSSI or CINR, and due to either of the two a degradation in PER, established link rate or other quantifiable wireless link metric. You might simply be lucky enough to have your TV be sitting close enough to your access point so that the path loss and noise contribution seen by your Chromecast is good enough that you are still at a good link rate with low packet error rate (PER) so you don't observe the degradation in your wireless link that is being caused by having your Chromecast sit right by your TV. In my case, my TV lies farther away from the access point, so the increase in path loss caused by the TV's metal and other materials is indeed degrading RSSI, and the increase in the 2.4 GHz noise floor brought on by my TV's electronics is indeed degrading CINR when I place my Chromecast by the TV, regardless of whether I do it directly or with the included 5 inch (that is really small to make a difference in my case based on where the HDMI connectors are on my TV) HDMI extender cable. You should not really say that is enough for people with signal problems based solely on your perceived video quality. At least do some RSSI and CINR measurements and see whether the HDMI extender cable does indeed suffice to solve CINR or RSSI issues (or "signal problems" as you simplify it to). I did perform measurements of at least the uplink from Chromecast and saw that indeed, placing it directly behind my TV was causing of a drop of two link rates in my case (with my Chromecast being close to the edge of the cell of my AP when placed directly behind the TV) so using a 6 feet HDMI cable to move my Chromecast away from the TV's path obstructions and noise floor contributions did help quite a bit in my case. That it didn't in yours does not suffice to prove that is the case in all situations, so that is a bad generalization to make.

          • symbolset

            Dude, I don't care how many acronyms you have. It's a movie. If I don't see a problem with viewing the movie then the problem isn't there.

          • apgrovas

            I'll simplify it for you then. It is not about acronyms but about adding a bit of science to it If you are close to your access point you'll have no problems, if you are farther away, placing your TV right between your access point and your Chromecast will create problems for you as it will decrease the signal level from Chromecast to the access point (reduce the RSSI that the access point sees from Chromecast), decrease the signal level from the access point to Chromecast (reduce the RSSI that Chromecast sees from the access point) and increase the amount of noise that Chromecast listens to (reduce its CINR by increasing the N (noise) component) by the fact it is placed right by the TV, which can have a good amount of 2.4 GHz noise. It is sort of having two cases:

            1) Me talking to you sitting right next to each other and placing your TV between us, the sound of the speakers might not be that loud to make you not being able to listen to me speak to you

            2) Me talking to you sitting 5 roooms away and then placing your TV right by you. In this case, the sound of the TV's speakers will be loud enough that my voice will actually not be loud enough for you to hear.

            In the same way, if you have your TV closer to your access point, the 2.4 GHz noise coming from your TV will not matter much, as the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi energy being transmitted by the access point will stilll be stronger by far than the one coming from the TV. If your TV is farther away from the access point, the 2.4 GHz noise coming from the TV will make your Chromecast closer to being "deaf" to the access point (reduce the CINR observed by Chromecast).

            It is not about dropping acronyms, it is simply about understanding what is going on in both scenarios. Yes, in your case, you are still able to observe video properly simply because your TV is closer to your access point, in my case that was not the case. Again, don't generalize, and don't criticize somebody trying to bring science into the question saying that person is "dropping acronyms".

          • symbolset

            Clearly you aren't getting it at all. "Simplifying" it did not help. Here, let me help. A poem called Antigonish begins thus:

            Yesterday, upon the stair,

            I met a man who wasn’t there

            He wasn’t there again today

            I wish, I wish he’d go away...

            Now do you see? You are fighting at shadows. If I enjoyed the movie then your gibberish doesn't matter at all. Enjoying the movie was the only point of this exercise.

          • apgrovas

            OK, let me dumb it down (I mean, simplify) further for you:

            1) Close to access point, close to TV no matter much
            2) far from access point, close to TV matter a lot

            Now, do you get it ? :-)

          • symbolset

            Wow. You do speak English. Now what part of "I enjoyed the movie" is confusing to you?

          • Josh

            Honestly, all of that is basically a non-issue. The fact that it doesn't have 5GHz WLAN support is a bigger issue, and it's still one that I haven't found to matter at all.

        • Logan B.

          Ok, fair enough on the statement about needing a charger.

          As for where the charge should be placed, I would MUCH rather see it on the side of the bulb.

          • apgrovas

            Couldn't agree more with you. Side placement would've been a lot better as it would greately reduce stress on the micro USB connector on Chromecast as long as the side picked for the USB connector is the one facing down and not up :-) (hence my comment below on preferring to connect Chromecast to the TV through an HDMI cable than directly at the TV's back).

          • Logan B.

            Yeah, it's either that and/or they put the thing on a swivel behind the HDMI port, so it can lay flat against the set if plugged in to the back.

          • Mario

            That's why Google gave you a HDMI extender adapter that is flexible and can bend downward as to not cause any "stress" on the micro usb connector. I got one in my box, didn't you?

          • apgrovas

            Yup, and that extender is only 5 inches long, so it does not do much to move Chromecast away from the TV's PCB and metal or from the TV's 2.4 GHz noise sources. In my case I had to move my Chromecast further away from the TV with a longer HDMI cable (you can see my description below) to observe an improvement in CINR and RSSI that allowed me to perceive good quality video.

        • Android Developer

          I wonder if it's possible to connect the device via USB to the TV instead of to its charger. Would it be enough to get power for it?

  • John Smith

    If my smartTV already has Netflix built-in and I can stream to my TV using DLNA, do I need Chromecast ? (I don't desire to watch youtube on my TV)

    • CoreRooted

      Not really. I think the target here is really the portion of the market that don't have TVs with DLNA support and/or multiple TVs in the house. You can cast to any TV connected on your network from a single device.

  • topgun966

    I am still really confused how it actually went on my wifi. I have a WPA2-enterprise that is NOT broadcasting the SSID yet the Chromecast connected right away .... kinda scary actually.

    • symbolset

      I'm sure they spent a lot of effort making that work easy for you.

    • mjku

      I assume you used the app to set it up? I would suspect it pulled the WiFi settings right off your device you used to set it up, then.

      • topgun966

        Well, thats what I thought too. But how did the Chromecast know? I bought it at Bestbuy so it had no ties to my Google account. It has to connect somehow.....trippy

  • Phil

    Meh, I don't see anything killer yet. My PS3 already does this exact same YouTube casting from Android, and Netflix in the UK has a sub-par library of films so isn't really worth a subscription. I could also get any Android-powered stick and get a lot more features and apps.

    • Prasad Tiruvalluri

      Good luck buying three PS3's for all the three TVs in your home (if you have three TVs, like I have). Also If all of them are on the wifi network, I can cast a movie to my kid in the bedroom while I am watching it in the living room (if I think it is a good video that he should watch). Not sure if that can be done by adding three PS3s which seems to be a better method according to you. Also I do not need to use the PS3 controller at all. I can use the same controls that I use on the app in Android or iOS or in chrome. I have a PS3 but I do not use it as I have zero interest in gaming and it is exclusively used by my kid so I apologize if PS3 does all this. I just think it is costlier solution even if it did all these (3 PS3s in a single house?).

  • bse88

    I have been thinking for years that Chrome needs a nice "File Manager" extension. It would be ideal for this.

  • naysayer

    I don't think tab casting on Android is happening anytime soon. As was stated elsewhere, this feature needs quite a bit of horsepower. Older Laptops and Chromebooks other than the Pixel are simply too slow to produce the output.

  • WHO?

    All best Buys are sold out, Amazon sold out and Google website says ships in 3-4 weeks... It is a pitty i missed out! I'm a impulse buyer and my brain is slowly processing that i don't need it! lol

    • symbolset

      Best Buy retail locations are getting more stock several times a week. Start hanging out.

      • WHO?

        Not in Dallas Ft.Worth "large area" . Every store only received the first batch of 10 - 30 and sold out. I actually called every store. Not one store knew when they will get them in again. :(

        • Justin W

          Check every day. Chances are high you'll get it sooner.

        • symbolset

          I went back and bought two more today at my local Best Buy. They literally took them off the delivery truck. They actually tried to SELL me the Netflix coupon for $24 each, but I declined.

  • Dan

    "Limited app support at launch"

    It hasn't been launched yet. It's in open beta.

    • RyanWhitwam

      I think you may be remembering a different product. The Chromecast is on sale. It's a thing.

  • Mario

    The Bad : Needs USB Power. Really?? What other streaming device runs without needing power?

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      I guess a PC power cable would have been preferred.

  • ants1993

    Does this work if the tv is on a different source?

    • TylerChappell

      What kind of question is that? Yes it will work, you just won't be able to see it working.

      • ants1993

        I meant will it switch to the correct source channel

        • Sam Hollis

          It will, but your TV needs to support HDMI-CEC, and you may need to enable it in the settings.

          • ants1993

            OK cool. Thanks

        • TylerChappell

          That depends on your TV, not the Chromecast. Some TV's have an auto-source option that will automatically switch to the new source once it detects something is plugged in, others won't.

          • ants1993

            Thanks

  • miri

    Play Movies works, just go to the Purchases tab in YouTube.

  • Steve McQueen

    I bought my dad one of these for his birthday and he absolutely loves it. He's been subjecting my mother to youtube videos ever since he got it.

    The wifi reception seems pretty bad though. It struggles to play HD at times, while my phone and laptop in the same room have no such issues.

    • Justin W

      Agreed - I almost want it to have an Ethernet connection.

      • mjku

        Or an option to hook an an external antennae, at the very least. Or have it be able to use 5ghz signals.

  • meelyg

    Short sighted product targeting an ever-shrinking niche market

    Almost all new TV's can stream via DLNA,
    and many have Youtube apps

    • King Lo

      DLNA is a pain to setup.

      • meelyg

        Are you sure? What device did you have trouble setting up.

        Cause my LG TV & Samsung Hometheatre both have DLNA

        & the only setup I needed to do with them was allow the connection from my android phone the first time.

        Now I stream music/videos no problem

    • Crossarius

      Not at all short-sighted but the much better approach. I don't want to force my devices to do the work, locking them into streaming whatever I wanna watch. I might want to do that every once in a while, but most interesting stuff is to be found online anyway. Just pointing to it and have chromecast or a similar do all the work, is much more beneficial to my devices battery and it opens them up to do other stuff or search for more content or whatever. I might aswell just walk away and keep playing on the chromecast. It has it's use-cases and it also is able to stream local content too.

    • Michael Pahl

      I have two TVs with DLNA and they can never seem to play the formats I need. I'm sick of converting them just so the TV can stream them. No fault of DLNA

    • CoreRooted

      Yup, you're right. However, your friend's TV might not or your grandmother's, etc. How about the millions of TVs that don't have DLNA or apps? Older, cheaper models that only have HDMI and no DLNA capabilities. Streaming to it them have been damn near impossible without some sort of device and a DLNA source (which could cost well over $100). So, for $35, you get a device that you plug in and can stream to.

  • Joseph Cascio

    The Good:
    Works wonderfully with Google Play Music

    No it doesn't. Not at all. I have music that is stored both locally and in the cloud (via Music Manager). And every song says Chromecast can't play local music even though the song I'm trying to play is uploaded to my Google music account. This really needs to be fixed.

  • http://www.mobileosworld.com/ Xen Lee

    Wow Its an awesome product by google http://www.mobileosworld.com/

  • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

    I'm looking forward to GoogleTV integration of this device in the future...

  • Alex Murphy

    For playing local media, you can also just drag-and-drop the file into a Chrome window and it will immediately start playing, instead of navigating to the file location manually.

  • saltyzip

    Is there anyway we can get some kind of announcement as to when these might be coming to the UK?

  • atlouiedog

    My favorite part of every Chromecast article is everyone who feels the need to volunteer the information that their TV already plays Netflix. Thanks for letting us know!

  • mjku

    I had major issues with the tab casting feature. On Linux, full-screen Flash video doesn't work at all, and only some windowed Flash videos work (at least on Hulu). I also had major performance problems, and it simply wasn't watchable. It's a wired desktop, and it didn't make a difference whether I was using Google's Pepperflash, or the last version of Flash officially released by Adobe. I have some suspicions about some kind of DRM aspect to this, but I'm just speculating.

    I have an old laptop with Windows on it that the better half refuses to give up, and it at least displayed the video from that, but the performance was even worse than on my desktop, wired or wireless.

    My TV is in the next room, and any other device has a very strong signal, including my Revue, so I doubt it's the signal strength (although I will check to make sure now). I also read about some kind of magical update that's supposed to improve the performance of this feature, so I will wait patiently to see if that makes any difference as well.

    Even if tab casting didn't work, it's still easily worth the $35 I paid for it to be able to fling a few things to the TV without the usual hassle or much more expensive hardware.

    • umataro42

      I had a similar experience with tab casting and Hulu. I started watching a TV show episode and cast it to my TV, but it was really choppy. This could be because my laptop is kind of slow, being nearly 10 years old and not top of the line when I got it to begin with.

      But if it's a show I really like I'm happy to support it by buying the season on Google Play and having more options on where to watch it.

      The other problem with music was it can't cast locally stored music from my phone, so I had to switch from "on device" to "all music" but it still had a few issues.

      I also agree it's easily worth the $35 though, just being able to watch Youtube on my TV, or any TV or movies I have through Google Play.

  • WHO?

    They were in stock at Best Buy online for a few hrs this morning. Then they went to back ordered 1-2 weeks and now....... Out of stock again. 08/01/2013

  • Elias

    Three things missing:
    - Analog audio output
    - The device could open a couple tabs by itself, and then use some connected device (smartphone, tablet or PC) as touchpad + keyboard. Would probably make it much more responsive since there would be no need to encode video and transmit it.
    - Bluetooth (for a mouse/keyboard) and NFC pairing would also be great IF price is kept around $35

    DO IT GOOGLE!

    • Elias

      Oh, and a Miracast receiver onboard!

    • CoreRooted

      Considering it's HDMI, the audio output should be handled by whatever device it's plugged into. Considering that most TVs have analog audio out, you could do it that way OR plug it directly into your receiver.

  • Thomas

    I'm very happy with it so far, but then
    again, I'm not the most tech savvy fella. I'm looking forward to
    advancements but for 35bux it's a steal.

  • Ark

    Storage: 4GB (not user-accessible)
    No direct media push (without a WiFi network)

    Yeah...lets just wait and see about those. I suspect they're extremely temporary.

  • didibus

    I wonder how the Chrome Tab Casting compares to Splashtop?

  • Nedj10

    when google launched leanback 2 years ago we saw ALOT of the same hype...unfortunatly leanback's performance has been less than steller...so I wonder, since the reviewer did not cover it, how does the Chrome cast handle playlists created on the users smart phone? Does it (unlike the vizio youtube app) actually support youtube channel subscriptions? Also how does it handle buffering, network slowdowns/drops/reconnects? Perhaps if the review had actually tested the device we might know these things..

  • http://www.jashsayani.com/ Jash Sayani

    Got my chromecast from Amazon today. I want to use the experimental chrome extension to stream my mac's screen on the TV but don't see the option. I just see "Cast current tab" and "Audio" options.

  • Matt Doherty

    Work in the uk at a company that has opted to 'go google', would love to know how Chromecast renders a Google slides presentation, because I can see this being a really cool addition to our meeting rooms!

  • AvidGardener3

    Excellent write up of all the features and set up. Thank you. I got mine on Friday and love it, ordered another on Saturday.

  • vim

    This is an interesting article. I figure I’d share mine on
    Chromecast as well. http://blog.vimware.com/2013/09/google-chromecast-great-for-youtube-and.html

  • http://www.gerbenjacobs.nl/ Gerben Jacobs

    Does the dongle use its own WiFi or use it from the 'transmitting' device? The wifi near my TV is way too weak to support itself..

    • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

      The Chromecast has its own Wi-Fi chip. If memory serves though, it does not support 5GHz APs, just so you're aware. :)

  • Flatlander Woman

    Google has become the new Microsoft. Fat, lazy and complacent, simply expecting people to buy their junk on brand loyalty and/or name recognition alone.

    Ironically, after having been kind of dethroned by Google, Microsoft is now innovating way more and treating the consumers a lot better. Google made them learn their lesson...but then Google goes right around and begins making the same mistakes.

    Chromecast is a bottom of the barrel, half-baked streaming dongle that is highly limited because Google pushes Android and Chrome with it, trying to limit consumer choice. This is always a horrible idea. Chrome as a browser is like the new IE...just the crappy popular option that all the soccer moms use and that is targeted en masse by hackers.

    Valve Software is a company to emulate. Just look at how they are making their own gaming-focused operating system, but already made it clear they will not hurt people who use Windows or Mac by making Half-Life 3 a SteamOS exclusive or anything. In fact they said they encourage people to use Windows, OS X or SteamOS based on personal preference. When you openly encourage customers to feel free to use competing products, that is a sign that you respect the customer a lot.

    Google is the total opposite. Gotta force Chrome, ChromeOS, Chromebooks, Android, Chromecast, Gmail, YouTube and all their trash down your throat and make you think you have no other options. Just like Microsoft did 10 years ago when they were the fat cat. Just like the shit Comcast tries to do with their cable services.

    People, there are dozens of other high quality streaming dongles available on the market, most of which wipe the floor with Chromecast and do not try to force lame priorities on you. Don't just buy into this Google crap time and time again. Oh and before someone says "But it's for the masses!". No, just no. Anything can be for the masses with the right marketing and instructions. There are lots of other options which are BETTER and just as easy to use.

    I will give Google credit on their marketing and ability to brainwash mindless fans. I think that has something to do with the fact a lot of Google higher ups used to work for Microsoft and Apple.

  • zag1

    I've had one for a few weeks.

    I wouldn't call it ground breaking or a major winner, sure it's easy to plug into a tv, but that's about it really.

    The whole casting thing, I find really limiting you can't just do half the stuff and all the apps for it are just streamers, so right now there's very little you can do with it.

    In Australia the chrome cast is gimped as google have sites hard blocked on it.

    In the US it might be easier but from what I'm reading all over the place is even sites in the US aren't working properly like netflix etc, As an update has stopped it working properly.

    It would be easier if it had an app to simply acted like an remote as a TV remote actually does nothing for this device and you require a separate phone tablet PC for it to do anything.

    Even with the tab casting it's simply a screen streamer and nothing more you still have to use the phone tablet etc to use it so having the screen on a TV isn't adding anything really.