Google Chromecast: No thanks

Dan Nosowitz for Popular Science:

The Apple TV costs $95 on Amazon–a lot more money, sure. But you get a lot more for your money (great interface, stellar hardware, support for the enormously popular Apple store, the combination of apps and a slinging feature), and it’s also important to remember that these gadgets can help you get rid of cable entirely. An Apple TV costs about as much as one month’s worth of cable. Suck it up, guys. It’s not that expensive.

This isn’t to say that I’m not excited by Chromecast; I think slinging is exceptionally cool, and I think it’s great that this hardware so cheap and small. But I don’t necessarily think that a device that does exclusively slinging, no matter how cheap it is, is a viable option for most people. It’s best as part of a larger whole.

I agree with Dan. Google basically implemented Apple’s AirPlay, but that’s all Chromecast does. People expect more from an entertainment device in their home and this doesn’t give it to them. That’s not to say Google won’t sell a lot of them—they will, but that initial interest will fade because it doesn’t solve the problem we have with cable TV using a simplistic solution that everyone can use.

UPDATE: As many people have pointed out Chromecast isn’t like AirPlay at all. It only streams video from that you pass from your phone, it doesn’t actually stream the content from your device. Honestly, I don’t get this device.



  • poritsky

    It’s actually much less than AirPlay. The Chromecast can’t play local networked media at all. Want to show a video you recorded on your phone on your TV? You have to upload it to YouTube first; then the Chromecast will play it from the Web.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      That makes perfect sense in that everything Google makes is designed to inject or generate ads and ad impressions.

    • Hywel

      It may well be possible in the future to write an app that creates a streaming server on the phone that will allow you to stream local content to Chromecast. It just won’t be from the Photos app.

      • mdelvecchio

        and it may well be possible that the next version of X will have feature Y. that does not address THIS product…you know, the one we’re discussing.

        • Zepfhyr

          Actually, his point was valid. Google has said that they are working to add additional sources to Chromecast in the future and an SDK that will allow developers to create “apps” for it (essentially, new URL schemes that recognize web content and stream it properly).

          It seems likely that someone will make a program that functions as a web server that Chromecast can stream content from. But, why would it matter? In the end, which will be more popular? A $35 device that requires you to jump through hoops to make it work or a $99 device that works out of the box with no other devices required and that CAN play virtually any content you’d like if you DO have other devices with which to stream to it.

          • Larry Davis

            How many similar things were said about Google TV when their SDK came out? How did that work out?

          • Zepfhyr

            I wasn’t saying that it would be successful. I was merely pointing out that he had a valid point that someone COULD add said features.

            I am also saying that I don’t think it will matter in the long run, as it will require effort most aren’t willing to exert. I just didn’t like the way Hywel’s comment was dismissed as invalid because it didn’t conform to mdelvecchio’s idea that the discussion should only be about the product out of the box rather than its potential.

            I think a discussion about both is important, even if “potential” is likely to be moot due to the complications that will arise from expanding the devices capabilities.

          • Larry Davis

            Someone could invent time travel. What’s your point?

          • Zepfhyr

            My point is I’m trying to implement rational discourse, and you’re just being a troll for troll’s sake.

            There should be two separate discussions. What the device does and what it is capable of doing with the SDK.

            Don’t dismiss someone for having the second discussion because you believe the first is all that matters.

            Yes, the Chromecast doesn’t compare to the AppleTV, but that doesn’t mean that those that are discussing the device’s potential are irrelevant.

          • Larry Davis

            No, discussing what may happen in the future isn’t rational. Lots of things are possible. It’s possible Apple will release a TV SDK. But they haven’t. It’s possible Every major studio and video website will jump on board with Chromecast. But they haven’t. So until there is something to talk about, it’s idle speculation and not constructive.

          • Zepfhyr

            I disagree. If you consider what software has been built to expand the Apple TV (which is already quite robust out of the box), it stands to reason that someone will try to do something similar for the Chromecast. Especially people that are heavily invested in Google and Android and want everything that Google does to succeed. Them, plus Apple haters that want Apple to fail and will do anything that they can to make it happen.

            The Chromecast is going to get SOME sort of hackery. It’s just a matter of when. Hywel and I are simply discussing what that will mean.

            THAT SAID, I still agree that, as it stands, the AppleTV is easily the better choice here and Chromecast will not come close to supplanting it.

            The only reason why the above discussion would be unnecessary is if it is determined that the Chromecast is secured in such a way that a local network service cannot masquerade as a web service and/or the Chromecast itself cannot/will not be updated to support additional sources (which, based on Google’s track record, is entirely possible).

          • haroldpark

            “No, discussing what may happen in the future isn’t rational.”

            ….seriously? Think about what you are saying. Its….not smart.

            “Lots of things are possible.”

            Sure. But some things are very probable and others highly improbable. Comparing the technically trivial addition of a new feature to a just released piece of hardware to the invention of time travel is not helpful.

        • Zepfhyr

          It doesn’t change the fact that the Chromecast is not strong enough to compete in this space, but don’t jump down his throat for pointing out that someone smart enough COULD make it behave more similarly to an AppleTV, even if it’s not feasible enough to make the product readily accessible to the masses.

          • Hywel

            OK. If you want to focus on what it does right out of the box, it’s a $35 Netflix and Youtube player. That’s why I’ll be buying one if it comes to the UK.

            It doesn’t really bother me that I won’t be able to stream iTunes music to the shitty speakers in the TV in my bedroom. I’ll have the Apple TV in the living room for that.

          • http://tracker1.info/ Tracker1

            Ironically this is almost exactly what I want.. to be able to have a video on my tablet (N7) or phone (N4) and play it on the bigger TV, controlling it from my phone or tablet. I would like to see bsplayer/vlc or other players work with the device though… It would surprise me if Plex didn’t add support pretty quickly after an SDK release.

        • Hywel

          Oh look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMIsMjms_Zw. Same version of X.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Exactly what I said would happen and it took less than a week.

            Some folks on this thread look pretty silly. ;-)

          • Hywel

            For normal products, it’s right. Never expect more. A ‘smart’ TV that doesn’t have a Netflix player (like mine) is probably never going to have a Netflix player. This is why the ‘smart’ part of ‘smart’ TVs made by hardware manufacturers sucks balls. It’s also why a carrier tied Android phone is never going to get an OS upgrade. Most of the time once you’ve paid your money, the manufacturer doesn’t have to give a shit about you any more. With CC, hardware limitations still apply, but the product as delivered is very extensible by third parties. X doesn’t have to change to deliver Y.

      • shawnfranklinwashington

        Or better yet – someone soon enough will find the URLs (the syntax) that go back and forth to spawn a stream – and it will be incorporated into everything.

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      nothing is stopping Google from updating my gallery app on Android to allow streaming videos.

      • Larry Davis

        But they haven’t. People don’t (or shouldn’t) buy based on what something might, maybe, possibly, do someday.

        • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

          You realize it released yesterday, right? :-D lmbo. Give it at least a small amount of time for them to expand. lol

      • mdelvecchio

        there he goes, stretching out for some MENTAL GYMASTICS!! watch how we can contort his way from here to there, folks!

        • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

          trololo

    • matt

      the Nexis Q could already do that, not sure why they did not add that feature to the chromecast

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        Physics? Softball size device vs a key fob?

    • NoInvalidClaim

      Not true, look at the VLC loophole. VLC plugin for chrome will fix this.

    • mu

      not so. you can just open the file with chrome and share the tab..

    • sk7

      https://plus.google.com/103583939320326217147/posts

      This guy is developing some really cool stuff for chromecast. (including the problem you are having for not being able to show a video that was just recorded on your phone to the tv)

    • jonh316

      chromecast sucks the sweat off a dead mans balls

    • Bengun12

      Yes it does. Use bubbleupnp and it will play your tablet or phone content in HD through Chromecast via WiFi.

  • icespide

    its 35 dollars what do you expect? they aren’t making a full featured streaming box

  • http://intertext.com/ Jason Snell

    This article doesn’t describe the Chromecast accurately, so far as I can tell. I believe once you “tune in” a stream, Chromecast is streaming it directly from the source and it’s not being relayed from your device.

    • suckeffect

      My understanding is that streaming from a browser tab (versus YouTube or Netflix, etc) uses the computer to relay the video. It’s the reason why a “fast” computer is required to chrome cast from the browser. (And why no Chromebook is supported other than the Pixel.) Browser tabs also stream at max 720p not 1080p.

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      that is correct.

      • http://intertext.com/ Jason Snell

        Sure, streaming from a browser tab (which is, I believe, a “future” feature not currently supported)–but YouTube and Netflix don’t stream from browser tabs, you kick them off basically as a remote control, and Chromecast then “casts” them (a word the author also apparently missed) directly from the YouTube or Netflix servers. At least, that’s my understanding — I think this author is conflating tab-sharing with directly supported streaming services.

        • suckeffect

          My sense watching the announcement yesterday was that Google was conflating in the opposite direction. :) Spinning the announcement to spur people like Jeff Jarvis to proclaim Chromecast a divine instrument of disruption without actually understanding it’s capabilities and limitations.

          I bought the thing, it was hard to resist with the Netflix offer for current subscribers.

          • Zepfhyr

            I almost bought one, as well, for the Netflix bonus. $11 for a portable Netflix box is pretty nice.

        • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

          Yes, I was saying you were correct [not the article]. :)

          Browser tab feature is beta and, from what I saw, is very much so beta [not Google "beta"].

    • http://intertext.com/ Jason Snell

      I had a Twitter exchange with Dan N. where he basically says that he doesn’t care about getting the facts of the story technically accurate because he’s speaking to a general audience, and besides which, he made up enough terms and equivocated enough that saying Chromecast is like AirPlay is essentially right, even if they’re quite different.

      So there you go, folks. Popular Science is a place where the details don’t matter as long as it feels right.

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        Wow…explains a lot.

  • GTWilson

    I suppose it would make a nice, throw-away geek toy. Too limited to be much else.

  • Roger Fingas

    I think Dan is way off the mark. The Apple TV interface is kinda lousy, the hardware is neither here nor there, and the iTunes Store is only useful if you plan on buying or renting from it, which isn’t terribly essential if you already have access to YouTube and Netflix – not to mention Chrome tab sharing and the various other services that’ll probably jump on board. “Suck it up guys” isn’t much of a reason to go with a $95 product when the alternative is cheaper and multi-platform.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      The Apple TV interface is kinda lousy

      You clearly do not own a Shaw cable box. And any interface that can be mastered by a four year old doesn’t come close to “lousy”.

      alternative is cheaper and multi-platform.

      Cheaper is not better. In what sense is the Apple TV not multi-platform?

      • Roger Fingas

        Cheaper is preferable when the cheaper option serves your needs just as well, if not better.

        With Apple TV, you’re locked into the Apple ecosystem in many cases – AirPlay video only works on Macs and iOS devices unless you use one of the hacked workarounds, for instance. The local streaming feature assumes you have a computer with iTunes, which is also very picky about what formats it supports. Chromecast doesn’t do local streaming of course, but it should work with iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows apps. If VLC adds Chromecast support, I’ll be in heaven.

        I do like the Apple TV, don’t get me wrong, but I would much rather use the interfaces in the native Netflix and YouTube apps for iOS/Android than slowly scroll through menus with Apple’s remote, or even the Remote app.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          If it doesn’t do local streaming, then what difference does the platform make? I’ll take picky over not at all, but yes, it is entirely dependent upon the value perceived by the customer with respect to how the device will be used, so I will concede the point.

          • Roger Fingas

            This does, in a sense, bring an AirPlay equivalent to non-Apple devices. For some of us, that’s all we need.

        • Larry Davis

          You’re in the very small minority. A few nerds care about streaming the mkv torrents they have from their UPnP linux server or some such nonsense.

          The very vast majority of consumers will find much more value in Apple TV or even Roku than this turd. A $35 way to watch a dog ride a skateboard vs. a $99 way (or $59 in the case of Roku) to get access to Netflix, Hulu, and other premium content in addition to that dog on a skateboard on YouTube.

          It also doesn’t have a remote. So you can only use it from your device. Most consumers wouldn’t figure that out (or want to figure that out). They want to point the remote at the TV and have it work.

          • Roger Fingas

            The Chromecast supports Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora at a minimum, more if you count websites viewed in Chrome and future app support. It even comes with three free months of Netflix, regardless of whether you already have a Netflix account.

            I think you’re missing the genius part of the device – your phone or tablet IS the remote, and usually, a better one. And I think it’s safe to say that anyone who would buy an Apple TV already has a smartphone or a tablet.

          • Larry Davis

            Apple TV supports more if you also include future things that don’t yet exist.

            I get that your phone IS the remote. I don’t think it’s genius and it’s certainly not unique. I have an iPhone and an Apple TV and I almost never use the Remote app on my iPhone as a physical remote is just better and more convenient.

          • Roger Fingas

            More app support should be coming, but fair enough. For me, Netflix, YouTube, and Chrome tab sharing covers more than enough.

            You’re the first person I’ve ever seen praise the Apple TV’s remote. That thing is simplistic, not simple, especially considering how often you’re forced to type in text in the Apple TV interface.

          • Larry Davis

            I am praising physical remotes in general (not an option with Chrometurd), not necessarily Apple’s remote. I mainly use a Harmony remote.

            Rarely do you ever need to type in text, and you are never forced to. I manage all my queues through a browser or an app. Should you need to search on your TV, it’s simple to use the remote to select a few letters on those rare occasions. And on those rare occasions I use my iPhone anyway. The option is great, the requirement is bad.

          • Sebastian Paul

            Isn’t there also the option to use a bluetooth keyboard with the AppleTV for text input?

            And there are very compact bluetooth keyboards available, for HTPC use.

          • Roger Fingas

            At that point, though, a $95-99 set-top quickly becomes a $150-200 set-top.

          • Larry Davis

            Like a $35 dongle immediately requires a $200 remote in the form of a tablet or phone?

          • Roger Fingas

            C’mon though, anyone who has an Apple TV will almost certainly have a smartphone or tablet.

          • DanPierce

            True, however, having to grab my phone or tablet just to pause the TV is kind of a nuisance. Also, as I have two young kids, I don’t want to have to give up my phone so they can watch Curious George on Saturday morning.

          • http://tracker1.info/ Tracker1

            Dunno, most of my friends/family with younger kids already give up their tablets for the kids streaming shows..

          • mdelvecchio

            “anyone who has an Apple TV will almost certainly have a smartphone or tablet.”

            yes, which makes data-entry trivial. but does not replace the value of a physical remote. get it?

          • Roger Fingas

            I’m not sure what makes a remote so much better. If I want to watch something on Netflix with a Chromecast, say, all I have to do is load the app, tap the video in my Instant Queue, then hit the Chromecast button.

          • http://tracker1.info/ Tracker1

            I’d love to be able to use my tablet as a universal remote.. unfortunately all the options for that suck.

          • http://tracker1.info/ Tracker1

            I already have a compatible tablet and phone to use with this thing, mine should arrive tomorrow afternoon. I’m also pretty sure that Plex will add support pretty shortly after an SDK is available, though may take a month or two… essentially the Plex Server already supports encoding and streaming (hopefully supporting a compatible format), and the android app only need be extended for chromecast. It’s a paid app (have it on my roku, but this would get my to buy it for my phone/tablet)

          • Larry Davis

            The point being at $99 you can fully use Apple TV without the need to own anything else. No need for a computer, tablet, phone, nothing.

            For $35 you bought a small paperweight with Chrometurd unless you use another $200+ device.

          • Roger Fingas

            First thing: please stop calling it a Chrometurd. That’s on the same argumentative level as writing M$ or Crapple.

            If you somehow lack a smartphone or a tablet, or don’t keep yours around the living room, sure, go with an Apple TV or a Roku. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s probably the best solution in that case. For a lot of people, though, the Chromecast is going to be damn appealing.

          • Larry Davis

            No, it won’t. It will be appealing to geeks and tinkerers, people like us who visit sites like this.

            Now, Google Cast as it gets integrated into OEMs may prove to be useful, but not if it works in the same way as Chromecast. It will need an interface and control that doesn’t require a computer (handheld or otherwise). But then, it’s not Chromecast anymore, it’s Google TV, which is objectively a turd.

          • mdelvecchio

            “For a lot of people, though, the Chromecast is going to be damn appealing.”

            not what we’re discussing. we’re discussing which is more useful; ie, is the ATV worth the higher price? we argue, Yes, it is — due to the feature set. this business of having a remote for data-entry is a distraction from that point.

          • mdelvecchio

            not when you use your existing mobile device for data-entry. i think we can safely put data-entry to bed.

          • Roger Fingas

            I suppose it depends on what you’re using the device for. For me, I often am typing in searches for videos on Netflix or YouTube, and using the native apps on my Nexus or iPad would also let me jump straight to favorites or subscriptions with less effort. Heck, the Chromecast will actually turn the TV on and jump to the right input once you tell it to play something.

          • Zepfhyr

            I’m curious which TVs support the option to turn on your TV and jump to the correct input. Mine doesn’t. At best, it can tell me that a new input has been recognized and I can then pick up the remote and press “Enter” to switch.

          • Roger Fingas

            Google did demonstrate the feature during the Chromecast presentation – I should check out the limitations for curiosity’s sake.

          • Zepfhyr

            I’m sure it’s a feature that certain TV manufacturers have added in recent years. I got my TV 4 or 5 years ago, and it was an older/cheaper model even then.

          • Roger Fingas

            Oh, in that case I know exactly what you’re talking about – auto-input switching is a relatively recent feature. I forget if my own set supports it.

          • mdelvecchio

            the apple remote is the definition of simple. its passes the “grandpa” test. theres no misunderstanding it. (unlike our Harmony One remote, which does way more, but is also more complicated, even for my wife, a chemist, to use at times).

            i rarely need to type into the ATV interface. on the few occasions i need to search, the auto-guessing is pretty good. anything more and i grab my iphone to thumb-it in.

          • mdelvecchio

            device-as-remote aint genius. for my Appe TV i have both a Harmony One remove, and iOS devices. nobody ever, ever reaches for the touch devices. why? because using the remote is stupid simple (KISS protocol). and you can operate it w/o looking at it. and its always nearby. our content lives in the cloud (or our server), not on our personal devices.

        • Zepfhyr

          Actually, AirParrot – http://www.airsquirrels.com/airparrot/ – is a $10 application that will let you stream a Mac or a PC to your Apple TV. It’s entirely possible for someone to do something similar with Android devices if they are smart enough to work around the hardware limitations.

          • Roger Fingas

            Almost forgot about that app!

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        it only works on Apple’s platform, no one elses.

        • Larry Davis

          Most people care as Apple TV is far and away the most successful streaming box on the market. Google TV is forgotten and this does even less than that.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Meh. I still use my Google TV daily. Google Primetime is killer for making my TV guide experience a very quality one. The rest is just streaming, which they all do.

        • mdelvecchio

          the purchased-content is only from apple, but this doesnt matter as the content doesnt require a mobile platform. the local-server-for-your-content is only from apple, but itunes is multiplatform*. in this fashion the Apple TV device is agnostic…you can use it no matter what your mobile device is, because most of the content isnt on your mobile.

          *if youre on Linux? then youre in a position to jailbreak the ATV anyway and side-load via your own server!

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            True. I forgot about jailbreak for ATV. Good point.

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        LMBO! Yeah, cable boxes are horrible. lol. Anything is better than their garbage.

        Apple TV is far from garbage. My son LOVES using ours; well, he did until we lost the remote and now can’t use it. I prefer Google TV [hdmi pass through ftw] as a streaming box but this thread went left pretty crazily. To each his own.

        Both options will fit the bill for a lot of people. I will own both.

    • mdelvecchio

      “the iTunes Store is only useful if you plan on buying or renting from it,”

      well duh. what else can you do with it? thats a feature not a bug, since we buy and rent quite a bit from it. having no cable bill, one Season Pass for the select shows we enjoy is terribly worth it.

      “which isn’t terribly essential if you already have access to YouTube and Netflix”

      youtube provides us next to no content. a party novelty alone. Netflix is in constant use, but its selection makes it companion to itunes content, not a replacement.

      • Roger Fingas

        Okay, my iTunes Store comment is somewhat redundant – it’s just that it’s not a plus for me, since I’m never interested in what it’s selling at the prices Apple offers. People do say good things about Season Pass.

        YouTube has TONS of content. I subscribe to quite a few feeds, like Vice, and I’ve watched plenty of full-length documentaries. If you’re willing to pay, you can rent movies.

        The only thing I really miss from using YouTube/Netflix is staying up-to-date with shows on AMC, HBO, and Showtime.

        • mdelvecchio

          i dont doubt youtube has content, but so far its never been a go-to for us. just a fun way to watch cat videos. perhaps we’ll have to look around it so more…tho netflix has us well sated on the documentaries. too many!

  • Tracy Evans

    As much as I love my AppleTVs, I don’t use them for much more than slinging and Netflix. The “hobby” device has a great future, but I wonder how many owners currently use many of the ATV features.

    • tylernol

      lots of business are using Apple TV’s in their meeting rooms for presentations set from their iphone,iPad or Macbook via airplay.

      • http://digitizedsociety.tumblr.com/ DigitizedSociety

        With the Chrome Tab streaming this could work for businesses too as long, as they have bought into the Google Drive/Docs eco-system.

    • suckeffect

      Experiences vary. I use my ATV to watch hours of video podcasts each week, my “Watch Later” YouTube queue, to listen to my iTunes Match library. I use my Flickr favorites as a screensaver, stream movies I’ve ripped from DVD, and rent or buy movies from iTunes which exist in the cloud for any of my devices to use.

      Plus Netflix and slinging.

    • mdelvecchio

      netflix, itunes, slinging. in that order. we use it quite a bit for purchased & rented content. very happy for it, as it saves me cable bills but allows access to the few first-run shows we enjoy.

  • tylernol

    it is actually not airplay at all. They make it sound like airplay, but there is no device to device streaming. Chromecast is getting an html playback link from the controling device, not a stream. For example if I airplay audio from my iPad to my AppleTV, the audio is being streamed via RTP over the WiFi connection from the iPad to the AppleTV. With chromecast, the audio is coming from the server “in the cloud” to the chromecast device. There are some advantages to this, like your device is free to do whatever it wants, while Airplay is still forcing the device to relay the stream to the target device. But there are some major disadvantages. You are dependent on the cloud infrastructure, and you cannot mirror displays for presentations or do local gaming.

    • http://intertext.com/ Jason Snell

      Right on. Kind of amazed PopSci posted this story — it’s more wrong than right.

      I think Chromecast is interesting, though. Add in the Chrome Tabs streaming and it’s a remoteless AppleTV. The question is, do people want to drive these boxes from remotes or from mobile devices?

      • tylernol

        the chrome tab streaming is interesting, but it is an attempt by Google to bypass making content deals with Content providers. “No HBO deal? No Problem! Just run it in your browser and we will stream it to your TV”. That is basically scraping, which is what Google got in trouble with their first generation of Google TV’s.

        • DanPierce

          And if I remember correctly, the websites just blocked the video if they detected it was a Google TV device.

          I think this time around if you initiate it from your mobile device, then it will only be content that has been approved for mobile devices. I guess the Chromecast will just show up as a mobile device.

        • Zepfhyr

          The Chrome Tab streaming IS interesting, though who knows when it will actually be available and if it’ll work as smoothly as they claim.

          That said, Apple was doing the same thing with mirroring. They got tired of Hulu and HBO not making their content available for Apple TV so they bypassed them entirely.

          • tylernol

            I believe even now both the HBO and Hulu websites require flash, so neither can run in mobile safari. Both required an iOS app, and the iOS apps initially did not support airplay streaming. I have to take a closer look at what Google is promising — can anything in the tab be viewed on the chromcast device? flash video for example?

          • Zepfhyr

            That is correct, but both can run from a Mac. AirPlay Mirroring made it possible for supported Macs with Mountain Lion to stream to the AppleTV, thereby bypassing Hulu, HBO, and any other content provider that didn’t want their web content available on set-top boxes (an argument Hulu once made was that they didn’t WANT their users watching Hulu on TV, as it might affect their relationships with content providers).

            As a result of things like AirPlay Mirroring, users were capable of getting their content to their TVs via AppleTV anyway, which may or may not have had an effect on Hulu and HBO adding AirPlay support to their iOS apps (though it has had no effect on content providers making content available on mobile devices rather than just on Macs/PCs).

          • tylernol

            forgot about that — my ~4 year old iMac does not support AirPlay mirroring, my new Macbook Pro retina does.

  • Guest

    also, pricewise, the $35 is not a hard target to hit for anyone these days. Companies like broadcom are selling metric shit tons of little ARM SOC’s with H.264 decoders for ~$10 each in volume.I think that even includes flash and ram in a package.

    • Tvaddic

      I don’t think the average consumer knows what that is, or how to set it up.

      • Larry Davis

        Just like Chromecast :)

        • Tvaddic

          But they know what Amazon and Best Buy are, where you can buy Chromecast.

          • Larry Davis

            Hmm, a little dongle with no remote that doesn’t seem to do much (it’s way too difficult to explain to the average user) vs. “Apple TV”?

          • Tvaddic

            Fine then people can buy a pay more than double for an Apple TV where they can use the remote. Even though it is much more complicated to use a remote to enter passwords, you should you that instead of a phone.

          • Larry Davis

            You enter passwords once.

          • Tvaddic

            Oh so entering passwords isn’t ideal but you only do it once, but what about searches?

          • Larry Davis

            As I said in another post, the option of a phone/tablet as a remote is great, the requirement is not.

  • Tvaddic

    It only cost $35 then you get 3 free months of Netflix for new and existing subscribers so you might as well buy it. And I think Google is doing something different, this isn’t trying to be an entertainment device it wants to be a virtual HDMI cable.

    • Larry Davis

      But it doesn’t do Netflix standalone, so what’s the point?

      • Hywel

        You need another device to initiate the stream, but after that it’ll play on its own, but would need something like the Remote app to pause/rewind, but that could be a generic part of a Chromecast app.

        • Larry Davis

          Apple TV and Roku are valuable without any other device required.

          You can’t even pause Chromecast without a phone or computer.

          • Hywel

            My Apple TV doesn’t work standalone … You think I can find that tiny remote ? ;)

          • mdelvecchio

            ATV does in fact work standalone. but should you lose the supplied physical remote, or your aftermarket universal remote (Harmony One), the mobile Remote app will do. the reverse is not true for the CC.

          • Hywel

            The reverse is not true? You mean you can’t control CC it if you lose every single computer and every smartphone in the whole house? This ‘standalone’ argument is a strawman.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            I lost mine and can’t use my ATV anymore because I didn’t set it up for device control before losing the remote. Waste of $99 until I go buy a new remote.

          • Joe

            Are you aware that you can set up an Apple TV (2nd or 3rd generation, at least) to use ANY surplus IR remote you might have lying around? Go to Settings, General, Remotes, Learn Remote. (You even get more than the Apple Remote’s limited buttons that way, too.)

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            If only I had a remote to get to that screen. :-D

            Thx for the tip though. I’m going to try [another remote] as soon as I get home.

          • Joe

            No iOS device to use as a remote (just to get to that screen)?

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            I have a few but the last time I tried I couldn’t. It didn’t get a lot of attention, failed for a few minutes then ditched it, but will try once more.

      • Tvaddic

        Considering the point of this device wasn’t to get people to use Netflix you can see that as a bonus.:-)

  • Tvaddic

    Also smaller providers should like things like this and AirPlay because it is easier for them, they don’t have to maintain apps for every TV,video game console or Blu-Ray player they just have to implement this in their app or website.

  • Hywel

    Pleased to see that plenty of people have beaten me to it. At first glance, I also thought it looked basically like Airplay, but it’s different (and better for this application). It’s more like using a device for searching (which going to be way better than using a remote and a crap TV interface), and then passing the responsibility to play that stream to the Chromecast device.

    If it tied up the phone/tablet for the duration of the streaming, it would rubbish. Moving the search from the player and radically simplifying it is arguably out-Apple-ing Apple.

    I’ll be getting one to try. The main question is support in apps. It obviously won’t be an iOS every-app-gets-it-for-free scenario, but if Netflix adds support, YouTube adds support, BBC iPlayer adds support, etc, then it should be a cracking little device that I can get for the TVs in the house that don’t have Apple TVs.

    It’s also competition that could drive Apple TV development faster, so that we get more apps/channels sooner, or even an content app store of sorts.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    I think the upside is much higher with Google’s option simply because they enable developers not just to build apps but also update their website for casting.

    Hopefully app opens up the Apple TV and allows developers to utilize it like the App Store.

  • DanPierce

    Thinking about this last night, this is for people who want to watch Netflix on the TV who don’t currently have: an Apple TV a Roku a Xbox a PS3 a Wii a DVD/BluRay player made within the last few years a HDTV made within the last few years

    Now that might be a large market but I don’t see many people switching from owning an Apple TV to this.

    • Sebastian Paul

      And they need either an Android phone running at least Android 4.0 (because Chrome won’t run on 2.3) or use Chrome as their main browser on their PC.

      But we all know that those who don’t own any of the aforementioned devices will have a phone running Android 2.3 and they will also use INTERNET EXPLORER as their main (and only^^) browser.

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        Solid point regarding use of IE, especially in Windows 8 where Chrome is not RT’ified.

  • Agarun Ilyaguyev

    “Google basically implemented Apple’s AirPlay..”

    No. They “basically” didn’t. Chromecast pulls content directly from the web. It doesn’t stream it from the device, but rather uses said device as a remote. It isn’t an Apple TV or AirPlay competitor, nor is it meant to replace all the functionality of the above. While it may change in the future, as of now it is a very specific-purpose device, and the price reflects that.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    The 3 months of Netflix was temporary and that window is now closed: http://www.androidcentral.com/chromecast-three-month-netflix-promotion-ended-day-1. #doh #fail

    Still worth it but wow that was fast and disappointing. lol

    • DanPierce

      It reads like Google did not get enough promo codes. This has always been Google’s big weakness: not understanding retail.

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        Yep. It could be Netflix not giving away enough but maybe Google had to pay for them and prepared for these flying off the shelves [so didn't buy too many]. Still…I’d much prefer they not offer it than give away only a few.

  • shawnfranklinwashington

    If Chromecast gets developer support – it could easily become more popular than AirPlay. And let’s face it – considering it is NOT killing the handheld device’s battery streaming – it’s a far better angle.

  • http://www.nerdshowandtell.com nerdshowandtell.com

    IT’s easy.. Get one.

  • http://instagram.com/real_jason_ip Jason Ip

    This thing is getting killer reviews from everywhere else… Jim “doesn’t get this device.”

    “what? it’s not a copy of Airplay?!?” “I don’t get it!”

  • Guest

    Reason Chromecast is awesome is this: by using tab browsing you can access hbo go, starz play, etc or any other video on you laptop and stream it to your tv. Apple tv doesnt have those apps, chromecast will add them and in meantime you use your tab browser instead to cast them on your tv

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      I agree except for one point: you won’t have to wait for chromecast/Google to add them. Google is enabling developers so we don’t have to get updates at a corporate pace.

  • wethrowpie

    They should have made a $50 media player so people could play xvids or mkvs or what have you and been done with it. I really don’t ‘get’ what chromecast offers but annoyance. It’s another layer to several layers of inconvenience for the user.

  • Someone Else

    Wow, everyone’s panties in a bunch here. Complicating this for the sake of complicating it? If you want to give Chromecast a go, pay the $$ if you don’t that’s your choice. I hope everyone on here puts this much time and thought into decisions that actually impact meaningful areas of life. You’re not a fan of Chromecast?? Good for you, don’t buy it. You like the idea of Chromecast?? Good for you, buy it. It’s ludicrous how people feel the need to argue what the “correct” decision is in this case. SMH First World problems clearly.

  • http://www.smsnetwork.org/ Mikael Jakobsson

    No Google Chromecast is build one Microsoft patent, not apples loool.

  • erwinanciano

    The Chromecast sucks as it is. At the moment it’s a deeply flawed and limited device. Once Google gets their head out of their ass and allows sideloading of local data from your device without using a desktop chrome browser, then it’ll be a killer gadget well worth more than its $35 asking price.