Monday, July 29, 2013

Chromecast! Part II

I got my Chromecast from Amazon yesterday - and, for me, it lives up to the exclamation mark in the title.  I was one of the poor souls who took a chance on two of Logitech's ill fated Revue Google TV boxes.  Worse, I invested a couple of hundred bucks in the Logitech Vid cameras that went with them.

Logitech no longer supports the Revue (their CEO publicly called it a "big mistake" and has recently issued a notice that Logitech Vid calling will "no longer be available."

But for $35, I was willing to take another chance on a Google solution for bridging the gap between the 'net and my TV set - and it was worth it.  Plug it into the wall and your HDMI port, and it sets up in a few minutes over your wi-fi network with an app on your smartphone or tablet (the Chromecast app is available at the Google Play store right now, and should be available at the Apple app store soon).

Until then, folks with iPhones and iPads can set it up and stream from their Mac/PC/Chrome laptops with the Google Cast extension (available now from the Chrome Web Store).

It is fully integrated with Google Play (of course), Netflix and YouTube, and Pandora support should be coming soon.  All of these services are seamless via laptop, tablet or phone.

Other services are only  'castable from laptops running Chrome right now. I am 'casting TuneIn radio from my laptop to my TV while I'm blogging, and have streamed Pandora, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu (video services are choppy, but watchable).

The most awesome thing about this is the freedom from cables and set-top boxes with custom remotes.  No more looking for laptops with HDMI outputs, no more cables, no more VGA to HDMI converters.

I just moved and dreaded getting behind the TVs to figure out all of the cables for getting the Revues up and running again.  Now I can sell them.

Of course, Google needed to price this reasonably to get all of the folks who had been burned by Google TV or the Nexus Q to try again - and I'm glad they did, I would not have taken the plunge it if it was another $99 box.

At $35, however, I can recommend Chromecast without reservation - Netflix offer or no Netflix offer.

I'm only sorry I didn't order two - now I have to get on the waiting list for my second one.  But I'm used to waiting for hot new products from Google (and Panasonic - and Blackmagic).

You can get on the list here - or by clicking on the image below.

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