Chromecast review & why owning one is a no-brainer
Google Chromecast is handy like a pocketknife, but can completely change the way you watch television.
Many reviewers compare Chromecast to a Swiss Army Knife. And it’s definitely an apt comparison. You could probably also describe it as projector of sorts. The pocket-sized media device can use thousands of applications from your smartphone or tablet, and put them on your much-larger television for others to see.
One of my favorite things to do with Chromecast is to share vacation photos that I took on my smartphone. It’s the modern equivalent of the slideshow that your parents used to do using an old projector and rotary slide tray.
With Chromecast, you can forget about hanging the white sheet on the wall for a screen. Your high-def television has a much better picture. It becomes a hub for all of your streaming apps, including free ones like YouTube, or subscription based ones like HBO Now or PlayStation Vue.
What does Google Chromecast do?
I’m going to assume you’ve never touched a Chromecast, or any other media streamer for the purposes of this review. For years, the uses of computers and televisions have been merging. Google Chromecast is the device that brings them together.
Let me give you a quick example.
If you’re a fan of the PBS News Hour, you can certainly still watch it on television at its appointed time or record it with a DVR. But these days, you can watch it every day on your computer through the PBS NewHour’s channel on YouTube. It’s just like if you recorded the segment on a DVR, but you might have no way of getting it to your television.
That’s where Chromecast comes in. Instead of being restricted to watching PBS NewsHour on your computer, just cast it to your TV.
CHROMECAST SET UP IS SUPER EASY
Plug the Chromecast into an HDMI port. You can power your Chromecast one of two ways. Plug the USB cable that comes with the Chromecast into your television. The second option is to use the power adapter to plug it into an electrical outlet.
What is Google Cast?
If Chromecast is like a projector, then imagine the Google Cast app its lens. After you download the app and open it, you’ll see three key menus.
WHAT’S ON: shows the list of apps on your device that you can use for casting.
DEVICES: Shows the television or monitor that you can cast on.
GET APPS: Displays all the apps you could download and use with Chromecast.
How can I make my smartphone work like a remote?
Unless you’re using a burner for most of your calls, chances are you have a smartphone of some kind. If you have a YouTube app downloaded to your smartphone, you can pull up the PBS NewsHour channel, press play. There’s a small casting button on the upper right hand corner. Once you press that button, you’re now casting to your television.
What if you don’t have a smartphone? No problem. You can use your tablet as well. The latest version of Chromecast also lets you stream content from a Google Chrome web browser.
What are some of the best Chromecast apps?
We’re only going to talk about free apps you want for Chromecast. Because let’s face it, you want apps for free. And some of the best apps for Chromecast are free. You could spend hours perusing all of the apps that you can use. But few of the more popular ones are Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV and HBO Now.
If you’re into listening to the radio and music? There’s NPR One, Pandora, TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio and Spotify.
And don’t forget the games like Angry Birds.
How is the PlayStation Vue app on Chromecast?
So let’s say you’re a slightly more advanced user of tech. Maybe you’ll want to replace your cable subscription with a live streaming alternative. You can save some serious cash by ditching cable.
Get yourself a PlayStation Vue or Sling TV subscription. For Sling TV, there are simple setup instructions you can find here. PlayStation Vue has pretty much the same set up. The difference is you download the PlayStation Vue app instead to your smartphone or tablet.
For all the apps and programming a Roku streaming stick offers, it has a way to go with speed. Chromecast can boot up Netflix in a few seconds, and nearly 20 on a Roku streaming stick. If you’re trying to Netflix and chill, making somebody wait 20 seconds could be a problem.
Chromecast also beats the Roku Streaming Stick with a quicker boot time on YouTube.
Can Chromecast stream Amazon Prime?
Unfortunately, there’s no app to stream Amazon Prime videos or shows. But if you’re a big Amazon Prime user, you might want to consider an Amazon Fire TV.
You can’t beat the price and usefulness of a Google Chromecast at $35. It’s one of the most inexpensive streaming devices on the market, and the most flexible. It’s great to have if you travel for work, or want to take something on vacation. If you’re a minimalist, the Chromecast is definitely for you. I am sure there are some uses that I have forgotten. So feel free to chime in below and tell readers what you use Chromecast for.
Where can I buy a Chromecast?
If you’re wondering where to buy Chromecast, there’s two places we suggest checking for deals. Best Buy always has Chromecast at their usual price. and Wal-Mart recently had Google Chromecast in stock as well.
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