Many of us still look at Google as the de facto search engine allowing us
to find information about just about any topic at any time. The word “Google” has joined the likes of
“Kleenex”, “Frigidaire” and “Jell-O.”
All of these brands have become collective words for an entire genre of
products. Of course Google is more
than a search engine; their maps, translation services, email and now even
self-driving cars make up only a few of their myriad products and services. One product, Chromecast, is a relatively new
offering that is worth your attention if you want an inexpensive way to expand
the viewing options on your HDTV
I have written extensively about the various TV services available both
free or with subscription on the internet.
Hulu, Hulu Plus, Netflix, AmazonTV all provide movies, network TV
series, documentaries and special programming on demand and with a video
quality that rivals cable, satellite and broadcast transmission. In order to access this programming you must
have an internet enabled TV or some add-on device. Most of the devices to date have had a price
of between $75 and $100. Roku and Apple
TV are among the most popular. Some Blu
Ray players and some game consoles can provide this access as well.
The Google Chromecast has a $35 price tag and can be a great inexpensive
way to begin watching some internet delivered TV content on your regular
TV. A little larger than a standard
thumb drive, Chromecast plugs into an open HDMI port on your TV. Most new TVs have two or more HDMI ports but
look and make sure you have one available since your cable box or satellite
receiver also needs one.
Unlike the Roku or Apple TV devices, Chromecast does NOT come with a
remote control. You must have an iPhone
or Android smartphone, a tablet such as the iPad, or use a laptop computer to
control the Chromecast. Set up is easy.
Once connected to the TV a small power supply is plugged in the wall and
the device will search for your home wifi.
There is no hard wire option for connecting to the internet so wifi is
Besides having access to one or more subscription TV services, you can
display on your large screen TV YouTube videos and other content that you
access through your smartphone, tablet or lap top.
For the price the Chromecast is worth a look. I personally like the AppleTV as it is easier
to set up and use but it does cost more than twice that of Chromecast. You can get Chromecast at most big box stores
and, of course, on line at Amazon and many other electronics websites. It would make a great stocking stuffer.
Labels: AmazonTV, AppleTV, chromecast, Roku