A first look at Chromecast

I just received my new toy. For $35 and despite the fact that with all the high-tech gear we already have I could not resist but trying it.

The one line summary is that Chromecast, especially for a v1 product and at this price, is a steal and everyone should just have one hook to all their TVs at home.

Set-up:

  • Hardware: I plugged it in a spare HDMI connector on my TV and used one of its USB connector to get power and that’s it. Nothing dangling. No need to plug it in the wall. It would be better if the micro-USB connector was on the side vs. the end (would stick out less) but it’s OK like this.
  • I could not connect on wi-fi from my Carbon X1 with Windows 8.1 preview. Not sure if it’s the Lenovo wi-fi driver, or the Windows 8.1 preview but I had to do it on a 4 years old HP laptop (on wIn8). However, once setup, I could use my Lenovo laptop without problem.
  • Once the hardware was connected and I started installing on this other laptop, the set-up (counting installing the Chrome browser) was maybe 5 minutes and super easy with basically 2 steps: 1) Go to the website (google.com/chromecast/setup) to install chrome and the set-up app. Click “connect” (dongle connects through a point to point wi-fi between the laptop and Chromecast). Then 2) Once connected enter the home wi-fi password

That’s it! Nothing else to do to get started Chromecasting.

Actual use

The default screen has no menu.  just a ready to cast message, time, a nice changing background and a text and icon to see if it’s connected to my wi-fi

homescreen

I tried first Netflix.com and it worked great and was easy to pick (see below).

clip_image003

note: The icon only appears with Chrome not IE.

I then tried a regular text/photo website and used the Google cast icon on Chrome. It worked great too.
clip_image005

Similarly when I played video from a French news website (TF1.fr) it worked immediately, both in regular and full-screen mode.

Xfinity worked too but I had to reduce video quality to 480p for the video to work without being choppy. Not sure if it’s my wi-fi, my Comcast Internet connection or Chromecast though.

However, Amazon Videos did not work (just the background website showed, not the video). But this is not a big deal for me as I am not using them.

Bottom line

  • $35
  • 5 minutes install
  • Sleek device, bare bone UI with just what’s needed
  • I can now can watch (almost) any internet content from any PC (no Windows 8 app yet so won’t be able to use my Surface for this Sad smile ) on my TV.

Very Apple-like experience at an impulse buy price-point so why not have one for each TV in the home?

One thought on “A first look at Chromecast

  1. Pingback: A first look at Amazon’s Echo | Olivier Fontana's blog

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