back to article Chromecast: We get our SWEATY PAWS on Google's tiny telly pipe

Google just unveiled its Chromecast wireless streaming media dongle on Wednesday, and it's already being hailed by some media outlets as something close to the Holy Grail of internet TV. So does it live up to the hype? Clearly, much of the fuss stems from Chromecast's price tag. At $35 (UK and international pricing to be …

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  1. James Hughes 1

    Hmm, I would have expected it to be able to stream from local DNLA sources, samba shares etc. Without those, it does seem somewhat limited.

    Guess I'll stick to my $25 (+P&P+vat) + wireless dongle + usb power Raspberry Pi. Slightly more expensive, and no Netflix, but still not a bad option.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You can play most local content, unlike the claims by the author. You just play them in the browser tab and cast that.

      1. jai

        but you have to be using the Chrome browser, right?

        1. jai

          Also, i'm wondering how well your browser copes with a 4gb HD mkv file? and how well does it then mirror that to the tv?

          if it performs well then it could be interesting.

          1. James Hughes 1

            With my Raspi running OpenELEC (XBMC) I control it with the TV remote, it streams from local attached USB drives or over the network. I think I can also get iPlayer via a plugin but never tried that. I need no Android device running Chrome near me to set things up/get things playing. One remote does it all. Why of why doesn't this device also do that stuff? It's certainly capable of doing it (I'm guessing its CPU is very similar to that in the Raspi), so its just a matter of wanting to do it, which perhaps Google don't want. Meanwhile Roku have their very similar product, people have Raspi's or other XBMC machines. Its going to get crowded.

            I suppose I could upload my entire DVD collection to the cloud. Lets see, 500GB (H264) of data at 128kbits/s upload...thats...er....loads of time (9100 hrs? Surely not?). And off course I'll need to pay for that level of storage.

            Hmm. Local storage still takes some beating.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      From the sound of it, this is basically Google marketing fluff instantiated in hardware, whose main aim is to get people to buy more tablets, and run the Chrome browser. Aided by some Anonymous Google shills to talk it up on forums like this.

    3. Mikel
      Windows

      So Webify your local content

      You do know that your Windows PC can provide a website that dishes your content over the Web to your local network (and not the rest of the world), right? No download - it's built right in. And then it isn't local, it's Internet that this thing can work with directly, and all your other devices too. Apps can webify your library too, with nice index pages. Almost all recent model network attached storage devices do this. If you're an Apple or Linux guy things are a little different to set up, but no big deal.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is it Cinavia infected?

  2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    Roku for $49

    I saw an interview with the CEO of Roku yesterday. He mentioned they have had a similar product on the market (not sure for how long) for $49. So comparisons against the $99 product aren't valid really.

    I don't know anything about Roku myself. I too thought Roku may be doomed with this $35 announcement but it sounds like they already have it handled - with a ton more content to boot. The CEO mentioned their most popular selling model is the $99 unit with the fancy earphone jack on the remote control. But obviously it's not their entry level product.

    1. h3

      Re: Roku for $49

      Sky are selling one of the Roku LT's with the sky firmware on it at the moment for £9.99 (To do with NowTV).

      Not much to gamble with the hope that it can be hacked.

  3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    ARM stick

    I don't understand the comment that it doesn't matter there's no Linux support, because it's only used to set up the device. Well, no it's not... per your own description, you will not be able to tell the stick to actually do anything but be a fairly expensive clock without the device to tell it to start playing videos and such. That said, as a Linux user I do have an Android phone anyway 8-).

    So, this seems limited to me, but I have seen similar but more general purpose devices. I'm guessing hardware-wise this is a modestly clocked ARM with modest amount of RAM and storage, but with stock Android removed and special software put in it's place. I've seen these for $75-100 range that are physically similar (a "USB stick"), with HDMI, a USB (for power), additional USB (to plug into a hub if you want), wifi, ethernet, usually single or dual 1ghz or so ARMs, 1 or 2GB of RAM, and 8GB or so of on board storage. These ship with Android, but I intend to get one and throw Ubuntu for ARM onto it.

    1. sanf

      Re: ARM stick

      As far as I understood, there is some magic process where you need to use a specific setup software once. This setup software is the one that does not have a Linux version. I guess it has something to do with accessing a default Wi-Fi network.

      After setup, you control the Chromecast via mobile applications and Chrome (hopefully, Linux version here). Chrome is just a mirror of the web browser. I fear the worst when marketing material only shows photos of this situation. Mobile applications need to be approved by Google, so expect there to be just a bunch of popular ones.

      ARM sticks with Android are similar to Chromecast, except that they can do so much more. Chromecast is designed for video applications.

  4. A Known Coward

    $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

    Isn't the big gotcha the requirement for a device, logically a small tablet, to act as a very expensive remote control?

    Yes, a lot of people have smartphones and yes many also have tablets, but this requires the phone/tablet to be permanently available by the TV which is a big ask for a family. Which device takes precedence too, or will it turn into a battle every evening with everyone changing to their favourite programme? What happens when the kids need the tablet to do their homework, or Dad has to take a business call on his mobile and disappears with the 'remote' for an hour?

    So no, the price of this 'dongle' isn't $35, not even close.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

      @A Known Coward - >"Isn't the big gotcha the requirement for a device, logically a small tablet, to act as a very expensive remote control?"

      I think that's the whole point - we've all got so many smartphones and laptops and tablets laying around the house already... I think my family has about 12 such devices right now (hard to keep track). I've got 4 personally. Might as well give them some way to interact with the TV.

      1. Paw Bokenfohr
        FAIL

        Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

        --

        @Andy Prough @A Known Coward - >"Isn't the big gotcha the requirement for a device, logically a small tablet, to act as a very expensive remote control?"

        I think that's the whole point - we've all got so many smartphones and laptops and tablets laying around the house already... I think my family has about 12 such devices right now (hard to keep track). I've got 4 personally. Might as well give them some way to interact with the TV.

        --

        ...but don't families that have 12 smartphones, tablets, and laptops already have a way of consuming that content on the TV (smart TV, Apple TV, WDLive, Roku, HDMI cable from the PC, or something)?

        What's the point of the extra dongle? Small market I think. If they'd gone to $50 and included a remote and ability to stream even a limited subset of local files (but less limited than Apple TVs subset) then I think it'd have killed Apple TV pretty much in last place.

        As it is, it just increases OS entrenchment - Android owners will buy this, iOS owners will buy Apple TV, and everyone will also *still* have to also buy a WD Live, Roku, Netgear EVA or something like that too.

        1. Mark Ruit
          Childcatcher

          Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

          What's the point of the extra dongle? What's the pint of TV? I've managed withoud that particular opiate for the last 40-odd years...

          1. monkeyfish

            Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

            What the pint of TV?

            Depends what day it is, and how long you've been sitting there, and how many hookers you've got.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

      "What happens when the kids need the tablet to do their homework, or Dad has to take a business call on his mobile and disappears with the 'remote' for an hour?"

      Well presumably, "mum" will just pick up her smartphone/tablet and carry on controlling the TV with that instead. It isn't tied to a single phone/tablet. Content can be played and controlled from any media device with the app installed - even a different platform.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

        I have a retired 3rd Generation iPod touch and a retired Samsung Galaxy S that have been replaced with more recent models. I guess they could be brought out of retirement for use as a TV remote.

    3. Darren Barratt
      Facepalm

      Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

      And lets not forget it assumes that you have a TV. And that you have people to watch TV with.

      So once you've bought a TV, and hired 3 hookers to watch with you real cost is like $1000!

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

        Well that is good and well if you have already got a couch. .... and a house to put the couch in.

        1. Richard 116

          Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

          Costs are mounting. I'm rapidly going off this idea.

          1. Craigness

            Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

            You don't need a tablet, just Chrome on your existing laptop. If you don't have a laptop then add that to the cost of the TV, couch, house and hookers.

            "Applications on the sender device can be Android or iOS applications, or a Chrome app"

            https://developers.google.com/cast/developing_a_sender

            Sure, people already have apps on Smart TVs, but how many people actually like to use those interfaces?

      2. Joe Gurman

        Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

        Come again? You've got three hookers and you're going to watch TV?

        This really is a site for hopeless geeks.

        1. Ivan Headache
          Happy

          Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

          But the hookers are only there for the tomatoes.

      3. dj-master-tune-out
        Holmes

        Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

        Hookers, $20 each ,equals $60, which leaves $940 for the Tv, (including tax, batteries, and mounting).

        OR $199 for a sub 32 inch , cheapo TV , which leaves $801 for the hookers.

        hmmm....what to do,, what to do, oh the puzzlement !!

  5. Dummy00001
    Happy

    Miracast

    I have to say I was appalled when I learned how the Chromecast works.

    But on the bright side, from the user comments I have learned about Miracast which: does precisely what I want, is already here (marketing names differ, Samsung calls it "AllShare Cast"; official feature of Android 4.3) and dongles for it cost not much more than the Chromecast (about 50€).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Miracast

      So how on miracast do you set up a playlist for music that your friends contribute to? How do you start a movie playing and then pop out with your phone to answer a call without interrupting the movie for your friends?

      How do you run 1080p HD content if your phone or tablet doesn't support it? How do you keep browsing the web while casting one tab or your browser to the TV? How do you watch a movie without having to play it on your phone at the same time?

      The usage for these devices are very different.

    2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Miracast

      I have to say I was shocked when I found out that the chromecast would not support miracast. It would seem to be such an obvious feature for the device, and surely wouldn't have cost much more to add (assuming the wireless chippery supports wifi direct, it would "just" need certification and a bit of software)

  6. Nuno
    Thumb Up

    play videos stored on your device

    "It can't stream anything that you've loaded directly onto the control device."

    If it can show the contents of your Chrome browser, you can watch your device's videos. Just drag and drop them into a Chrome tab...

    1. Chris 244
      Thumb Down

      Re: play videos stored on your device

      Windowed and transcoded on the fly, yipee. Google calls it a beta feature, and reviews of it are not so hot right now.

      1. scarshapedstar
        Boffin

        Re: play videos stored on your device

        Works flawlessly for me. Depends entirely on wifi signal, I guess - yay for single room apartments!.

      2. scarshapedstar
        WTF?

        Re: play videos stored on your device

        Oh, and also, it plays fullscreen if you just click the ChromeCast extension. Not sure where this windowed rumor is coming from.

  7. asdf Silver badge

    nifty for the price

    Still I needed a more hard core (ie expensive) solution to throw uncompressed HD off the PS3 to any tv in the house wirelessly including the projector lag free (for gaming and movies). Even 5Ghz 802.11ac is not fast enough so had to go with a proprietary solution using GigaXtreme tech that I love but won't spam here to avoid being called a shill.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: nifty for the price

      Wow IOGear now has a good solution on WHDI to compete with my Nyrius Aries Home+ HD There offered a competitor but really enjoy my Nyrius.

  8. Efros

    I read that Google are releasing the SDK for it so there will be apps appearing, if someone gives it local media support i.e. accessing local network content, then this will be a winner. It has already sold out in all the major suppliers in the US.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Cloud exists. We have no need for local media.

      The Cloud exists. You have no need for local media.

      The Cloud exists. They have no need for local media.

      The Cloud exists. I have no need for local media.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        The Cloud has evaporated. I wish I still had my local media.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Cloud exists. We have no need for local media.

        As an old soixante-huitrd, could I just note you have omitted the last line: "Ils profitent".

    2. Craigness

      I'm pretty sure I heard that Google will vet all apps which use their SDK. Whether they can do that for something designed to work within a local network is another matter, but you might be disappointed. I sense this, like other media playback/distribution restrictions, is to keep the Copyright Cartel happy rather than to suit Google.

      1. Mikel

        Shut down apps

        I am pretty sure that Google is smart enough to not try to shut down the Chromecast version of deCSS.

  9. sanf

    As useful as Apple TV then?

    That is, if you are not part of the ecosystem, this product is not for you. It even looks like Apple TV can do something more than Chromecast: play from a local device of the network.

    Marketing guys did a great job then: most people are confused on what the device can do. A colleague of mine did not believe that it was not the mobile phone doing the streaming.

    1. Craigness

      Re: As useful as Apple TV then?

      The "ecosystem" in this instance is an IOS device, Android device or a Chrome browser. You don't even need a Google account.

      And it does stream local content if you can play it in Chrome. On Windows it supports MKV, MP4, MP3, JPG and possibly others.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streaming a film to TV via Wi-Fi....

    I've had mixed results streaming video to TV. I always seem to get lag at moments where the film hangs. I'm only using a basic Wi-Fi router from my ISP and the walls are medium thick where I live. But still.... Anyone else run into this? To get over the hiccups I've stayed with using mini-wireless-keyboard + netbook hardwired into the TV via HDMI... I wonder, can this G device handle 1080P with a high frame rate on home Wi-Fi....?

  11. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    NETFLIX option CANCELLED

    Due to an overwhelming acceptance of this product, according to the LA Times, Google has been forced to withdraw the Netflix bonus.

    All existing Netflix codes will be honoured.

    1. bbark

      Re: NETFLIX option CANCELLED

      they didn't "cancel" the offer-- they ran out of promo codes. it was labelled a limited time offer from the beginning.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. scarshapedstar
    Devil

    " If you were hoping for a device that would let you stream the MKV files of TV shows that you downloaded from ---BitTorrent--- authorized sources to your TV, this isn't it."

    Unless you were to, say, upload them as private vids to your Youtube account...

    1. scarshapedstar
      Holmes

      "There's also a Chrome extension that lets your TV mirror your browser window, but that's about it."

      And what if I happen to have an .avi or .mpg open in my browser...?

      1. Anonymous Coward 15
        Paris Hilton

        Sounds like a porn mode to me.

        1. Craigness

          Sssshhhhh! Don't let Dave hear!

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Dagg

    Audio to External sound system

    It doesn't appear to be able to have a digital audio feed to an external sound system. So if you have a Sony TV that can only manage a down mixed stereo output from any external HDMI digital audio feed you are screwed.

    1. Craigness

      Re: Audio to External sound system

      I'm not up to date on AV hardware. Is there nothing which has HDMI input and output and also has home cinema functionality?

  16. Sil

    Not sure who it is for. My 2 years old decent but by no means special smart tv does everything this dongle does and much more. People with super old tvs may want to invest these $35 bucks directly in a new tv.

    Then again I never ever understood what the point of AppleTV was so I guess I do not belong to the targeted customers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "People with super old tvs may want to invest these $35 bucks directly in a new tv."

      And how much is the price premium if your new TV is to be a "smart" one?

      A lot more than the $50 or so for one of these or a Pi plus bits?

      Hopefully the "smart TV" price premium will start to shrink. Then again, it may not, if it really is the case that the Chromecast isn't that smart, that it can't (ever?) play non-Cloud stuff, whereas a "smart TV" can...

    2. Steve I
      Happy

      Understanding...

      "My 2 years old decent but by no means special smart tv does everything this dongle does and much more. People with super old tvs may want to invest these $35 bucks directly in a new tv."

      Yes - it said that in the article.

      Except over 2 years old does not qualify as 'super-old' and I'm not sure that spending $35 to watch YouTube/NetFlix would not be a sensible choice compared to spending $500-$600 on a new TV.

      But, as you said yourself, you find modern technology confusing (The Apple TV is not hard to understand).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So your smart TV can stream content from Google Music and Google Play and mirror Chrome Browser tabs all controlled by your smartphone? Can you set up jukebox parties where anyone can add to the playlist?

      When was the last time your smart TV had its apps updated? Weekly, monthly, yearly, never?

      App providers who already make an IOS or Android App can easily add the SDK and then their app is available on ANY (HDMI) TV.

      This is the difference, you may, not want or need that. No one said this is the best device for everyone to have. The point is for $35 the USP is strong and the use-cases pretty high.

    4. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      "People with super old tvs may want to invest these $35 bucks directly in a new tv."

      Yeah, because I can get a new TV for £35, can't I.

      Seriously, I have 2 very good (if older) TVs: a 37" LCD and a 50" plasma. If I was to replace these with non-smart brand new equivalents, I would be looking at (IIRC) over £700. Add smartness, and you would be adding at least £100 to the price of each.

      Instead, I could get a chromecast for each for well under £100 (or Pi and accessories).

      Some people seem to believe that everyone has money to burn!

      1. Gav
        Boffin

        Money to burn

        Well you clearly do, otherwise you wouldn't have bought a 50" plasma TV. It must have cost a fair amount at the time.

        Plasmas also devour electricity. They are even worse than CRTs.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Money to burn

          "Well you clearly do, otherwise you wouldn't have bought a 50" plasma TV. It must have cost a fair amount at the time."

          Actually, no. I got it a couple of weeks ago from a relative who didn't want it any more for the princely sum of... £50. OK, the sound doesn't work, but as we have a surround receiver (another second hand unit, before you ask, also costing around £50) that doesn't bother me.

          Honestly, we had wanted a TV around that size for ages but couldn't justify the cost.

    5. jonathanb Silver badge

      I tell people who are thinking of buying a smart TV to buy a good quality screen with lots of HDMI ports, and get separate boxes for "smart" features. It is the same as buying desktop computers where the computer becomes obsolete and gets replaced a lot quicker than the monitor.

    6. scarshapedstar
      Unhappy

      My Samsung smart TV has a wretched web interface, and I think it's by design, to force you to use their apps instead. It also auto-updates every time I turn it on, which can take upwards of 30 minutes.

      Chromecast takes 5 seconds and I don't even have to find the fancy TV remote with the trackpad and keyboard that are, likewise, light-years behind a touchscreen and Swype.

  17. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Smart TVs are doomed

    This is yet another example of why putting "smarts" inside the TV is a bad idea.

    Now the smart for a TV costs $35 - $70 and does everything any of the Smart TVs do. Next year, it'll be $20-$50 and they'll do far more than the Smart TVs can.

    TVs are expensive, they have to last you many years.

    The "Smart" bit is really cheap, you can buy a new one every year!

    Of course, being commentards you knew that from the moment the first Smart TV was marketed.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: Smart TVs are doomed

      ...and does everything any of the Smart TVs do.

      Except it doesn't. Even mine, which is getting on a bit, will also stream from local sources[1] and allow me to mirror a device's screen to it, which this doesn't. It'll do the cloud shit as well.

      [1] OK it's a bit brain dead for codecs, as I said it's getting on a bit, but anything's better than sod all.

  18. Ubermik

    Not in touch with the market

    This is quite bizarre

    Google sell android and there is already a plethora of much better android jelly bean devices out there that do just this job turning any HDMI TV, or in the case of the larger boxed versions with composite out sockets on them almost ANY TV into a jellybean smart TV with fill android functionality including play store

    The specs of the ones I have been looking at are 1gb/16gb 2x1.6ghz CPU, 4core GPU SD card slot built and wifi all starting from around £40

    They also need a 2.4ghz keyboard mouse to control them but so much more functionality for practically the same price and as android sold them the operating system you'd have thought they might have done something MUCH MUCH better than this rather dull offering like a full blown multicore android stick that can be controlled via another android device rather than HAVING to have a 2.4ghz mini keyboard/remote so it could even be sold to those who don't have anything except a wireless hub too

    The nexus 4 and nexus 7 have both tended to be excellent pieces of tech

    This on the other hand is a bit like looking at the styling and tech level of everyone elses current cars and then launching the morris minor IMO

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: Not in touch with the market

      It isn't that bizarre. Situation: You have 2 android phones in the household. One of them is a nearly 2 yr old moto that didn't get upgraded past 2.3. The other is a 1 yr old HTC that didn't get upgraded past 4.0. The TV was bought before 'smart' was added, but is still a decent TV with a good picture and reasonable sound quality. A first child has recently been born and all available cash is somewhat tied up at the moment. Now the product makes sense.

      If it did iplayer (and was available in the UK) I'd buy one tomorrow. Maybe by the time it gets released here it'll have that option. That said, the commentards have just pointed me the direction of a £50 Roku, so maybe that will be better.

      1. censored

        Re: Not in touch with the market

        Of course it'll do iPlayer. iPlayer is a Chrome window.

  19. goldcd

    I think this might work..

    Ages back I got a WD Live streaming box for my TV and found a YouTube app nestled away with Netflix and all the 'junk' plugins. I thought nothing of it until I randomly fired it up one day and realized I could 'pair' it with youtube on my phone.

    Seems to work in the same way - I browse/select/queue stuff on my tablet/phone and then my WD just gets the content pushed onto it. Doesn't sound that exciting - but was actually quite an enjoyable way to spend an evening with out new video jukebox playing away.

    Chromecast seems to be the next step in this process - not just youtube, but 'android' (potentially) as a whole.

    Bit that would be really nice, and I assume on Google's radar, is bolting some aggregation app over the top. Say I want to watch a film or program, I search for it. It seems I have Lovefim and netflix installed so polls them. Doesn't find a match then maybe polls your catchup services or amazon prime. Doesn't find a match, then it polls Pay-on-demand services - sky, google themselves etc.

    I love IPTV, I love video on demand - but they're all currently in their little silos. Absolute pain in the arse loading an app, searching for something that isn't there, loading another app etc.

    Seems a similar concept to the Xbox One, just without the honking great console bolted on - and if anybody can do it, it's Google.

    1. Craigness

      Re: I think this might work..

      Yes, searching across services is definitely the next step. This already removes the awful TV/remote interface and soon it could remove the siloed app concept too. Google's interest is in keeping the web open and searchable, and when that coincides with giving customers a useful product it's a great thing.

  20. Dieter Haussmann

    Doesn't seem to do much that one couldn't do with an HDMI cable, but without the trailing eyesore.

  21. DaLo

    MHL HDMI

    I can see the author has it plugged into an MHL compatible port. Would be interested to know if he tried to not power via USB (with MHL set on) to see if it would self power. MHL has this feature, unlike regular HDMI which is limited to 50mA.

  22. Jay42

    ... and iPhone had less features than Symbian. So what?

    It is all about the usability, not the feature count.

    BTW at first look the SDK looks mature and flexible, it should be easy to provide more application coverage while keeping great experience.

  23. Crisp Silver badge

    Looks Awesome!

    I'd totally buy one if I had a TV

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: Looks Awesome!

      Would probably work with a dumb monitor too.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Looks Awesome!

        But what about the sound?

  24. Steve Button

    Well I want one, but am I a small and unusual?

    I have a dumb TV upstairs with no PS3 or xBox nearby, and this will be perfect for watching netflix. For that alone it's worth around £25. I can't see there are so many people in my situation though?

    Also, I'm around 4 1/2 foot tall with large furry feet. Does that make me small and unusual? (yes, I'm a Hobbit)

    Actually, I meant I represent a small percentage of the people who would want this product and I might have an unusual use case... but that didn't fit well into the Title box.

    1. KroSha
      Thumb Up

      Re: Well I want one, but am I a small and unusual?

      It could also work well for people on holiday in, say, a caravan or canal boat. Lots of these have small TVs, so add a phone and a MiFi, and you have IPTV.

      1. Santonia
        Thumb Down

        Re: Well I want one, but am I a small and unusual?

        And stream video over 3G? If you live oin planet Google where we all have access to a superfast 4G signal everywhere then sure, but for real people living in the actual world - not an option.

        1. Thecowking

          Re: Well I want one, but am I a small and unusual?

          I stream video over 3g nearly every day (Well HSDPA or whatever the random abbreviation is).

          I don't have any problems with it.

  25. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    I wanted one until...

    I read the part of the article which says it can't stream content from local servers. Anyone who is interested in this sort of thing already has at least one way to watch youtube on their tv.

    I'll stick with XBMC

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: I wanted one until...

      If Chromecast simply pulls its stream from the internet there is probably some means to direct it to use a stream provided by a local net server. That trick has worked for Wi-Fi Picture Frames and the like.

      Once the hacking community puts their mind to it we will hopefully hear what can be done beyond what it is officially meant to do.

  26. John Robson Silver badge

    CEC?

    Why doesn't it set up using your TV remote and CEC?

    Could even have a direct UI then...

  27. Mike Brown

    If google has released the SDK...

    then it wontbe too long until the cast button shows up in mx player

  28. qzdave
    Thumb Up

    Energy saving, PS3 off occassionally?

    Love it! Netflix and Google Play straight to the TV without the PS3 running. I've not metered the PS3's energy consumption, but judging by the noise of the fan alone, the Chromecast will get paid for in saved energy in a couple of months. And it's not hamstrung by another crappy remote (Apple tv's remote looks good but is a pain in the arse to use).

    1. KroSha

      Re: Energy saving, PS3 off occassionally?

      Depends. If you have a Sony Bravia TV (I don't know about other brands), then the remote will control the PS3, via the HDMI. I've watched lots of Netflix, iPlayer, & DLNA video using the PS3 without touching the controllers.

      The only thing I had to use the controller for was ITVplayer, as the direction buttons didn't quite move the cursor properly and it needed the joystick.

    2. Frank Bough

      Re: Energy saving, PS3 off occassionally?

      Apple TV remote is nice to hold and tolerable to use but only because Apple have made the navigation system of the ATV so slow and primitive. Much better to use the iOS 'Remote' app.

  29. Salts

    Curry's seem to have dropped the price on the Roku LT to £34.50 and that given the "Normal" UK exchange rate despite what the banks say, this will probably be the price of the Chromecast. Point is the Roku LT seems a better device at the same cost and available in the UK now.

    1. monkeyfish
      Thumb Up

      Thanks for that! £50 still seemed a little steep just for iplayer (probably all it'll be used for). £35 is just about perfect.

    2. Snark
      Thumb Up

      Useful tip on the price drop, thanks for that. I popped out to Currys this afternoon and picked up a Roku LT. I was going to get the chromecast when it came out, but very pleased with it at that price - does everything I wanted (mainly Netflix, iPlayer on the bedroom but no aerial TV) and Plex media server streams very well from my desktop.

      1. monkeyfish

        I bought one on sat based on the £35 price drop too, works very well. Not too happy about having to give it my paypal details, since I'm not going to use the pay for apps anyway, but other than that it's good.

        Also a pity about the lack of 4oD, I emailed their customer support today to see if they were planning to put it on there, and got a reply within an hour. Unfortunately that reply was 'we cannot tell you about possible future developments, but are looking into a variety of delivery methods' etc. Maybe if a few others emailed them with the same request it could look like a higher demand?

  30. Christopher Rogers

    As google's bitch i'll be buying one. Netflix and all my google play purchases fired on to the telly with no fuss and minimal cost? whats not to like?

  31. thesykes

    Could be useful

    If more TV apps were enabled, such as iPlayer and TV Catchup (we all know Sky Go will NEVER do it), then this would be a perfect device for me.

    I have an old, but perfectly good, TV in the bedroom. Being a few years old, it had no digital tuner, so is essentially now just a dumb monitor. It's hooked up to an old Sky+ box, which sits downstairs. WE binned off Sky a couple of months ago, so the Sky+ box serves up a few free-to-aid channels, which is fine, as we really only use it to watch the news & weather before going to work in a morning.

    So, if this could stream from the various on demand services or TV Catchup, MX player etc, it would replace the Sky+ box.

  32. eben80

    Don't always need a USB power source

    If your TV is capable, it can provide 5V over pin 18 of HDMI, some don't.

  33. Paul Phillips

    looks great to me

    I think the local streaming option will definitely come. I think rather than MX player though it'll be the likes of Plex media server that'll do it. Also someone will create an app that allows you to cast from a DNLA server that can transcode the video like PS3 media server. Reason being that the video will need to be in a supported format for the chromecast.

    Once this happens then it is a pretty damn cool device in my opinion and it will probably replace me connecting a pc to my TV as I have now. The pc can be moved somewhere out of the way and become just a media server. I think this is the first device I have seen where I would consider loosing the flexibilty of having the pc connected directly to the TV

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Note to future media connectivity designers, put a power line on the input port so you can plug stuff like this in without needing an external PSU or fly lead.

  35. Drat

    Browsing for content

    One of the big problems with current smart TVs, streaming boxes etc is that it is a generally a pain to browse for content, you have to page down though many screens etc. It is much easier finding content on a smartphone or tablet (eaily flicking pages with your finger) and then bam you play it on your TV. I think it is more about the great browsing ability of a phone/ tablet with a great watching experience of a TV. Plus you can browse for something else whilst still watching what you have currently playing (we all have moments when our atention span is limited! What was I saying again?)

  36. Michael Hutchinson

    You mention that a TV remote is easier for pause/ff/rw. Does this thing not support CEC?

  37. Fibbles

    Requires a setup app?

    So Google have designed a small ARM powered device that is plugged directly into a display which already has a data input method (the TV remote,) yet they still require you to use a completely separate small ARM powered device with its own display and input in order to enter your SSID and password?

    The mind boggles.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a bazillion Android TV dongles....

    .... on the market at a similar price with full Android capability. Search ebay or amazon for "android tv dongle". I pushed the boat out and got a quad-core one for £50 (dual core ones are about £30). Streams HD off my NAS over wifi and I can install any Android apps on it ( catch-up TV, netflix or whatever). And it powers off the TV's USB connector, so no need for additional power supply...

  39. JEDIDIAH
    Linux

    Of course no Linux user owns a smartphone...

    > So far, setup apps are only available for devices running Android 2.3, iOS 6.0, Windows 7, or Mac OS X 10.7 (or any higher versions of those platforms). Sorry, Linux die-hards!

    In other words I can just plug it into my phone with an OTG cable. So where is the Linux user deprivation there again exactly?

    1. Al Jones

      Re: Of course no Linux user owns a smartphone...

      You don't even need an OTG cable - the set up utility connects to an ad-hoc network with the ChromeCast and configures it that way.

  40. Mikel

    I have this thing

    Bought it at Best Buy today and got the Netflix discount code. Set it up in 3 minutes using my phone. It does Netflix in FullHD, and YouTube (also FullHD) which my other devices didn't do in my living room. My kids are serious YouTube/Netflix junkies and have their own Android tablets to use as remotes and/or watch Netflix or YouTube. Naturally we have the 4 streams account so I can relax with a little TV too.

    Just the FullHD Netflix is worth it to me. It's sad watching low rez video on a 1080p bigscreen. Also ordered one on Google Play (before the Netflix cutoff) for my TV and will get that in a couple weeks. Both my TVs are Samsung LED SmartTVs of recent vintage. We have Roku, Equizo Android stick, a pair of Smart Blu-Ray players, a home theatre, Wii, and a bunch of other ways to play media content but this beats them all for ease of use and quality of picture.

    It's a decent little device and no doubt somebody will have XBMC and Ubuntu running on it shortly. I'll be casting various Websites onto the TV from my laptop to check that out. I expect all the online streaming services will be projecting to this display rather soon, and a whole industry to spring up around using this utility. This is going to change everything about the division between web and TV I think.

    I'll be buying a few more as Christmas gifts and maybe a couple to lend out for friends to try so they can see what it is too. This is too cool.

  41. netean

    Seems a bit limited for the money

    Shame, I was hoping for a more generic media playing experience rather than a Google walled garden approach of apps that they individually provide support for.

    For the same money (£25 +£5 SD card + £5 plastic case) My Raspberry pi is vastly superior (although I imagine also slower) I can watch and record live TV if I plug in my USB TV adapter, or stream live TV from BBC iplayer, 4OD, or TVCatchup. With a variety of addons to XBMC I can stream the latest movies, latest TV Shows from all over the world. I can play local content or stream directly from Mega.co.nz accounts, Google Music, Dropbox, Box or any other cloud provider, or from any device on my home network. I can stream content to other devices, including my Android Phone and Tablet and use a variety of devices to control it (TV remote, wireless keyboard, android phone etc)

    I just can't understand why I'd ever want a Chromecast instead of a much more versatile Pi?

  42. Zack Mollusc
    Thumb Up

    Neat little gadget!

    I will definitely buy one just as soon as Netflix has enough things that i want to watch and Virgin Media give me enough bandwidth to make it work ( although it is leaps and bounds better than it used to be, upstream is now a giddy 0.1 Megabytes/s ) and I get a telly with HDMI.

  43. censored

    Local Media

    Play your video file in a Chrome window and it'll share it to the telly. Which means it's perfectly capable of sending local files, so just wait for the apps to come that will let you send local content.

  44. tweaker

    Other reports say no problem to playing local media as long as it will play in a Chrome window. New Tab - ctrl-o. Most avi and mkv's will open.

  45. thecapsaicinkid

    Half the point of this device is having a familiar, touch interface in your hand to control the content which is infinitely better than a remote and blown up tv interface. Try manipulating music playlists with a tv remote.

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