back to article Reg tries out Google's Chromecast: Yep, we even tested smut sites

Google’s Chromecast has finally gone on sale in the UK after an age of waiting following its initial US release in July last year. This digital media player in the form of an HDMI dongle delivers streaming content to a telly including support for the BBC’s iPlayer. It’s only 30 quid too – so you might as well buy one even if it …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Irongut

    Discovered ChromeCast was out here yesterday. Hopefully mine should have arrived from Amazon today. :)

    1. Should b Working

      got mine yesterday

      Went for the 2-5 day super saver shipping and it arrived within 16 hours. Bonus weekend playtime.

      I don't have an apple TV and was looking at setting up Plex on my old desktop pc, so this fits nicely for future use.

      Meanwhile Netflix on a big screen without having to plug the laptop to the (7 year old) TV is real reason I bought it. Works a treat - can start playing from my iPhone and it takes over, don't need to keep it running - but you can if you want a remote.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      @Google - Features Request

      1) For Android devices, there's no need to limit yourself to adding the 'Cast' feature to specific apps, one by one. Build this 'Cast' capability into the OS, i.e. *your* Android OS. I can see why you won't be able to build this into Apple's iOS, but there's no excuse for not building it into Google's Android. (My guess, you're already working on it.)

      2) There should be a feature to effectively redirect the audio back to the portable device, for convenient use of headphones. Think about it, it's brilliant.

      3) Bug report: After selecting Canada, it still offered Pandora. Following the links, it was - of course - still not actually available. A very rude tease.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ordered

    I can't wait to give it a go.

    At that price, you don't even need to think about it.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: At that price, you don't even need to think about it.

        They threatened to send me a Surface if I didn't do it.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Ordered

      At that price, you don't even need to think about it.

      No, but I can think about it, if I wish. And I did. And I don't want one. I can think of plenty of things I'd rather spend $35 on.

      I'm sure many folks will find Chromecast useful, but "buy it because it's cheap" doesn't strike me as a compelling argument.

  3. dogged

    Worth reading

    I have no intention of buying one (between them, the telly and the XB360 handle all the media streaming I need) but I enjoyed the article and very nearly spat coffee at the monitor on learning of the existence of the nonfunctional ImageFap.

    Who comes up with these names?

  4. Cosmo

    Ordered mine from the Google Play store

    it has just arrived, so I'll attempt to put mine through its paces this weekend :)

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Ordered mine from the Google Play store

      "...put mine through its paces this weekend."

      It won't take that long.

      It took me about 30 minutes to make it work (mandatory download, etc.), and then I was more or less bored with it in just about 20 minutes more. It's more functional than interesting.

  5. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Stop

    Next stop...

    Adverts a la Youtube: "You're watching [blah] - Google recommends [blah that someone has paid to advertise over your blah]"

    ... although watching Chromecast through Google Glass could make for some interesting data farming feedback looping... :)

    1. edge_e
      WTF?

      Re: Next stop...

      When did sensible levels of cynisism start earning downvotes on this site?

    2. NotWorkAdmin

      Re: Next stop...

      Actually (and I'm amazed this isn't in the article) Chromecast doesn't serve ads on YouTube. Doubtless this oversight will be dealt with at some point by Google but right now I'm finding it a great way to watch YouTube playlists uninterrupted.

    3. Mikel

      Re: Next stop...

      Our kids like to sit around with their tablets and take turns throwing funny YouTube videos to it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a typical non-Apple product then. It "sorta" works.

    1. JoshOvki

      typical non-Apple product

      As apposed to a typical Apple product then. It works if you are holding it correctly and you don't want to know where you are going.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some people need a device that only kind of works. That way they can fill their evening with tinkering because so it's less noticeable how empty their lives are.

  7. Semtex451 Silver badge

    Me Piggin TV only has x3 HDMI :(

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Down-votes for Language use?

      Or for being too lazy to unplug something else?

    2. Goldmember

      Buy an HDMI switch. My TV only has 2 ports, so I bought this one.

      Worth every penny to the lazy man!

      1. Semtex451 Silver badge

        Ah a pattern is emerging. Up vote to compensate kind Sir.

      2. austint

        Snap: bought the same beast for the same reason on the same day as the Chromecast arrived. Lovely piece of dirt-cheap kit, works flawlessly.

  8. AJames

    Tab-casting versus handover

    When you tab-cast anything from your Chrome browser, your PC is indeed doing the heavy lifting. It has to transcode the incoming video stream to a compatible format and re-transmit it to the Chromecast. The Google Cast extension in Chrome that does this is not very efficient, and the video stutters, quite badly on slower computers. The WiFi connection doesn't really enter into it.

    When you cast from the BBC iPlayer app on Android, it instead hands over streaming to the Chromecast itself. You can shut down your Android device entirely if you wish after starting playback on the Chromecast. In this mode you will find that the BBC iPlayer video streams smoothly.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. LoPath

        Re: Tab-casting versus handover

        Yes, Netflix and Hulu both stream straight to Chromecast once the connection is made. Your phone just acts as the remote control. So if you use the device in this fashion, it works great, as there is no third party device "in the way" to slow things down. Of course, your internet and WiFi speeds make a difference.

      2. Cesar _

        Re: Tab-casting versus handover

        Yes. Netflix and Plex etc all hand off the transmission from your phone or PC to the dongle.

        Netflix is superb through it; it means you can use your phone to browse and pop it up on the TV when you find something to watch; Plex similar.

        The Chromecast is *superb*, I couldn't be more positive about it. Really neat way to make a TV accessible to your content.

        1. tabman

          Re: Tab-casting versus handover

          Ceser states: "The Chromecast is *superb*, I couldn't be more positive about it. Really neat way to make a TV accessible to your content."

          I agree, I bought one after reading the review here on el reg. Using my Nexus 2 in conjunction with the chromecast app is a very good experience indeed, the nexus can be shut down, charging, doing nothing at all, running different apps or working as your remote control.

          I have a Sony Bravia which has most video services built into it except for Netflix. To be able to watch Netflix without turning on my PC, logging in, going to Netflix and selecting a film, then switching my graphics card output from dual monitor to the HDMI connection to the TV is well worth the £30 I paid for it alone. I imagine that more video streaming sites will become available over time which will make it even more useful.

          If you have the £30 to spare then I would recommend buying one! The only downside for me is that as an owner of a Nokia Lumia 925 phone, I can not stream (I can't see Google creating a method like this for WP8 phones!) so let that be a warning to potential users, it doesn't (and likely never will) work with WP8 or at least the vanilla WP8 I use.

          Still, android phones work as do modern iPhones; laptops and desktops too. The method is different for laptops and desktops but it does eliminate the need for the HDMI cable which now has a new home being permanently connected to my RPi.

          Potentially using this whilst being on the go (staying in hotel rooms) is also a big boon but I haven't tried that yet and the only way to switch Wi-Fi networks seems to be a hard reset. I will have the opportunity next week so fingers crossed I can watch big screen Netflix instead of Nexus Netflix.

          I'm not a big fan of google but along with the Nexus 2, they seem to have created a very good product indeed. 5 stars! Note that the service working from a pc or laptop is not quite as smooth.

    2. Steven Raith

      Re: Tab-casting versus handover

      AJames is entirely correct - tabcasting is a beta feature, but the review seems to think it's the main function; it's not.

      The main function of the device is to act as a client for streams, which the Chromecast software provides it with (IE you go to Youtube on a browser, load the video, and hit the 'cast' button, it just sends the stream address to the Chromecast, and it does everything else).

      If you try to Chromecast a tab, the computer is attempting to transcode the entire display framebuffer to H264/WebM and transfer across a potentially flaky wifi signal, with expected results - lag, and occasional image quality issues.

      Tabcasting is useful (it sure as hell beats hooking a laptop to the TV over HDMI to show a webpage or something) but it's not the reason d'etre of the device - streaming longformat video content (see youtubes Drive channel as an example - most of their car reviews are nicely shot in HD and last around 15-20 mins - or Netflix) whereupon the quality is really rather nice (better than a browser with Flash in my experience - no framedrops, 720p all the way) and it's a 'nicer' viewing experience.

      Something like Drives Big Muscle channel (lots of muscle cars) through a decent AV system via Chromecast would be far, far superior to watching it on a desktop with a 2.1 or on a laptop through headphones.

      I've bought one, I use it almost exclusively for Youtube long format stuff, and as far as I'm concerned, it's totally worth it. No muss, no fuss, just works - even though it doesn't like my Draytek AP (I've got it connected to an Engenius AP I normally use for my bedroom upstairs - so not optimal but no problems with transfer rates it seems) and it fits a use case that I can exploit.

      The Synology DS Video app works OK - if you feed it an MP4 as my DS214+ doesn't transcode, so I can't use Plex on it....(which does apparently work....)

      Hurrah!

      Steven R

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Snarf Junky

        Re: Tab-casting versus handover

        "Drives Big Muscle channel (lots of muscle cars)"

        Are you sure that's what that channel shows?

  9. Stumpy Pepys

    I'm very happy with mine--for me, it's worth it for YouTube, Plex and Pocketcasts alone. It'll be dead handy when it gets added to Google Drive and you can cast a slide presentation.

    You're right though--it works much better when you use cast-enabled apps, compared to casting from Chrome tabs on a PC. Although the latter works acceptably for me.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shouldn't need one ...

    as my TV (LG) has Miracast and WiFi Direct inbuilt. Unfortunately my tablets version doesn't work :(

  11. Jim 48
    Go

    I've had an import for a few months and have just received a UK edition. For my use-cases it works perfectly, everything is done from an Android device and the content I use it for is mainly from Google Play Movies (both rented & bought; Game of Thrones series 3 was available a long time before you could get it on DVD), YouTube and now iPlayer. I also use an Xbox360 for streaming LoveFilm or NowTV but it's rare that I don't get any buffering though this, the Chromecast seems to handle it better when I have one kid skyping and another watching youtube.

    I have a RaspBMC for streaming local content from my NAS.

  12. magickmark
    Pint

    A must have

    I've had one for months (got it off Amazon.com) and I love it. I tend to use it from my Nexus 7. I tend to use it for Netflix and youtube but also Play Music, I dont subscribe I just use it to play my own content. I have set up so when I rip a CD its automatically uploaded to Play Music and then I can play via Chrome Cast and the new addtion of BBC iPlayer adds an extra incentive. I also have a few other apps that will work with it as well (all cast is a good one).

    I have cast stuff from Chrome via my PC and that works though not as well as the dedicated apps.

    Never had a moments problem with it, was the best £30 I've spent.

  13. ChrisPW

    I've had two for the past few months

    Mostly I've been using mine with youtube and plex, with some google music mixed in.

    The Plex support was the main reason I went for it and generally it works very well, with most of the problems I have (e.g. freezing if I skip around the video a few times) appearing to be a Plex problem rather than a Chromecast problem.

    Youtube support works well and gets a regular work out, google music is also good and I don't think you need to pay £10/pm unless you want access to the general catalogue (I do pay it, replaced my Spotify a while back).

    1. Snarf Junky

      Re: I've had two for the past few months

      Limited movie library vs comprehensive music library is about the sum of it.

  14. Buzzword

    NetFlix vs Music

    Going off on a tangent, why are all-you-can-eat film services priced at ~£6 per month whereas the corresponding music services are £10 a month? Audio+video should be more expensive than audio-only, shouldn't it?

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: NetFlix vs Music

      Your point might explain why the movie industry is still fairly strong and the music industry is largely a corpse. Not that the MPAA isn't a POS but the music industry fighting digital music download early on instead of embracing it and keeping the that mindset to some extend even today shows why we get endless boy bands as the latest greatest thing.

    2. Lunatik

      Re: NetFlix vs Music

      Fair point, but the slight difference is that your £6/mo buys you transient access to a tiny fraction of the video content made in the last 50 years, with almost nothing produced in the last 12 months.

      Conversely, the £10/mo for the music service gets you just about everything that's been recorded and committed to bits in the same period*, with most new releases available immediately for stream and download.

      Imagine a £18/mo video service that offered the same freedom? Doesn't seem likely, does it?

      I think longer term the music model may prove to be more sustainable.

      As for Chromecast the only issues I've had are with occasionally unresponsive control, but that may be my BT HH3 which seems to be on the way out. Great little device for sticking on the kids' distinctly un-smart bedroom TVs.

      *Digital hold-outs excepted. AC/DC, I'm looking at you *growls*

  15. PaulR79
    Coat

    "In the interests of research I discovered that ImageFap wouldn’t show anything, YouPorn was quite happy to relay video from a Google Cast tab and xHamster slideshows would also play out nicely. You’ll have to do battle with pop-ups though."

    Battling with pop-ups while browsing porn? Not a problem >_>

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Drat

      Re: ...a solution...

      The problem is browsing content efficiently on a TV to playback on a TV. The solution is browsing for the content on your phone to playback on the TV.

      Have had a Chromecast for a couple of months, I love it for playing Netflix, play music, Plex and you tube, and now iPlayer. And my wife finds it easy to use too which is a huge plus.

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: ...a solution...

      >...a solution... looking for a problem.

      Keeping making those cable executives rich. I personally for an admitted slight hassle enjoy the $75+ a month I save not having a cable bill. This device is an easy cheap way to add internet TV to a TV.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    i'm on my way to buy one.

    If I can find a store locally...yep...

  18. Berwhale

    Super!

    Got mine this morning. I already have an extensive Plex library, a Netflix subscription and all my music on Google Music, so this was a no-brainer for me.

    I'm controlling it from a Nexus 5 phone and a couple of Nexus 7 tablets. So far, it's played everything flawlessly (including direct play of 1080p movies from Plex). I've also been impressed by the quality of the iPlayer and Vevo apps. This is what tablets were made for :)

  19. asdf Silver badge

    my simple chromecast review

    I have it in my back bedroom and now I have cut the cable cord I do like it. Its is fairly convenient and cheap. It can be a bit buggy but not annoyingly so. My only real annoyance is occasionally have to unplug the power cable to the thing to reboot it when in a hurry. It can be a PITA to get the thing from a paused netflix movie to the pretty natures scenes screen. I don't like leaving wifi on my phone after I set the movie playing so its a hassle to do it any other way quickly. Still for $35 tough to beat it for internet tv.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: my simple chromecast review

      "It can be a PITA to get the thing from a paused netflix movie to the pretty natures scenes screen."

      Go on then, why would you be wanting to do that in a hurry? Arf arf.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: my simple chromecast review

        >Go on then, why would you be wanting to do that in a hurry? Arf arf.

        Nah casting porn is for those that are single. Too risky lol. For me its more because I have to get my ass to work in the morning after let the kid watch Sponge bob or whatever.

  20. No Quarter

    My HDMI cable from my computer to my TV seems to do all these things, was cheaper and has no delay.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      except

      Yes and your computer eats up probably two orders of magnitude more of electricity which you have to pay for. Not just that but there is no fan noise and no annoying cables (other than microUSB power) with a Chromecast. As for cheaper you probably didn't get your computer and cheap HDMI cable for less than $35. To each his own though. Don't get me wrong I love computers too :).

      1. Berwhale

        Re: except

        Yes, compared to my relatively frugal HTPCs (based on an AMD E450 and an Intel C847) the Chromecast stands up rather well in this respect. I could buy 3 or 4 Chromecasts for the price of my, admittedly rather nice, Antec Fusion Micro 350 HTPC case.

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: except

        Given the rather large likelihood of having a computer, especially a laptop, with an HDMI, I don't think counting the cost of the computer is sensible.

        Given that the computer is almost certainly on most of the time you are at home watching TV, counting the (minimal) cost of electricity for a laptop is also not sensible - my TV uses three times the power at least. Fan noise, not a great deal these days but I assume we are not talking Home theatre, Dobly Digital super movies in any case, Blu-ray would be the case otherwise, never bother myself as my town is equipped with a cinema.

        And, a connected laptop (cable, £7.50, 10m, works perfectly) does everything, perfectly, in a little window if I want, at the same time as using the computer. I don't have to browse using a phone, I can use a large laptop screen, have the show on TV and use the laptop at the same time.

        And all you require is a TV with HDMI, not a big ask.

        Still, as people say £30, hardly a big deal, useful for a kids bedroom, or indeed one's own bedroom if you have a bedroom TV and your tablet doesn't have HDMI out or you don't want to connect it.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: except

          Yes, or I could take my Chromecast to my dads house, slap it in an HDMI port, tell it to use his wifi, and then point it to a Youtube video using my phone.

          None of which requires dragging out my laptop, finding a cable, making sure it's at the right resolutiion for the display, etc.

          It's a (literal) two minute job to show him the latest Project Binky (Celica 2.0 Turbo 4wd drivetrain into a BL mini) video in 1080p, as opposed to farting about with the Macbook, hoping it gets the right res for the screen, finding the video on Youtuve, adjusting the volume, etc.

          There is a usage case for this device - it's called 'people who don't want to be fucking about with cables and want good Youtube videos on their telly' - and that's before you get to TabCast and Netflix.... used Tabcast to introduce my dad to The Oatmeal - he spat his coffee out a couple of times.

          Steven R

          PS: Tonight I literally did the following - plugged Chromecast into HDMI and power source, told Chromecast the Wifi details, then projected Project Binky Pt4 to the Chromecast and sat back with a coffee after it had finished, discussed the merits of a 2.0 litre turbo in a BL mini - without any obvious effort. Seriously, it's awsume - if you have the content to justify it. And if you don't, it's £30. I'm moderately skint, and even my attitude is 'so what?'

  21. Uncle Siggy

    Great for multimedia

    I organize Heroclix games and host at a local library with a giant flat screen that can accommodate the Chromecast. I use my MacBook Pro and Chromecast with Chrome to tabcast alternately Netflix (superhero movies or cartoons) and Pandora (video game, game culture music) to make the atmosphere fun. Rules, rulings, schedule and game website are kept in other tabs. I cast the appropriate tab during the different points in the tournament, best of all showing everyone their past and present standings. All this across the miserable wireless connection of the library. There are good days and bad, but everyone agrees that it has enhance the gaming experience.

  22. ConelR

    I don't give a crap about the Chromecast, as I have a few devices that will 'cast' to the TV, but thanks for the heads up on that Arena Spitting Image programme, I'll be watching that next on Iplayer

  23. Efros

    Living in the colonies I've had access to the Chromecast for a few months now. I recently bought a second one if that tells you anything about what I think of it. The advent of local content casting with the Plex app has really increased this doodads appeal. A poster up the page a bit quite rightly says that tabcasting is not the main use of this, although it is useful, using your phone or tablet to control content on your TV is. At this, the Chromecast excels. 30 pounds is a bit steep, my second one cost me $30, the first one was $35 with 3 months of Netflix free.

    1. Should b Working

      Unfortunately here in Blighty we're subjected to import duties and VAT, which pumps the price up. Even a $30 USD device shipped would struggle to get into my living room for under 30 pounds.

  24. WylieCoyoteUK

    Didn't work for me

    Bought an import a while back.

    Didn't with my XperiaZ, or my ground floor AP.

    When I got it working with my Android tablet, the only thing that worked properly was Youtube.

    Netflix and Plex are of no interest to me, and iPlayer wasn't available at the time.

    Tab casting didn't work from Chrome on mobile either.

    Sent it back.

    Streaming is still in its infancy, and it shows.

    I dropped Netflix after the free month because the content was so poor (unless you like American TV, which I don't) I only actually watched 2 films in that month, and the second was so bad I turned it off halfway.

    Lovefilm was better, but most of the stuff I wanted wasn't available to stream , and can't be bothered waiting for a disk.

    These days I use Blinkbox because I don't have to shell out a monthly sub, when there is so little worth streaming.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "particularly sensitive to signal strength" and "forget streaming HD video from a computer"

    "Overall, the Chromecast is very much a get-what-you-pay-for device. In use, it appears particularly sensitive to signal strength and even moving around a room can affect its performance. YouTube was the most resilient playback channel and for best results, forget streaming HD video from a computer"

    That's a bit disappointing. But maybe we can get a better perspective. It would help if the supporters and detractors told us how far away their TV is from their Wi-Fi? And what kind of obstacles are presented to the signal including bunker walls or Wi-Fi channel interference i.e. Apt complexes?

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: "particularly sensitive to signal strength" and "forget streaming HD video from a computer"

      My TV is 20ft from my AP, through a wood/plaster floor, but the difference is I'm using it as intended as a streaming client through native apps.

      I'll repeat again - TabCast is a beta and not the devices intended use. TabCast is a beta and not its intended use. TabCast is a beta and not the devices intended use. TabCast is a beta and not the devices intended use.

      Sling it a good quality Youtube feed from a compatible device (IE any Android 2.3 or above phone) however, and it fucking rocks- HD content and no dropped frames.

      Go into it with open eyes, know what it's meant for (unlike the reviewer - sorry, but you missed the point of the device by a country mile) and it's spot on.

      Steven R

  26. Blackisle

    I am working out in the US atm and bought one to have a play with ($35 = £20 approx) - the tab casting is a bit iffy but for playing local content from mobile/tablet/desktop I have found BubbleUPNP to be pretty good. You don't need a full server install (unless you want to do transcoding of files that the chromecast doesn't support natively) on a big machine - client just points the local file and streams it directly to the 'cast. Works well and again, you can open up a web browser on your device and do other things as it streams in the background. couple of £ for the android client, think the rest if free and OSS (NAS installable too).

    Only real PITA is that it must, at all times, be connected to the internet, even to stream local content. If you're on a hotel wifi with a sign-in page you're rooked. I have to bridge through a little pocket wifi router + laptop in order to get round this issue.

    Other than that, can't be beat for £20.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What?

    It costs £30 and I have to use it with Chrome while Google record everything I do with it.

    What's my motivation again?

  28. David 132 Silver badge

    Meh. Roku barely more expensive, and much better.

    I bought a couple of Roku3 boxes late last year - OK, they're more expensive than this, but the Roku1 is in the same ballpark ($50) if you don't want the waggly controller thing (oo-er). Combined with the Plex media server they work brilliantly AND do 1080p, AND can be controlled from a smartphone if for some reason you don't like the supplied remote.

    Not tempted by this, myself. But each to their own.

  29. Andrew Jones 2

    Argh! If you are going to do a review - DO THE RESEARCH FIRST!

    Dear El Reg,

    Please do the research before you start writing useless reviews.

    TAB casting is exactly what it sounds like - the computer essentially transcodes an MP4 (although it might be VP8) audio and video stream of the contents of the tab and then sends it direct to the Chromecast - thus if you are attempting to watch anything with streaming video the data is coming from the internet to your computer where it is decoded displayed in the tab and then re-encoded and fired across the network to your Chromecast - this is HIGHLY bandwidth and CPU intensive and should only ever be used as a last resort - the functionality exists ONLY as a catch all to offer some form of basic support for services which are not NATIVELY Chromecast compatible. If you had opened Netflix for example or even YouTube you would of seen a Chromecast button IN the video player for that service which upon clicking does something quite magic, it tells the Chromecast "hey you - go off and fetch this URL" which it then does.

    You also didn't discover that you can start a cast from (for example) Netflix on your Computer and then pick up another device like your iPhone and open the same app and instantly get control of the stream - to adjust the volume or seek forward or backward - the Netflix app offers a handy "back 30 seconds" button.

    Native Chromecast apps - of which there are now quite a lot - offer everything from Mutliplayer quiz games, Multiplayer drawing, TicTacToe, Flappy Bird. On Android there is AllCast and Avia for streaming Local content from your device to the Chromecast and files from your Network either via SMB file shares or DLNA.

    And you completely missed the point - while YOU personally might not want to buy anything from Google Play (and by the way you can upload 20,000 of your own music tracks to Google for free) - one of the things that makes the Chromecast such a joy is that I can visit you bringing my Nexus 4, connect to your WiFi and then cast music, movies, TV shows to your Chromecast without ever having to login to anything other than your WiFi - which immediately makes the Chromecast great for social occasions. Similarly I can cast something from Netflix even though you might not be a subscriber.

    1. PhilBuk

      Re: Argh! If you are going to do a review - DO THE RESEARCH FIRST!

      Nice rant but countered by the 'would of seen' in para 2 - Yuk!

      In english next time please.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Argh! If you are going to do a review - DO THE RESEARCH FIRST!

      "If you had opened Netflix for example or even YouTube you would of seen a Chromecast button IN the video player for that service which upon clicking does something quite magic, it tells the Chromecast "hey you - go off and fetch this URL" which it then does."

      Something my TV already does without paying £30 to install Google spyware on my computer.

  30. J 3

    harks back to the days of cheap printers with overpriced ink

    What do you mean, "harks back"? It is still going strong.

    Anyway, reading this review gives me a measure of relief. On our visit to the US over the holidays, my wife was contemplating buying either the Chromecast or the AppleTV to play the media she has on her Mac.

    Since the AppleTV was just $80, and she being sort of a fangirl, she bought the Apple thing. I don't like Apple much, but I have to say the thing works over our humble WiFi without any problems (apart from sometimes needing to restart iTunes, for some reason), streaming high-def video like it was connected through a cable, be it from her local collection or from YouTube, Netflix, whatever we have tested. Sure, the two devices have slightly different features (I'm pretty sure you can't cast website tabs on the stock AppleTV), but still. Seeing how difficult it is to play local media from a computer using the Chromecast is quite surprising to me.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: harks back to the days of cheap printers with overpriced ink

      The Apple TV does allow mirroring of your desktop or tablet display. If you're running OS X Mavericks then you can use it to extend your desktop also. It's a more flexible solution that works with more software, but then it's more expensive and is tied in to the Apple ecosystem. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

  31. jason 7 Silver badge

    I think I'll wait for the...

    ...£50 one that works a bit better.

    Other that that an interesting little toy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think I'll wait for the...

      I wish they would put version numbers on hardware.

      This would be Chromecast 0.5beta.

      Cheap because it's fussy and not quite there yet.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I think I'll wait for the...

      "...an interesting little toy."

      More a tool than a toy. The *only* toy aspect are the lovely embedded wallpaper pictures. Other than that, it's simply a tool.

  32. David Harper 1

    Way better than Virgin Media TiVo for BBC iPlayer

    I bought a Chromecast via Amazon this week to find out whether it would help me to escape from Virgin Media TiVo / BBC iPlayer hell. In short, VM's TiVo system cannot play on-demand TV using the BBC iPlayer. The video stream glitches every few seconds, making it pretty much unwatchable. According to the VM engineer who came to check our newly-installed TiVo after I complained about the crap iPlayer video quality, this is apparently a known problem, but neither Virgin nor the BBC will admit responsibility.

    Anyway, I'm happy to report that Chromecast solves the problem. I can now cast BBC iPlayer video streams from my smartphone or tablet to my TV, and the quality is excellent. Thank you, Google.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: Way better than Virgin Media TiVo for BBC iPlayer

      It works just fine here. Must be down to your local cable segment and how heavily used it is.

  33. Neil Hoskins

    Almost perfect

    But can we also have DLNA/UPNP for local streaming, please?

    1. Simon_E

      Re: Almost perfect

      Search the Play Store for LocalCast - it supports UPNP/LNA and SMB. And it's free...

      There's AllCast and PlayTo Chromecast, as well, for your local streaming needs.

      1. Neil Hoskins

        Re: Almost perfect

        Thanks, but I have a houseful of DLNA-compatible gadgets. I despair of people developing yet more proprietary protocols when a suitable standard has been around for years.

    2. Two Posts

      Re: Almost perfect

      Casting from a miniDLNA server to a Chromecast here. The miniDLNA server is on my Asus RT-N66U router.

      Downloaded Bubble UPNP from play store to my android phone.

      On start up selected the library as my miniDLNA server and Chromecast as the renderer and that's it. I only have MKVs in my Video folder and MP3s in the music folder but everything is working great.

  34. kurkosdr
    WTF?

    Pop-ups?

    "You’ll have to do battle with pop-ups though. "

    AdBlock people! And no, I don't care if websites need to make money. Either host your own ads, or find an ad server that won't serve pop-ups or malware.

    PS: No interest for the Chromecast if it can't mirror tabs or play local files properly, the good news is some chinese vendor can take the same chip and build an ultra-cheap 1080p player

  35. Mikel

    Netflix quality

    If you have Chromecast and the right ISP in the US, the difference in quality can be remarkable. Chromecast can use the new VP8 encoding, which saves a lot of bandwidth or ups quality, depending.

  36. Dr_N Silver badge

    Chromecast's USB lead

    Anyone else found that Chromecast's microUSB lead seems to be for power only?

    If you use it to connect any other devices it only powers them up, it won't

    actually connect them via USB....

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    picked mine up today

    was going to order one from Amazon....but got distracted.. then in town today popped into John Lewis..who didnt have any yet.. but passed by PC world on way back to car, they had loads behind the counter. Picked up just one for now - been using it for past few hours - works fine, using various clients and even PC. have installed a few useful apps to allow to stream locally/efficiently.

    shame it only runs in 2.4GHz as that spectrum is very full and messy... could be the cause of some peoples issues - 5GHz would have meant more free space and less disturbance from neighbours - (it also appears to not be able to use channels 12 or 13 either so very US-centric on the 2.4 :/

    for home use its so far great..and will only get better the more Apps and web developers 'get it' -

    but for enterprise use.... eg presentation screens, meeting room TVs etc - its really currently a no-show - doesnt support 802.1X for WPA2/Enterprise WiFi - and it has no security - ANYONE on the network who can see/detect it with their chromecast app can stream to it. needs some form of partnering/session/PIN system really (tie that into google calendars with some form of booking system - if person+room+chromecast are all booked into same session..... ;-) )

  38. ecofeco Silver badge

    Maybe it's just me....

    ...but all I see is an extra layer of complication on an already overly complex system (streaming anything).

    I have Hulu and YouTube and all the news website have their videos. I have no lack for video entertainment.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Maybe it's just me....

      I don't have any use for a Chromecast either. I've never streamed anything from any device to my TV, and never felt the desire to do so. If it weren't for my wife, I probably wouldn't have a television at all, except for the little one in the basement I use for playing video games while running on the treadmill.1 When I want to watch video, the laptop screen does just fine.

      My wife does occasionally stream shows from her phone or laptop to the TV, so I know we have at least one HDMI port, but to be honest I'm not even sure whether there's another one. (Though I guess most sets that have any have at least two.)

      Clearly many people do want something like this, and that's fine. And some people have noted that they find it useful for things like showing pictures at someone else's home; I can see that too, though it's not something I want to do often enough to bother with a Chromecast or the like.

      But the number of commentators who apparently can't understand why anyone wouldn't want one of these is surprising.2

      1This takes some practice. Slower speeds are recommended until you get the hang of it.

      2Or would be surprising, if I weren't so cynical about people in the first place.

  39. Annoyed Grunt

    Experimental still :-(

    Great concept but for me it didn't work well at all. Video from Plex and netflix stuttered, doesn't have app casting support from the usual vendors (only mirroring which requires chrome). This was over a 802.11n network with the chromecast right next to the router. In comparison other devices achieved >120mbit/sec and smooth streaming. (Virgin cable).

    Also one big problem, it is hard set to use googles DNS servers. This means they unblock-us and other similar services don't work.

    It's a great concept, don't get me wrong, but it is still beta in my humble opinion. I'm not a big apple fanboy but airplay currently works a lot lot better for me.

  40. T I M B O

    More spyware. Years ago Google was a trusted name, but the more apps i see and what they wish to know about you i feel that trust is now a big issue when getting involved with Google.

    I may not be completely up to date with all the modern paraphernalia, but why on earth would Google need to know about my Phone calls, status & identity? Next they will be after my inside leg measurement. When will all this spying stop.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chromecast Vs RaspBMC?

    Genuine question - why would I buy one of these when I have a RaspBMC which seems to offer all the same functionality (and more)?

    I get full access to iPlayer, 4oD, itvPlayer, as well as less official streaming sites. It can access my NAS for fillm, music and photo archives. And is operated remotely from my phone.

    This review tends to suggest that I need a smartTV and computer in order to operate the Chromecast - is that true?

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Chromecast Vs RaspBMC?

      "...why would I buy one of these when I have a..."

      Duh. One buys one of each, unless there's a specific reason not to. When something is Cdn$40 (or pounds, LOL), you just buy it.

      Now, I just need to buy a 24-input HDMI switch...

  42. razorfishsl

    Just looking at that PSU… there could be a serious issue.

    Can someone setup the crappy chromecast thing then put a multitester set to 700vac between the metal HDMI gold case and an earthed computer case?

  43. Arachnoid

    Tried it already

    Seems to have issues when you want to change content even on an android tablet and it can at times lose connection to your tablet so you have no control at all over the dongle which carries on playing.

    Setting up I had connection issues the device just wouldn't connect to the BT router and responses read via internet trawling didn't look promising.I resolved the issue by disabling the password requirement to the router successfully connected the device then after re enabling it the device worked fine with the password requirement ......why it didn't in the first place is a mystery.

    As has already been stated it needs more support from other vendors I guess its akin to a new Windows version in that requirement.

  44. Mr.Mister
    Alert

    More Chromecast possibilities

    I somewhat agree with Andrew Jones 2 here that The Register could have done a bit better job here going a bit deeper in their review of what is possible and what potential the Chromecast has.

    For instance owners of Synology NASes will appreciate the DLNA-possibilities of the Chromecast, as their NAS (from DSM 5.0) and their corresponding apps on mobile now has Chromecast support. I play my music files directly on the Chromecast from the HDMI in my surround receiver, and control it with the DS Audio App on my android device(s), with the server-defined playlists etc. Very nice for Synology owners to get that possibility. Plex offers the same possibility (with a better GUI) - but the DS Audio solution is free. I have only used the music player, the DS Video app is also supposed to work in the same way. The Chromecast is then playing directly, no streaming via the mobile.

    Also - in the social arena it is interesting to note the Chromecast possibilities. A user of Netflix can easily cast to someone else's Chromecast. So if you get a visit from someone with a mobile and Netflix subscription (and you don't), you could decide to watch a movie from "his" Netflix at your place simply by making him cast to your Chromecast (via the Netflix app with cast support). The native Netflix app on the Chromecast somehow uses his/hers credentials and playes the content (again, without streaming from the mobile).

    This last possibility has quite nice potential, if it was supported by more companies. For instance if Spotify could support it the same way: Just imagine a party with different persons using their mobiles with their Spotify users - they could easily have cast songs from their Spotify apps to the playing queue of a native spotfy Chromecast app, using the credentials of their individual users. Chromecast could then be a "common ground" for playback of Spotify content all around. With support for other streaming services, it could become the "common ground" for playback of all sorts of media content. But ok, that would require Spotify etc. to see the value of that...

    Sorry if my english is not perfect, Norwegian reader/writer.

    1. Mr.Mister

      Re: More Chromecast possibilities

      Ooops, I think I must be a little bit careful stating that the Chromecast has DLNA support. I am not sure on what protocol the NAS talks to the Chromecast apps with. It is more probable that the Synology NAS through DSM 5.0 got support for the Chromecast supported protocols. Sorry

  45. Inertia

    Control Delay

    Registers AP must be mincing your traffic or something - close to zero delay here in issuing orders via iplayer, youtube and Lovefilm. Lovely thing for 30 nicker (basically iplayer on a stick).

  46. stu 4

    Limited

    No mention made of the 100s of other better specifed androids dongles around the same (uk) price ?

    808/809 and xbmc, etc is far better specified with none of the tie in crap.

    1. Hellcat

      Re: Limited

      I could be wrong but don't the 100+ other android dongles lack the simplicity of the single button to click for the dongle to then download and play the content?

      I bought a Chromecast despite having windows phones and an RT surface - none of which have any official support. Got it setup using my painfully slow old Galaxy S2, and can cast youtube using the free WinPhone Tube Cast app - that works perfectly but lacks playback controls.

      I would have liked to make use of our Amazon prime instant videos with a view to drop the Virgin TV - but the tab casting plain just doesn't work. I can ping the chromecast from the desktop PC, and it has the device under the browser extension but get the "device is not available" error every time. Still, for £30 it is keeping the kids busy watching Stampylongnose and 20 minutes of silence is worth much more!

  47. En_croute

    Anyone tried SkyGo or BT Sport?

    It would be a better resolution than a long HDMI cable, and trip hazard.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020