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frankspin

Sell me on why the Chromecast is worth purchasing

When it first came out about the only thing going for the Chromecast was that it was cheap. Just $35 compared to the $50-$100 prices for a Roku or AppleTV. The downside was limited app support, but that got better recently with HBOGo and Plex. The thing is I still don't see much value in buying a Chromecast over a Roku or even an AppleTV.

For starters it relies on a cellphone, tablet or computer, which I guess is fine considering how often people are around them. The flip side is that it severely hampers integration with a universal remote. I own a Harmony remote which controls everything connected to my TV, including my HTPC, why would I give that up just to be able to use my phone?

There is also no UI to the device. Yes, there is a visual aide on your phone or tablet but it's not the same as seeing a wall of information on the screen.

While it's better, app support still kind of stinks. I get annoyed now as it is when I have to switch to a new device, being limited to so few apps would be annoying.

It can do mirroring, but not in the same way as AirPlay. As far as I can tell Chromecast offers nothing in the way of game mirroring like AirPlay can. I also have a HTPC hooked up to my TV, so I can always turn to that.

So gadget lovers, and early adopters, why should I be interested or at least be keeping an eye on Chromecast? I know what it can do, but what is it going to offer me that a Roku or AppleTV won't -- aside from the price that is.

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37 replies
wizzkidd

The way I use it is, 1) For a cheap way to get netflix and youtube on my two childrens TVs and 2) I can control what they are watching, see what they are watching all from my living room without having to get up. Pretty Convenient for me. I can buy 3 Chromecast for the price of 1 Apple TV and I would use it the exact same way.
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kompany82

The question should be - why is apple tv worth spending extra on when you can buy a Chromecast? For those who already own apple tv or roku it is pointless to get the Chromecast, but for someone who is looking to buy something like this for the first time then the chromecast is the ideal device because it does what it should do which is to stream local and online contents effectively, plus it cost less. The disadvantage you mentioned isn't worth spending that extra for devices like apple tv
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jaredfrank

100% spot on
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Zbenesch

Why settle for less? Appltv is only $79. For the price of two chromecasts and you can do 4-5x more.
Sure if you don't own other apple products or you ain't a geek it's not worth it, but then a chromecast isn't worth your money either.
Same goes for roku.

Let me put it this way: show me someone who 'only' wants to watch HBOgo for an additional $35 with youtube and netflix.
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Ejshoe

At the current moment the only thing that could keep most people from the chromecast is the lack of ESPN app (which still needs a cable subscription). HBO (same thing), and other smaller apps/channels. Once ESPN and HBO wise up it is a better choice. Who really needs on screen menus when everyone has their noses glued to tablets and cell phones. The simple and minimal build is great. No need for sight on the device sensors. If they could tie in the use of headphones ala roku, it would be amazing. I cut the cord 6 years ago and have bought a chromecast for almost all my family. They have been able to grasp the tech so much easier than Apple TV and roku. So as long as you are not looking for espn or HBO (at the moment) the chromecast is the best option available.
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joelhamill

It is neat to be able to select a video from my phone/tablet and have it start playing on the TV while I can continue to use the phone/tablet. At this point there really isn't a reason for a person who has a Roku, Apple TV or HTPC hooked up to their TV to get a Chromecast in addition. I don't think I could sell anyone on why it is worth purchasing other than you don't have something hooked up to play video already and you want something simple to get things to your TV from your phone/tablet/computer. It does excel at that. Minimal setup and once connected you can start playing videos and music to your hearts content. I guess the only thing going for it at this point, besides the price, is the ease of setup and lack of signing into accounts.
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frankspin

I think yo nailed it, it's just affordable and easy set up. My reason for asking is this is the recent excitement over it for things like Plex. Most people I know running Plex have a frontend in some capacity (either a PC or Roku) so it just seemed like a step backwards. I guess those excited are using Plex in a more limited capacity.
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rikt

My nearly sole purpose for it is when I am traveling. Much easier to carry around than an ATV.
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frankspin

I remember reading some reviews that indicated it was not possible to use in hotel rooms due to WiFi restrictions. How are you using it on travel?
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patrixmyth

Personally, I always travel with a small router (set to not broadcast id). This plugs in to the single network connection in the room and feeds chromecast, ipad and laptop, with zero configuration necessary.
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soylorn

ooh I like this idea
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ttyme95

Here's the reason I have a Chromecast-

I began my subscription to Netflix a few months back and the only way I could watch it was on my now defunct Wii, my laptop and various mobile devices but when the Chromecast came out, I was so excited because here is an incredibly cheap way to view content on my non-smart TV while controlling it with my android device's which I could not do with an Apple TV and I was not planing to switch to IOS just to watch Netflix (or for any reason). This is not meant for people who want a feature rich piece of hardware that severely impacts how they enjoy content (YET) but as the updates continue, a few features are added here and there all the while it becomes even more useful by providing extra services and possibilities, even though all I wanted to do was watch Netflix.

Lastly, its great for parties because we can all share YouTube videos and goes ANYWHERE due to its simplistic setup and wide array of supported devices.

So yeah... Great device!
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ulira001

When I bought the Chromecast I had a regular LCD tv and thought it was pretty cool that I could watch youtube on my TV. Since then I have bought a SmartTV. Now I really have no use for my Chromecast since my TV offers the same features as Chromecast but with more apps without the need to change video sources on my TV.
Samsung SmartTV 1, Chromcast 0.
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Willhartley07

The chromecast was really meant for people that didn't have a smart TV but wanted the same features. Seems like lots of people are making it seem like a bad device. It has been getting more support, and in time more apps. If you don't have a roku , Apple TV, smart TV, etc, then it really is worth checking out to expand your media library capabilities.
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ulira001

Yes that is completely true. And that is exactly why I purchased the chromecast. Unfortunately for the chromecast, one of my TV's broke shortly after so I replaced it with a smart TV. But now that I think about it, I should connect the chromecast to my remaining dumb TV and let the rest of my family take advantage of its features. BRILLIANT!!
Samsung Smart TV 1, Chromecast 1
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Willhartley07

Haha you could even mess with and and the what their watching with like a scary picture or something. Orr sell it :-D
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az060693

In all honesty most people have covered it; if you have an HTPC, PS3, XBOX, Roku, Apple TV, WDTV, etc, you won't really need one. Chromecast has the cool youtube features and allows you to access streaming services like netflix and hulu on your tv. A lot of newer tv's don't even need this as they have built in internet streaming services. It basically just turns your dumb tv into a smart one. It's also more portable.
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raptorck

Wait, today? No reason. Get the Roku LT while it's still cheap on Amazon.
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rmcvey

Yeah, I totally agree with you. I've looked at it multiple times and I can't find a reason to buy one. Roku even has apps that allow for cell support in the same way, and the Roku does much much more. Chromecast is interesting, but still has a long way to go before I'd trade in my Roku.
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Musikon

I don't think the Chromecast is for people who already have a Roku or Apple TV. It's mostly just a cheaper alternative to the Roku and Apple TV for people who balk at paying $50 or more for one of these devices. I don't think there are many who choose price over function, but they are out there. I don't have one, but I've used it at friends' houses, and found the best use for it is so everyone can make a Youtube watch list as something to watch while hanging out. Everyone can add their own videos to the queue and it will go through the videos one by one. The biggest problem with it, is that it doesn't have clear instructions on how to add a video to the queue, or how to view the queue. I know I certainly won't be trading my Apple TV for a Chromecast anytime soon.
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frankspin

and found the best use for it is so everyone can make a Youtube watch list as something to watch while hanging out.

I guess I can understand this but there aren't too many times where I've been in situations where I wish me and my friends could watch stuff on YouTube together.
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Musikon

The Chromecast isn't for us. I don't see any reason why you'd want one. It's for people who, to put it bluntly, are cheap.
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Willhartley07

Not everything that's cheap sacrifices quality. Know what you're talking about. We have come to the era where things can still be great and be cheap at the same time. Just because you like to waste your hard earned money does not tgive you the gull to talk down to people that are smart with saving dough.
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kompany82

Your comments are spot on!
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Gonzorelli

The reason, I believe it's so cheap, is because with the upcoming flood of smart TVs the Chromecast won't really be needed. I have one. It's cheap and convenient when I need it. I use it on the TV that my Xbox isn't hooked up to.
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LaDeX

I'd buy it but it's 80€ (that's $110) in Finland.
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MetalHaze

The one downside to the Apple TV is that you cannot use it on a corporate wi-fi hotspot because it can't accept security certificates.

If Chromecast offers a method around this hurdle, then I could see how it would be a superior solution to the Apple TV in the corporate environment.

Can anyone test this and report back?
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Shawntae

With the Chromecast can I sync netflix/youtube on my tv from my computer for my kids. Then on my computer can I watch something on my computer, not through chromecast without either one of us interrupting each other? Please let me know. Thank You
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fawd14

You guys need to check out the NP-1 - very similar to Roku but much better. 4k Streaming, Android, Nvidia Tegra, etc. Its AWESOME. Really looking forward to receiving my pre-order. https:­/­/www.nuvola4k.com/
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uphilme247

Everybody Doesn't Need Apple Tv Or Roku! I Bought The Chromecast To Do What I Needed It To Do Which Is Watch Netflix & Youtube! And By Adding Google Cast Streaming Free Movies From My Laptop To Tv Is A Big Bonus!! And It Only Cost Me 20$ +tax
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pjotrvs

To me, the big feature of the Chromecast is that I can use the nice big screen and touch keyboard of a tablet to show YouTube videos on my TV screen. Great for watching YouTube videos together with others in the living room.
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larryv

I can put content on all 5 TVs that we have for the kids or family to watch for a fraction of the cost of what it would have cost to outfit all 5 TVs with Roku or Apple TV. It would have cost $500 (5x$100) to outfit every TV with Roku/AppleTV and only $150 ($30x5) with Chromecast. I also hate, yes hate, all the junk remote controls that we have around for every TV (and we would have had more with Roku/AppleTV). Chromecast uses the only remote that really works and works from any distance. Chromecast is a god sent. I also find the quality of the 1080p better than any other streaming service I've had.
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Zbenesch

You own 5 hdtvs and you are too cheap to buy normal streaming devices for them?
Sell one tv buy 4 appletvs.
You do know that you can toss the remotes aside for the appletvs, and control them from one device, don't you?
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larryv

Apple TVs suck. I would be crazy to spend $500 when $150 will do the job better.
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larryv

Considering that Apple fanboys like to also talk about ease of use, I find roku or Apple TV utterly disgusting on how painstaking difficult they make it to find content like a YouTube video, On the other hand Chromecast makes it freaking child like easy. I used to own an Apple TV and a roku. I sold them both and with the money I have replaced them with 5 (yes FIVE) Chromecasts on every one of our TVs. Now it is child easy not only to find content, but also to move from the family room to the bedroom the content playing without missing a scene.
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soylorn

I can't imagine why one would buy any of those things if you already have an htpc. I have thought several times that I want a chromecast, but there's just no point. Maybe for traveling?

That said, if I didn't have an htpc, I'd definitely buy a chromecast over any of the others. It's compact, easy, convenient, cheap....
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dimegirly

Its good to have if you have PS4 and you want to stream online,its good to use with PLEX.I figured out after i bought the PS4 that i would need it.
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dimegirly

Now you can use it with the Slingbox too!
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feigningfigure

Sell me on why I should have to put up with your poor spelling and grammar.

"...controls everything connected to me TV..."

"While it's better app support still kind of stinks. I get annoyed now as it is when I have to switch to a new device, being limited to so few apps would be annoying."

And why, must you feel, the need, to put commas, in places, that they, don't belong?

This is Engadget. Proofread your work before publishing it.
-4 like dislike
frankspin

While I appreciate your feedback, there are more tactful ways to go about providing it.
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feigningfigure

Good point. I'm not usually so...rude. It's this time of year -- easy on some, hard on others. My apologies.
2 like dislike
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