What is Chromecast, and should you buy one?
Google is known for jumping on new ideas relatively early on, bringing a product to market designed to test the waters for future endeavours. It’s what happened with the once lacking Gmail, the previously underwhelming Chrome browser, and there was even a time when Android was a disappointing and ugly mobile OS.
So why would you expect Chromecast to be any different?
After all, it’s priced incredibly competitively, coming in at just £30 compared the Roku Streaming Stick’s (its closest rival) £50 price point, and the technology underpinning it is blissfully simple – it sounds ripe for improvement.
But even if Chromecast is just technology for Google to test the waters with TV connectivity, or nothing more than a way to get you using more Google services, it’s the best £30 you’ll ever spend on your TV.
What is Chromecast?
If you haven’t already read the PC Pro Chromecast review, and we’re assuming you haven’t because you’re reading this, then the Chromecast is the cheapest and easiest way to turn your boring, non-smart HD TV into a something a bit more intelligent.
Chromecast supports full 1080p streaming from a wide array of apps on both Android and iOS, and you can even stream web pages directly from your computer using Chrome.
It’s incredibly simple to set up and use, requiring nothing more than a free HDMI slot and a USB port to power it. If your TV doesn’t have a USB port that supplies power, usually indicated on USB port, Chromecast comes with a plug and lead so you can charge it from a wall socket instead.
To start casting, all you need is the free Chromecast app on your Android or iOS device. Once downloaded you can tell it to connect directly to your Wi-Fi, allow others to use it without connecting to your Wi-Fi, and see a slew of apps you can use with your new streaming stick.
The beautiful thing about Chromecast is that, while you connect and browse content using your mobile device, it actually links directly with the content itself.
This means that you won’t be burning through mobile data by streaming an amusing YouTube video to your TV, or if you’re binge-watching Twin Peaks on Netflix. It also has the added bonus of not draining your device battery through streaming, or hogging your mobile screen, allowing you to use it as you would if you were watching TV.
Should you buy a Chromecast?
Chromecast’s low cost makes it an essential purchase if you don’t already own a streaming stick, smart TV, or have a video games console that allows for streaming services.
While it seems that Chromecast will likely become obsolete due to being rolled into TVs running Chrome OS, for £30 you will certainly get your money’s worth before it’s time to upgrade your TV again.
For those who watch streaming services via their laptop or tablet when sat on the sofa, splashing out on a Chromecast is the perfect solution to making the most of your TV. It’ll even make an old Netflix subscription feel fresh again as you free yourself from the shackles of a small screen.
Thanks to Chromecast’s simplicity, which utilises your phone as a navigation device so you don’t have to refamiliarise yourself with new apps, everything just works seamlessly. It feels like a polished device, and easily stands up to its nearest rivals.
If your home is lacking a smart TV, you have no convenient way to watch the likes of Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or YouTube, or you’d just like to fire content from your phone to the big screen for all to see, then Google’s Chromecast is definitely something you should buy.