This one, in my opinion, could be a real game changer. To put some context to that statement, I have tried just about every device there is for connecting your TV to the Net and streaming content.
I use 3 devices at the moment. An Apple TV, a Logitech Revue and a HTC Media Link.
I have tried every Android based HDMI dongle and several other dedicated streaming boxes, such as the Boxee Box and in truth most of them are junk.
The Apple TV performs the best by a distance but it is very limited. You can mirror an iDevice to your TV without your device turning into a steaming hot plate, but only in a 4:3 format which is annoying.
Newer Macs can also mirror content to it, so overall it ticks enough boxes to be the best in category for me.
The HTC Media link does a better job in many aspects but it is limited to only working with HTC devices and if you are let’s say, streaming content to your phone and then in turn streaming it to the Media Link, you will be able to cook your dinner on the back of your phone. Several times I’ve monitored the temperature of the phone/ processor while doing this and the phone was close to it’s shut off point for thermal protection. Considering I’m using a HTC One with an aluminium body, it does be pretty close to actually burning your hands on touch!
The less said about the Logitech Revue the better, but the only reason it still has a place in my living room is because of it’s fantastic keyboard which is specifically made for the task of working alongside your connected TV.
The underling theme here is that most of the devices I have used were pretty a painful experience. They either didn’t have enough power, were too expensive for what they do, or offer a clunky, annoying enough experience that they are either not used after week one or are sold on/ returned very quickly.
So why is the Chromecast any different? In a nutshell, price and Google. Now those two reasons on their own wouldn’t be an all inspiring reason for success. There are plenty of cheap devices out there and Google has had failed attempts before at this, think Nexus Q and so far Google TV.
The difference here is that this device will take the elements that make Apple TV a success but combine it with the one other factor that has been lacking in so many good devices, a budget price. $35!
Many times I’ve been asked about the pros & cons of Apple TV and how practical it is to own as people try to decide if they’ll spend the €109 on it. In mobile or tablet terms, that is not a lot of money but yet people stop and put a lot of thought into spending that amount of money. At $35, offering support for Android, iOS, Mac and Windows, the decision nearly becomes a no brainer.
There is a dedicated API for the device which means developers can get their dirty hands on it and start integrating support for it in their Apps, so Google are ticking as many of the success boxes they can from the off. Cross platform support, access for Dev’s, cheap price.
Supply of it seems to be pretty much limited to the US for now via the Play Store, though Amazon are selling it (when it’s not sold out!) and I’m sure it’ll find it’s way over here via eBay etc.
So what do you think? Is it a device you’d buy and do you see the potential in it I do?