With online media pervading more and more of everyday life, industry experts have been predicting the demise of traditional TV for years, according to The Atlantic. Several big players, like Apple, Google and Amazon, are jockeying for position as the leading online content provider. Now, Google has released a product that many industry experts, like Farhad Manjoo from Slate magazine, consider a game-changer.
What Is Chromecast?
Google’s foray into streaming media is a little device dubbed Chromecast. Unlike other streaming devices, which are built into TVs or come as stand alone boxes, Chromecast is simple in design. It is a small USB-like device that simply plugs into your TV to deliver streaming content. Chromecast is the first device that brings Google’s popular Chrome web browser (used by 52 percent of Internet users, according to W3 Schools) to a device other than traditional computers. By extending its Chrome browser to TVs, Google is poised to grab even more of the online content market share.
Key Features of Chromecast
Since its release, buzz has continued to grow about Chromecast. Several features that set it apart include:
- Its tiny size — Chromecast is far smaller than any streaming media device on the market. For users who desire portability, including the ability to use the device while traveling, Chromecast is the best available option.
- Its price — At the time of its release, Google offered the Chromecast for just $35. In contrast, a Roku costs at least $49, while Apple TV costs $99. For users already feeling the crunch of subscribing to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other content providers, the smaller price may make a difference.
- Ease of use — Chromecast is relatively straightforward to use. Simply plug the device in, turn on your TV, and log in to Hulu Plus (or Chrome, Netflix, etc.) on whatever device is nearest you. This could be your tablet, laptop, or phone. Rather than fumbling with a tricky TV screen user interface, you can change settings and find your favorite show with your laptop. Just press play on your computer or tablet, and the show will automatically begin streaming to your TV.
- Compatibility with other devices — Chromecast is designed to play nice with other devices. It is compatible with Android smartphones and tablets, Chrome for Windows, Chrome for Mac, iPhones, and iPads.
How Chromecast Stacks up with Competitors
Chromecast’s ease of use and low price compare favorably with its closest competitors. It provides entertainment lovers with content from Google Play, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and any browser tab open on Google Chrome. Its compatibility with Apple and Microsoft devices also makes Chromecast an attractive option.
Although Chromecast offers incredible versatility, many homes already have a go-to device that may make Google’s latest product superfluous. For example, DirecTV Everywhere, from companies like Direct-Ticket.net, streams live TV and On Demand shows straight to your TV or mobile device, according to direct-ticket.net. Similarly, XBox 360 users can access streaming content from Netflix or Hulu Plus. For these users, Chromecast may not provide any additional content or accessibility that would make it a must-buy.