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Welcome to the Google Chromecast Forum!

Discussion in 'Google Chromecast' started by dandroid, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. dandroid

    dandroid Administrator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Google Chromecast Forum, dedicated to Google's newest portable TV Streaming device! So who's getting one?!
     
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  2. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    Google to take on Apple TV with $35 Chromecast streaming device for iOS & Android
    By Kevin Bostic






    Google continued its push into hardware manufacturing on Tuesday by announcing Chromecast, a new streaming device that will go head-to-head with the Apple TV set-top box for just over a third of its price.


    Alongside the refreshed Nexus 7 revealed today, Google also showed off the Chromecast, a diminutive streaming attachment that plugs into the HDMI port on a television. Using the Chromecast, users can stream and queue material from Android and iOS devices, Chrome OS devices like the Chromebook Pixel, and OS X and Windows PCs with Google's Chrome browser installed.

    The Chromecast device itself interfaces with interoperable services directly, enabling users to continue using their devices even as content streams. It works with music content and videos from YouTube, as well as with apps like Netflix, both on iOS and Android.


    [​IMG]



    During the presentation of the new device, Google executives showed it picking up streaming content from both an Android and iOS phone, continuing a user's YouTube experience with just the press of a button. Users will find that the YouTube, Google Play Music, and Netflix apps on iOS and Android will now integrate a "Cast" button, which will tell the device to push video or audio content to a ChromeCast device on the same network.

    Multiple users with compatible apps installed on their mobile devices and traditional computers can also collaborate to queue content and share to the same television.

    Showing off the device, Google execs repeatedly made thinly veiled references to Apple's "beloved hobby" the Apple TV set-top box.

    "Unlike other solutions," one said in the course of the presentation, "we will not force you to have the same operating system on all your devices."

    The Chromecast device runs a simplified version of Chrome OS, and Google is working to provide the tools to developers that would allow them to have content from their apps displayed via Chromecast or through a Chrome browser interacting with a Chromecast device.

    Chromecast went on sale shortly after it was announced on Wednesday. It is currently available at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Google's online Play Store. On July 28, the device will be available in Best Buy's physical retail locations.

    Google has taken a particularly aggressive stance with regard to the device's pricing. At $35, it is just over one-third of the price of an Apple TV device. Apple's diminutive set-top box is by far the most popularamong streaming devices according to one recent measure.



    7-24-13


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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2014
  3. revue5

    revue5 Well-Known Member

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  4. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]



    Google’s new Chromecast device wants to make it dead-simple to play internet video on your TV, using a huge range of phones, tablets and laptops as your controller.
    The experience is like using AirPlay to beam content from an iOS device to an Apple TV. Tap the Chromecast button on your phone or tablet, and poof – the video starts playing on your TV. But unlike AirPlay, Chromecast isn’t streaming the content from your device itself, but rather straight from the internet, at the highest resolution available. That means you can still use your device to multitask without interrupting the video. In fact, it works like the Plair, only more reliably and for less money.These are early days for the Chromecast, and not all of its features worked quite as effortlessly in our office as they did for Google in the company’s Wednesday demo. But considering the impulse-buy price of US$35, Chromecast is still a worthy purchase.




    Simple setup

    [​IMG]
    Photo: Mike Homnick




    The Chromecast is a small HDMI dongle that plugs into any available HDMI port on your HDTV. But because HDMI doesn’t provide any power, the Chromecast needs constant power from a USB port as well. That can be a USB port on your TV if it has one. If no port is available, you’ll need to connect the included USB cable to the bundled power adapter and find a place to plug it in.After you’ve inserted and powered the dongle, Chromecast directs you to visit a URL on an approved device to finish setup. But when I fired up the Chrome browser on an iPhone 5 to do just that, I was greeted by an error message directing me to use an Android phone, or the Chrome browser on a Mac or Windows laptop. So, while you can use iOS devices to control your Chromecast, your initial setup requires other hardware.I tried again from a Nexus 4 running Android 4.2, and the URL directed me to grab the Chromecast app on the Play Store. That app automatically detected the Chromecast device and let me name it and add it to my Wi-Fi network. So far, so good. Now the Chromecast was viewable by my iPhone and Mac as well as my Android phone and tablet.




    Uh-oh, it’s (not) magic



    [​IMG]



    Google’s demo started with the TV off, and when product manager Rishi Chandra sent a video to Chromecast by tapping the friendly Chromecast button in the YouTube app for Android, the TV obediently flicked to life. “Chromecast is turning on my TV, switching it to the right input, and now playing YouTube in HD on the TV,” he boasted, but that trick didn’t work at the TechHive office.I thought maybe this was because I had plugged Chromecast into the TV’s USB port, and it wasn’t getting power with the TV off. Not so, apparently. When I plugged Chromecast’s power adapter into the wall instead, the TV-on trick still didn’t work. The YouTube app for Android saw the Chromecast and let me cast to it, but I had to turn the TV on myself (like a caveman!) and select the proper input to see the already playing video.While a video is playing, you control it with your device the same way you would if it was playing on that device – meaning, I could mash the volume buttons on my Android phone and see a volume indicator on my TV. If you max out that volume slider, you see a message telling you that if you still need it louder, you’ll have to turn up your TV itself. So while you can control playback from your phone or tablet, plan on keeping your TV remote handy too.




    What works



    [​IMG]



    But aside from those niggles – and some intermittent crashing back to the ‘ready to cast’ screen, which might be the result of an overcrowded Wi-Fi network here at the office – the other features in Google’s demo worked as advertised.
    Playing videos from the YouTube apps on Android and iOS was a cinch – just tap the Chromecast button, and select the Chromecast device. YouTube even lets you add additional videos to the TV queue – an obvious ‘Add to TV queue’ pops up on the Android app when you browse to another video, and the same option appears on iOS, but it’s slightly hidden under the Share menu.The Chromecast button appears in Netflix for iOS and Android too, and works like a charm. Once a video is playing, you can put your phone or tablet to sleep to save battery life, and still pause the playback from the lock screen, or pick up the controls from another device on the same Wi-Fi network.The Play Music and Play Movies and TV apps on Android are also supported and let you cast content you’ve bought or rented from the Play Store. I was unable to play Kanye West’s Yeezus album that I’d sideloaded in to Play Music, and volume control lagged a little and worked only when I was in those apps. I could put the phone in sleep mode and get forward/back and play/pause controls on the lock screen, but the volume controls didn’t work there either.



    Brain freeze


    [​IMG]



    I was unable to adjust the volume with my Mac’s volume buttons.Still, I successfully played videos from Vimeo, Hulu Plus and BravoTV.com. Chromecast strips out the view of your desktop and the browser’s menu bar to focus on the content itself, which is a nice touch. I still had to go full-screen on myMac to get a full-screen view on the TV, which meant I couldn’t do other things on my Mac, unless I pressed Command-H to hide the Chrome app, or parked some other Mac apps in another Desktop space. Closing the tab on the Mac halts the playback on the TV.As expected with anything marked beta, the tab-casting feature crashed a few times. Playback would freeze, attempt to buffer and eventually return to the Chromecast’s ‘ready to cast’ start screen – once with a sheepish error message that said just ‘Brain freeze’.Still, with an SDK to let more developers add in-app support, a low price and cross-platform compatibility, the Chromecast has a lot going for it. A full review is coming soon.


    7-25-13


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  5. ETPhoneHomeT

    ETPhoneHomeT New Member

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    Hi guys! Just got one yesterday and just joined the forum this morning. Seeing some familiar names from the Droid forums. You may also know me by B360155.
     
  6. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    Want to stream content from the Internet to your TV? There’s a new player in town, Google’s Chromecast. It’s super easy to use and priced to move. What’s not to like? If you’re happy with just Netflix, you’re good. If you want Hulu or HBO Go, paying a bit more for Roku or Apple TV may make sense. If you prefer the rental ecosystem of Amazon or iTunes over Google Play, Chromecast isn’t for you. Then again, for only $35, maybe you’ll decide it’s worth being a second device.


    The Players


    Chromecast is entering a space where two other major Internet-to-TV devices already exist, Apple TV and Roku. Here’s a quick look at the players:

    [​IMG]Chromecast: About the size of your thumb, Chromecast plugs into the HDMI port of a TV, and you power it using the supplied USB charger or using a USB cable plugged into a spare USB port on your TV or receiver. It connects to the Internet through your wifi.
    Chromecast is controlled via your smartphone or tablet, via apps that are enabled to send to the Chromecast device. You pick a video you want to watch, tap to queue it to your Chromecast, and it’ll start playing. You can do the same for anything you’re viewing using Google’s Chrome browser, when on your desktop computer.
    At $35, Chromecast is the cheapest of the devices.

    [​IMG]Apple TV: About the size of your hand, you run an HDMI cable from Apple TV into your TV. It connects to the Internet through wifi or ethernet. You control it through a small remote, and it allows you to flip through various apps — think of them as channels — on the device. Select the content you want to view from within the apps, hit “Play” and off you go.
    At $100, Apple TV is the most expensive of the devices, other than the highest-end of the Roku models. Apple TV, however, also features AirPlay, the ability for you to stream content on your iPhone, iPad or Mac to your TV.
    [​IMG]Roku: Also about the size of your hand, Roku works just like Apple TV. It connects to your TV through an HDMI cable (some models also offer an analog connection). Roku connects to your wifi or via ethernet, with the high-end version.
    You select channels you want to have on the device, and various content providers will stream their material through it. Pick content you want to watch from those channels, hit “Play,” and lean back.
    Roku ranges from $50 for the low-end 720p-only model to $80 if you want the 1080p-version that matches what Chromecast and Apple TV do. Step up to $100, and you can play games.



    The Content Comparison Chart


    What can you watch on these devices? Lots of things! But here are the major options:
    [​IMG]




    The chart above is based off one I did a few years ago, when Google TV first came out. At the time, it seemed like Google TV might be a rival in a space where Roku and Apple TV, much less Boxee, were still relatively new. But Google TV ran into an immediate problem. The promise that you could stream TV from any site on the Internet died quickly, as networks blocked it. A promised solution for Hulu still has never arrived.



    Subscription Channels



    Since that time, my view is that there are three major “channels” (in the US) that have emerged that, if supported by an Internet TV device, make the device a compelling choice. These are Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go.

    I describe these on the chart above as being “Subscription” services. That’s because they allow you to watch anything you want for flat monthly subscription (with HBO Go, you effectively pay this to your cable or satellite TV company).

    Here’s more about each of them, as well as Amazon Prime, a strong Netflix rival:

    Netflix: For $8 per month, Netflix allows you to stream any of the movie or TV content it has. Of course, it doesn’t have everything. But there’s an amazing selection of TV content, especially, for the “binge viewers” out there. Netflix also has original content such as House Of Cards and Arrested Development. All three players support Netflix.

    Hulu Plus: Hulu offers a huge amount of content from the major US television networks of ABC, Fox and NBC, all of which are investors in the service. On the Web, you can watch some of this for free. But through an ITV (Internet-to-TV) device, you need Hulu Plus, for $8 per month. Roku and Apple TV support Hulu Plus; Hulu says it’s working with Google to come to the Chromecast. We’ll see.

    Three years ago, Hulu said it was working on a Google TV app. That still hasn’t arrived.

    HBO Go: Want to catch up on that HBO show you missed? HBO Go is great and comes with your cable or satellite subscription, allowing you to use Internet-to-TV devices to stream content. One caveat. Some providers like DirecTV might not allow HBO Go to work on particular devices (like the Roku). Hollywood can be weird. Google’s device doesn’t have HBO Go.

    Amazon Prime: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, for $80 per year, you get unlimited two-day shipping. But beyond that, you get access to tons of TV and movie content to watch for free, similar to the type of offerings that Netflix has.



    Rental Options


    Beyond the subscription channels, the device needs some type of rental facility, so that you can buy premium content: TV shows and movies that are not offered by the subscription services. Without a rental option, I don’t feel a device will be that compelling. In my experience, the pricing and availability of content from any of these rental services is about the same.

    Something to keep in mind about each of these services is how “locked” your content might be. If you’re just renting for the night, you probably don’t care whether what you’ve bought will play on your laptop versus your TV or your smartphone.

    However, if you’ve purchased content to own, that might be a bigger deal. For more about that, see a story I wrote for CNET earlier this year, which has a handy comparison chart: How trapped are your digital movies and TV shows?

    On to the rental options:

    Apple iTunes: Surprise, Apple only offers TV and movie rentals through its own service,iTunes.

    Google Play: Surprise again, Google offers TV and movie rentals through its own service,Google Play.

    Amazon Instant Video: Just like Apple and Google, Amazon offers TV and movie rentals through Amazon Instant Video. It’s one of two choices that Roku offers to its users.

    Vudu: Backed by Walmart, Vudu has a huge offering of TV and movie rentals. It’s the other choice on Roku.



    YouTube


    There’s also YouTube out there for video content. While YouTube serves as an alternative face for Google Play rental content, my focus in listing it on the chart above is whether you can stream “free” YouTube content through your device, everything from your personal videos to whatever’s going viral at the moment.

    You can, other than for Roku — which is the main weakness of that player. On Apple TV, the weakness I’ve found is that the search capability for YouTube content often seems poor. With Chromecast, it’s pretty awesome.


    Remote, Cross-Channel Search


    It’s awesome because, unlike with Apple TV and Roku, you’re actually finding the content you want on your smartphone or your computer, making use of its keyboard, then telling the Chromecast what you want. After that, Chromecast itself fetches the content. With the other players, you’re using a “dumb remote” with no keypad (though you can get apps for Roku and Apple TV to help).

    Roku is outstanding among the devices in offering a “cross-channel” search feature, which I might revisit in more depth later. Basically, you can search across various channels on your Roku to see which has the content you want and for how much.

    Google TV had this and still does. It’ll be interesting to see if somehow this gets turned into an app that can work with Chromecast. The problem with Google TV’s search, however, was that you couldn’t “tune-in” to some of that content that it pointed to on the Web, because of network blocking.



    Mirroring & No Network Blocking


    That’s where Chromecast shines. It supports mirroring from Chrome on a desktop computer. Whatever you see in Chrome, you can send to Chromecast. That includes any content you might find on a TV network’s site. So, if you don’t mind opening up your laptop to get that show, Chromecast has you covered.
    Will the networks be able to block this? Nope. Well, not easily. Google tells me that all the content fetching comes from your Chrome browser itself. That means the networks can’t block Chromecast in the way they could block Google TV. To block Chromecast, they’d have to block anyone using Chrome. That’s a huge audience to alienate.
    By the way, Apple TV can do mirroring and more with its Airplay feature (see The Verge’s comparison here). Plus, if you have Apple TV, you might find you just want to use Hulu Plus rather than firing up your computer to mirror.



    They’re All Pretty Great


    There are other factors to consider beyond content. For example, if you have a lot of Apple devices, you might want the support Airplay offers for talking with your TV. If you’re a big music fan, there are music options I’m not covering here.
    In terms of major video content choices, I’d say the Roku gives the most options for the least price. Still, at $35, you’re not risking much with a Chromecast — and it can be pretty fun to have various people sitting around “flinging” YouTube videos at it.
    As someone with all of these devices, I’ll say that you’re not going to make a bad choice whatever you decide. All offer great value and make getting video content from the internet to your TV much easier.




    7-26-13


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  7. revue5

    revue5 Well-Known Member

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    Chromecast roundup : Universal remote app, HBO Go and more …. article here
     
  8. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]



    Happy news for everyone who picked up a Chromecast dongle last week: You could soon use it to stream HBO GO on your television. GIgaOM reports that HBO is in ongoing talks to “bring the cable network’s online offering to Chromecast,” although there’s no timetable for when HBO GO will be available for Google’s new device that lets you stream content fromAndroid, iOS and Chrome from your smartphone, tablet or computer directly to your television. Chromecast already supports mobile apps such as Pandora, Google Music, YouTube and Netflix, so it’s not surprising that it’s working to bring HBO GO on board as well. GigaOM also says that both Vimeo and Redbox Instant will also soon support Chromecast.


    7-31-13

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  9. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    With all of the content that one can access with Chromecast - then why would GTV users still be interested in paying for a PlayOn subscription? Plus PlayOn content is in standard definition.

    OK I just looked and apparently PlayOn still has the free offer for GTV users. Maybe they knew the Chromecast was in the works -;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  10. revue5

    revue5 Well-Known Member

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  11. guest

    guest Active Member

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    Chromecast should have been designed to "chromify"* GoogleTV and all other devices! Google "broke bad" in not doing so.

    Edit: * "Will the networks be able to block this? Nope. Well, not easily. Google tells me that all the content fetching comes from your Chrome browser itself. That means the networks can’t block Chromecast in the way they could block Google TV. To block Chromecast, they’d have to block anyone using Chrome. That’s a huge audience to alienate."
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  12. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    The networks could essentially block Chromecast by switching to a format that Chromecast doesn't support. For instance instead of Flash they could utilize Microsoft Silverlight. Then they wouldn't need to block all Chrome browsers.
     
  13. Doodge

    Doodge New Member

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    The first Chromecast tech support person I reached was as clueless as I . I just spoke with another after hours of trying to get this gadget to work. The second tech was more savvy. I learned that Chromecast is incompatible and won't work with Vista, Clear (and it's upgraded $70. router) and Magic Jack. If you have any of those it's likely you can't make Chromecast work no matter how many Voodoo chants you do over it. I need a cheap alternative and I'd much prefer it was a one time purchase instead indentured servitude to yet another greedy tech company ; in other words another monthly utility bill. Any body have any suggestions as to the cheapest way to go about this ? Will I need a laptop ( if I want to program it or change the channel in the room I'm using it in ? And, it must include windows 7 or greater). Do I have to buy another phone service to do this ? I have the WiFi/ HDTV and thought it was going to be as simple and easy (and inexpensive) as it was claiming in the Chromecast adds. NOT SO ! Well, not if you don't own state of the art tech stuff to go with it. Suggestions would be appreciated . Thanks !
     
  14. revue5

    revue5 Well-Known Member

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  15. pmcd

    pmcd Active Member

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    Is this by numbers or revenue? Amazon never releases their Kindle sales so it may be meaningless. In any case at $35 people may be viewing this as a simple test. It is also only a US device at this point with DNS numbers baked in.

    I am not convinced that people want to view TV via a phone or tablet. At this point it just seems to be a really low end media player. Google TV seems far more interesting.

    Philip
     
  16. revue5

    revue5 Well-Known Member

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  17. Carlszone

    Carlszone Well-Known Member

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    I keep seeing tablet and phones mentioned. Can you stream content from a windows desktop in Chrome?
     
  18. revue5

    revue5 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, you can mirror any content. However, Netflix & YouTube will stream perfectly from the cloud as they're "cast optimized sites". Non-cast optimized sites stream from PC/laptop, PQ depends on hardware config.


    btw, CC initial setup needs PC/laptop with wifi or (tablet/phone).
     
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  19. Carlszone

    Carlszone Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!
     
  20. revue5

    revue5 Well-Known Member

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