Google Chromecast Review: Aftermarket Upgrade

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So who here hates having to switch devices, wrestle with cords, or deal with sluggish unsupported smart TV’s to achieve their media streaming needs? I do. Google attempts to solve this problem with the small easy to set up  Google Chromecast. Retailing at my local Walmart for $45 CAD it wont break the bank and can change any unintelligent TV in to a smart.

 

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A rotation of random photos pop off the screen

 

Specs

Display: Supports up to a 1080p display

WiFi Support: 802.11b/g/n/ac @ 2.4/5 GHz

Power: Micro USB/ or micro USB to USB power supply included in the box

Requirements

Requires a TV with an open HDMI port and a router which supports 802.11b/g/n/ac @ 2.4/5 GHz. Also an active account to one or many of the supported streaming services or using DLNA  you can also use watch personal content off your home network. For DLNA I use a third-party app off of the Google Play store Avia. It installs on my android smart phone and can cast any shared supported media on my network.

Install Experience

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As you can see there is not alot of room between the wall and the TV

Out of the box it looks quite simple to set up and fortunately for me it was. This experience could vary based upon the display though. What made it easy for me was that I have USB ports to power the Chromecast right beside the HDMI inputs. In the case where a display does not have powered USB ports a power supply pack is included for the micro USB to USB cord to tap into a wall outlet.

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A slim design offers an easy fit

The Chromecast fits well in tight quarters and its usb and hdmi inputs have enough grab to hold it in place without having to fasten it down. The extra length of usb cord is neatly held coiled keeping it tidy. Now that’s it for the manual work! Now we just turn on the old TV and grab an app from iTunes or Google Play for our tablet or smart phone. If you do not own one of these there is an alternative set up program for use with your computer. It was painless. After connecting to my home network Chromecast updated itself and I was ready to go.

 

Better than stock

So to test this I grabbed an old Nexus 7 tablet from atop that dusty forgotten place where old tech goes to die and resurrected it in all its original glory. I loaded up Netflix and automatically was greeted with the cast button in the top right hand corner, press this and any selections will head to your TV. It’s very slick and the amount of app support is staggering. One major upgrade was the image quality. Now again results may vary but going from my 2012 Smart TV’s apps to the Chromecast was night and day. Whatever was acceptable in 2012 clearly isn’t anymore. Chromecast breathed new life into my display making it have that show room shine again. As for connectivity it is top-notch and I have not encountered any image degradation or freezing.

Extra +/-

+++If using Google Chrome  you can also cast your browser making it just that much more versatile.

—Using a private dns? Too bad. Well there is a work around so you can acquire streaming services from out of country. It does require some know how and editing of router settings. I believe it may not be possible on all routers.

+++Works flawlessly with purchased media from the Play Store. I purchased a movie for my son and had it on the screen in no time.

+++Able to repurpose old tablets or touchscreens as a dedicated TV media controller

Final Thoughts

Its combination of ease of use and ever-growing catalog of supported apps makes it a great addition to my entertainment center. Having this little guy hide behind my TV and do all the heavy lifting is refreshing and its app integration makes my user experience just that much more fluid. If you are looking for an all in one way of streaming your favorite media to your living room then I would highly recommend the Google Chromecast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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