What is Chromecast? Chromecast is a small Wi-Fi transmitter/receiver that allows you to view certain content when connecting to a display that has an HDMI input; it can also be connected to the VGA or AV input with our converters.
Chromecast uses Wi-Fi and the signals are not encrypted
- the Chromecast transmitter does not have a default encryption, such as WEP, so it should be relatively easy to hack into - a hacker should be able to "grab" the information that you transmit. However, fortunately the Wi-Fi signal does not travel very far, so the hacker would have to be very close to pick up the signal.
Chromecast requires you to use Google's Chrome browser or the Chromecast App for Android or iPhone or iPad. Remember that Google makes all it's money when businesses advertise on Google so do not be surprised if you begin to see advertisements when using Chromecast.
The main advantage of Chromecast is that it allows you to "wirelessly" mirror or "duplicate" your Chrome internet browser on a Windows or Apple Mac computer to a television that has an HDMI input (or VGA or AV inputs with our converters). It is not going to mirror your entire screen on your laptop or computer...you have to resize your browser window to "fit" your TV screen's "aspect ratio." For instance, if your browser window is the size of a large square, you have to resize it to fit in a "wide-sreen" of your TV or else the top of the browser window will be cut-off.
Using the Chromecast to mirror your Chrome browser from a computer is somewhat stupid since you can already mirror your laptop's screen when connected to the HDMI, composite video, S-Video, Component Video or VGA input with a
, although being able to do it wirelessly has it's appeal; you will, however, notice a delay of 2 to 3 seconds
before you are able to see on your TV what you are doing on your computer. But what will be more annoying is not being able to see your pointer-cursor
on your Television, so you can't navigate by looking at your TV, you have to look at our computer/laptop screen and wait 2 to 3 seconds to see the changes on your TV; this delay is very annoying, at best. In fact, the delay and lack of cursor support is so annoying
that you will be tempted to not use the Chromecast for any "internet browsing" on the TV. If it's not too late, take it back and pocket the 35.00 plus tax!
Since the Chromecast "mirrors" or duplicates part of your computer/laptop's screen you may think that it would be better if it was an "extension of your desktop" that way you can view two screens, one for whatever you are "casting" to the TV with the Chromecast and another on your laptops screen. Well, there is a quick work around for that, simply start Chrome, browse to a site that you want, say a YouTube video, click on the "Google Cast" square on the upper right hand side of the browser and begin casting. Once you view what you want on your TV, then minimize the Chrome browser and start another browser, such as Safari or Firefox on your laptop's screen! Now you can somewhat use your TV as a second screen using the Chromecast. The downside of this is that in order to "control" what you see or to navigate to a part of the page or video that you are casting to your TV you will have to maximize the Chrome browser again on your laptop, which really interrupts the flow of your day.
Chromecast requires you to be connected to the internet to use; requires connection to a TV that has HDMI input (or VGA with our Chromecast to VGA Adapter
; requires connection to your Wi-Fi router; requires you to use the Chrome internet browser or Chromecast app. Chromecast was released as a "Beta" product so it's not quite as smooth as you would expect from a product, it certainly is not up to the standards of say, Apple, when it releases a product.
If you do not have the Chrome browser already installed on your computer and search for chromecast using Firefox or Safari you will be prompted to install the chrome browser just to find out about chromecast. The word Chromecast is a combination of the word "chrome" (as in Google's Chrome browser) and the word "cast." The word cast is to give you the idea that you can "broadcast" or "stream" content from your Chrome browser to your TV. In reality you are not "streaming" from the Chromecast or your laptop to the TV, your laptop first sends the WiFi signal to your router (that is connected to your internet connection) and your router then sends the signal to the Chromecast WiFi transmitter/receiver that is connected to your TV. This is a neat application and you will have a "Wow" moment the first time you do it and then you will ask yourself why can't I "cast" other things on your laptop to the TV? The reason is that the chromecast is really a Black Hole created by Google that is going to suck you into using the Google Chromecast and the Google Chrome browser and Google Apps. Google really wants you to use Chrome and Chromecast because it will give them exact information of all the places that you go to on the internet. For instance, if you use Google Chrome to go to Facebook they will know that you went to your Facebook page and how long you stayed there and what you saw there. Google wants to know everything you do on the internet; they already read your email on your Gmail account to target ads to you! Privacy watchers take notice!
Now, back to the Chromecast - on the retail packages it states: "Send video or anything on the Web to your TV from your smartphone, tablet or laptop." This statement is really a false statement
since you can't send "anything on the Web" to your TV from your smartphone, tablet or laptop; if you have an Apple iPhone you can only "Cast" some apps that you have to install, such as YouTube and Netflix; you can't send "anything else on the Web" from your smartphone to your TV. You can't cast your pictures or view the screen on your iPhone or iPad on the TV - if you want to do that, consider the Apple TV instead. But aside from the blatant false advertising we will discuss some neat things you could do. The chromecast retail box has some very small print on the bottom that disclaims the "availability, and performance of certain features, etc. etc."
We have developed a couple of hardware hacks that allows you to connect the Chromecast to televisions, projectors or displays that do not have an HDMI input, such as SmartBoards, projectors and other displays that do not have HDMI. Even if your TV has an HDMI input, you may want to use the VGA, DVI, Component Video, S-Video or Composite Video inputs instead.
What devices are compatible with Chromecast? Chromecast can be set up to computers running Windows 7 and higher, Apple's OS X 10.7 and higher, Chromebook Pixel on Chrome 28 and higher.
According to the "Get Started with Chromecast" help page the Chromecast can be "set up in a snap using either an Adroid or iOS phone or tablet or a Mac, Windows or Chromebook Pixel computer." The "snap" can actually take you an hour or two (or more) since you may have to install the Chrome browser on your computer, iPad, iPhone or other "smartphones" and tablets. What the installation instructions fail to state is that once you download the Google Chrome you will need the "Google Cast" extension
for the Chrome browser. Without the Google Cast extension you will not be able to use the Chromecast with your computer/laptop and you will begin to curse Google and proceed to pull out your hair out until you stop having a cow and realize that you must be missing something...that something is the install of the Google Cast extension.
If you have an Apple iTouch, iPhone or iPad that has iOS6 & higher you can download the Chromecast App from the Apple App Store to use with Chromecast. If you have an Android phone or tablet that is running Android Gingerbread 2.3 & higher you can also download an app to connect to Chromecast. However, on smartphones or tablets you are now only able to "cast" YouTube and Netflix, which is kind of stupid if you can already watch YouTube and Netflix from other devices that you already have hooked up to your TV. You will not be able to "watch anything on the Web" - as mentioned above regarding false advertising. There are rummors that you can also use an android phone to view Hulu and other content that is going to be developed for use with the Chromecast.
A word of caution when connecting Chromecast to your TV: If you turn off your Chrome browser and/or stop "casting" pages from your Chrome browser to your TV you will only see on a your TV a picture and the words "ready to cast" on the TV. The pictures will change since they act like a screen saver but you will risk "burning in" the words "ready to cast" on your TV if you leave it on for a long time. If you have a screen saver on your laptop the screen saver will not be played on your TV - the chromecast has it's own screen saver but it may still result in serious burn-in damage to your television. This issue, BTW, is not even mentioned by Google. Buyer beware of playing with a cheap product. Although the Google commercials show a little kids using the Chromecast you really need to be careful - if they leave it on, well, kiss your TV screen goodbye!
Advantages: Cheap product that gives you an idea of how to "wireless" watch "online video on your TV." It really leaves a lot to be desired from a product from Google. You would think that with all their money they would put out a nice product, but no, they would have to rush a cheap product that is still "in Beta".
Advantages: Cheap way to view certain content on compatible devices with this Wi-Fi transmitter. It's cheap not only because it's "only $35.00" (that is 5 hours of work if you are making $7.00 per hour) but it's also cheap because its cheap in its performance and functionality. We'll get to that later.
Disadvantage: You have to install Google's Chrome browser to use. As such, the Chromecast is really a Trojan Horse that requires you to install the Chrome browser to use and thus be logged in to a Google account. The Chromecast can work on multiple devices because it uses Microsoft's PlayReady Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. Now that is interesting, Microsoft allows Google to use PlayReady on the Chromecast that is really a Trojan Horse? What was the management of Microsoft thinking when they did that? Microsoft is probably getting royalties for letting Google use their technology, but Microsoft is stupid for letting Google use Microsoft's technology that forces you to use Google products.
- You have to be "online" to use it.
- You can't watch your own pictures or other content off-line.
- It does not take a "snap" to connect. You have to configure it to connect to a wireless Wifi router and you need the name of the Wifi and password of the router in order to be able connect to it.
- There is an iPhone App but it is basically worthless, since all you could stream is YouTube videos and Netflix. Streaming video from an iPhone App is stupid since it is just going to kill your battery dead in no time, plus, you need to be able to link your Netflix and YouTube accounts to it.
- It does not extend your desktop, but only "mirrors" your desktop.
- There is a noticeable and annoying delay
between what you type on your laptop and what you see on your TV.
- You can't see your arrow/pointer on the TV, so if you want to navigate to anything while watching your TV, you have to look at your laptop's screen and then move the mouse and then wait till the screen changes on the TV.
- It needs to be connected to a USB port and if your TV does not have one (mine does not) then you have to have it connected to a wall power outlet. The cable hanging down to the power strip looks really bad and it is too short to reach!
- You have to use an HDMI port. Ok, we all know now that, but my 3 HDMI ports are already being used, so it's a real pain to go to the back of the TV and connect and disconnect this piece of shinola.
- You can't connect it to a VGA monitor, unless you buy the CC2VGA converter from svideo dot com
Google attempted to put on a market a "nice" cheap product. Well, it does look nice, but it's heavy on the cheap, at least they got some of the packaging to be somewhat close to what Apple does in terms of retail packaging, but the end product is not worth your time or money, it is too cheap and limited in performance.
If you really want to see how wireless video works, then get an Apple TV that has already gone through several generations.