I purchased a Google – Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player from Best Buy for $35 and received 3 months of Netflix for free. Since I’m already a Netflix customer, they just credited $24 to my account.
I’m impressed by how small and simple everything about this device is…the packaging is attractive, the instructions are simple, and when you consider what its capable of, the Chromecast is tiny.
It’s just a dongle with a small button and micro USB port on the back, an HDMI connector in front and an LED indicator.
Back in the box we have a USB wall charger, an HDMI port extender, a micro USB to USB cable, and some tiny instructions.
Setup is easy. First, plug the Chromecast into an HDMI port on your tv. If the LED indicator doesn’t light up, you’ll need to attach the dongle to a USB port on the tv or an outlet. My tv’s USB port didn’t supply power, so I’m going to use the provided charger to to plug it into an outlet.
Now that the Chromecast is receiving power, the LED indicator will light up.
Next, switch your tv to HDMI input…and you should see the setup screen.
To set up the Chromecast, you’ll need a computer with the Chrome browser installed or an android device. We’re using a Nexus 7. Launch the Chrome browser. And you’ll be prompted to launch Google Play. The link will take you to the download page for the Cromecast app. Install the app. I had to give Google my phone number to proceed…
Now open the app and accept the terms.
Select Setup and allow your device to connect to the Chromecast. Let your device know if you see the code on your tv. Now you can choose a name for your Chromecast.
Then you’ll have to put in your wifi password so the Chromecast can connect to your network.
Once it’s connected, you can watch a tutorial or just finish setup. You’re still in the Chromecast app, so go back to the home screen and launch Netflix or YouTube.
Even though I couldn’t setup the Chromecast with an iOS device, I can still cast YouTube and Netflix videos from my iPad to the tv …in fact, you can cast from any iOS or Android device that’s logged onto your wifi network…no app is required.
We went my YouTube channel and tried playing one of my old video. When you press the cast icon you’ll be given the option to play the video on your device or on the tv. It just takes a few seconds for the Chromecast to start streaming video…at this point you can do other stuff on your device or just let it go to sleep…the Chrome cast takes care of streaming the video.
When your done casting, tap the icon and send the video back to your device.
Chromecasting works basically the same on both Android and Apple devices. One thing to note is that you’ll have a few more options on an Android device…like access to video playback controls from the drop down notifications menu and from the lock screen. That’ll make multitasking more convenient.
Overall, the Google Chromecast is a great value at $35.