What Is the Google Chromecast?

Tech Talker explains Google’s newest device, the Chromecast. Should you buy it? Find out.

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #86

Say a friend sends you a hilarious YouTube video. Normally, everyone would crowd around to watch the video on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. However, if you have a Chromecast, you simply hit one button on the device and the video gets transmitted to your TV over your wireless network. That’s pretty much it! It's incredibly easy to use.

Better yet, there are already tons of ways to push media from your device to your Chromecast. If you have an iPhone, iPad, Android device, or a computer with a Chrome browser, you already have a compatible device. Each of these devices will check your network for the Chromecast, and when it is found on your wireless network it will display a little icon that will allow you to play it on your TV.

So far, you can listen to Pandora, watch Netflix and YouTube, and you can even push your own videos to it if you drag them into a Chrome browser. It’s pretty slick right out of the box and requires next to no set up.

Should You Buy the Chromecast?

Then there’s the price point. The price of this device makes it probably one of the sweetest deals out there. It’s selling for a mere $35. This is incredible when you consider that its competitors are selling for about $100 at the cheapest. Needless to say, this little device sold out pretty much everywhere it was available within hours of its launch. Luckily, they should be resupplying shortly.

So now that I’ve touted the awesomeness of the Chromecast, let’s talk about some of its drawbacks. For one, it's brand new, so there are obviously a few bugs that will need to be worked out. So far, nothing major has come up just yet, but it is inevitable.

Next there’s the loss of quality when streaming some media. Devices such as the Apple TV are standalone, meaning if you were to watch Netflix on it, the Apple TV would connect to the internet to play the video directly. In the case of the Chromecast, it is receiving Netflix from a device such as a laptop or smartphone, which is connecting to the internet. This means that you need a smartphone, tablet, or computer to stream the video to your TV; you can’t just use it by itself. This extra piece of needed hardware also means that you could lose some quality in the transfer.

I’m of the opinion that as time goes on, this device will receive a ton of improvements and will be supported by many other websites such as Hulu. For right now though, it was an awesome surprise and a great product that I’m sure we will be hearing much more about in the future!

With that, here are you 3 quick and dirty tips about the Google Chromecast:

  1. The Google Chromecast is a very small, inexpensive device, costing just $35.
  2. The Chromecast receives video via a WiFi signal from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
  3. It has no remote. It uses the device it streams from to act as the control.

Have you bought a Chromecast? What do you think of it? Post your opinions and future episode suggestions in the Comments section below or on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.