Thanks to recent software updates, the Chromecast now supports enough good apps -- Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Pandora, HBO Go, and Google Music -- to make it a great way to "smarten up" any old HDTV. Just make sure you (or your giftee) are comfortable using an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet as the remote, since this $35 streaming dongle has no included hardware remote control.
- Overall score: 7.3 (3.5 stars)
CNET Editors' Rating
Average User Review
out of 34 user reviews
Starting at: $34.99
The good: The Google Chromecast is a dirt-cheap wireless video dongle that streams Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Google Music, Google Movies & TV, and HBO Go to your TV using Android or iOS tablets as remotes. Its small size hides neatly behind your TV and makes it easy to take with you when traveling.
The bad: The beta screen-mirroring feature won't work as well as you want it to, so you're largely limited to the supported apps. The lack of a dedicated remote also means you always need a smartphone or tablet nearby. And for $15 more, you can get a Roku box with many more channels and an onscreen interface for a more traditional TV experience.
The bottom line: Google's $35 Chromecast stick is a cheap and easy way to add streaming video and music to your TV, but it still isn't as fully featured as similarly priced Roku boxes.
November 21, 2013 1:15 PM PST
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
| Caption by: John P. Falcone
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