Pros + Cross platform (Android 2.3 or higher, iOS 6 or higher, Chrome for Windows, Mac, Chromebook)
+ Easy setup
+ Small/portable (just need to bring the USB power and the device)
+ includes HDMI extension, usb cable, and usb power supply
Cons - Limited content for now (no local content either)
Summary In this review, I will focus on a feature that has not been covered well by other reviewers. In Google's introduction of the chromecast device, they showed how they could press the chromecast button in the youtube app on smartphone and the TV would automatically turn ON and switch to the correct input to play the youtube video. I can confirm that it works exactly like they demoed. It is pretty impressive :-)Edit:
There a few things you need to do to make it work. Firstly you have to enable the HDMI-CEC feature on your TV. HDMI-CEC is marketed under different names by different manufacturers. Panasonic calls it Viera-Link, Onkyo calls it RIHD and Toshiba calls it Regza link. You will have to read your TV manual and find out how to enable HDMI-CEC correctly in the TV settings. For my Panasonic TV, I set the "Viera Link" to "ON" and "Power on Link" to "Yes". The "power on link" setting allows the chromecast device to Turn ON the TV when you send a video to the chromecast device. Also, for the chromecast device to Turn ON the TV, it should be plugged in directly to a power outlet using the included adapter. If you power chromecast though the USB port on your TV, it will lose power when you switch OFF the TV. Chromecast device with no power cannot turn ON the TV. Make sure you turn OFF everything after changing the settings to test the Auto power ON functionality.
After you setup the TV as described above you can send the video to TV and chromecast will turn it ON and switch the input to the one you have plugged the chromecast device into.
For users who have an Audio Video Receiver (AVR), the above setup may not be the best. I could set up the TV to send audio to the receiver through Audio Return Channel(ARC). But for some reason ARC would pass through only stereo sound. Not the DD+ 5.1 sound from Netflix. I don't know if this is an inherent limitation of ARC. Also, after watching a youtube video, switching back to cable TV is a pain. You have to manually switch the input on the TV and the receiver.
So in my final setup, I plugged in the chromecast device directly into the receiver. With this setup I can receive DD+ 5.1 sound from Netflix movies. With this setup, chromecast can automatically switch the input on the receiver. But it cannot turn ON the TV. I think that was kind of expected as I have the device plugged into the receiver instead of the TV.
One another benefit of plugging chromecast into the receiver is that you don't have to turn the TV On if you just want to listen to google music or audio from youtube videos through your receiver. I have a network enabled receiver. So I can turn ON the receiver and switch inputs using the Onkyo app on my Android phone and then play youtube videos from my smartphone to the receiver using the chromecast device. Incredibly useful. The best part is that it doesn't drain my battery as the video is not playing on the phone and hence I do not need to keep the screen on.
Overall I am very happy with chromecast. As others have mentioned, the setup was incredibly easy and trouble free. I was pleasantly surprised that a 1.0 device worked so well out the box.
I think Google made a smart move by creating the hardware for Google cast and integrating that functionality into two of the most used video apps youtube and netflix. If they had introduced the googlecasting protocol in Android and left it up other manufacturers to implement this feature, it would have met the fate of Google TV, Miracast etc. Now that there is a reference implementation where Google has shown what a good experience looks like third party manufacturers and app makers will take this and run with it. I am excited about the future possibilities.
Buy best price, check at: Mediaplayerrelease.blogspot.com/p/google-chromecast-deal_27.html
Hope it helps.
Updated on Dec 20, 2013
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Pros - Simple Set-Up
- Streams currently supported apps (Netflix, YouTube, Google Music) flawlessly, in 1080p
- Can stream Chrome Browser tab video in 720p (HBO Go, ESPN)
- Clean interface
- Discreet... hides easily on back of TV (USB can charge from tv)
Cons - ALL CONNECTED TO TAB CASTING
- For Chrome Tab Casting... MUST have FAST computer and FAST internet (quad core min.)
- Tab Casting current max is 720p.
Summary This is an excellent device for the money. Works as advertised for a simple home streaming solution. However, since you are 'casting' to the device, the performance is dramatically impacted by the 'sending' device. For the full benefit, you MUST have a fast computer. My personal iMac (2013) casts great. My work computer (2008) can't handle casting a tab.
Pros Great idea to broadcast from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Cons Incompatible with Windows 8 operating system.
Summary This product is a great idea but still has issues. Will recommend once they fix the bugs in the meantime Roku is a better device for Netflix but even Roku has limitations like not offering Youtube.
Pros Extremely affordable, Works well with currently supported apps, Easy setup
Cons Currently there is a limited selection of supported apps, Screen mirroring from Chrome is just okay
Summary Got my Chromecast a few weeks ago and have been using it more and more. It was very easy to set up from my phone, it didn't break the bank, and has been extremely fun to use with Play Music and YouTube.
But that is also the problem. I can count the number of apps available on one hand right now. Also, the screen mirroring option from my Chrome browser on my Windows PC is mediocre. Not as polished or smooth as the AirPlay option available on Apple TV.
Overall, I love it so far and I already gave one away as a gift. You can't beat the price and with more apps in development it will only get better from here.
Pros Works simply and smoothly with Pandora and Netflix
Cons Not enough apps. Wish it sent my photos to TV
Summary Great deal as is, and lots of potential for the future