Google has a tendency to turn everything upside down. Most people do not even realize that when they released the “Hummingbird” search algorithm it was a rip out and replace of the code in place since 2001.
However this is not about Hummingbird. Relatively speaking little noticed is one of Google’s ‘turn everything upside down moments’, Google Chromecast.
When I say relatively little noticed, let’s put emphasis on the word relatively. When it launched a few weeks ago it was sold out on Amazon in a matter of hours. Google’s very own Play Store went into backorder for weeks., Thankfully that is corrected now.
So what exactly is Chromecast and what does it do to make Smart TVs dumb?
Answering the second question first: convenience and price.
Google’s Chromecast is a mere $35 (plus any applicable taxes) and using an HDMI port, makes a ‘dumb’ TV, Smart. If you of looked at the price difference between a smart TV and a entry-level LCD TV with an LED backlight the spread difference is a couple hundred dollars, not $35.
Now let’s take on convenience. The $35 HDMI dongle can travel with you. Let’s take the popular option, Netflix. While I watch Netflix on my smart TV, my account information is locked into that wall-mounted TV. Certainly you will agree I can just put it in my pocket like I can Google Chromecast.
Another aspect of convenience over my smart TV is how the ‘remote’ works. The Google Chromecast dongle uses a separate device such as my tablet as the remote control.
Is important to note that whatever device I’m using (computer, tablet, Smart phone) is just that, a remote control. In other words, actual data is not streaming through the remote control.
This allows my ‘remote control’ to going back and being a device for something else when not actually commanding Google Chromecast.
I’m not going to lie and say I enjoy typing on the virtual keyboard of my 7 inch tablet. And it beats the pants off of thumbing the arrow keys on the remote control of my smart TV.
There is one more advantage of convenience over my smart TV. I can only use the apps that Sony has deep me worthy of having. No Vimio for me on the Sony.
The cool Chromecast dongle has forced me into action. The 240 Hz Sony 3-D 32 inch TV is now my main monitor in my small video studio.
I’m replacing the Sony with a much larger ‘dumb’ LG in the living room, not outstanding in its features according to many reviews, with the exception of a great picture.
I was sure to check the specifications and make sure it had more than one HDMI port and at least a USB jack (1) of limited service to power the Google Chromecast dongle neatly. I’ll throw the USB AC ‘wall wart’ in a box with the others.
As of the time of this writing Google Chromecast can handle many video services beyond Netflix. And you need not fear if your favorite is not available yet. Google has released the APIs as open source. Given that, everybody and their brother should have a Google Chromecast app available shortly.
It is doubtful you will find a more cost-effective way to get Internet television.
Have you tried Google Chromecast? Share your praise or your pain in comments.