Casting Now With Chromecast

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Plug and play devices have started becoming quite common. With Chromecast, users can stream multimedia content on to their with just a click of a button. Google has tried to make the device as cost efficient as possible. However, Baidu unveiled a Google Chromecast replica (Baidu Shadow Stick) for just $32 which is $3 cheaper than the Google Chromecast. But there is a huge difference in the performance.

Google Chromecast is a tiny device with an male HDMI port and a micro-USB slot. The device needs to be connected to the HDMI port of display and needs to be powered using the micro-USB slot. If the display has an in-built USB port then it shouldn’t be a hassle but if the USB port is missing then try using a display with a wall adapter near it.

Purpose

The primary purpose of Google Chromecast was to stream content from the tab of Google Chrome web browser. That sounds pretty lame and too restrictive. But the good thing is that Google Chrome is available on Mac, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS. This makes it platform independent and makes it simpler for users to stream the content they browse on the Internet. Unfortunately on mobile devices, only content such as video, audio, etc can be casted to Chromecast.

One question that, I always get is, “Can it stream the PC’s display?”… Yes it can! Unfortunately, it is still in the experimental state. This means there will be some glitches while streaming the display of your PC. At the moment, Chromecast is capable of streaming the display of several Android devices. iOS support is coming soon. If the iOS support comes soon, Apple Airplay, is going to face some stiff competition.

The second aspect of Chromecast is to stream application based content. For example, let’s say, I am watching a video in the YouTube application and I would want to stream it to the television, I can do that easily with the touch of a button. The applications which use the Chromecast API can provide such features. There are several applications such as AllCast, LocalCast, Lifecast, etc are all in one multimedia content streaming applications.

Another major development in Chromecast was games. Several game developers started using Chromecast API to extend the gaming experience to wide displays and multiple users. Some of these games include 2048, Tic Tac Toe, Big Web Quiz, Just Dance, etc. Games such as Big Web Quiz and Just Dance are multiplayer and highly engaging. It is super fun to just dance with your family/friends or play a quiz. There is tremendous scope for games in near future. But at the moment I think a device upgrade will be needed for games with high detailing.

Drawbacks

  1. Just imagine a situation where you are already connected to a Chromecast and streaming some content. And suddenly someone just pops in, connects to the same Chromecast and starts streaming his/her content. This is so damn annoying. I want Chromecast to reject all connections when someone is already connected to it. It should be one-to-one connectivity in such cases. Well in games the scenario does change and in such situations one-to-many would be apt.
  2. Many applications don’t have worldwide support. One such example is Monopoly for Chromecast which is not available for India. This just restricts users from different parts of the World to get access to the wide library of applications which Google boasts about.
  3. Many applications stream content only at 720p. I am not saying 720p is bad but why not provide 4K support when certain users have the capability to stream 4K. Moreover, 4K was already in market when Chromecast was released. Well a small software update may help but I am still uncertain on Chromecast’s hardware capabilities.
  4. Let’s talk about the cost. It is available for $35 in USA and in India it is available for around INR 3000 (~$48) which is on the higher side compared to USA. I know there are several duties involved and looking at Indian market very few have high speed broadband connections. And very few will buy from this bunch of users. Google needs to recover money. I get that. But in India the mentality is slightly different. Indians look up to companies they admire. And Google is admired a lot. It’s like if service is provided by Google, Indians are like, it has to be free. I am not asking Google to sell it for free but at least sell it at a cost equivalent to cost in USA.

Who Should Buy It?

Scenario Do you have a Smart TV/Smart Display? Are you interested in Multimedia Streaming? Are you interested in PC/Mobile Screen Streaming? Do you have Apple TV and only Apple devices? Do you want to play games from Mobile/PC? Buy
1 Yes Yes No No No No. Use DLNA/UPNP capabilities of your Display. Softwares like XBMC will help.
2 No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
3 Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No Yes Yes/No No
4 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
 

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