What's right (and wrong) with the Google Chromecast

Summary:Google makes another attempt at infiltrating the living room with the Chromecast dongle. But is this something that you want to bother getting to hook up to your TV?

Google makes another attempt at infiltrating the living room with the new Chomecast, a set-side dongle (as opposed to set-top box) that allows owners to stream content to their HDMI-equipped TVs.

(Source: Google)

Google's previous attempt at making the jump from PC and post-PC devices and onto users TV didn't really catch on, with the Google TV initiative being a failure for both Google and the manufacturers. It was too much to expect users to replace an entire TV.

Then came the $299 Q media streaming device. That one failed before it was even released.

Now Google is taking a more modest approach with the Chromecast dongle.

Does it have what it takes to catch on?

What's right with the Chromecast?

  • The price. At $35 it's not going to break the bank.
  • Small, powerful, and quite an impressive feat of engineering.
  • It's simple to use. Everything from hooking to up to using it is about as simple and idiot-proof as it can be. If you want endless cat videos on your TV, this is the easiest way to get them.
  • No extra remote control to clutter up the living room (or get lost).
  • It's platform-agnostic, being able to work with iOS and Android devices.
  • Tight integration with the Google Play store.

What's wrong with the Chromecast?

  • It needs a power supply (either a dedicated one, or power from a non-service USB port on a TV). This means more cable kludge.
  • Content offering limited.
  • The Chromecast is competing against much more established devices, such as the Apple TV.
  • Yet another closed ecosystem.
  • It's a "jam tomorrow" device, ordering promise of bigger and better things to come.

Verdict

The Chromecast is a cheap and cheerful streaming dongle, and if you want an easy way to get YouTube onto your TV – and you don't already have some sort of set-top box that can stream it for you – then for $35 you're hardly betting the farm.

But with that said, if you're buying this in hope of better things to come from it, I wouldn't bother. Google has a long track record of impressive, promise-filled launches that later amount to very little. 

Topics: Hardware, Google

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.