Yeah, I bought a Chromecast, and I’m not sure why

Yeah, I bought a Chromecast, and I’m not sure why

Summary: I don't need a Chromecast. I don't even know if I have a spare HDMI port. Yet I bought one. Why? Some combination of poor impulse control and sjvn's evil influence.

TOPICS: Google, After Hours

I was in Best Buy. I was looking for something to replace my potentially explosive Chromebook. My colleagues Ed Bott and Larry Seltzer both claim that there are good, cheap, ultrabookish PCs out now. I didn't find one. For the record, I still miss my Chromebook.

Anyway, there I was in Best Buy and there it was: the Chromecast. Thirty-five bucks.

You need to understand that I don’t need what the Chromecast offers. I have an Apple TV (and an XBox 360 and a PS3 — and a Mac mini) hooked up to my sixty-inch HDTV. I regularly surf the Web and write articles on the big screen using the Mac mini (with Windows 8 on it, natch’).

I don’t need the Chromecast to blast a Chrome window on a TV screen. I don’t even know if my dual HDMI switchers have a spare port. I also have a Roku hooked up to a 24-inch HDTV in the garage.

Like I said, I don’t need the Chromecast.

Okay, back in October, I might have liked to have had a Chromecast. My wife and I were away at a Florida lodge and while she was attending workshops, I was napping and watching Netflix on my then before-the-bad-news Chromebook. The hotel TV had an HDMI hookup and I idly thought a Chromecast might be fun to watch Netflix on the room’s TV.

But that was two months ago and I don’t have any intention of vacationing again soon. This was my first in something like eight years.

Sure, a case could be made for the fact that I write about these trinkets for you folks, and so buying one makes sense so I can report on it for you. And there is some truth in that. But still, I don’t need the thing.

I’m not normally subject to impulse buying urges. I don’t like shopping and I avoid stores. Besides, Amazon can bring me anything I want, overnight, so there’s no need to even have shopping impulses.

It was $35. It called out to me. I bought one.

Stay tuned. Maybe I’ll even find a use for it.

I blame sjvn. For the record, I'm not cutting the cord until I can figure out how to get Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire without the rest of cable TV. No way I'm missing my Nucky. 

Topics: Google, After Hours


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • How big is the thing?

    Is it bigger than just packing a VGA cable? Because that's what I use when I want to display anything (not just browser contents) onto a hotel or other TV. As many hotel TVs don't have HDMI inputs (hell, sometimes I'm SOL because the TV has only a BNC connector); a standard VGA cable seems to be the most compatible travel companion.
    • Small

      There are various similar devices - e.g. Netgear Push2TV - often about credit card size, but somewhat thicker. Chromecast is even smaller than most. Check Wikipedia.
  • Come now, HP's Chromebook is no more "potentially explosive"

    Then any other electric space heater.

    As for the Chromecast, I still can't see the need for one.
  • No Argument here

    This are the couple of points I came up with ('John' a person who wrote this Article)
    1. John can't count. He had all his HDMI port in used he still brought chromecast
    2. John want to brag about his 60" inch tv. I am sure he doesn't have one.
    3. John talks about Sport Channel. I am sure he is targeting people who have cut their wires
    4. John only has one tv which is 60". I am sure he has one tv in bedroom which he can use it with Chromecast.
    5. John needs attention. Nowadays every author would take one product and write about their stupidity/mistakes. What appears to be authors stupidity would be taken as negative remark towards the product by readers and the discussion like above would be spawn.
    6. John learn to count try to remember, ask your wife what to purchase. You can still return the item.
    7. Buy a MacBook it just work. I am sure Chromebook or anyother unix env is not for you
    • Yep

      Why go to a Florida Lodge and then sit in your room watching Netflix? David, there's a real world out there.
  • streaming shows

    This has nothing to do with the chromecast but you were saying you wouldn't cut the cord until you could get Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. Have you checked out they're good with having current episodes of most shows including those. I am in no way affiliated with this website but have used it to catch up on episodes of shows. I just stream it from my laptop to my tv.
    • Not sure I would suggest

      Based on the poor quality of the video, I honestly doubt this website is legal.
  • well.....

    I bought a Chromebook, and I'm wondering why. It's got some good sides to it, but I'm not in love with it.
    Maybe sell it on eBay or Amazon and get an iPad Air.....
  • My Suggestion

    Buy this beautiful machine:

    HP Chromebook 14 (Snow White)
    Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4 GHz (2 MB Cache)
    16 GB Solid-State Drive
    14.0-Inch Screen, Intel HD Graphics
    Chrome OS
    • Doesn't make much sense

      For less than the chromebook, you could have the Asus T100 which sports the same resolution screen at a higher dpi, touch screen, tablet, double the SSD space, much more powerful processor, USB 3.0, removable docking keyboard, better battery life, includes the office suite, and weighs in at less than half the weight of this 4+ pound brick you recommended...and still install Chrome for free.

      Better yet, you can get a Dell Venue 8 Pro 64GB edition with a folio case with Windows 8.1 ... 8" tablet that sports the full Office suite for $299 at Costco....and it will run circles around that chromebook.

      Chromebook is an ok idea....if they were priced at their value of $99 or less. Even then, I'd be hard pressed to justify buying one. Browsers are meant to be free.
  • Hotel Chromecast use can be limited

    I've heard that the Chromecast can't be connected to a Hotel WiFi, if there is a sign on screen (and there's always a sign on screen).

    Isn't Game of Thrones available on Apple TV?
  • I use ChromeCast

    for displaying content from my phone directly to my television or when visiting client/friends their television or projector. As such I've never really used all it's capabilities, just the part that works for how I work.
  • Is this a column?

    I thought that I was gonna be reading an article, editorial, or piece.
    Is this just the outline for the actual column to come?
  • Cut the cord!

    You can get both Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire from Amazon Video. The cost of a year of both is probably about the same as one month of your cable package.