The Chromecast is a tiny gadget that connects to your TV via HDMI and is powered by USB. It’s a £30 media-streaming device that allows you to play TV shows, movies and music from a variety of sources, on any display with an HDMI port. The key thing about Chromecast is it is easy to set up. It doesn’t tie you to a subscription service; it is simply a supremely easy and cheap way to turn any TV into a smart TV. A smart TV with benefi ts.
The major content sources are BBC iPlayer,
Netfl ix, YouTube and Google Play. There’s also
Red Bull TV and Vevo, plus a couple of apps
that allow you to stream locally stored
media via your Chromecast.
BBC iPlayer speaks for itself. Using it
you can watch live BBC TV, as well
as catch up on virtually all the BBC’s
vast amount of programming over
the past week. If you tend to catch up
with ‘EastEnders’ via your laptop, the
Chromecast lets you enjoy it in glorious
HD on your large-screen TV. As a
Licence Fee payer in the UK you get
access to all of this content for free.
Netfl ix is the coming man of the
on-demand TV world. It o ers thousands of TV programmes and movies, many of them
big-name US series, and it’s growing all the time.
And that’s not taking into account the burgeoning
amounts of original programming such as the
recent ‘House of Cards’ series, as well as ‘Arrested
Development’. You do, of course, have to pay for
Netfl ix, at £5.99 per month.
YouTube isn’t just cats falling out of trees. Indeed,
more content is added to YouTube every day than
has ever been broadcast on any (or indeed all)
mainstream TV broadcasters. Increasingly highquality
original programming and livestream media
is being uploaded to YouTube, and Chromecast
allows you to watch it on the big screen.
And then there is Google Play. This is Google’s
alternative to iTunes and, although not as mature,
it tends to be cheaper and the number of titles
available is huge. You can watch a wide variety
of Hollywood- and indie movies, as well as highclass
TV programming from around the world. The
documentaries are great, too. You have to pay for
individual titles, but you can rent them cheaply (and you can watch a fi lm on your commute and fi nish
it o on the TV). Play Music is supported, too.
Other sources include Red Bull TV, which o ers
up extreme sports, lifestyle and music programming,
and Vevo music videos.
Finally there are couple of apps – Plex and
RealPlayer Cloud – that allow you to watch locally
stored media such as ripped DVDs.
Expect more apps to support Chromecast and
other content providers to get in on the act soon.
Chromecast is a game changer