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The Chromecast is one of Google's most underappreciated products
$35. Yes, $35 is all it takes to transform your TV from ad-ridden randomized content to a user-controlled service monster on the fly.
The first Chromecast launched over four years ago, but the line of products has made quite an impression on the direction of content today. No longer are you limited to watching content on whatever device you were already using at the time; Google’s Chromecast lets you you can cast Netflix, HBO, and even Chrome tabs to any display with an HDMI port.
It’s a pretty big deal when you stop to think about it. Just few stop and actually do. So why do I think the Google Chromecast is so underappreciated? Stick with me as I dive into the reasons I love this product.
Portability / Versatility
The ability to move content around your house on the fly has changed the way a lot of the industry thinks about streaming. Though Netflix played a huge part in shifting our services towards a streamed-first, physical copy second kind of world, Google’s dongle works cohesively to bring you content in whatever location is most ideal for you. Whether it be the couch, your bed, or even your attic, Google’s got your back to allow you to enjoy your favorite content wherever you are.
I personally carry around a Chromecast with me everywhere I go, because it is just so incredibly easy to use. Simply plug it in to any TV’s HDMI port and USB Type-A port and you’re ready to stream. The Chromecast is great for parties, hotels, or wherever you’ve got a HDMI-capable panel. It really is a powerful little machine.
Google’s got your back to allow you to enjoy your favorite content wherever you are.
Your phone is the remote
Some people may disagree with me on this, but I personally think using your phone as a TV remote is the best idea ever. We all keep our phones on us pretty much all the time, and unless you’re the type who constantly misplaces your device, you’ll always be able to toss up some content from YouTube, Netflix, or even Spotify.
This also makes the Chromecast great for parties or multi-person viewings. Because it uses Wi-Fi to stream all the content you’ll be viewing, anyone on the same network can take control and switch to something else. I’ve spent countless hours on the couch with friends flipping between YouTube videos, and the ability to cast tabs lets me display articles or even interesting images from the web. Pretty nifty.
Setup is a breeze
Google took a huge leap forward when they introduced the Google Home, Google Wifi, and the Chromecast Ultra last year. Each of the separate services were brought together under one big umbrella of the “Home” app. This app covers just about every Google hardware product you can get your hands on and offers consistent, easy to set up processes with beautiful animations and features like autofill.
Since the app is so easy to use, it’s simple to bring your Chromecast everywhere you go. Simply plug it in to the TV and the Chromecast should discover the Wi-Fi networks available in your area. If your phone is connected to this same network it will even autofill the password for you. How easy is that?
If you want a quick breakdown of how to set it up, here’s how you do it.
- Plug in your Chromecast to your TV’s HDMI port.
- Download the Google Home app, and it will prompt you for setup.
- Use your phone to connect the Chromecast to your Wi-Fi, and it should update to the latest version.
After this you’ll be ready to cast. Just look for the Google Cast icon in most Google apps and other apps like Spotify and Netflix.
You can also cast individual tabs in Google Chrome, meaning you’ll be able to show whatever you want on your TV. If you’re reading a good article and want to show your friends, just tap the “Cast” button under Chrome’s hamburger menu in the top right corner and you’ll be good to go.
If you still need some help setting it up, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide for clear instructions!
At $35, the Chromecast is an absolute catch. Though Google’s other hardware products such as the Google Home and Google Pixel have received equally as positive reviews, $35 to streamline your content and make it easy to share is worth every penny. Not only that, but it goes on sale for $25 or less very, very often.
Competing options like the Amazon Fire TV and Roku offer streaming services as well, but the Chromecast is the only product that allows you to stream almost anything from just about any device. And at a lower price than almost every competing option on the market, it’s hard not to give the Chromecast a little love.
4K is awesome on the Chromecast Ultra
Ok, so the Chromecast Ultra isn’t $35. It actually retails for $69.99. And while that might seem a little pricey, the quality of the Chromecast Ultra’s 4k streaming is fantastic. While many would argue that the Ultra doesn’t provide the same value as the original Chromecast, others would beg to differ.
$70 is a respectable price to be able to take full advantage of your new 4k TV. And while that TV more than likely has a number of content apps built in, they probably can’t stream at the same quality as the Chromecast Ultra. Wi-Fi too slow? The Ultra can help with that too, and offers an ethernet port for those who would prefer to plug their device directly into the router or phone jack.
I probably don’t need to convince you why this device is so darn good, but after using it for an extended period of time, I wonder how I ever Google’d without it.
Have you tried a Chromecast? Do you own one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to tell us what you think Google’s best product is!