The internet has been abuzz for the past week or so with the launch of Google’s latest product, Chromecast. A digital media streaming adapter which can play audio/video on Android or iOS phones/tablets, the dongle can also play anything in any Chrome browser tab on your television, which includes some local media files which can be dragged from your desktop into the browser. Plugging into your television’s HDMI slot, Chromecast doesn’t beam directly to the television itself but triggers the delivery of content through the cloud by connecting to your home wifi network. Your device – be it phone, tablet or laptop – acts as the remote control. While there are some problems to be worked out, its initial popularity should ensure that Google invests more in ironing out these kinks.
One of the major current attractions of Chromecast is its price – $35 or around Ђ26. That’s not bad at all considering the cost of its main competitors – Apple TV will set you back Ђ109 while Roku is anywhere from $49.99 (Ђ37) to $99.99 (Ђ75). Apple TV does offer more channels and has built-in content sources including iTunes, Netflix, Youtube and Hulu amongst others, however its been around for a lot longer than Google’s current offering, and the search engine giant is currently working with developers to offers Chromecast users greater access to a wider variety of apps. Apple’s price could also be a little off-putting while its Airplay feature only works with Apple products. Not everyone can afford one of those. Meanwhile, Roku, while offering a substantial number of channels to users, also come in more expensive than Chromecast, and lacks access to YouTube.
It’s currently sold out virtually everywhere in reach of Irish consumers barring those planning a trip to the US in the very near future – if so then get yourself down to a local BestBuy, as some of the chain’s stores still have stocks of the product. Otherwise, be prepared to fork out anywhere from Ђ15 to Ђ90 more on eBay or wait until online stores like Amazon have it back in stock.