Google Chromecast As An Affordable Alternative To Apple TV

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A significant gap between US and European launch

Chromecast is an HDMI stick available in online stores since summer 2013. It was initially launched in the U.S., and the company said they were working hard to make Chromecast available in other countries. It does not seem that easy, though because the device has not been launched in Europe, yet. However, Google is hiring tech people for Chromecast project in Europe.

A cheaper rival to the Apple TV set-top box, Chromecast is a small device that looks like a memory stick; it is portable and you can use it wherever you need to stream video and music from your smartphone and iPhones to televisions.

Price Tag

In the United States, Chromecast comes with an affordable $35 price tag, as opposed to Apple TV, which retails for $99. Even though owners of Apple TV won’t be lured to buy Chromecast, those who still haven’t purchased the more expensive device may want to give Chromecast a try. As for Android-based devices, this is the handiest opportunity to stream videos and audios directly form from your smartphones and tablets on your TV.

Globally, more than 200 billion videos are being streamed online each month, but watching those videos on a television presents a challenge, says Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of Android, Chrome and apps department, “we want to make this better.”

What it is

Chromecast is a 2-inch portable device you plug into a television’s HDMI port. As it is Wi-Fi enabled, it allows you to stream various types of video and music to your television from smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Youtube and Netflix websites feature a new button which allows you to push media content to your televisions.

Chromecast allows you to stream videos and music from Youtube, Netflix, Google Play Music and Google Play Movies and TV, HBO Go, as well as other tabs within Chrome browser. Now the downside is that Chromecast lacks connectivity with the media content on the users devices, such as images and videos taken via the in-built cameras on Android devices. Some other applications and services currently lack connectivity, but Google is working on it. Once the application connectivity issue is resolved, every application will have a ‘cast’ button in its interface, allowing you to stream the content to your television-set connected to Chromecast.
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Compatibility

The Chromecast device is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, as well as the Chrome browser for Mac, Chromebook Pixel laptop and Windows computers.

Apple TV also allows users to stream their media content from different devices on their televisions by connecting the box to an HDMI cable. In terms of price, Chromecast is definitely more affordable and has immense potential to develop a large ecosystem of applications and services based on it. “Google will need to work hard to educate people about its capabilities,” said Greg Sterling, senior analyst at Opus Research.

Google Cast SDK

Indeed, Google encourages the third-party developers to take part in building projects based on Chromecast. Alongside Chromecast, Google also launched Google Cast SDK, a developer’s platform to let application developers make their applications stream-compatible to people’s TV sets. Google Play even has a section dedicated to Chromecast apps where users can pick up dongle-compatible apps.

Mario Queiroz, VP of product management at Google said, “Over time we expect the Chromecast technology to be embedded into a range of devices from our partners,” adding that developers won’t even need to build a new app through the platform; they only need to make insignificant modifications to make their applications compatible with Chromecast.

Clever and Cheap

Greg Sterling said Chromecast is an “interesting, clever and cheap product” at the very least. While it has immense potential, user reviews on Google Play keep demanding compatibility with their native media content and because Google always listens we expect that feature to become available sometime soon.