Why you should buy the Google Chromecast
Yesterday, Google introduced the Chromecast
, an HDTV accessory that's kind
of like a cross between an Apple TV and a Roku box. But here's the
kicker: It's only $35.
The gizmo looks a lot like a USB flash drive, but instead of
plugging into your PC, it plugs into one of your TV's available
HDMI ports. Then it feeds video and audio from your smartphone,
tablet, or laptop, meaning you can enjoy things like Netflix,
Pandora, and YouTube on your big screen.
Needless to say, you can accomplish much the same thing with
an Apple TV or Roku box, but the Chromecast differs in a few key
For starters, there's no separate remote; you use your Android
or iOS device (or PC) to browse and queue up content, play/pause
the stream, adjust volume, and so on.
In fact, the Chromecast is really designed to mirror your
small screen to your large one. Thus, in addition to the
aforementioned services, you can display anything from your Web
browser (Google Chrome only, natch) on your Windows or Mac
And let's not forget, the Chromecast plugs directly into your
TV, so there's no box cluttering up the joint. In fact, the only
cord required is for power, and if your TV has a powered USB port,
you can connect to that instead of an AC outlet.
My favorite Chromecast "feature" isn't really a feature at
all: It's the three free months of Netflix you get when you buy
one, even if you're already a Netflix subscriber. That's a $24
value, effectively lowering the hardware cost to all of $11.
You can pre-order a Chromecast now; Google is currently
promising delivery in 3-4 weeks. (It was briefly available via
Amazon and Best Buy, but both are now out of stock.)
As someone who already owns an Apple TV and several Roku
boxes, I don't especially need a Google Chromecast. But I ordered
one anyway, mostly because it's a cool gizmo at a great
Indeed, if you've been looking for a way to enjoy small-screen
content on your HDTV, there's never been a more affordable
solution. Even without any hands-on testing, I'm giving this a
solid "buy" recommendation.
Your thoughts?Veteran technology writer Rick Broida
is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his
money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC
World and Wired.