The mounting disappointments of Google’s Chromecast

“Now that some of the initial giddiness has worn off, the realities and, sadly, disappointments of what Google’s little web-to-TV stick Chromecast can and cannot are beginning to set in,” Rebecca Greenfield reports for The Atlantic Wire.

“When Google announced its little streaming TV guy, the tech nerds had a seizure from happiness, a bunch of them clicking over to the Play store that moment to spend the $35 and get the dongle — without knowing much about it beyond Google’s PR pitch,” Greenfield reports. “Now, a couple of days later, the shine has worn off a bit, and it doesn’t look that revolutionary anymore.”

• Google has already dumped the 3 months of Netflix for free deal.
• One of the allures of Chromecast is that it comes in a compact little stick — or at least that’s what Google led us all to believe with those clever ads. The device extends a little longer than that, coming with a bulky power cord to stick into the wall.
• In an overnight test, Wired discovered that you need really strong WiFi to get it to work.
• It doesn’t technically have that much content.

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
How Apple will reinvent TV while Google plays catch-up – July 25, 2013
Google unveils updated tiny screen ‘Nexus 7′ tablet, iOS-compatible ‘Chromecast’ Web TV device – July 24, 2013

24 Comments

  1. In real life, the advantages of an Apple TV are many. These are among my most used features:

    – ability to connect via Ethernet cable permitting ultra fast loading speed,
    – ability to have strong WiFi signal on 5GHz 802.11n protocol (Chromecast is only on 2.4Ghz),
    – ability to have digital S/PDIF sound output which can be connected to a separate amplifier/speaker combination for music playback without the TV being turned on,
    – range of channels from WSJ to Netflix to ESPN to podcasts,
    – ability to control via a remote app on your iPhone and iPad without streaming from your iPhone or iPad,
    – ability to AirPlay from Mac, iPhone, iPads & iPod touch,
    – ability to play full screen 1080p AirPlay optimised games from iPad, iPhone and iPod touch,
    – ability to mirror the contents of the screen of your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch,
    – OS X Mavericks will permit treating the output from Apple TV as a separate screen,

    And so on ad infinitum. Chromecast by contrast is primarily a streaming enabler.

    1. – ability to AirPlay from Mac, iPhone, iPads & iPod touch,

      …and Android.

      Just for fun I read through the Chromecast page and after that I wasn’t even sure *what* it does. It was pretty confusing.

  2. the geeks loved this chrome thingy

    mostly because it does the same thing as roku and apple tv in some convoluted way

    one advantage i see is using it to watch sports if you’re a cord cutter

    1. The geeks love it because they enjoy being the only ones that know how to set it up. While I know I am a geek I get my joy from having and using the latest tech.

  3. Google doesn’t get it. So by extension, Motorola doesn’t get it. Let them keep bringing out products most people don’t want. How many iPod killers, iPhone killers, and iPad killers have we seen? And still the pundits and analysts hope history will stop repeating itself. Now we have the first failed Apple TV killer, another dismal failure.

  4. I think some people are beginning to realize this dongle doesn’t actually do all that’s implied in the PR release. To use this dongle, you install an app on your phone, tablet, or PC. That send commands and URLs to the dongle to jump to the Internet and pull some content down. It does NOT send stuff from the mobile device to your TV screen. It’s not an AirPlay-like device. The mobile Chromecast app is basically a remote control for the dongle. If everything you want to stream to your TV is available from Google’s, or its partners’, servers, it could be a useful tool.

    So, for example, while you may open Netflix on your device, select the dongle to grab the file open in Netflix on your device to pull from the Internet independently to your TV, that means you’ve just opened two Netflix streams over your LAN, one to your mobile device and one to your dongle feeding the TV. You cannot just send anything viewed on your mobile device or PC directly to your TV. Again, it’s not AirPlay-like at all.

    Another feature being touted is the ability to stream a Chrome window tab’s contents directly to the dongle for viewing on the TV. This feature is apparently still in beta, although it’s being highlighted by some viewers as some sort of breakthrough, but we can stream not just a browser tab, but the whole Mac Desktop view to an AppleTV today, so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.

    One biggy that it cannot do is stream local files (movies, music) over your home LAN to your TV.

  5. So, it is basically a way for Google to continue to grab and monitor your activities while make “seizures”for the “Geeks.”

    Ummm… Looks like Apple has been a full time pain for Google. Hope it continues for the foreseeable future.

    1. I agree. I suspect that’s exactly what it is, a way for Google to track user (not customers, those are the advertisers purchasing this info) usage patterns. It will be fun to watch people fall for this, while concurrently whining about privacy issues.

  6. It’s pretty simple really. Chromecast turns a dumb TV into a smart TV. That’s all it does, and doesn’t do it very well.

    If you already have a smart TV, then Chromecast does nothing for you.

    If you already have a smart Blu-Ray player, TiVo, Wii, Playstation, Xbox, Roku, Apple TV, HTPC, or other streaming capable device connected to your TV, then Chromecast does nothing for you.

    So far, most smart devices… smart TVs or smart boxes attached to dumb TVs offer a much better interface, content and options than the Chromecast.

    If one has a dumb TV and none of the other devices, for $35, it’s not that bad of a deal. But for most people, it’s like adding a volume knob on their TV for $35. Only, imagine adding a volume knob on your TV that you still need your phone to operate.

    I think a lot of people got caught up in the hype, especially with the Netflix deal… if you already have Netflix, the Chromecast ended up costing just $11. I’m not sure Google/Netflix intended to do this, but in any case that deal is over. The reviews are coming in, and people are ending up being disappointed.

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