I learned about the Chromecast a day after it was announced by Google. It looked way cool, but I resisted buying it even though it was cheap ($35) and I am a complete Android whore. It was not until I heard it was out of stock at Google that I decided to purchase it.
I awaited its arrival with anticipation, especially after reading all of the glowing reviews. (EASY SETUP!) I was sure it would be the answer to everything. (HOW CHROMECAST WILL CHANGE TELEVISION FOREVER!)
It arrived on my birthday (and was my only birthday present except for a bag of Skittles Dean left under my pillow before he left for Munich) and I tried to set it up on the basement television to watch Orange is the New Black with Clare. Because my computer was in the attic and because my phone was elsewhere, I tried to use Clare’s computer to set up my new Chromecast. For some reason one thing would not connect with another, so I gave up and tried on my bedroom TV, leaving Clare to watch the program on her computer.
My TV worked much better, however, there is something the glowing reviews and ads don’t tell you — you need to plug it in. I thought that all you had to do was push the Chromecast into an available HDMI port, but you also have to plug the Chromecast into either an electrical outlet or into a USB port on your TV. I don’t think my basement TV has one of those and I am not sure my Bedroom TV has one either.
Another thing I didn’t realize was that you can only use Netflix; Google Play Movies, TV or Music; or YouTube from your phone. Your computer has more options, but the quality is much worse.
I’d envisioned using the Chromecast for work — easily displaying my PowerPoint presentation and demos of JAWS screen reading software onto huge televisions, but I am pretty sure that is not going to work. I also envisioned being able to cast my screen on a huge screen to do everyday tasks like remediate PDFs or prepare for PDF accessibility training. I am not sure how I will be able to do that either.
Don’t get me wrong, the Chromecast works amazingly well for a couple of programs, but I already own 3 Rokus and 1 BlueRay player that do the same.
I feel that I bought into the hype over the Chromecast far before it was truly unique. Maybe it will offer things that other streaming devices do not offer, but as for now I could have easily watched Orange is the New Black on my Roku or Sony device.