The Google Chromecast has been out in Canada since March, and even though I have had mine since before it was released in Canada (yes the American Chromecast works in Canada), I haven’t reviewed for some reason, and I figured it was about time. Especially since now there are plenty of apps to help it out.
I will start off by saying Canadians definitely get the short end of the stick in the freebies category that the Americans get when they buy a Chromecast. We get the Chromecast, nothing more. You don’t get 3 free months of Netflix unfortunately, but there are always other ways to get your free Netflix if you want.
What you do get though, is a little dongle that, with the power of hundreds of available apps now, plays anything you want from your computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. To set up your Chromecast, you must have a wireless connection which is a little frustrating. When I first got my Chromecast, I was not aware of this and my laptop was not in my house as it was at my work. So I had to wait until the next day to install the software for it. The reason you need a laptop or another wireless device such as phone or tablet is because it needs to access the wireless network and without a GUI on the Chromecast, it does that through these other things. This was all before Chromecast install app was available on the app store for Canadians. Now, if the Chromecast is available in your country, everything shall work fine on any wireless device.
Once you download the Chromecast install program on your device, you then go through the steps to pair the dongle to your wireless network. It is relatively easy to set up. Then, when your Chromecast is installed, you are ready to go. Sort of. You then need to install the Chromecast plugins on whatever device you are using. The Chrome Plugin for your browser, or apps that use Chromecast on your phone or tablets. That is the basic setting of the Chromecast. You can play pretty much any movie file other than .mkv or .avi through your Chrome Browser, unless you install third-party apps such as Videostream. I personally use Videostream as my desktop to Chromecast app and it just makes my streaming experience with the Chromecast flawless.
The one downfall to the Chromecast is why you try to play mp3 files on your Android that aren’t bought online through the play store. Even if you own the mp3 rights or created an mp3 by yourself and want to stream it, it will give an error. Once again, you can bypass this by installing optional 3rd party apps to fix this. I’m sure this is done by Google to protect them from the lawyers but it is just a hassle in my opinion.
The WiFi distance of course has to do with how well your wireless network is. It seems though that it receives a better signal than what my Xbox 360 does which is right beside it. My modem is on one side of the house, the TV on the other, that is why I wanted the Chromecast. My Xbox 360 when streaming videos would buffer all the time and I got fed up with it. I ended up buying the Chromecast as a gamble. It was well worth the $35 USD gamble. Ever since I got it I have never had to buffer other than the initial load, which is seconds for a full length movie. And that is streaming in 1080p! For those with slower internet connections or having to travel farther distances, you can lower your bitrate in which you stream. If you start noticing desync or stuttering, try lowering your settings in the options.
Finally, now that the Chromecast has been out for some time, there are tons of things you can do with it. From steaming games, to music, and video. I am sure that people will find new ways to do things with the Chromecast. What do you use your Chromecast for the most? I definitely use it for movies the most. Tell me what you think! If you don’t have one yet, I HIGHLY suggest you get one. It’s the smallest streaming machine you will find. Canadians you can pick up your $39 CAD Google Chromecast For Canada here, and Americans you can pick your $35 Google Chromecast for America here.