Google Chromecast Ain’t All That (Nor A Bag Of Chips)

Received my Google Chromecast today, and in spite of the fact that I was tired, I had to try it out.

Followed the instructions: Plug into hdmi port on tv, plug in power, switch tv input to hdmi port (that device is connected to), follow on-screen instructions, and you’re up and running.

Yeah, pretty easy, but … I had to install the Google Chrome browser on my laptop, which I really didn’t want. Then I had to install a Chrome plugin, which is used to cast a browser tab to the device.

So, what are my gripes?

Well, you can broadcast your desktop to the tv (what I wanted the Chromecast for), but there is no sound. Sure, there are ways around that, but the problem is that that will not take the video delay (noticeable) into account. Also, that ability is experimental, so maybe it’ll get better, or maybe Google will do away with it. I don’t know. Yeah, but you can watch Hulu or Netflix with it. That’s not what I wanted to do. Sorry. Also, if you want to watch a movie that you recorded on a computer, say it’s recorded in wtv format (Windows Media), and you try to watch it in the Chrome browser (remember, you gotta do that or no sound), it’s going to try and download the file by default instead of playing it.

It’s reported that you can download Quicktime and allow the plugin on Chrome, and that this will allow it to play, but it didn’t work out of the box for me.

It’s not all bad, as I did get it to work pretty much the way I wanted. I converted a sample movie to mp4, ogg, and webm formats*, and then made a webpage to watch the video (on my local server).

Okay, I have to admit, that was kind of fun, but still, the average user is going to get stuck with Hulu or Netflix (which you can already get on DVD players and TV’s these days). So, I figure most users will just play with the Chromecast for a day or two and decide it’s not what they’d hoped for, nor what they wanted, and put it aside to collect dust (only because it’s too much like trouble trying to get their money back for it).

* We love ffmpeg!

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