Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cord cutters see it and stream it with Chromecast


When friends, family members and readers of this blog ask about cord cutting, I tell them about my daughter and her family. With three pre-school children and a very tight budget, they were perfect candidates to go cable free.

And it turns out they don’t miss much, if anything, from their years with cable and U-verse, a competing service from AT&T.

The kids found animated shows and characters they love on YouTube, then later expanded to include shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Dad gets his football fix from ESPN and the CBS app.  This summer they caught up on Game of Thrones using HBO Go.

They don’t care much about series shows on network TV and when they do get hooked on something like AMC’s The Walking Dead, there’s, you know, an app for that.

The centerpiece of their cordless system is Google Chromecast. It’s an inexpensive dongle ($35 at BestBuy) that fits it neatly on the back side of any digital TV where there’s access to power and an available HDMI port.
Chromecast takes content sent or “cast” over Wi-Fi from a mobile phone, tablet or computer and displays it on the TV screen. The images that are every bit as clear and sharp as any programs that arrive over cable or satellite systems.

Casting ability was originally built in to Google apps such as the Chrome browser and YouTube player but now there are also hundreds of apps that work directly with Chromecast.

Even Apple products can cast from an iPhone or iPad using a third-party app. Those apps don’t work as seamlessly Google partner apps like Hulu or Spotify, but they eventually get the job done.

At my daughter’s house, Chromecast is part of a broader ecosystem of Google gadgets. They use the Google Home device for voice control. When it’s nearing bedtime for the children, someone will say “Hey Google, cast Little Baby Bum from YouTube to the TV.”

Pretty soon they will be telling Google themselves what they want to watch or listen to.

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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