Chromecast (streaming TV)

My wife watches a lot of stuff on her iPad. Shw would like to watch on the big TV. She’s seen the Chromecast for sale, and wonders if this will be a magic device.

My questions are:

(1) Out of the box, is the Chromecast useful?

(2) Our TV is network (wired) connected. The Chromecast is WiFi connected. Can you get a wired Chromecast? Or something similar?

(3) Our TV is network connected: would I be better off getting some kind of network streaming device instead of an HDMI device like the Chromecast?

Our TV is a “smart TV”. Most of the features (like “youtube”) are broken, because that’s what happens with smart TV’s. It doesn’t natively accept many modern streaming services. But it is network connected and could probably accept streaming video of some sort from a local device.

It is completely impossible to help you here unless you tell us exactly what you want to stream.

Netflix? YouTube? Generic stuff on web pages? Etc.

Just like with the standard “What PC should I buy?” threads here, step 1 is always: What are you going to use it for?

Most Smart TVs have the ability to update their firmware. This usually bring in new apps and thus new streaming services that replaces the out of dates apps.

Visio streams the big 3 & You Tube but only with updates depending on the age. (Amazon app on the Visio is a bit crappy). There are dozens of additional apps also.
If the smart TV has WiFi you may be able to turn on a feature to display from your smartphone/pad directly to the TV.

Its excellent and worth the price.

For question 2, the wireless connection on a Chromecast device is pretty good, but there are network adapters available if you want to go wireless.

The top of the line Roku Ultra also has a wired network connection.

I knew that newer FireTV devices could use such an adapter. (And you can save a few bucks if you know what to look for.) The older FireTV boxes had Ethernet but the new one doesn’t. FireTV Sticks never had them built-in. But I rooted my old Stick and added one. Amazon finally wised up and put it in as an official feature later.

Note that for Kodi-ers doing things like FF/RW a good wired connection is really helpful. Also a lot of people living in apartment buildings and what-not have high interference WiFi connections so wired is almost a must.

But did not know that Chromecast did this. Mine is arriving Monday. We’ll see …

I have a dumb TV, a Chromecast, and a smart Blue Ray player. The BlueRay player is a lot easier to use for most streaming than Chromecast, especially Netflix and YouTube. For Acorn, which the player does not support, we hook my laptop’s HDMI output to the TV.
Chromecast would be good for looking at random web pages, but I hardly use mine any more.

Please don’t take this as a TS, but I’d seriously consider a Roku unit instead of a Chromecast. I’ve tried both and the Roku (whether wireless or hardwired) gives me a lot more flexibility. As others have stated, it depends on exactly what you want to watch, but I’ve only found one function/task that Chromecast does better than Roku. Again, just my 2 cents.

So what is the one thing?

Melbourne mentioned an iPad, so I’ll also throw out there that the Apple TV device may work for his wife. I’ve never used one, but I’d guess it does what a FireTV/Chromecast/Roku does, and may work better if his wife gets her media from Apple. But if it’s Nexflix/Hulu/YouTube/Showtime stuff, any should work.

Also note that some devices will let you cast or mirror your phone screen on a TV. It’s less useful than streaming directly from the service, but can be handy at times.

It depends on how your wife prefers to watch things on the TV. If she’s already used to finding shows on the ipad, then using the chromecast is just one more step. Find the show on the ipad, hit the chromecast icon in the app, and then the show will appear on the TV. When I had Hulu I really liked pulling up a show on my phone and then sending it to the chromecast.

If she prefers to use a remote and on-screen menus on the TV, then one of the other options is probably better. At the moment I tend to watch Netflix through a Tivo and on-screen menus. Either method is fine, and really comes down to personal preference and the ease of use of the various on-screen and on-device apps.

The only other catch is what sources she uses to watch TV. Because they’re petulant children, Amazon and Google don’t work together, so you can’t watch Amazon Prime videos on chromecast, and you can’t watch youtube on the firestick. (Yes, I know there are ways to hack them to do either, but I assume this is for somebody who is unwilling to mess with that.)
Oh yeah, bottom line: The chromecast is only $35, and you can grab one at Best Buy, online (except Amazon), etc. The risk is not too much if you decide you don’t like it, unlike the $150 Apple TV. Of course, there’s a $35 Roku, and probably Firestick, too. I have the old, original Chromecast, and it still works perfectly fine on my HD (non-4k) TV.

Chromecast works on a different streaming concept than you might expect. Most streaming devices (and TV devices) are standalone devices that you control with a remote. Your DVD, cable tuner, TV, Tivo, etc, are all standalone device that you direct with a remote control. Chromecast, on the other hand, is controlled by your tablet or phone. You find what you want on your tablet and you tell the tablet to show the content on the Chromecast. But I personally don’t like using Chromecast. It feels clunky to me, and I’m always fumbling around in my tablet when I want to control what Chromecast is showing. If I browse away from the streaming app, I have to fiddle around to get the Chromecast control back on my tablet so I can pause or whatever. Chromecast works fine from a technological standpoint, but I don’t like interacting with it. I like having a dedicated remote for Play, FF, REW, etc.

I have a Roku and would recommend that. It’s a standalone streaming device. You install the streaming apps you want on it (Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, etc) and play them there. Some Roku’s have an ethernet port, so that would allow you to use you your wired connection.

But one advantage of using the ipad for “watching stuff” is that the ipad may be easier to surf for stuff. If your wife is watching random videos from random places, the Roku isn’t good for that. It’s hard to search for youtube videos on Roku because you have to use the arrow keys on the remote to scroll around a keyboard on the screen to spell stuff. It’s clunkly and you’ll only want to do it when you have to.

The Roku phone app lets you use your phone as a Roku remote, and use your phone keyboard to type in words rather than use the remote’s clunky arrow keys.