Chromecast


Thank you, Google. You might have just finally unleashed the potential of my mom's HDTV. My mom is a technophobe. She can handle email and some basic stuff just fine, but once we get beyond that it requires going through hand written notes. And, let's face it, if she can't find that note on how to do that thing in a minute she'll just forget about doing that thing. This is why I think Chromecast, a new HDMI dongle thingy, will find its way into an HDMI port or two.

TV one is the main TV. It is a 42" LED LCD dumb Vizio HDTV. This isn't to say it's stupid, it's just not connected to the web. To make that connection for her Netflix needs we have a smart Samsung home theatre system. It's fairly easy to operate; grab remote 3 (TV remove, cable box remote, and home theatre remote), press Netflix, go make something to eat, get back, wait some more, and you're in Netflix where the response time is measured in seconds. Basically it works, but I feel like it's punishment. Getting out of Netflix requires picking up Remote 1 (TV) and changing the input source back to cable.

The Chromecast scenario sounds easier. Take a device you're already familiar with, in this case an iPad, fire up the Netflix app, select what you want to watch, then tap the Cast button. Chromecast looks like it will turn on the TV and select the right input source and have you watching in no time. You control the video from your iPad (or Android device, or computer), including pause, scrubbing, and volume. My only hope is that it easily dumps my mom back into the cable input source after watching Netflix. I don't think it would be a deal breaker if it didn't do that. Plus it's only $35!

The cool thing about this is it doesn't stop at Netflix. Stream YouTube, your Google Play library of movies, TV shows, and music, and currently in beta form, the web. And, if I didn't make it clear, Chromecast works with iOS, Android, OS X, and Windows desktop operating systems. Maybe my mom can make more use out of her TV, without having to figure out how to change sources and use multiple remotes.

More information, and to order, here.

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