I’m a big fan of Google products for two main reasons:
1 – In general, they’re pretty great products (Gmail, Maps, Docs, etc).
2 – They tend to work on every major platform.
Item #2 is why I encourage people to choose the Google Chromecast over Apple TV (or Amazon’s Fire Stick) when looking for a streaming device. We have one on every TV in our house, and it’s the primary tool we use on the TV in our office.
What is Chromecast?
If you’re not familiar with Chromecast, this video from Marques Brownlee does a good job of showing how it works:
Note that his video is a few years old, and many other services are now compatible with it. As Marques explains, the beauty of Chromecast is that it doesn’t stream from your phone — your phone just tells it what to do and then Chromecast pulls the content directly from the internet. This makes for a very smooth experience and saves battery life on your phone.
Apple TV is kind of the opposite; it doesn’t do much on its own, and requires that your device constantly pushes content to it. This have some advantages, since there is no limit to the content you can push that way, but it has some downsides. Apple TV also only works on Apple devices, while Chromecast works on Apple devices, as well as Android and Windows.
What about the Amazon Fire Stick?
This is the one “catch” with Chromecast. Because Amazon has their own competing product, none of the Prime Video streaming content works with Chromecast. It’s not a shortcoming of the Chromecast, per se, but it’s simply that Amazon would prefer that you buy their device. If you need to have your Prime Video shows, the the Amazon Fire Stick might be a good choice. If you typically use other services such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc, Chromecast is the way to go.
For only $30, it’s a pretty easy choice to make.
How many Chromecasts do you own?