The Google Chromecast was announced on July 24th, 2013 and it was an instant hit. I don’t think even Google realized how popular this TV device would be. The Chromecast was initially priced at $35 with a three month free subscription to Netflix. In essence, the HDMI dongle was only $11. The Netflix opportunity is no longer available but consumers are able to purchase the Chromecast at Best Buy, WalMart, Amazon, the Google Play Store and more electronics retailers.
In more words or less, the Google Chromecast allows you to cast the screen of your computer (Google Chrome) onto your TV by simply inserting the HDMI dongle into your HD TV. There is a little more to it than this but you can learn much more in the Chromecast Google+ Community located here. This resource will provide the apps that are currently available for the Google Chromecast
I don’t think there is much of an explanation needed for Netflix. Millions of people have purchased Netflix for $7.99 a month. This is much cheaper than cable or satellite television. I have many friends that use Netflix on their laptops, desktops and smartphones. There is an Android and iPhone app that will allow you to consume TV shows and movies in the palm of your hand. What makes the Chromecast Netflix app amazing is the fact that you can watch TV shows from your computer on your TV. In essence, it is like having cable on your TV for just $7.99 a month.
It is important to note that Netflix does not have the newest shows that have been released. You will have to wait a few months and sometimes a few years for the newer shows to be released on Netflix. That said, it is still worth it to save the money for many.
Admittedly, I have not watched HBO in years. When I was younger my parents always had a subscription to HBO but when I moved away to college and had to pay my own bills I never purchased HBO. That said, there are many people that love HBO Original Series and the movies that come out every month. If you are a big time HBO viewer this app will be heaven for you. Game of Thrones, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and Girls are popular original series that are currently being aired. Some of the older original series include The Wire, The Sopranos, Entourage, Sex in the City, Rome, Six Feet Under and Big Love.
No matter what movies or shows you desire they will be available on the HBO GO app if they are on HBO TV. It will be interesting to see how this affects cable and satellite TV consumption over the next several years. I would imagine more and more people would look to save by using their Chromecast and HBO GO but we will see.
The former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar spoke at the University of North Carolina business school last year. It was a wonderful opportunity to listen to him speak. Interestingly enough, I was in the same room with the Hulu CEO yet I had never used the product. From what I understand Hulu Plus comes at a premium with less advertisements. Ultimately, Hulu and Hulu Plus offer viewers the opportunity to watch TV shows and programs on their computer or smartphone.
This Chromecast app will cast those programs to their TV. Once again, this is similar to having cable on your HD TV at a much cheaper price. Those that have Hulu or that have had Hulu, please feel free to comment below to shed some light on how the process works.
Pandora is another service that doesn’t really need to be explained. At this point in time I believe most people know what Pandora is. The free, personalized radio now comes to Chromecast so you can listen to the radio from your TV. This would be great when trying to do a workout or just having friends over for a party. Some of my friends listen to Pandora when they are getting ready. Who doesn’t want to listen to some music at one point in the day?
For those that may not know, YouTube is kinda cool. They offer these videos. Some are funny. Others are informative. Some are both. In fact, you can find almost any type of video you would like on YouTube. All joking aside, YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world. Some sources have claimed that YouTube is now bigger than Facebook. This would not surprise me as everyone below the age of 21 uses YouTube hours and hours everyday.
YouTube is also owned Google so it comes as no surprise that YouTube was one of the first apps for Chromecast. No Smart TV viewing experience is complete in 2014 without YouTube being available. I would like to hear how this works when signed in or when signed out. Personally, I enjoy staying signed out of YouTube as it gives me a much more organic experience. That said, I don’t get the suggestions that some do when they are signed in.
Google Play TV and Movies
Google Play has quickly grown into a competitor of both Apple and Amazon. Those that have a Google account have the ability to purchase TV shows or movies from their Android phone or laptop computer. I have used this service many times and it works wonderfully. I recently went back to the iPhone so I no longer use the Google Play store as much. That said, it is still a way to see competitive prices on TV shows and movies.
When comparing the prices to Amazon and Apple the Google Play Store offers some pretty good deals. During the Christmas holiday shopping season there were some amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Look for this to continue as Google hopes to gain marketshare from both Apple and Amazon. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Google Play Music
Google Play not only has TV shows and movies but it has music as well. The Google Chromecase will allow you to cast the music you have on your Android phone or tablet to your TV. This is very similar to Pandora but you will have much more control as to what is being played. It is similar to an iPod or iPhone being hooked up to your TV. I never downloaded any music to my Android smartphone but I know this is something that is very popular as it will allow you to grab those songs you desire at an affordable price.
When I was younger we had to buy entire CDs if we wanted a single song. There were some CDs that were singles but rarely were they purchased. Instead of paying $15 for a song, music lovers now have the opportunity to pay only $1 for a song.
When most people think of VEVO they think of official YouTube videos. While VEVO has a very large presence on YouTube it is important to remember that VEVO.com offers its own videos. The one concern I have with VEVO is the ads are not skippable. When you want to watch an official video many times you have to sit through 15 seconds or 30 seconds of an ad. When watching YouTube videos you are sometimes allowed to hit the “skip ad” tab to avoid having to watch the entire advertisement. The VEVO app for Chromecast allows you to cast some of the most popular music videos to your TV. Now that MTV no longer plays music videos fans have to find them in other areas.
Red Bull. TV
When looking up YouTube for GoPro videos or crazy sports videos it seems to be the case that every single video has some type of Red Bull sponsorship. If you are into the X Games, skiing, snowboarding, surfing or sky diving this might be an app that greatly interests you. Extreme sports continue to get more popular every year with the growth of Internet video. This is an app that was destined to come out as some of the most watched videos on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing websites are related to extreme sports, music, concerts and entertainment.
This is something that I am brand new to and I absolutely love it. You can pick a type of music based on your mood. If it is late at night it will suggest nature sounds or classic music. The absolute best thing about this app and website is that it does not require an account. You go to the resource, click a few links and you are listening to music within seconds. This is something that is not available with most other apps or websites. You have to sign up with a name, email address, etc. Songza is going to be something I use much more moving forward; especially when I need some soothing music when writing content!
Plex is an app that will organize all of your media across all devices. This means you can have photos, music, audio files, video files and everything else in one place. Instead of having songs on your iPhone and photos on your Facebook you can have it all in one place. I have never used this app but it sounds like a wonderful idea. Cast it with your Chromecast and let me know how you enjoy it.
This is something very interesting and a sign of the changing times. Washington Post now has an app that streams live TV. Most of you know that Washington Post is a print publication but they are branching out. After Jeff Bezos purchased Washington Post last year it comes as no surprise that they are trying innovative ways to reach readers and consumers. The Washington Post has the money to do this type of thing. I would imagine that most newspapers do not have the money to create apps for the Chromecast. Heck, some newspapers don’t even have apps for the iPhone or Android phones.
From the Google website: “Discover Korean dramas, Japanese anime and movies, telenovelas, music videos and more; with subtitles in 160+ languages.” Rather than sticking my foot in my mouth, I will leave it at that. If you have used this app to cast on your TV please leave a comment and let me know if you enjoy it.
This will allow you to watch your personal video collection on your TV. It is very similar to some of the previously mentioned apps. It seems to be the case that Chromecast owners have a wide variety of tools they use to store their media. Look for more and more apps related to media storage and cloud computing to come out in 2014.