The World’s Love Affair With Google’s Chromecast Dongle Appears To Be Over

The Chromecast

Google surprised the tech world this week with the introduction of the Chromecast, a tiny $35 dongle that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and lets you beam in videos from the Web.

Tech pundits went nuts. Some declared it a threat to Apple’s AirPlay, which works with the Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and some Macs.

But after diving into the caveats that come with the Chromecast, it appears everyone’s love affair with the gadget is over.

Here’s why:

  • As The Verge points out, you’re still pretty limited** in what video services you can stream to Chromecast. On phones and tablets, it works with apps like Netflix, Pandora, and content you own through the Google Play store for Android, but you can’t play all the stuff stored locally on your computer, phone, or tablet yet like you can with Apple’s AirPlay. AirPlay/Apple TV is still compatible with a lot more streaming smartphone and tablet apps than the Chromecast is.
  • Google originally gave away three free months of Netflix streaming with the Chromecast, effectively reducing the cost to just $11. But Google stopped the offer within 24 hours, saying it sold out of a pre-planned number of Netflix subscriptions it had planned to give away. It appears that Google wasn’t prepared for high demand. (The Chromecast is already sold out for now, by the way.)
  • The tiny gadget actually requires an unsightly power cord to work, something the product shots and ads cleverly hide. That’s because regular HDMI ports don’t pump out enough power to run a device like the Chromecast.
  • Some have noticed latency issues with the Chromecast, meaning streaming quality isn’t very good unless you have a good WiFi router and zippy Internet connection. It’s likely a lot of people will have problems streaming to the Chromecast.

Criticism aside, the Chromecast does feel like an interesting product, especially considering it’s dirt-cheap price. We’ll have a full review of the Chromecast next week.

**Yes, you can use the Chrome browser on your computer to beam videos from services like Hulu and HBO GO to your Chromecast, but you can bet those companies don’t like it.