Thursday, April 24, 2014

Product Review: Google ChromeCast

We've been big into Fitness Blender workouts over the past months.  While bringing the laptop down to the basement was working fine, I think my trying to balance it on top of the weight rack was making the Mr more than a little nervous.

To save his sanity (and my laptop), he suggested getting a Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player so we could broadcast it to the TV down there.


The Mr can be somewhat gadget happy and sometimes he doesn't get the PO (purchase order) but there are times I can see the benefit in the things he suggests and this was one of them.  I thought it would be especially helpful on vacations to still be able to get in some workouts or yoga sessions.  Basically it plugs into the HDMI port on the side of your TV along with a USB port (or plugs into the wall with a USB power adapter) and then you can set up Google Chrome to broadcast from your smart phone, tablet, computer, etc to your TV via your home Wi-Fi network. In a sense it uses your device as a remote control.

I wasn't sure what kind of quality to expect from it.  I thought maybe a slightly pixelated version of full screen like you can sometimes see but I was pleasantly surprised.  If you follow a site that has a YouTube channel, it looks almost as clear as a DVD.  So it was a very good $35 investment for us. We plan to use it on trips too so that we can use a full size TV for our workout videos and even movies on our tablet, etc.

Google has opened up the Chromecast recently so that developers can make apps specifically for it and the Mr says this is a good thing because there are all kinds of future possibilities.  The only knock that he has so far is that if you do use it for travel you currently have to factory default it before you can use it on another Wi-Fi network, which seems kind of stupid.  But that is a minor pet peeve considering that it was only $35 and has really made our Fitness Blender workouts that much more enjoyable.

In case there are Roku people out there, I asked the Mr why he chose ChromeCast over Roku and this was his response: "I originally chose it over the Roku because the Roku requires a powered HDMI port which only the newest TV's have and we don't.  However I guess Roku did just come out with a version that uses the regular HDMI with a USB port just like the Chromecast.  But I think I would still choose the Chromecast over the Roku because with Chromecast you'll have all of the Google Apps in the future as well as Google support which I think it a bit more powerful in the long run.  One thing though, that is only because we have the PS3 to stream other content with.  If we didn't have that at all then the Roku is a better choice.  So for anyone wanting all the channels for streaming then the Roku might be a better buy for them."

If you're an at home exerciser do you prefer DVD's or would the ChromeCast (or Roku) be something you'd use?

(This post contains an affiliate link.  Should you buy through it, I'll get a few cents to keep the blog dog barkin')

====================
Like this post? Don't miss another one...subscribe via email or RSS feed. (Or you can follow me on Facebook )

15 comments:

  1. You get everything here at this site. Fitness tips. Recipes and food ideas. Family advice and now even tech reviews! Great job! I am very impressed with the ChromeCast and it has done a great thing for us in terms of getting those fitness blender workouts on our main screen, which is so much better than trying to watch on a laptop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!...not that you're biased or anything. ;-) I'm really glad we got it too and has made doing online workouts like doing at home DVD's. Speaking of which, we get beat up by Daniel and Kelly tonight. :-\

      Delete
  2. I think I would use something like that. Carrying my laptop downstairs poses the same problems you faced so while it works ok, I'd rather not. I think the tv we have downstairs though is actually be too old to work with even this little gadget though so I don't think it would work for me without upgrading and I can't justify that. We stream Netflix through the Wii so there is no need to buy a gadget for everyday use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I think it needs an HDMI port on it so when you do ever upgrade, revisit the possibility. :-)

      Delete
  3. I've tried both Roku and Chromecast. Perhaps our Chromecast was buggy, but we had problems with slow loading, restarts, constant need to tweak settings. We took it back within 24 hours and bought a new Roku instead (our old one had been struck by lightning). Our internet connection was not to blame since the Roku works beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've never had an issue with the ChromeCast once so hopefully it was just a fluke. Ours loads instantly and I don't think we've ever messed with the settings except when setting it up initially. Roku wasn't an option for us at the time of purchase but people do like it as well.

      Delete
  4. My son got us a Chromecast for watching movies. It never occurred to me (until now) to use it for workout videos. So far the movies have worked just great. I'll have to try this next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great way to try new (free!) workouts and still have it come on on the TV so you don't need a laptop or tablet. We love it!

      Delete
  5. We have a Chromecast as well, and my Mr. is very techie, just like your Mr.! I've never heard of this "Fitness Blender" before though, so I'm going to look in to that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'll love it. I'm getting ready to do a series soon on our favorite FB workouts so keep an eye out for 'em! :-)

      Delete
  6. We are a Mac house and have had an Apple TV for years. I love being able to watch YouTube videos and stream various services like Netflix and Hulu. I wish Amazon would get on board because I'm not getting the full value of my Prime membership if I can only use their streaming service on my laptop.

    The chrome definitely looks more portable than the Apple TV box. I'm glad it's working out for you and, as usual, appreciate all your product reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very portable and will be perfect to help us get workouts in at night on vacations. I agree on Amazon and I think it's been rumored that's in the works. I'm excited to see the deal for old HBO shows but I've gotta say, their movie rental selection SUCKS.

      Delete
  7. I'm a Roku gal, although hubby is a huge gadget geek, so I can seem him wanting to try this out too. It sounds like it is a bit more portable than the Roku (I'd never take it with me anywhere). I DO love my Roku and PlayOn/PlayLater combination, because then I can actually record and save (and then fast forward and skip through commercials on shows and such) when watching. I'm not sure how anyone can use just a laptop for YouTube workouts ... but then again I'm super spoiled and I know it! :) Thanks for your review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definitely the portability that was important to us initially. We bought it with the intent on using it more for travel but happily discovered that use for it as well and now use it several times a week.

      Delete
  8. I'm an old-fashioned gal and prefer DVD's (I have a VHS tape that I still use too!). My husband is always trying to get me to stream this or that and I'm like nah. =o)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I appreciate thoughtful readers like you! If your comment doesn't show up right away, check back in a few minutes. I promise it'll get posted. The system can get a little glitchy. (Rude or spammy comments will be deleted. Fair warning.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...