I stumbled on this question and great explanation today and thought it would make a great post on this blog. Chromecast has been around for a while and some people still don’t quite understand how it works. Hopefully this can help. (Italics are my comments).
- What is Chromecast?
Chromecast is a dongle that plugs into your television via HDMI. It connects to the internet and is controlled by apps on your phone or computer. Contrary to popular opinion you do not stream TO the device, but rather tell the device WHAT you want to stream. Chromecast then connects to the internet and plays that video. If you want to watch Youtube videos, you send instructions to Chromecast and it retrieves the stream and plays it on your TV. This works the same for HBO, Hulu, etc. To drive this point home: you can cast a movie from your phone, then turn your phone off. Chromecast will still work fine. You can then pick up your tablet and continue controlling Chromecast. Chromecast will also be a protocol that will be incorporated into other devices. The above still applies, but if you have a Google TV set top box or television, you already have Chromecast.
You can also mirror any tab from chrome on a computer to your Chromecast. You can go to non supported video sites (i.e. firstrowsports, espn, etc.), make them fullscreen, then play on your TV. Additionally, you can “Open…” a video in your Chrome browser and cast that tab to your Chromecast as well. These are popular workarounds from getting unsupported content to your chromecast. With this scenario you are basically streaming to the Chromecast.
- Is it a viable option to replace cable TV?
Maybe, but much to my dismay I must answer a question with a question. Can you cut cable right now and completely consume media if your laptop were connected to your TV? Are you looking for free alternatives to cable? If the answer is YES and NO, respectively, then YES chromecast can replace cable TV.
Youtube, Hulu Plus, Netflix, HBO Go (which requires subscription), Plex (which will require extra hardware like a NAS) will become your primary content platforms. Plex will allow you to provide your own media and cast it from a NAS or the cloud to Chromecast.
This is a much different delivery system than cable. You need to like using tablets and phones. You need subscriptions to cloud based content services. You need to be ok with limited amounts of content for the time being until Google opens their ecosystem to more developers. An alternative to Chromecast would be Apple TV or Roku.
- My take:
I have cable. I use Netflix. I have Chromecast. This works great in my life. When people are over, we can watch Youtube music videos or funny stuff from Reddit. I watch Netflix in my room (dumb TV) at night time. I am actively setting up plex from my NAS to stream my ripped DVD movies and tv shows. For $30, you cannot go wrong with this type of product. If you’re looking to cut the cord, you need to evaluate IF, HOW, and WHY you are cutting the cord.
Source: User CosmicWy via Reddit