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    From PC to HDTV via Google's Chromecast




    TOP STORY


    From PC to HDTV via Google's Chromecast


    By Lincoln Spector

    Google has a new way to stream video from your PC (or mobile device) to your high-definition TV.

    But its capabilities are relatively limited, and it leaves much to be desired — especially if you're using a Windows PC.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/from-pc-to-hdtv-via-googles-chromecast/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Tracey Capen; 2013-09-25 at 21:41.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    With a Windows PC, you’re not limited to those three services: you can send virtually any video stream to the Chromecast device. But you’ll probably be disappointed in the resulting video quality on your TV; more on that in a moment.
    Actually, Linux does support the Chromium Browser, and that browser does have a Google Cast Extension. This should allow Linux users running Chromium to show any tab available in Chromium through ChromeCast to their HDTV. At least in theory...
    -- Bob Primak --

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    As an owner of a couple Chromecasts I wanted to comment on some of the statements from the article.

    First, as far as streaming devices I have in the home, there's no shortage of Things that Play Stuff:
    2 laptops - one Windows, one Linux
    Nintendo Wii - Netflix app and maybe Youtube?
    Tivo Premier - Netflix and Youtube, others that I haven't tried, but no Amazon prime streaming
    Cheapo Bluray player - Netflix
    Android phone
    iPhone 4S
    iPad
    Samsung "smart" TV

    I got the Chromecast mainly as a Netflix player but also because of it's potential and that it was cheap. I don't want to hook up the laptops to the TV. I've never actually used the Wii for streaming, but it's not HD so I sort of crossed that off the list. The BR player used to be our Netflix player but the network connection on it has died so it's really only a disc player anymore, and we don't watch too many of those. We'd been using the Tivo for apps and streaming but the Netflix app has a bug where you can't resume play sometimes after pausing. And it's slooooow, like everything else on the Tivo. Same for the Youtube app.

    Moreso, the real issue is that on all of those devices the Netflix and Youtube apps are all exactly the same, and all sloooow and cumbersome. It's painful to try and search videos on the Youtube Tivo or TV apps. But on your mobile devices, those apps shine. So the Chromecast comes in where I can find what I want to play quickly and easily, then send it to the Chromecast and it Just Works.

    As far as setting up - I didn't have to download any apps. For the first Chromecast, after it was plugged in I went to the location it told me to on my Linux computer (Chrome browser) and it set it up. For the second one, it just worked using the Chromecast app on my phone.

    The issue of receivining a phone call is a good one - I wonder if they might add a hook to pause if there's an incoming call, although that defeats the separation purpose I guess. But part of the beauty too is that I can start playing Netflix on my phone, send it to Chromecast, exit out, and my wife can pick up control from her phone. And it pretty much works well.

    Maybe it's because I'm entrenched in the Google ecosystem or because I use Chrome on my PCs and have an Android phone, but I've found the experience to be great and it works a lot better than my old setup. Maybe that wouldn't be the case if I already had a good streaming solution (roku or appletv) but for me it works and works well. I'm only looking forward to broader app support from third parties, and ideally eventually local streaming support.

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    Provided you have a good Internet connection, it could also be handy for streaming movies to a hotel-room TV. (Most hotels now have HDTVs, though Internet is typically wanting.)
    This is unlikely to be an option for most according to the CNET review of Chromecast http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7...travel-dreams/

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    I think one gotcha you may have not encountered is using this Chromecast in hotels. I originally bought it thinking this would be the best thing for travel since it is small and easy to pack away. I sure was wrong. First of all, the internet in most hotels I visit is very slow, but that is not the real reason this doesn't work in hotels. Most hotels after connecting to their Wifi require you to login through a web page, sometimes requiring you to put in a password (or at the very least accepting a user agreement). But guess what, there is no way to bring up a web page in Chromecast and sign in. There goes that good idea for using Chromecast in hotels!

    Also, while I'm add it. Its been awhile now and there has been no major updates. I think providing HBO Go would be a killer feature since I cannot get that on the big screen unless I duplicate my PC screen to my TV. HBO Go provides a wealth of media you can't find on services like the typical Comcast on demand. Amazon on demand and prime would be great also, but that is sort of a competing service with Google play, so I'm not sure if we will see that. Perhaps streaming your Google+ hangouts to your TV would be a really cool feature also or add-on for Skype. I did try renting a movie from Google Play and watched through Chromecast, and it worked flawless.

    Joe

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    I have an HTPC that uses a wired connection to my home network. Will this be able to stream to the Chromecast? I do use the Chromcast to watch Netflix, but it pauses and buffers so much more often than the wired PC that I rarely use it. It is very annoying to have the buffering circle pop up every few minutes. The trouble with the PC is that it does not have an HDMI out port so I have to use VGA into the TV. That reduces the resolution and introduces a definate shading problem on large areas of similar colors - walls, smooth backgrounds, etc. So, I use PC/Chrom/Netflix for movies because I get less buffering than the Chromcast and just put up with the lower quality picture. If I wasn't so cheap I could get another video card, but I am using a free HP desktop PC as the HTPC and it does not have HDMI out. There is no room to put a new video card because it is a small form factor PC and has built-in graphics. Not even sure I could turn it off even if I could find a low profile video card with HDMI.

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    I found video quality on the TV relatively poor and audio rarely synched properly. I tried to watch a feature film from a password-protected Vimeo feed. After about six minutes, I gave up. I plugged the laptop directly into the HDTV, grabbed a wireless mouse, and enjoyed the movie.
    Just curious....is Chromecast using the 2.4 GHz spectrum, or the newer 5.0 GHz spectrum?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Actually, Linux does support the Chromium Browser, and that browser does have a Google Cast Extension. This should allow Linux users running Chromium to show any tab available in Chromium through ChromeCast to their HDTV. At least in theory...
    The article did mention that:

    "The Chrome-based, stream-any-video feature isn’t supported on mobile devices. (It’s strictly a Windows/Linux/Mac option.)"

    Bruce

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    You may also want to note that, at least for me, Chromecast is a non-starter. The Google Play site tells me it's not available in my country [Canada].
    Dr. M. L. Marshal
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    I bought a Chromecast and after talking to Google's tech support I returned it. Not only was I using XP (which worked exactly ONCE with the device), I also was using the newer 5.0 GHZ spectrum and found info on their website that they are not supporting that either. I wasted about 2 days trying to sign in a second time without success. I will wait for a later version or skip it entirely. I also use an Audioengine W1 to send sound from my PC to my stereo receiver wirelessly, and the Chromecast interferred with that. The Chromecast window reverted to my PC speakers after a reboot. Altogether it was a major disappointment. At least through Amazon, I quickly got a full refund.
    Last edited by scratchbaker; 2013-09-26 at 16:26. Reason: used same word twice

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    Ya, for the home, get a WD Live for 3x the cost but 10x the function or so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scratchbaker View Post
    I bought a Chromecast and after talking to Google's tech support I returned it. Not only was I using XP (which worked exactly ONCE with the device), I also was using the newer 5.0 GHZ spectrum and found info on their website that they are not supporting that either. I wasted about 2 days trying to sign in a second time without success. I will wait for a later version or skip it entirely. I also use an Audioengine W1 to send sound from my PC to my stereo receiver wirelessly, and the Chromecast interferred with that. The Chromecast window reverted to my PC speakers after a reboot. Altogether it was a major disappointment. At least through Amazon, I quickly got a full refund.
    The 2.4 GHz spectrum tends to suffer from co-channel, adjacent-channel, and non 802.11 interferences a *lot* more than the 5.0 GHz spectrum. A common source of non 802.11 interference is microwave ovens. If you live in a single family residence, then the S/N level of neighboring WAPs (Wireless Access Points) is probably too weak to present much co and/or adjacent channel interference. However, if you live in an apartment complex, the 2.4 GHz spectrum is truly crowded. I know, as I've measured this with my Fluke Aircheck.
    Tom Wickerath
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmadrigal View Post
    I think one gotcha you may have not encountered is using this Chromecast in hotels. I originally bought it thinking this would be the best thing for travel since it is small and easy to pack away. I sure was wrong. First of all, the internet in most hotels I visit is very slow, but that is not the real reason this doesn't work in hotels. Most hotels after connecting to their Wifi require you to login through a web page, sometimes requiring you to put in a password (or at the very least accepting a user agreement). But guess what, there is no way to bring up a web page in Chromecast and sign in. There goes that good idea for using Chromecast in hotels!
    Good point about sign-in pages. That's an issue with Apple TV as well, for those that want to travel with one. I get around that by using either a MiFi device on the Verizon network or the hotspot functionality on my phone. I used my Chromecast this week in a hotel from my iPad for the first time. It worked great. Netflix was able to play in the background while I did email and some other document on the iPad.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    The article did mention that:

    "The Chrome-based, stream-any-video feature isn’t supported on mobile devices. (It’s strictly a Windows/Linux/Mac option.)"

    Bruce
    To me, that statement did not make it crystal-clear that the Chromium Browser is supported by Chromecast. Chromium is not Chrome. It is Open-Source and lacks some of the spying features of Chrome.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Quote Originally Posted by mlmarshal View Post
    You may also want to note that, at least for me, Chromecast is a non-starter. The Google Play site tells me it's not available in my country [Canada].
    I wasn't even aware that Google was shipping Chromecast to Canada. Itis supposed to be available only in the U.S.
    -- Bob Primak --

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