Oct 242013
 

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First off, it’s normal to be on the pursuit of matching gifts for your loved ones and wanting to do it without the tendency to overspend. This year you can make that happen and being that thanksgiving and Christmas are only a couple of weeks away – you should start considering some Christmas ideas beforehand.

It isn’t really a secret that with the currently struggling economy Americans are going to try and look for ways to cut spending and save money in every way possible and by taking advantage of what Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have to offer – you’ll be able to do exactly that! Being able to save hundreds of dollars while purchasing some amazing gifts puts you in the ideal situation. Therefore, you should consider Google Chromecast as your first choice for that special gift.

Google has made attempts at changing the way we watch television for the second time, and this product is their response to Google TV that came out a few years back. Now, instead of building some seriously complex systems that bring either apps or internet video to the TV, the company decided to take on a much simpler approach. They’ve managed to put together an efficient inexpensive device called Chromecast which you can use to wirelessly stream all the video from tablets, laptops and mobile phones you’re already using right onto your TV screen.

It is a very small device and can be compared to the size of an average USB drive, and it’s simple to connect being that it utilizes its own HDMI port. HDMI ports can be found on just about every HDTV out there and Chromecast is cheap. It connects to the local Wi-Fi network and then allows you to stream both video and audio from an Android phone for instance, and the iPhone and iPod are no exception. Chromecast can stream entire pages to your TV using the Chrome browser and runs on virtually every operating system.

One of the best things about Chromecast is that it doesn’t come with a remote control, due to the fact that your phone, laptop or tablet becomes it. It draws eclectic power as soon as you plug it in the USB port on the TV or you can use a standard wall outlet. Also you’ll have to make sure to set it to the same Wi-Fi network as the device you’re utilizing for the stream.

If we go on to compare it to Apple TV, you’ll notice that it’s a lot smaller in size. Choemcast is around half an inch thick and only three inches long. There’s also a plastic accessory that doesn’t weight much even though it feels a bit heavier than it looks. There’s an HDMI plug meaning that there’s no longer the need for you to have to run to the store and purchase a HDMI cable, and on the other end you’ll notice how the USB power port has a light and a button. Connection options should and will vary depending on your TV set, but you have two main options and those are to either plug the dongle directly or use an extender. They both work.

In order for you to set up Chromecast properly, you’ll have to utilize a certain browser on either your computer or your mobile device. We tried it out with the iPhone browser and it ran perfectly. There are a few instructions which you’ll have to follow to set up the connection and align it to the one Chromecast is using and from there you simply attach it to your home network. Even though this might come off as complicated, it’s actually very straightforward and the whole process doesn’t take more than a few minutes.

As soon as Chromecast is set up and running properly, it starts to display a screensaver on your TV. In addition to some good looking photos, it shows the name which you’ve decided to give your Chromecast, the name of your Wi-Fi network and the fact that it’s ready to use. At this point, all that’s left for you to do is sit back and enjoy the content!

YouTube and Netflix are worth noting among the supported apps, even though Vimeo, Redbox and Pandora are looking into integrating Chromecast functionality as well. As soon as you connect and power on your Chromefest, there’s an icon that YouTube displays which you can tap to initiate casting. After a few seconds of loading everything should run smoothly. A thing worth noting is that there’s an actual difference in the backend here being that instead of beaming all the content from your device, Chromecast actually utilizes it as the remote and then pulls out the video from a cloud. There’s absolutely no need for the typical hardware remote (even though the principle works the same) and most people will have no idea how the content made it to your big screen to begin with. In addition, Flash video can be streamed which is something Apple TV doesn’t allow.

Finally, before we’re able to consider Chromecast a direct threat to the existence of Apple TV we have to realize that it still has a long way to go even though it’s highly practical, functional and pretty darn impressive for a cheap accessory. It is indeed a very smart choice for people interested in getting certain types of web content to display on their TVs, as well as one that can make an amazing iPhone or iPod accessory. The HDMI feature can be perfect for travelers, that is – as long they have access to a Wi-Fi connection.

Google has done a great job at putting it all together in terms of functionality and the fact that they’re offering it at such a great price makes it possible for families to enjoy spending time together watching movies and enjoying each other’s company.

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