I’ll Review Anything: Google Chromecast 2

I’ve been going back and forth about getting a Google Chromecast. On one hand,  I like the idea of simply having to connect a device to the HDMI slot of my TV so I can watch stuff on a huge screen instead of having to sit in front of my computer or hold my tablet like a dummy to watch stuff. On the other hand, I not a big fan of subscribing to streaming services since, well, Internet service pretty much sucks where I am. Them’s the breaks when you’re living in a third world country like the Philippines.

However, a couple of months ago, it was announced Netflix would bring their services to the country. That just made the prospect of getting a Chromecast a little more appealing so, guess what? I decided to take the plunge and get one! The instant I paid for it and left the store with my new Google Chromecast 2 in hand, I started getting second thoughts. Was it really worth is since I may not even get Netflix? I mean, it’s so much easier to “download” them, right? Still, it looks sooooooo good…

When I got home and opened my new Google Chromecast 2, I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed with what I saw. I don’t know what got into my head but I expected the device to just be the little circular nub with the wire only like in the video above. I was anticipating the folks at Google pulled an engineering marvel and created the Chromecast to get its power from the HDMI slot! But, in actuality, you need to plug the Chromecast to either a USB slot (which most modern televisions have) or a regular power outlet using the included adapter. Yes, I’m stupid but I’m still disappointed because all of the pictures just show the device and not the long USB cable jutting out the back!

Anyway, I started to have my doubts about getting my device when I tried setting it up through my computer. Attaching the Chromecast to my television was no problem but, for some weird reason, I couldn’t get it to work! I followed the setup instructions to the letter but it just wouldn’t complete the installation! I tried this for an hour before I got the bright idea to attempt to set it up through my Android tablet. Shockingly, I was able to complete the setup using my tablet in just a couple of minutes! What went wrong with my PC setup, I’ll never know! I guess that’s why Google’s official ad promoting how “cool” the Chromecast is doesn’t even show any of them using a PC!

Now that I (finally) got my Chromecast all set up, how should I test it? YouTube, of course! Besides the Netflix connection, I really wanted the option to watch YouTube clips on my TV. And Chromecast worked beautifully! The instant I tried watching a couple of vids, they played almost instantaneously through Chromecast! I even tested the device’s ability to queue up multiple YouTube vids as well as try streaming long-ass videos just to see if my Internet connection can keep up. And I’m happy to say Chromecast passed the test with flying colors! I was even to stream YouTube onto my TV in 720p with no problem, which is quite an accomplishment because of my crappy Internet service!

But streaming YouTube videos is one thing. I mean, all it’s doing is caching bits of data. I wondered how it would fair if I tried watching an actual live broadcast! To test it, I went to Twitch, which is another reason why I got the device! Being a huge fan of fighting games, I love watching fighting game tournaments like Evo through Twitch. But watching them on my tablet or even full screen through my PC still sucks for a variety of reasons! So, I was hoping Chromecast would unshackle me from the bonds of my computer monitor and tiny table screen! And it worked brilliantly! I was able to try streaming Poonko’s livestream perfectly. I even upped the resolution to Medium and I got to watch it with only a few minor hiccups. The video did downgrade to Mobile at one time, rendering the entire thing a blotchy, unwatchable mess. But, other than than, my experience was pretty good!

I do miss the crazy chat window, though!

I do miss the crazy chat window, though! But I could see that through my tablet anyway.

I was eager to see what else I could do with the Chromecast. I did a bit of research and there were some websites proclaiming it was possible to actually stream content from your PC to the Chromecast just by using the browser! I just had to try that! But, nope! It didn’t work! Every time I tried and I clicked on the Google Cast option on my Chrome browser, it would say No Device Found… even if its on the list of available devices! Maybe the issue is connected with why I had such a problem setting it up through my PC. Maybe there’s just something wrong with my PC and it doesn’t sync up with it, even though I could use Chromecast to stream YouTube and Twitch videos through my PC. I did do further research and it seems I’m not the only one having this problem. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a solution for this in the future.

Overall, however, I’m actually pleased with the Google Chromecast 2. Despite my initial problems with it, I’m now able to watch YouTube videos and stream online fighting game tournaments through Twitch from the comfort of my bed. I’ll probably be controlling the Chromecast through my tablet from now on since I’ve had virtually no issues streaming using my mobile device. However, since I’m still having issues using it through my PC, I’ll probably hold off getting a Netflix subscription for now since I may have issues using it with the service. Still, pretty neat device, Google!

Do you have a Chromecast? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!

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