Saturday, 29 March 2014

Chromecast (UK): Is it really worth £30?

On a whim i decided to try out Chromecast the new digital media player from Google. It enables you to psend items from your computer or mobile device to your TV. It arrives in a nice small box in which you get the HDMI Chromecast adapter and plug and a USB cable to keep it charged. So this is the first consideration, as you will need a free HDMI socket and a free plug close to the telly you wish to use Chromecast in.

Installation and apps provided

Installing Chromecast is simple, download the app or go to and enter your Google log in details and off you go. If you download the app this also gives you the option to download other apps compatible with Chromecast. These include BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music, Vevo, Red Bull TV, Plex and Realplayer Cloud. Personally, as a cheapskate I never use Netflix and found Plex a waste of time unless you want to send photos to the TV, in which case there are other free apps that will do that for you. Realplayer Cloud is the interesting one for me, as the last time I used Realplayer was on a Windows 98 machine. The new app provides as cloud service to store video and pictures or music and send them to Chromecast or you friends or family. This seemed to work really well and I was impressed with the free 2GB of space provided. It also allows you to send movies on your PC or tablet directly to Chromecast without the need to upload them to the cloud and hence use up you storage allowance.

I did download Plex and after paying the required £2.98 I found it to be a waste of time and money.  Chalk that up to experience.  I am sure some people will find it useful to store and catalogue their music, pictures and videos but as the movie option to play them not being available unless you subscribe to the Plex Pass service this becomes an expensive method of sharing movies, especially as you can use Realplayer Cloud to do this for nothing and if you want to download a movie, the Google Movies is provided just for such an occasion.


Chromecast provides HD quality movies and casting from mobile devices or computers. Qualitywise, I found everything I have cast has been excellent.  Occasionally you get a small glitch with the Internet fluctuates, but that is not surprising as my connection is a very slow one but Chromecast does buffer things very well.   Apps such as Vevo, BBC iPlayer, YouTube all play really well and add a new dimension to watching things I had bookmarked but not bothered watching on my computer or tablet.  In fact it plays so well I am actually more than impressed.

Apps  you can add to Chromecast

You do not need to be stuck with the apps Google suggests. You can easily download a whole load more apps that increase the functionality of Chromecast and turn it into something rather exciting. I started off using the app Cast Store ( which provides a very useful list of compatible apps that can be used with Chromecast.  This is essential, although some apps are not available in the UK there are many that are which work well, others not so well.

My personal favourites free apps are:

Web Video Caster ( I really love this app which allows you to stream videos you find on the web to any Chromecast device. It is simple and clean and easy to use.

Local Cast Media 2v Chromecast ( If you have local media that you want to cast such as movies or picture then this is the one to use. It can also cast web based videos to your Chromecast. This open up a number or channels that have a web based version.

Flipps ( This is a video streaming apps that has a number of channels to get videos from.  Its well worth a poke around in this app as there are some interesting things to watch.

Cast It (  This is a simple photo casting app which can also cast photos from Facebook and Google Plus.  It is nothing fancy, but it does what it says.

EZ Cast ( This is similar to Web Video Caster. I have not tried this as much but when I did use it, it worked really well.

The Verdict

So is Chromecast worth £30? I would have to come done on the affirmative side. As devices go it provides the whole of the BBC iPlayer platform, and a number of other casting apps, but what I really love is that you can download apps that allow you to use your phone of tablet or for that matter you PC and cast what is on the screen to Chromecast. I also love the idea that this has only just been released in the UK and therefore more apps will be provided and scripted for the UK in the future opening further possibilities. 

So in a nutshell I love it, love it, love it. 

Go buy one or two now!

To download Chromecast from Google go to  


After using Chromecast for a while, the product rules but many of the apps are not worth the money and seem great but don't really add to the experience.  With the updates Google have provided to KitKat and Lollipop users can cast any screen to Chromecast so using apps like BBC iPlayer and other TV channels are easy to cast on the TV. Moreover, with Netflix app watching films and TV series is easier than using apps that cast from your computer. The other thing is I use Chromecast a lot to watch things on the TV as the main channels in the UK suck at the moment.