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Chromecast is not just a cute HDMI dongle

by on26 July 2013

Needs USB power, has plenty of limitations

Google might have misled a lot of potential consumer with its cute Chromecast commercials where it shows a rather small HDMI based stick that you plug in your TV and it just streams your content from phones and tablets.

Even at Goggle’s official site, here, you can read that a power cord is required, naturally printed in fine print at the bottom of the website.

The cute HDMI dongle gets its power via USB and some lucky users might use their USB cable and plug it into the TV USB, if they are lucky enough that their TV can provide enough power via USB. This is going to be one of those things where you will actually have to try it to see if it will work, although it should on most TVs.

We have played around with Android sticks before. The Minix Neo G4, something you can find here and just as well as Google Chromecast it needs additional power. The Minix Neo G4 is an Android PC will loads of features and it can also be controlled via mobile phone or tablet, as long as you have the right application. It t has been shipping for $59.99 for quite some time and there are many similar devices out there.

Still at $35, Google can compete with products such as Belkin Screencast TV adapter that supports both Miracast and Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) and sells for €46 in Europe runs for its money, but again Chromecast cannot stream all Windows content the same way Intel WiDi devices can. It can stream select applications, including Chrome with possible support for some more at later date.

Further investigation and reading what our colleagues have to say have left us even more puzzled as The Verge claims that Chromecast doesn’t create peer-to-peer connection in a way Apple AirPlay or Miracast do. Chromecast runs web apps independently of your phone or tablet streaming the content directly from the internet, not mirroring it. You can read the hands on here.

This lets us wonder if a video that you copied from your notebook to tablet would ever stream on Chromecast, and the same goes for personal videos that you have on your phone. We will try to get an answer to that but it sounds unlikely making the AirPlay, WiDi or Miracast alternative a better solution, at least for now.

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