I had a few My Best Buy Reward Zone coupons that totaled up to $20 so I figured I would give the $35 Chromecast a try.  The idea is that you plugin the Chromecast dongle to your TV and control with you smart phone or tablet.  You can them watch Netflix, YouTube and a host of other streaming content on your TV without cable or satellite.  It is a far cry cheaper than Apple TV and easier than hooking up a laptop to the TV each time we want to watch something.

We’ve been running through all The Walking Dead series so we began our Chromecast test watching that via Netflix.  I plugged the dongle into the TV and installed the app on my iPad.  It took some back and forth getting it to see the network and the dongle – but once I figured out how to control things, it worked pretty well.

I love the fact that you can “set it and forget it” when watching a series – start the show and it will just start loading the next one automatically.  That allows you to shut off the tablet (and not run down the battery) or do something else on the device while watching.

There are a couple minor annoyances:  When the tablet goes to sleep, it makes it really hard to pause your show as you have to start up the pad, start up the chromecast app (to wake it up). shut down and reload the Netflix app and keep going back and forth until it grabs control.

It has gotten to where I can do that within a minute… but when you are trying to pause and go do something, it seems like forever.

The other thing that bugs me is that Amazon Prime does not currently work with Chromecast.  It would be great if it could play videos stored on my device directly to the TV as well.  I would love it if you could just surf and watch whatever you wanted – maybe you can and I haven’t figured it out yet.  It just doesn’t seem to be as universal as it implies.

It was pretty darn cheap so I am not complaining and either I will figure out some workaround or future updates will do more so we will see how long-term this is.  For now, we will use it until we run out of things to watch on Netflix.

by Chris Doelle