Monday, October 28, 2013

Chromecast To The Rescue

Our Netflix streaming device died this past week. It was a quick death - early on in the week it stopped communicating with our wireless router, but we were able to wire it to our internet connection and continue to use it. Within a few days it could no longer play anything. It was dead and we needed to figure something else out. After all, we watch Netflix every day.

These streaming devices are great when they work. I love that we have the option to watch all kinds of great content on our TV without paying the extremely high cost of cable. As much as I've loved having this capability, this is the second streaming device that has died on us in the span of about 4 years.

The first one we got was a Roku and it died before it reached the age of two. We then got a Sony Media Player because Roku now requires you to give them your credit card number in case you some day want to purchase programming from them. Yeah, that's not gonna happen. I expected the Sony to last longer because it is a company with a great reputation (or at least, used to have a great rep.) and I guess technically it did but only 4 or 5 months longer.

We stopped by Best Buy to look into getting a new device but were a bit shocked by how much more expensive they are now compared to two years ago when we picked up our last one. They still had a Roku available for $70 but again I'm not giving away my credit card number when I'm not buying anything. The other streaming players were well over $100 - the replacement for our $80 player was now $120. Umm, no.

We decided to go a different route. Google came out with an alternative earlier this year called Chromecast. It's just a small HDMI plug that goes into your TV and communicates wirelessly with your smart phone or laptop to play Netflix or Youtube content. I had some concerns going in but there was no arguing with the price so we decided to give it a try after confirming we could return it if it didn't work.

We were blown away. The picture was great, it didn't drain my phone battery, there is no box or remote control to mess with and it was cheap. So far so good. The only remaining question is: How long will this one last? The good news is, if we have to replace it after a couple years, it will at least be affordable.

I was a Google fan before but I have to admit that I'm an even bigger fan now. Netflix is my main source of distraction when I'm feeling bad and our main source of media consumption as a couple. Google is now allowing me to access all this content for a fraction of the ever increasing price demanded by the competitors.

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