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Offline jroa

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Chromecast
« on: December 18, 2013, 05:59:55 PM »
I just wanted to give a short review on Google's Chromecast.  I bought one this morning and have been playing with it for a few hours.  So far, no real complaints.

For those of you who do not know what it is, it is a device that you plug into your HDMI port on your TV.  It allows you to stream video from your phone, tablet or PC straight to your TV.  The way I have it set up, I basically use my phone as a remote control for Netflix, Hulu Plus (which is not working yet), you tube, and other video streaming sources. 

The installation went very smoothly and I think that anyone can do it.  I plugged everything in, downloaded the Chromecast app, and I was ready to start.  I did have to update Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, and youtube on my phone.  I also added Songza.  Within minutes, I was able to use each of these to put video and music on my entertainment system (with the exception of Hulu Plus). 

After installing the Chromecast, I had to do an update which took around 30 minutes.  I have DSL, so it did not surprise me that it took around 30 minutes.  I did not experience delays like this after the update.

For Netflix, after the update, I was able to hit two on screen buttons to get it to play on the TV.  I just had to click on the Chromecast button and select the device. 

Pandora worked fine as well.  I could stream and control not only the channel, but the volume and skip and fast forward controls as well on my phone.

Hulu Plus did not work for me.  It said that my phone's OS was not compatible.  I'll keep working on it.

Youtube worked great.  I had no issues.  The video was much better than I thought it would be.

As of now, the only problems I have really had have been with Chromium apps and Hulu.  Hulu will not work, and the Chromium apps that I have downloaded in order for me to watch video on my computer while using my phone as a remote is not really working.  For some reason, I can see my computer on the Chromecase but cannot stream to it.  I can see anything that is on my computer on my TV, but video does not make the transit. 

I have downloaded other things that will allow me to show stuff on the TV that is on my phone, but it does not work right now. 

I also installed the Chromecase app on my Ubuntu computer, so I can use my phone to control video on my bedroom computer, but it does not work.

In short, it is great a I am having fun with it.  Getting things from my phone to the computer monitor seems like a little bit of a pain,  but going to the HDMI port is very smooth.

I give it 7 out of 10.

Offline Socker

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 07:20:30 PM »
I'm not much of a tech person, but how is this different than an Apple TV, or are they just competing products?

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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 07:54:48 PM »
Sounds like competing products.  Anyone have experience with the two devices to compare?
You don't get races of anything ... accept people.

Re: Chromecast
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2013, 10:47:47 PM »
What is your phone OS?

And was the Netflix resolution good?  Like 1080p?

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Offline jroa

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 02:19:05 AM »
I'm not much of a tech person, but how is this different than an Apple TV, or are they just competing products?

It was $35.  Apple TV is closer to $100.

What is your phone OS?

And was the Netflix resolution good?  Like 1080p?

I don't have anyway to measure the resolution, but to my eye, it looked fine.  My phone said it was HD.  I did notice occasionally that the FPS seemed to slow down, but I have a very cheap phone which runs Android 2.3.5.  I will try to run it through my computer tonight just to see if I can notice a difference, but I think my shitty phone might be causing the FPS problem.

Re: Chromecast
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 03:42:45 PM »
It works with 2.3?  Shit.  That's pretty good. 

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Offline rooster

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 03:48:00 PM »
We've had one for quite some time as well and we still haven't had any problems with it.

However, the parents had one and the sound never worked correctly. I also have a friend who says sometimes the sound doesn't sync up perfectly. We've never personally experienced these problems so I don't know if they're streaming crappy sites or if they were just unlucky.

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Offline jroa

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2013, 04:58:55 PM »
I can definitely see a huge negative difference between streaming from my phone and streaming from my desktop.  From the desktop, the resolution is much worse and the frame rate is noticeably slower.  I can see the pixelation from across my living room and the frame rate seems to be about half of what it needs to be for it to look smooth.  I need to dig a little bit further to see if the problem is my old hardware, the Linux OS I am using, or the video drivers.  I am currently running Ubuntu 13.10 on my old desktop.

The main thing I want to fix today is to get the streaming from my phone to my computer working, even if the resolution is not the greatest.  I don't have a television in my bedroom and I often watch videos on my computer monitor, but I have to get out of bed to change what I am watching or adjust the volume.  It would be great to be able to do it from my phone like a remote control.

I have not experienced any sound sync problems on my Chromecast yet, although I have had problems on my desktop in the past.  Sometimes refreshing the browser will sync it back up, and sometimes it does not help. 

Re: Chromecast
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2013, 05:55:51 PM »
How are you streaming Netflix without silver light?  Moonlight?

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Offline jroa

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2013, 06:12:26 PM »
No, I use Netflix Desktop PPA.  It basically runs FireFox in Wine and tricks Netflix into thinking that you are running a Windows OS and it uses Silverlight.  Moonlight still does not support DRM.  I read something about Pipelight, but I have not tried this method. 

http://lifehacker.com/5963726/netflix-finally-comes-to-ubuntu-in-the-form-of-an-unofficial-desktop-app

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Offline jroa

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2013, 06:15:49 PM »
We've had one for quite some time as well and we still haven't had any problems with it.

However, the parents had one and the sound never worked correctly. I also have a friend who says sometimes the sound doesn't sync up perfectly. We've never personally experienced these problems so I don't know if they're streaming crappy sites or if they were just unlucky.

Just out of curiosity, have the parents tried to do an update?  Just wondering if this might make a difference. 

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Offline rooster

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2013, 06:21:07 PM »
We've had one for quite some time as well and we still haven't had any problems with it.

However, the parents had one and the sound never worked correctly. I also have a friend who says sometimes the sound doesn't sync up perfectly. We've never personally experienced these problems so I don't know if they're streaming crappy sites or if they were just unlucky.

Just out of curiosity, have the parents tried to do an update?  Just wondering if this might make a difference. 
Technically, they were A&A's parents and they were using an Apple computer so I have no clue.

Re: Chromecast
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2013, 06:25:00 PM »
No, I use Netflix Desktop PPA.  It basically runs FireFox in Wine and tricks Netflix into thinking that you are running a Windows OS and it uses Silverlight.  Moonlight still does not support DRM.  I read something about Pipelight, but I have not tried this method. 

http://lifehacker.com/5963726/netflix-finally-comes-to-ubuntu-in-the-form-of-an-unofficial-desktop-app
I assume that works fine without the broadcast so most likely its software related.  Unless you've got a slow ass network card.

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Offline jroa

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2013, 07:09:45 PM »
No, I use Netflix Desktop PPA.  It basically runs FireFox in Wine and tricks Netflix into thinking that you are running a Windows OS and it uses Silverlight.  Moonlight still does not support DRM.  I read something about Pipelight, but I have not tried this method. 

http://lifehacker.com/5963726/netflix-finally-comes-to-ubuntu-in-the-form-of-an-unofficial-desktop-app
I assume that works fine without the broadcast so most likely its software related.  Unless you've got a slow ass network card.

I would more likely assume any issues to be video card related, seeing as my network adapter is 802.11N and so is my wireless router. 

Re: Chromecast
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2013, 07:25:13 PM »
No, I use Netflix Desktop PPA.  It basically runs FireFox in Wine and tricks Netflix into thinking that you are running a Windows OS and it uses Silverlight.  Moonlight still does not support DRM.  I read something about Pipelight, but I have not tried this method. 

http://lifehacker.com/5963726/netflix-finally-comes-to-ubuntu-in-the-form-of-an-unofficial-desktop-app
I assume that works fine without the broadcast so most likely its software related.  Unless you've got a slow ass network card.


I would more likely assume any issues to be video card related, seeing as my network adapter is 802.11N and so is my wireless router.
I doubt it.  If it looks good on your PC, your video card isn't the issue.  Unless its broadcasting the video signal but that just sounds weird to me.

It could be your PPA being inefficient.  Or it could he EM interference between your PC and chromecast.
If you have windows, try it there and see if you get the same results.

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Offline jroa

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2013, 10:23:49 AM »
My computer monitor is 19".  My TV is just under 50", I can't remember for sure.  However, there is a considerable size difference. 

Re: Chromecast
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2013, 01:50:50 PM »
My computer monitor is 19".  My TV is just under 50", I can't remember for sure.  However, there is a considerable size difference.
It shouldn't make a difference.  Your TV automatically scales the image it receives.  If you're getting pixilation its because either the signal is bad and its being broadcasted at a lower resolution to compensate or the source is low resolution.  But if your Netflix is set to HD, you should be broadcasting at 1080p.

Re: Chromecast
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2013, 04:30:48 PM »
I have three chromecasts. One for each TV in my house and I love them.

Jroa, I noticed that you made a couple mentions about what your phone runs and were wondering if that had anything to do with the chromecast getting sluggish the couple times it did.

I can tell you that this is not how the chromecast works. The chromecast only uses your phone to receive commands for what to play and a few extra playback controls. The phone is not responsible for any streaming itself. The chromecast actually receives the video on its own from whatever server the video comes from (such as Netflix).

You can actually turn your phone off after playback has begun and the video will continue to play.

You went on to mention the difference between casting from your computer and your phone. Using the Google Cast chrome extension does not stream at 1080p. Casting from the computer is in beta and it is only possible to stream in 480p or 720p at this time. It is also highly unreliable and depends on both processing power and network speeds. In this case, your Chromecast is not doing the independent streaming from the internet that I mentioned before.

You can however us some apps on the internet using your desktop computer to get the same quality as you can from your phone. These apps have to have a cast button on the player itself. Currently, the apps that support this are Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, Netflix and YouTube.


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Offline markjo

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2013, 04:44:22 PM »
My computer monitor is 19".  My TV is just under 50", I can't remember for sure.  However, there is a considerable size difference.
What does the size of your screen have to do with its resolution?  ???
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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Chromecast
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2013, 01:55:42 AM »
Lower resolution video looks more pixelated the larger the screen...
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