Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Devices Can Offer Alternative to Cable

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Devices Can Offer Alternative to Cable

Article excerpt

A bevy of devices on the market allows you to stream content from the Internet to your TV, most notably Roku and Apple TV set-top boxes. Google has officially entered the fray with the $35 Chromecast, leaving many to ponder how the device is different and whether it can serve their streaming needs. The Roku ($50 to $100, depending on model) and Apple TV ($100) are "settop" boxes that connect to your TV with a cable and connect to the Internet or compatible devices over your home's Wi-Fi network.

The initial buzz for Google's Chromecast is based on its rock- bottom price, its quick-and-easy setup and its small size. Less than 3 inches long and 1.4 inches wide, it plugs directly into any HDMI port to stream to a multitude of devices, including HDMI- compatible TVs, monitors and projectors.

Once you plug in the Chromecast and it finds your Wi-Fi network, your smartphone, tablet or computer controls what it plays. There is no remote, and content streams directly to the Chromecast from any app that supports it (currently Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube) or from the cloud via Google Play.

Chromecast also can send content from your computer's Chrome browser to your TV; none of the set-top options have this integrated browser, an intriguing feature. In theory, any content you could watch online - such as NBC.com, HBO Go or a favorite website - could be seamlessly sent to your big screen through Chromecast "mirroring."

Simply pull up the website in a Chrome browser on your computer and send it instantly to your Chromecast.

In practice, the Chromecast's mirroring functionality is a bit buggy, leading to video lags, audio drops and the occasional crash. Video-image quality is poor because it's converted when sent to your Chromecast. Apple's Air-Play lets you mirror the screen of your iPhone or iPad to your TV using the Apple TV (audio, too, with supported apps), but you can only see content supported by Apple - a smaller library of file types than that supported by Chrome. …

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