I had to return my Christmas present today. ThatDarnedMom heard me mention the Chromecast from Google prior to Christmas. I had seen a commercial for the Chromecast on TV and thought it might be a cool gadget. I never thought TDM would get it for me. We already have a Roku HD. We love it. We have had it for almost 2 years now ever since we cut the cable. TDM got it thinking we could use it upstairs to watch our shows in our bedroom at night. as soon as I opened the Chromecast, I did some research. Here is what i found and why I ultimately decided to return the Chromecast and buy another Roku.
Chromecast Vs. Roku
Chromecast is Google’s entry into the streaming internet tv movement. It is a thumb-sized device that plugs into the HDMI port on your television. It is either powered through a USB port on the television or through a power adapter. Both are included in the box. The Chromecast lacks on apps available at this time, however that is likely to change in 2014 with the addition of software development kit for the device. Price wise, the Google device wins with initial cost at about $35 but, you do need a smartphone or computer to fully utilize the streaming stick. The coolest feature is the ability to press a button and watch the media on your computer on your television. The draw back on that feature is that you have to use Google’s Chrome web browser. I prefer Firefox.
Roku has well over 750 apps for streaming media. It is no wonder since the platform has been around longer. The cost of the Roku is a bit more starting at $50 for the entry level offering. But, because you don’t have to have a computer, smartphone or tablet, The cost for the Roku is considerably less. Streaming personal content in the form of television shows or DVD movies is easier with the Roku due to the Plex app. There is a Plex app for the Chromecast as well, but it requires the paid Plex Pass subscription. Since I already have the Plex Media Server running on my PC, finding a new way to stream with Chromecast would be a hassle.
For me, I think the Chromecast is a neat gadget and would be a great add-on to my existing streaming set-up. As a stand alone solution for streaming media, I don’t think it is ready for prime time. I will spend the extra $15 and get another Roku.