So far, my Chromecast is pretty awesome. Netflix and YouTube look amazing. We’ve cast from my computer and Mr. Geeky’s phone. Casting other tabs can be problematic. I’ve found HuluPlus to be the most problematic. There’s a significant audio delay which is quite annoying. Rumor has it that Hulu is joining the Chromecast gang, so hopefully, it will be as nice as Netflix and YouTube.
I’ve cast straight from the Comedy Central website to watch The Daily Show, and that has worked really well. Amazon Instant Video and Amazon Prime were a little tricky. To view those through Chromecast, I had to disable the Silverlight plugin and use Flash instead. I could shift renting videos from Amazon to Google Play to alleviate part of that problem, but having Prime, which I love for the shipping, means I’m losing a benefit if I can’t easily stream to Chromecast.
Mr. Geeky tried HGTV, though, and had some issues, mostly with the website itself, not Chromecast specifically. So, that brings me to a larger point. Mr. Geeky’s issues had to do with a) having difficulty finding the episodes he wanted to watch, b) having to watch the same ad over and over, and c) glitches with the video going back to the beginning. Chromecast (and Roku, and other streaming services) will change the way we watch tv. They already have. But TV networks and stations are going to have to change the way they put video on the web. They’re going to have to use a service that allows people to easily find the shows they want to watch, something people are using their DVRs and cable services for now and which Roku, as I understand it, has a nice searchable directory. Otherwise, a lot of shows won’t be found. And, they’re going to have to something about advertising. I noticed this issue when watching Hulu on Tivo. Often the same 1 or 2 ads permeates all the videos. I’m assuming that ads are keeping the price of these services affordable. I don’t mind sitting through a couple of ads during a show, but I’d like them to be different and hopefully, somewhat interesting.
I’d love to also see a way to watch some broadcast TV live via Chromecast or the web. There are some rumblings about this happening, but it’s still just rumblings.
It’s funny, ten or so years ago, I remember saying they would never get video to the web for a variety of technical reasons. Those reasons have been overcome. What’s in the way now, are old business models that don’t take into account an increasingly mobile audience who prefer time-shifting, and who don’t have cable. It’s coming, and frankly, Chromecast is a step in that direction.