Earlier this week Google announced its brand new streaming content device, the Chromecast, a device which retails for a mere $35.  Immediately thereafter, many tech blogs jumped at the opportunity to compare the new Google offering to Apple’s TV product, the Apple TV.  An Apple TV retails for $99 and similar to the Chromecast connects directly to your TV via HDMI, but really, when you break down the features of each product — that is really the biggest similarity.

If you are going to compare the Chromecast to anything, it should be compared to AirPlay — and that’s it.  Why?  Because that is all that Chromecast offers, it’s a way to get content from your smartphone, tablet, or computer (via Google Chrome only) to your TV. And unfortunately, it isn’t even as good as AirPlay yet.

One of the major drawbacks of Chromecast is the fact content on your computer can only be streamed if it’s in Google Chrome.  This means you will not be able to stream movies on your hard drive, unless of course, you upload them somewhere.  Which probably isn’t the best idea and would take a while depending upon your Internet connection.  Whereas if you had an Apple TV you could easily stream a piece of content from your computer’s hard drive to the Apple TV–which is great for movies purchased via iTunes or you know, downloaded via other methods.

Another issue with Chromecast is streaming music needs to be sent to your TV, whereas with AirPlay you can send it to a real pair of speakers.  Who wants to listen to music on a crappy pair of TV speakers anyway?  Which brings me to the point about third-party support: Chromecast is brand new, so while Google is releasing an SDK for developers, there aren’t any Chromecast accessories or products yet.

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We shouldn’t be comparing the Chromecast to the Apple TV, at least not in its current state.  It lacks the app support and more advanced features of the Apple TV, including dual screen gaming and more advanced mirroring and streaming technology.

Now, I’m not saying Chromecast isn’t a good product, I ordered one to test it for myself (we’ll have a complete review coming soon), but it’s hardly something that can be compared to Apple TV.  However, at $35 it’s hard to say no to.  If there’s one thing that Chromecast has going for it right now is that it supports Android, Chrome OS, Windows, OS X, and iOS, while Apple TV/AirPlay is only supported on iOS and OS X.

  • Apple devices have a whole lot of unneeded functions whose only purpose is to force users into Apples Walled Garden. Ask yourself if your daisies bloom better behind walls or if walls keep the gophers out. The walls are not there for the user.

    Comparing a system agnostic dongle to Apple’s lame attempts at routing content through its tariff collection system seem like a fair comparison to me.

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