Saturday, January 31, 2015
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Chromecast and Apple TV are two of the very popular television streamers, each having its own merits, so here’s a discussion of their features to help you decide which one of them is the best for your needs.
Though there are some other TV streamers available in the market, these two are very popular mainly because they are competitively priced and also offer good value for the money paid.
Google Chromecast comes at $35 and offers a small and simple option. Users can hope to get their full money’s worth with this cheap option. In addition, Google makes it a point to offer frequent and regular updates for this dongle. The dongle is compact and remains hidden behind the television. Users have to power it through the television’s USB port. Alternatively, they can use the power adapter included in the device. It offers a wide range of apps selection, such as Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go along with other popular apps like Google Music, Pandora, MLB TV, Vudu and several others.
No TV Based Controls
However, the user interface for Chromecast is not television based. There is no interface on the screen and it does not come with the usual remote. The device has to be controlled with the user’s tablet or with a smartphone. So, if you wish to pause a program or rewind it, you will have to unlock your phone or tablet every time. This is the only means of controlling Chromecast.
Though there are many applications offered through Chromecast, some important ones, such as Spotify and Amazon Instant along with some important sports apps are missing. The platform is opened with an SDK, a Software Development Kit, so it is likely that some more support for native apps will be coming up. However, this may take some time. There is also no support for making cross platform searches. Users can take help from third party applications offering this functionality, but it doesn’t quite equal integrated search functionality. Screen mirroring is also not quite up to the standard. Users can project content from their Chrome tablet onto the television, but it is not very effective, though improved mirroring is one the way.
Though Chromecast is very tiny and offers great portability, the Achilles heel lies in the fact that it needs a very good Wi-Fi and may not be ideal for using in hotels while travelling.
Apple TV – An Excellent Companion for the iOS
Apple TV is priced higher than Chromecast at $99, but it works very effectively if you have an Apple ecosystem. If you have plenty of movies, music and other shows on iTunes, you can access all of these on your television using Apple TV. With iTunes Match, you can also access music that is cloud stored.
Users having a Mac or other iOS devices can easily push music, videos and photographs from any of the applications on their phone to their Apple TV. Users can also access apps that don’t receive native support through Apple TV, as for instance; Pandora can be streamed from any iOS device. The support for apps is limited, but recently they have added support for HBO Go as well as watch ESPN among others.
Apple TV – Not so Perfect
The apps and features, such as search across platforms, remote access, etc. are missing, so Apple TV is not so perfect. It is also focused on iTunes and seems to push the user towards content in iTunes. The home screen cannot be customized and is dominated by iTunes music, movies and television shows. For those who are tuned in to the Apple ecosystem, this will not present a problem, but if you want to buy some content from Amazon or from Vudu, these are not accessible in the Apple TV.
In short, both Apple TV and Google Chromecast are pretty good in many ways and lacking in others.