Streaming Media Devices
Both Apple TV and Chromecast are two of the mostpopular waysof converting an ordinary HDTV into a smart TV with services, such as Netflix, Cast in case of Chromecast, AirPlay in case of Apple TV. They are streaming devices, with Apple TV being available in the form of a traditional set top box and Chromecast in a stick or dongle form. They are useful for transferring media from your phone, laptop, PC or tablet on to the HD television.
Apple TV is now being offered in the third generation, whereas Chromecast is comparatively new in the field. Chromecast is much cheaper, at around $35, whereas Apple TV costs around $99. In addition, Apple TV works best when you are in the Apple environment and have other Apple devices.
Design and Specs
The two devices look different, as Chromecast looks like a USB stick, whereas Apple TV appears like a black box. You can, however, plug both of them into the HDMI port of the television. Chromecast is smaller and more compact and can easily hide behind the television, but you need the included USB cable for connecting to the television.
Casting or AirPlay – Which is better
One wayof getting information to the device is through streaming content from different devices. Chromecast calls this feature Casting, whereas Apple terms it as AirPlay. In case of Apple, it allows you to mirror displays from your Apple devices, such as iPads, iPhones or iPods or your Mac on to the Apple TV. AirPlay also has additional features for streaming video from these devices on to the Apple TV. However, you need an Apple device to do this.
As for Casting, you can select videos, photographs or any other content from apps on your iOS or on your Android device. However, these apps must be compatible with Chromecast. You can also select apps from a Mac, a PC or from a Chrome browser and stream it on the television. Chromecast naturally offers support for more devices, but it cannot offer a mirroring feature, though Google has this feature in beta version.
Both the devices allow users to stream content from a device on to the television and are capable of cloud streaming. You can select content from different channels or apps offered and these are streamed on to your device. You can view these channels or apps on the screen in case of Apple TV. In case of Chromecast, you can view the apps or the channels on your phone, your laptop, PC or whichever device you are using for Casting.
Apple TV comes with more than 55 channels and this is increasing on a regular basis. It offers all the big names, such as YouTube, HBO Go, Netflix, CNBC, and many others. However, some big names like Amazon Instant Video as also BBC iPlayer are missing. You can download these apps on your iPhone and then stream it on the Apple TV using AirPlay.
Chromecast offers about twenty apps or channels that are compatible with iOS and Android devices. This includes BBC iPlayer, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Netflix, HBO Go and also YouTube among others. Again, Amazon Instant Video is missing here.
Both the devices don’t leave you lacking for content. You can access a lot of content from the iTunes store in case of Apple TV. You can also access content from the Google Play Store as well for Chromecast.
Chromecast does not have a dedicated remote, so you have to use a PC with Chrome browser, or apps on youriOS or Android device as a remote. Apple TV comes with a gorgeous remote which is very easy to use and with a dedicated app working with Apple TV.
Apple TV seems to be a winner, but it is much more expensive. If you want a traditional and full-featured streamer, Apple TV is the way to go. However, you need to be in the Apple eco system of iPads and iPhones to truly enjoy it.