Technology

Google Chromecast Review:A Streaming Device That Setup WOULD have been easy.

Set up Chromecast with Google TV, the new ‘cast dongle that comes with a voice-enabled remote. Some initial thoughts:

  1. Setup WOULD have been easy but I had password issues, had to reset, then move to using remote to fill stuff in instead of QR code. Backing out was difficult.
  1. On your smartphone, you download and open the Google Home app, log in with your Google account and enter the home address where you are using the Chromecast.
  2. You give the app access to your smartphone’s location data to help find the nearby Chromecast. (Wait, didn’t you just share your home address?)
  3. You give the Google Home app access to your phone camera to scan a bar code shown on the TV screen to link the app with the Chromecast hardware. (Wait, didn’t you just give access to your location to help the phone find the Chromecast.
  4. You agree to accept a Google privacy policy and to waive any rights to sue Google, via an arbitration agreement.
  5. You specify where the Chromecast is — your living room, kitchen, bedroom or basement, for example.
  6. You select your Wi-Fi network to connect Chromecast to the internet.
  7. You are presented with the option to share more information with Google to help improve the product and services.
  8. Google asks you to record some voice samples so that its virtual assistant can recognize your voice.
  9. You pick your streaming apps, like Netflix, YouTube TV and Disney+.

Rest assured, Google says you are providing this data so that it can speed up the setup process and show you personalized information, like the local weather and recommendations for TV shows and movies that you may enjoy. Sure beats flipping through a bunch of random TV channels, right.

The new Chromecast is the answer

All I could think the entire time I was doing this was how the new Chromecast with Google TV would save me from this scenario in the future. While I’ve been a bit of a casting purist for years and have long thought Google was right for leaving Android TV a bit on the sidelines, my outlook completely and utterly changed last night as I spent 10 minutes of my life simply trying to get logged into Netflix.

In the event you’ve never attempted it, using a Chromecast in a hotel is generally impossible using hotel Wi-Fi, and this reason alone has made it a terrible travel companion. When any Wi-Fi is bound by a captive portal (where you have to interact with a web interface to gain access to the network) there is no workaround to get your Chromecast set up on the network. With no on-screen controls or any real interface, the Chromecast simply can’t navigate those pesky captive portals.

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