Google officially launched the Chromecast HDMI dongle in 11 new countries on Wednesday and the UK was one of them, this means that anyone wanting to get their hands on one will no longer have to go through the time-consuming and expensive route of having to get one imported from the US. This also means that there will be more streaming services than just YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music & Netflix will be available with the BBC's on-demand service BBC iPlayer being available at launch (through the BBC iPlayer Android & iOS App). But all the UK on-demand services are available through their respective websites, although you've got to be a Google Chrome user and have the Google Cast Chrome extension installed on your Desktop or Laptop computer.
The UK Chromecast is exactly the same as a US import with one exception the UK one comes with a UK USB mains adaptor, and it's also fully configured for the UK services meaning that iPlayer will work out of the box.
Set up is a simple matter of plugging the Chromecast into a free HDMI port on your TV, connect the Micro USB to USB power lead to the Chromecast then plug it into the USB socket on your TV or to the mains outlet on your wall via the mains adaptor, switch to the HDMI input that you plugged it into and follow the on-screen instructions.
I've only been using my Chromecast since Wednesday when it was launched, and picture quality from YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Google Play Movies & TV & Netflix is just as good as what you get over the air on any SD or HD channel that's available. If your Broadband connection is anything less than 2mbps+ then your experience will be less than satisfactory.
With the 12.51mbps Broadband connection that I've got streaming BBC One programs live is exactly the same quality as watching BBC One SD via Freesat, with no signs of compression for streaming via the internet. The same can't be said for streaming a YouTube video as that depends on the equipment used by the YouTube channel as most YouTube channels are amateur the recording and editing hardware & software won't always be the top of the range or of the same quality as Professionals, but with the 12.51mbps Brokadband Connection on a 42" 1080p TV YouTube videos are just as good as what they are on a Laptop or Tablet & Smartphone screen.
- Cheaper than having to pay a premium for a Smart TV
- More convenient than having to use a computer screen to watch YouTube, BBC iPlayer & Netflix
- Takes up a HDMI input on your TV or AV amp
- Currently only limited to Google Services for Streaming and BBC iPlayer for on-demand
- Needs an Android or iOS Tablet or Smartphone to control the Chromecast
- Limited to Google Chrome & Google Cast to stream a Google Chrome tab for on-demand services that don't currently support Chromecast via their Smartphone/Tablet Apps
Despite the Con's out weighing the Pro's at the moment the Chromecast is still well worth the £30 price tag as over the coming weeks and months more services should start to support Chromecast.
With the Chromecast being a plugin Dongle it means that you can quite easily move it from TV to TV around your home or even move it from old to new TV so that you don't have to pay a premium for a smart TV. Since Wednesday I've not used my Chromebook to watch YouTube videos as I've used the Chromecast instead as it's much more convenient to just use my Google Nexus 7 Tablet and Google Chromecast to do the same thing.