Sorry, Google Chromecast– I May Have Misjudged You

Dear Chromecast,

Two weeks ago, after several disappointing days of using you at my home, I wrote a not-so-kind review of you & your services. In part, this article was written in frustration– the setup process was not at all simple or easy, Google’s help phone line did not live up to its name, and, quite frankly, your Chrome browser extension was wonky at best (when it even worked). But, most of all, I just didn’t find very much actual use for you; anything you could do, my internet-enabled TV or PS3 could do much, much better.

After all but writing you off completely, I reluctantly packed you along for a trip out to the suburbs for the weekend, in the final hope of salvaging something out of this dying relationship. 

It was a fortunate call. And, after several weeks of thinking the Google Chromecast would only be useful as another dust-collecting electronic gadget, I finally found its purpose.

Saturday evening, after a long day of graduation ceremonies and endless sunshine, I settled in to my parents’ living room to relax with an old friend, the television. Thoughtlessly, TV execs don’t schedule much decent programming for Saturday nights, as most of us should be out enjoying the evening. It was only after switching channels for 20 minutes or so before remembering; I had the Chromecast stowed away in my backpack, and the opportunity was just begging for a second chance for the all but written-off device.

My parents’ house does not have a smart TV, or a PS3, or a BluRay player with internet connectivity of any kind. Their Netflix subscription is for DVD orders only (yes, those still exist), and the monitor connected to their desktop computer (yep, those too) is rather antiquated. I did have my Macbook with me, but I’m personally not a fan of viewing TV shows or movies on a 13″ monitor– which meant, without the Chromecast, flipping channels endlessly could have been the extent of my Saturday night.

Instead, I pulled the Chromecast out, fired up Netflix on my phone, and got through 3 episodes of season 2 of Orange is the New Black with relatively little fuss. Night = saved.

My point: I was short-sighted in my previous assessment of the Google Chromecast, because, as it turns out, there are some relatively practical uses for this $35 streaming media device. The problem was, in my native environment, I already possess the means to access these features without the use of an additional technology. Namely, because I’ve already purchased this technology before– several times over, in fact; though, with different end-uses than simply streaming online media.

Often, it slips my mind that everyone is not as technologically blessed as I am. While the Google Chromecast will likely never have much everyday use in my own home, that doesn’t make it a useless device– it just means that I am fortunate enough to already have access to what the Chromecast provides through alternative sources. Some, however, do not have this luxury– my parents for example –and, for those, not only is the Chromecast worth it, but it actually makes for one hell of an entertainment source.

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