That’s a long time in the technology world to be using any service loyally, faithfully and happily. Alas, my satisfaction has waned lately thanks to the unnecessary tug-o-war between Roku and HBO Max (see: Spinning Yarns – Differing Viewpoints on Why HBO Max Not On Roku and Amazon Fire)
Today, I said goodbye to Roku for Google Chromecast. After tax this cost me $65 and some change. I could and would have bought a new Roku device if they could have offered the same streaming channels, but their inability to close a deal with channels I pay to subscribe to was enough to look elsewhere.
Think about that. You have a service that involves aggregating channels and you don’t have every channel you possibly can have on your service? Instead, as a customer I’m toted as advertising bait, but not important enough to give me all the channels? Sorry, that just rubs me all kinds of the wrong way.
Ok, so it’s not literally goodbye, as our beloved Roku 3 is still hooked up to the TV, but I’ve begun the process to combine the most streaming services onto a single streaming device. It’s just less complex to do it this way. My wife doesn’t want to switch between multiple devices to watch TV or movies, she doesn’t care. I’m going to have to download all the apps on her phone, which is a bit of an annoyance, but then she can click what she wants to watch on her phone and the cast button and watch away. Not sure how she’ll take to this process … but hey, it’s a work in progress.
The two lagging services I couldn’t cast to TV thanks to avarice (HBO Max + Roku) and stupidity (Quibi) are both available — right now — on Chromecast. Also, every other paid streaming service we currently subscribe to including: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, DC Universe and Shudder. They all work on Chromecast.
Next month when Peacock goes full launch, they will support Chromecast, too. Bing!
Arnold-Commando would say, deadpanned, to Roku, “Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last? I lied.”
…part of the Chromecast’s appeal lies in its portability and ease of use; just plug in, connect to Wi-Fi, and you’ll be streaming Netflix, Spotify, HBO, Hulu, and more from your mobile device or PC to the TV in no time. Not to mention apps for music, working out, and catching up on sports.20 Things You Didn’t Know Your Chromecast Could Do | PCMag
Speaking of Arnold-Terminator, will I be back to Roku? Maybe.
One sacrifice will be The Roku Channel. Not that I watched it very much, but that does not appear (somebody let me know in the comments if there is a workaround, please) available on Chromecast. I can live with switching over to Roku once in a blue moon to watch that.
How about the other free channels? Tubi, Pluto TV, Xumo? Yes, all available on Chromecast.
Another thing I need to get used to in the short term is using my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ phone as a remote. I’ve covered this before as being functionally useful (see: How To Use Your Phone as a Roku Remote with Clickable Movie and TV links in Reelgood App).
One thing early on — and given this is really early on — that I like about Chromecast is I can set what I want to watch and then go do something else on my phone. I couldn’t do that while watching HBO Max as cast to TV option before (see: HBO Max to Roku Cast To TV Microsoft Windows Workaround), which was a bummer. So, if someone calls or need to text, it’s pause then unpause. If I want to take pictures with the phone, no problem with Chromecast.
So, while getting used to only using my phone as a remote will be something to work on — they do sell Google Chromecast remotes for people who absolutely must have a remote (I might be one of those, we’ll have to wait and see). More geeky readers can use HDMI-CEC on newer TVs with their existing remotes to control play and pause functionality. I haven’t dug into that yet, but for those interested here’s an article from Android Authority explaining on how to do it.
The thing is that muting and pausing is a little faster with a remote than using the phone. Especially if you keep your phone locked down after X seconds from someone tampering with it or potential pocket dialing and texting.
Speed is everything when you have an incoming call. You’d think that there would be an app that auto-pauses upon receiving a phone call (is there? again, use the comments to let me know).
Anybody reading that already uses Chromecast? We’re newbies. Tips welcome and encouraged in comments below.