Chromecast now available in Ireland

The HDMI real estate at the back of the TV is really hotting up. Most TVs have 2 or 3 HDMI inputs. More and more devices are hitting the market that look to occupy these slots. Not everything will win.

In most cases {pick yours} Sky box, UPC box or Freeview/FreeSat/Saorview box will occupy the first. The 2nd will be contested by DVD, PVR, BluRay, Roku boxes, Android media boxes and now in Ireland the Google Chromecast.

I picked one up with last weekend for 40 yoyos in Currys/PC World. Or you can buy from Google for 39 euro. Inside the box you’ll get the HDMI Chromecast dongle itself, a power plug adapter and an optional HDMI  extension cable (for WiFi reasons). The setup is really easy. Plug in the dongle into a free HDMI slot and connect the power. The Chromecast will power up, update itself and prompt you to finish the setup using a laptop/mobile. You need a device on your wireless network to add the Chromecast device to your wireless network. All done in about 5 mins (most of this time was due to updating itself.. more on this later).

The Chromecast isn’t like any other devices I’ve used before. When you switch the TV to the HDMI source you’ll just find pretty images. No apps, no remote to control it – just pretty pictures.  Your phone/table/laptop is the main way to control the device.

It’s fairly intuitive  – from the mobile things like Plex/Netflix support ‘Casting’ so you’ll be able to send the video to your Chromecast by just clicking the cast icon.  It  works out of the box as you expect. (With one exception — See the Netflix Workaround).

There is a wide variety of apps that are supported like YouTube and most of the Google Apps as you’d expect.  I found sending YouTube videos sourced from Twitter to be really cool & changing the Twitter user experience.

The {US} Netflix Fail & Workaround

If you are using some kind of DNS redirect service to enable US Netflix when you cast  a Netflix video to Chromecast it won’t work. Why? Well it’s all to do with the DNS. Chromecast has Google DNS hardcoded into the device.  On your router you’ll need to have DNSMasq and point 8.8.8.8 / 8.8.4.4 to the DNS your redirect service provider. The update Chromecast does on first boot up makes sure you can’t root/ssh into the Chromecast. I’ve read on forums that it was once possible but alas no longer.

If your router doesn’t support DNSmasq – setup static routes (e.g. Asus routers) . Point everything to your routers IP address, netmask = 255.255.255.255, metric =2.

Other Apps

Just on the DNS redirect service you’ll find BBC iPlayer and other UK players work just fine too.

You’ll find a comprehensive list here on TNW (July 2014) but a lot of the Apps are geo-restricted/network restricted or need a subscription (e.g. BT Sport).

I installed the Chrome browser extension which allows you to send webpages on Chrome to the Chromecast. Very handy but you need to keep the laptop open/on while you’re casting the tab.

Bugbear

My biggest bugbear is the lack of a remote control. This is funny because this is actually one of Chromecasts main selling points.

I love the simplicity of Roku’s remote and I’m finding it hard (at the moment) to consider my phone to be a remote control for the TV. Not sure what the disconnect is but it’s there. Maybe it’s just me. I’ve got used to using Roku and the remote to navigate plex/netflix on the TV, pressing play and then losing the remote down the back of the couch 🙂 . Also, navigating on the TV screen is social whereas navigating on the mobile phone is usually done by one person.

Pausing Chromecast means hitting the power button on the phone and tapping Pause whereas with the Roku it’s just a tap of the Pause button. Perhaps this is a use case for Pressy? Or programming a double click on the power button.

So, I am happy with Chromecast. Very much so {once I configured the network} and it’s just version 1. The next version should is where the really exciting stuff will start to emerge. For the next couple of weeks I’m going to ‘lose’ the roku remote and just use Chromecast.

Off to Leweb & leaving Ireland behind for a few days.

Woohoo.. Ian and I are off to the Leweb tomorrow. Our journey starts tomorrow, first stop Dublin airport. Let’s hope the roads are okay – we are promised snow, ice and another big freeze tonight.

Tomorrow is the start of a few big days for Cauwill in Paris, but it’s an even bigger day for Ireland. My excitement for Leweb is toned down by one thing tomorrow. Tomorrow is Budget 2011 in Ireland and the four-year adjustment plan beginning in 2011  will be “somewhat frontloaded” – focussed more on spending cuts than tax increases. No matter which way you look at this it’s going to be the hardest/toughest budget on the people of Ireland. We are all going to pay for the wrong doings of few for a very long time. This makes me more than a little angry to be honest.

Anyway, when we get back from Leweb, Ireland will be awash of doom and gloom, the papers will be full of articles analyzing every detail of the budget.  Lets hope Cauwill can bring back a little good news.

Ronan.

omg sweet 16 part 2

So after a dinner conversation out in the EAC earlier in the week where we moaned about the state of nation and the youth of today I ‘accidentally’ caught sweet sixteen today on mtv. I gave it another go just to see if perhaps my previous rant was out of kilter. In a word – no.

A brittany wannabe got a porsche (Cayenne), threw a hissy fit at west coast customs when she ‘really needed’ pink diamonds on black paint, a logo of her name on the headrests, a cool stereo for 100K. Then omg the perfect dress arrived omg its too long. Omg. Disaster. Her party could be ruined.

For fub sake.

Then only one helicopter was ordered to bring her and her friends to party. There should have been 3. Cue another hissy fit of omg’s. But the whole day is ‘about me’ she states and makes her entrance via the only helicopter, her friends make their own way. Cue hysteria froml other ‘friends’ who are awaiting her entrance.

At this point I switched over to the Kerry game and cried. Not because the game is dire but because sweet 16 is far worse than I remembered! Doing a few sums in my head suggests that at least a million dollars were wasted – sorry spent – on stuff and one night. Today’s generation are obsessed with celebrities and living the celebrity lifestyle. I really hope that some of them can see past this madness, understand the value of one dollar/euro and get in touch with reality.

Call me old fashioned but hey that’s just me.

5-Hours (or so)

Over the summer I was thinking I should get in the car and go for a drive. I like driving and would not mind  driving for a couple of hours.. to be more precise 5 hours or so and visit the Giants Causeway.

Anyone been there before? Recommendations please..

lim2gc

the new reality?

Over at engadget an article quotes the co-CEO of RIM saying something astonishing..

Buggy smartphone software is the “new reality”

I know the iPhone had it’s problems.. and the latest RIM smartphone ‘Storm’ has had major issues but saying that buggy software is the new reality for smartphones is a step too far. Hasn’t RIM etc learnt anything from pc operating systems – no one can deny the backlash vista received – so why should we accept bad software on our phones??  In a business where we work and develop on smartphones this doesn’t sit well with me.

Spice of India .. the review

TLO and I went to the Spice of India a couple of weeks ago – we were going to a going away party and decided to head into the city early and grab a bite to eat. Up the steep stairs we were greeted by a friendly staff  member and  shown to our table. The place was quite but then again it was just after 6 – the flip side – we got to order fairly quickly. The menu is extensive and offers everything from very hot to the very mild. The complementary poppadoms were, as you expect, fine. We shared a starter and for the main course I had the mekani chicken which I have to say was very tasty.  It is definitely comparable to Copper and Spices one which is one of my favourite dishes.  The only thing I didn’t like about the place was the music.. okay I know it’s an India restaurant and the place should have traditional Indian music playing but an hour and half was just a bit much for me – I think it was amplified by the fact there wasn’t many other people in the restaurant at the time.

Rating ? 7/10.