Of all the streaming media players out there, the Google Chromecast is the one I need to use most of the time. I’m not saying the others aren’t as good. What I’m saying is that this device works best for me.
To be fair, I haven’t used any other streaming media player like I’ve used the Chromecast… so far.
I wrote about the Chromecast and Roku streaming sticks back in 2014, while I was in the United States the previous time. It’s been five years but it surely doesn’t seem like it. Anyway… I was way more negative about them than I probably should have been.
My older son, Joseph, uses an Amazon Fire TV Stick with his huge television in Florida. He even gave me one for Christmas. I’ve used it a couple of times with one of the televisions here in Hawaii. I’ve used the Chromecast, which my younger son (Jonathan) prefers, far more often. He still has a first generation device. I plan to buy a third generation device (or fourth if I’m here long enough) to take back with me to the Philippines.
The Chromecast doesn’t always work right, especially if the media has to be converted. I have video files that won’t play correctly with it. Perhaps the issues will be solved with a later device but I won’t count on it. Regardless, I can play those videos just fine on my laptop.
The Chromecast is the only streaming media player that doesn’t include a remote device. It uses other devices to cast to a television screen. Google Cast was invented by Google in 2013 and everyone else is using the protocol on their devices (as well as Google, naturally).
The way I look at it, why have a remote device with dozens of apps on it that I’ll never use? I can cast videos using the VLC media player from my laptop computer as well as my cell phone. I can cast Netflix and Amazon Prime Video selections almost as easily. My cell phone is old by today’s standards, but works almost as well as new ones because of the custom ROM I use.
I can cast using Google Chrome or Chromium web browsers. I haven’t tested any others. The only issue I have seems to be the file types. While video files ending with the MP4 file extension work fine, I haven’t been able to get any with the MKV extension to work. I haven’t tested any AVI files yet. I don’t have any issue when using VLC.
Being able to cast from a web browser tab confused me until I realized people play browser-based video games, as well as the desktop version of YouTube.
If you don’t want to use your cell phone as a casting device, perhaps Chromecast wouldn’t be your best bet. There’s nothing wrong with using an Amazon or Roku streaming stick, or any other I haven’t thought about. I don’t know if you can play video files independent from the services installed on them.
Certain services, like Netflix, probably play better from a streaming media player other than Chromecast. I can’t tell the difference between casting from my phone and the app on the Amazon Fire TV Stick, but maybe that’s just me.