The Good The Google Chromecast is a dirt-cheap wireless video dongle that streams Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, HBO Now and thousands of other apps and games to your TV using an Android or Apple phone or tablet, or a PC, as the controller. Its small size hides neatly behind your TV and makes it easy to take with you when traveling, and the new version adds compatibility with 5GHz Wi-Fi networks.
The Bad The lack of a dedicated remote means you always need a smartphone, tablet or PC nearby to use it. Slightly more expensive boxes and sticks, with their physical remotes, tactile buttons and onscreen displays, are more convenient to use. The only way to watch Amazon videos is by streaming from a PC.
The Bottom Line The innovative Chromecast might be the ultimate living-room accessory for your phone or tablet, but more traditional streaming devices deliver a better streaming experience.
Phone-centric puck still a great value, but not as your main streamer
Without Chromecast, I never would have seen The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger.
It was the summer of 2013. I had installed the original Chromecast, a finger-sized video player that looks like a USB stick, behind the TV at the house our family rents every year in Virginia Beach. Myself and a few high-school and early college-age relations were gathered in the living room one evening, bored by Shark Week. I pulled out my laptop and within moments a YouTube video, I think it was "Double Rainbow" (I was trying to relate) appeared on the screen.
"Cool. Can I try?" asked a cousin. I passed her the laptop. "This is hilarious," she said as she typed in a keyword. On the screen appeared the indelible images of a honey badger doing its thing romping through the desert, eating a snake, accompanied by mournful violin music and the increasingly disgusted exclamations of the narrator. "The honey badger has been referred to by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most fearless animal of all. It really doesn't give a $%!*."
Last chance to get YouTube TV for $35 before its price jump
The price of YouTube's streaming TV service jumps to $40 as of Tuesday, March 13, but you can get grandfathered in at the cheaper price if you sign up today.
Cord cutters: Now Roku and Apple TV can stream YouTube TV
YouTube's $35-per-month alternative to cable TV comes to a pair of popular streaming platforms.
Which streamer should you buy?
Plenty of options exist for streaming Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and the rest. We've reviewed almost all of them. Here are our picks.
YouTube on Fire TV? Things just got trickier
At the moment, Fire TV users looking to watch something on YouTube will have to detour to a web browser.
Web browsing comes to Amazon's Fire TV ahead of YouTube ban
The new browser seems like a backdoor to allow Fire TV devices to access YouTube after Google removes it from Amazon's device.
YouTube TV will launch Roku and Apple TV apps in early 2018
Cable TV cord-cutters expecting YouTube TV's full app for Roku and Apple TV devices this year will have to wait a little longer.
Amazon Prime Video comes to Apple TV
The addition makes Apple TV one of the most complete streaming platforms.
Philo charges just $16 for 35 channels, but no sports or locals
Headlined by AMC, Comedy Central, HGTV, TLC and A+E, the inexpensive new streaming service aims for cord cutters who don't care about sports, news or local broadcast channels.
YouTube TV app coming soon to Roku, Apple TV, Xbox and more
Rejoice cord cutters: You no longer have to use Chromecast to watch YouTube's live TV streaming service on an actual TV.
Amazon Fire TV and Nvidia Shield get chattier (The 3:59, Ep. 291)
Integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant are helping people operate their TVs via voice.
Nvidia Shield TV gets a $20 price cut after Apple TV 4K debuts
The 4K and HDR-compatible streamer is down to $179 -- the same price as the Apple TV 4K.
Roku said to be preparing for IPO this year
Maker of streaming boxes and software seeks a valuation of $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.