Having eyed various “cut the cord” devices for a few months, we decided to give the $35 Chromecast a try. The Chromecast is not available in Canada - but I thought we would take the risk and pick one up cross-border. On one of our frequent forays into the U.S.A., we picked up a Chromecast at Best Buy for the aforementioned $35.

At home, we had just moved. All was chaos in our warehouse/basement - eventually to be Den. I found the big pieces - TV, 5.1 Amplifier and speakers. Wires were a bit of a challenge until I found the handy bag I had packed all that stuff in. As I said up top, we have just moved, but we were highly motivated to get this part working as my 4 year old is very active and easily bored, and we needed to get on with unpacking, and discussing various layout and decor decisions. Without the TV, she was using “the laptop”, which eliminated our ability to browse the web and stay in touch, as well she would invariably touch something and lose the app she was watching.

Anyhow - I hooked up the little dongle to an HDMI input on the Denon 5.1 amplifier. Then I plugged in the supplied USB and connected the micro end to the Chromecast and powered everything on. Voila! On the screen in glorious technicolor was a pretty picture and a title identifying my Chromecast with a number. I downloaded the Chromecast app on my phone. Setup was very painless. The app guessed the name of my Wifi network (as my phone was already connected via WiFi), and I supplied the password. Within a couple of minutes my daughter was jumping up and down in excitement as “Winx” played on the big screen.

We further discovered that we can control the TV from anywhere in the house that WiFi reaches, using phones, tablets or computers - including my Chromebook. We can play Netflix, YouTube and our own content.

Overall, the coolest part of the experience was actually the complete lack of drama. Everything went smoothly, with a minimum of effort, steps or fuss. It may well be that Google have nailed it - make stuff that simply works.

It is so handy and easy that I think we will get another one for our bedroom!