Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

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Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:55 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2019/0111.shtml

What a frustrating experience trying to use Netflix via a Google Chromecast turns out to be.

Have I missed something? Is it possible to "cast" the menus and other elements of the Netflix app to the TV screen whilst navigating around the content?

If not then this thing is just a piece of crap ('scuse my French).

And, in that case, what would *you* use to deliver Netflix via Wifi to a "dumb" TV set?
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby psycik » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:32 am

You don't buy this device for a full media experience. But the fact that it's pretty well supported by New Zealand services (tvnz, lightbox, fanpass, neon, tv3) plus the big names overseas, netflix, youtube redbull etc and that it's only $69.....It's completely dependant on the user having a smart phone, tablet or computer lying around to control it....and don't even get me started on how annoying it must be in a multi user situtation.

If you want a decent experience, by all means get a kodi box, or build one....but then delve into the lack of supported services afforded by those boxes, or buy an roku, amazon firetv, and get your neflix youtube....but nothing local will work. If you want a full NZ supported box, you're stuck with a $300 apple tv, or buy a "smart" blueray player (this is a cheaper experience that buying a whole new panel....and given smarts tend to be dropped/unsupported in about 18 months I wouldn't recommend a smart tv to anyone).
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:44 am

Yeah... I think I'll make up a new SD card so we can use my RP (that presently runs Kodi) as an Ethernet/WiFi bridge for the BluRay player.
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby psycik » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:51 am

aardvark_admin wrote:Yeah... I think I'll make up a new SD card so we can use my RP (that presently runs Kodi) as an Ethernet/WiFi bridge for the BluRay player.

It depends what you want to play.

I have a roku 3....it's old now, a great little device...and if you tell it you're in the uk rather than nz or the states, it's much better with itv, bbc, channel 4 access. The us is too locked down, and in nz, it only really has netflix and youtube - but it can get plex, so you can play most media files pretty happily. But that's on a secondary tv.

Primary tv I use an apple tv 4....this at least does everything, and has local content provider support...but it's not the cheapest.

The advantage of a "proper" media player (as opposed to a built one, or those weird android "kodi" boxes), is they come with a proper remote. The android tv media player I bought a few years ago had a remote, but it thought it was a phone, so the interface was very touch based.....to the point it had a mouse pointer, that you controlled with up, down, left, right buttons....so frurstrating. RPi you can get CEC working, or add an infrared remote to get it to work properly, but it's not an out of the box experience
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby GadgetFreak » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:01 am

Depending on the version of the rPi you're using, another option is https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/netflix-amazon-video-plex-raspberry-pi/
<shrug> why not make use of your existing equipment ? :D
Alternatively, I use a couple of Netgear wnce2001's around the house, and have found them to work pretty seamlessly (essentially an off-the-shelf version of your rPi proposal). I've picked them up off trademe for about $20 each. Only issue is having to use Negear's f**ing "wizard" for the intial config on each - they're accessible after that.
Just some ideas...
EDIT
Additional thought - and actually, what I use at home - a mini PC as a HTPC
Don't need much power/RAM to run MPC-HC, Firefox and Foobar2k: I use (Acer) Veriton 2620G's very happily. No issues with netflix or streaming 1080P videos wirelessly.
Last edited by GadgetFreak on Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby stuartmac » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:14 am

Personally I think the Chromecast is the way to go. Your issues and frustrations seem to be with your phone - I am guessing your phone is low-end or old and is causing more frustration than it is worth.

One minor point - your Chromecast has CEC support so your TV remote can pause and un-pause Netflix (it may do more but that is what I commonly use). You only need your phone (or tablet or PC) to choose the show and initiate the stream.
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby Steve » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:21 am

Hi Bruce. I second (or maybe fourth by now) the Roku device. We have had a roku HDMI stick for 2 years. It's pretty much plug and play. Nice and tidy depending on where your ports are, ours are in the back so it is invisible. All it needs is power which can be supploed by USB port. Netflix is easy, format shifted files from a pc is a little bit more involved but can be done.

We couldn't buy it in any aussy stores but with overseas shipping it was, from memory, cheaper than chromecast. Oh, it is self contained and does not need a smart tv.
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:48 am

Your issues sound like phone issues, not Chromecast issues. Just think of your phone or tablet/whatever as being the remote for the device. All navigation is done on the phone, only the actual content is streamed to the TV. You can also cast from a PC easily enough, just make sure you use the casting built in to Netflix or Youtube and not casting your entire desktop or browser tab.

I have set up a raspberry Pi (3B+) running Kodi for Netflix, but you have to set the resolution for the decoder down to 720P or else it doesn't display properly. Also it can be an exercise in frustration getting the DRM library.
At home we use the Chromecast and the Kodi Pi is mostly forgotten. I just need to nice clean way to cast media sitting on a file share to it.
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby Hiro Protagonist » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:59 am

Why not just get a couple of powerline ethernet adapters & use them to connect your bluray player to your LAN?

I've been using them to connect to my media player for years [would have had to drill thru a concrete wall to run cable].
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Re: Google Chromecast - crap! (11 Jan, 2019)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:00 am

Malcolm wrote:Your issues sound like phone issues, not Chromecast issues. Just think of your phone or tablet/whatever as being the remote for the device. All navigation is done on the phone, only the actual content is streamed to the TV

Yes, and therein lies the problem. When surfing Netflix with the old sheila, we both like to be able to see what the options are but, regardless of the smart device used, only the person holding that device can see the options when using Chromecast. I'd fight her for it but she's pretty good with a knife and we usually watch TV at mealtimes :-)
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