You no longer have to try and get a friend or relative to pick up a Google Chromecast for you when travelling in the US any longer. Google announced today that starting today (March 19, 2014) the Chromecast device will be available in Canada for 39.00. You will be able to purchase the Chromecast through the Google Play store and at http://amazon.ca (be careful of the listing though as I saw one today for 48.00 being sold by another company). No word if Best Buy will be selling it in Canada like they do in the US. If you are not familiar with the Chromecast it is a small HDMI dongle that plugs into your TV and allows for streaming from apps like Netflix, Google Play Movies and Google Play Music to your TV.
I have been using a few of these since September and they are great little devices for the price. Not as functional as an Apple TV but if you are not a part of the Apple Ecosystem and use Android devices this may be the answer for you.
I wrote a small review of the device a while ago especially detailing what it is and what it isn’t that can be read here. One thing that has changed since I first wrote this review is that Google released a Chromecast SDK to other developers. We are starting to see other applications that can cast video, music and pictures from your mobile device to your TV using the Chromecast. One in particular AllCast works very well and Plex has opened up Chromecast support on all of their apps and not just to PlexPass subscribers . To keep track of all of the latest apps available for Chromecast I highly suggest getting the free app Cast store for the Google play store.
The basic functionality of the Chromecast hasn’t changed a lot with the release of the SDK except that you can now send content from your mobile device to the device with Chromecast enabled apps. The device and your Chromecast still have to be on the same network and you can’t use services or VPNs to get around Geo IP restrictions. You also can’t mirror devices to the Chromecast like you can do with an iPad and an Apple TV although a developer thinks he can do it using the SDK.
If you are looking for a Netflix streaming device for your primary TV or a secondary TV in your home the Chromecast is an inexpensive way to add this flexibility. I recently installed one at my parents home so that we can view HD Net5flix content over there instead of using the Nintendo Wii (non HD). By simply being on the same wireless network and having the Chromecast app and a Chromecast enabled app on your device you can start streaming to it right away. You can’t really go wrong for 39.00