Broadband News

Will Google Chromecast kill 2.4GHz Wi-Fi?

The Google Chromecast HDMI/USB stick has arrived in the UK and brings with it a whole new meaning to the concept of the Smart TV. For the millions who own a TV with no built-in app support for £30 the Chromecast offers people the chance to watch cat videos from YouTube on their big screen, their favourite films via Netflix or the safe option of BBC iPlayer.

So why the worry about Wi-Fi, well the stick only uses 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and this means that the increasingly congested wireless band is gaining another device that is a constant load rather than the bursty use from updating your facebook status or tweeting. The more traditional devices like the Xbox One, 360, PS4 and PS3 consoles all had the option of using Ethernet,

Pricing seems to vary a little Amazon are listing the dongle for £30 currently and Currys if you dare to venture within has it for £30. The USB stick simply plugs directly into a spare HDMI port of your TV, and is powered via a USB port on the TV, or using the mains to USB adaptor included.

You can install apps like Plex to access content on your local network, rather than just casting video, audio and pictures from the Internet.

The Chromecast is competing with NOW TV from Sky in the UK, which is based around the Roku devices and while it has a nominal price of £9.95 for the box, you can buy a box with five months of movie passes for £34.99 (saving £19.95). The NOW TV is another 2.4 GHz WiFi only unit and have had occasions where WiFi congestion has lead to lower quality streams compared to other devices on the same connection using Ethernet.


No it won't "kill" 2.4GHz Wi-Fi but it will need a future hardware v2 whether dual band or other short range wireless standards as they emerge.

The experience people have with these devices will be variable because although it is designed as consumer tech "plug in and follow on-screen instructions", good results depend on a decent home network / Wi-Fi setup which as we know is not a given.

  • prlzx
  • over 6 years ago

Some reviews by misconception have focused on the (beta) "tab-casting" - a form of software screen mirroring (which as experienced VNC users will know is not ideally suited for high frame-rate but usable for displaying non-video web pages).

For that use it would be better if tech like Miracast was more widely implemented.

Chromecast's intended use is more as a client to a streaming server (whether online or local) with the smartphone as remote control.

  • prlzx
  • over 6 years ago

A "smart" TV with Wi-Fi, Ethernet can be £300+ for a decent 32"+ model.

But given I already have a computer monitor with HDMI input (no separate TV, using DVB-T2 stick in the connected laptop),
a version with an Ethernet port, dual-band and audio out should still be able to sell if priced right.

  • prlzx
  • over 6 years ago

I am waiting for the Roku Streaming Stick which will be released in April. Main reason is because I use Netflix and NOW TV, Chromecast does not currently have NOW TV. The other reason is it has a remote which I still like the idea of.
But going back to the point of your post the Roku is dual band, not that I had thought of that ;)

Bit more pricey at £49.99.

  • astateoftrance
  • over 6 years ago

I think the Roku has some advantages. It functions as a set-top box and you don't need to "hand-off" from one computing device to another like you do with a Chromecast. I'm a Roku user and find it to be an excellent little box for the £35 I paid for it.

  • Spud2003
  • over 6 years ago

Hmm cost me £30 from Amazon-UK, including free delivery. Though at present pretty limited in compatible apps for it.

  • oddius
  • over 6 years ago

Changed price as Amazon has come down to the £30 mark.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 6 years ago

prefer am Android mini PC

  • professor973
  • over 6 years ago

why are companies releasing hardware in 20-13/2014 thats 2.4ghz only? and at £30 its very overpriced for what seems minor features. Any modern console in the tv can do netflix etc.

  • chrysalis
  • over 6 years ago

The draw of the Chromecast to me is its ability to stream recently released movies from Google Play straight to my TV. I'd be interested to know if the Roku can do that.

  • colirv
  • over 6 years ago

no complaints here with the nowtv box.

  • pcoventry76
  • over 6 years ago

Have to agree, now tv box is most user friendly, cheapest future proof* way of getting access to iplayer, 4od, demand5 with the bonus of now tv(sky) on top. Never mind a reasonably usable plex application which can be shoehorned on the box.
I've been torn between what box to suggest for non technical friends and the nowtv one is hard to ignore, once you throw freeview/satellite recording into the mix it gets very tricky.

  • flipdee
  • over 6 years ago

*future proof until freeview connect or whatever the next technical hurdle might be.
I wonder will the latest agreement with sky and the bbc ensure iplayer compatibility forever? Hopefully 4od and demand5 too of course.

  • flipdee
  • over 6 years ago

Having used Roku LT for 16 months I'd favour the Roku streaming stick albeit it will be dearer when released next month. I rarely record anything these days with the availability of demand services.

  • nadger
  • over 6 years ago

I'd buy this just to get iPlayer, seeing that despite the initial marketing it's not supported on my Phillips TV. However, I struggled to get the radio to work via WiFi despite a decent signal level (buffering and dropping out) whereas it's fine using Ethernet over mains. However, until / unless there's an option with a wired connection I'll give it a miss

  • ianblakeley
  • over 6 years ago

We've a dual band BT HH4 router. No issues here.

Between them our TV, bd, and YouView box offer most smart services, but Netflix and Google Play Movies/Music were obvious omissions.

The £30 CC remedies that very discreetly and elegantly, to the point I've bought a second one to add iPlayer to the kitchen telly. No box. No wires. No extra remote. Brilliant.

With optimised apps, there's no mirroring involved. CC does the heavy lifting. Once you've selected your title and pressed the cast icon, you can switch the phone off if you want, chuck it out of the window, whatever.

  • Minkey1
  • over 6 years ago

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