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.