In the Ideal Gifts series, The Next Web team shares personal recommendations for gifts to give this holiday season.
Arriving in the US back in the summer of 2013, Google finally introduced Chromecast to international waters in March this year, arriving in Canada, the UK and nine other European countries. And for me, it has been something of a revelation in terms of how I watch TV.
Chromecast wasn’t the first peripheral to allow you to beam content from your phone to your TV. But at $35, and with a slew of big-brand broadcasters on board across Android and iOS, Google knocked the competition out of the water with an affordable, user-friendly ‘bridge’ between your mobile device and your TV.
For me, Chromecast has changed my viewing habits – I now mostly watch content that’s compatible with Google’s HDMI streaming dongle. This varies from country-to-country, but in the UK this includes YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV, BT Sport, NOW TV (for Sky Sports), iPlayer, among others. If you’re in the US, this also includes the likes of HBO Go.
It hasn’t all been peaches and cream though. There have been innumerable times when I would previously have gone to bed rather than booting up my PS3 to launch YouTube or Netflix. But because I know I can now have a 30-minute comedy up-and-running on Netflix within seconds of the thought entering my head, I often stay up for hours longer than I intended to. Just that little bit less friction makes all the difference.