Two days ago Google released a new device called Chromecast. Chromecast puts Internet video on your TV. Lots of tech journalists/pundits have compared it to Apple TV, Roku, and Google TV.
I won’t get into the mumbo jumbo of how it works. Instead, I’ll show you how my four-year-old used it last night.
My child has specific tastes that cannot be found on Netflix or iTunes. He likes Japanese shows and movies with actors in rubber suits fighting other actors in rubber suits. I like them too. YouTube is the place to go to find these shows.
We’ve watched YouTube together on the computer, but it’s hard for him to operate the desktop and browser on his own. Also, there’s nothing like a giant monster fight on the big screen—especially when you’re a four-year-old. We wanted a way to watch YouTube on the TV.
We tried many methods: Blu-Ray, Roku, Apple TV. They all worked OK, but they weren’t as easy to use as YouTube on the iPad.
All the “set-top-boxes” had quirks. Lots of hunting and pecking with the remote: up, down, right, press enter, press enter again, left. And don’t get me started on Apple TV’s search function.
The YouTube app on the iPad just worked. Tapping video thumbnails with his fingers was natural for him. He was an expert navigating YouTube within a few minutes: Ultraman heaven.
Back to Google Chromecast. We’ve established how much of an expert my kid is at using the YouTube app on the iPad. He’s really good.
Google’s Chromecast allows him to use the app he’s already comfortable using (YouTube) and see that video play on the TV. There’s no new user interface to learn. No remotes to up-down-press-left-right-press.
I know what you’re thinking: “Why don’t you use Airplay on Apple TV? You can beam a YouTube video to the TV that way.” Our iPad is a family iPad. If my son is watching a YouTube video via AirPlay then that iPad is locked down. My daughter can’t use it.
I know what you’re also thinking: “Why’s Jamie jumping through technical hoops just to get his kid zombified in front of the TV?” Have you ever seen a child’s joy during a battle between Ultraman Zero and Belial!?