When the Chromecast dongle made its way to the streaming technology community, it sold out so quickly. I couldn’t get one anywhere. As with many new gadgets, there were reports of bugs and glitches, so I was thankful and I really enjoy my Roku 2 XS along with the money I haven’t spent on cable because of it.
However, it appeared all the major bugs have been worked out and someone gave me the Chromecast as a surprise gift. After a month or so of using my Chromecast, I can definitely tell the differences between it and my Roku 2.
Chromecast versus Roku Cost
The Chromecast is considerably less expensive than my version of the Roku. We paid 80+ dollars for the Roku 2 XS, while the Chromecast was less than $40. There are, however, less expensive Roku 2 models that start at $49. Roku’s latest product, the Roku Streaming Stick, is also priced at $49.
The Chromecast simply needs plugging into your HDTV’s HDMI port. If it isn’t a powered port, Chromecast provides you an adapter for it. My Roku 2 is also connected by HDMI via a cable from the box to the port. It didn’t take long for either of them to get activated. The advantage the Roku 2 has over the Chromecast is that you don’t “need” an HDTV to use it. There are included adapters in the Roku 2 package. The Roku Streamstick, however, does require an HDTV.
Roku versus Chromecast Connection
This is where I had a problem with the Chromecast. There was virtually no problem connecting my Roku2 to my wireless internet. It was a matter of logging in with my wireless internet password, and that was it.
My primary intended source for broadcasting on the Chromecast was going to be my PC. It took me a good 30 minutes to get them connected. I searched all the help forums and other people were having the same problems. I used the Chrome Tab extension as recommended but it just wouldn’t connect the Chromecast to my PC until I first connected it with my Android phone. Once the connection was established, my PC’s Chrome extension tab finally located the Chromecast and I was good to go.
Chromecast vs. Roku Channels and Apps
The Roku 2, for now, has thousands more channels and apps than the Chromecast. There are private channels, public channels and big-name channels like Netflix, Amazon and virtually every major sport broadband channel.
However, Chromecast’s ability to cast YouTube videos directly to my TV is astounding. Our family has so much fun watching them together from my phone or PC. More and more channels are being added on to Chromecast but so far they are all the same ones Roku has.
One neat unique feature that Chromecast has is the ability to do an entire tab live stream. This is handy if you want to move live stream from your PC to your TV. The live stream quality is a little jittery with some streams. I think it will improve over time. With my Roku 2, live streams are very limited unless I use my PlayOn service.
Buy The Chromecast or Roku?
If you don’t own a Roku already but you have Netflix, Hulu Plus or Pandora, The Chromecast is definitely a viable option. You can’t beat it for less than $40. If you already own a Roku 2 or newer version, at this point there isn’t much reason to buy a Chromecast other than for the direct YouTube streaming. However, the future could change things. As Chromecast development expands into more open source channels, expect its value to increase. You may see some outside-the-box tricks available for your Chromecast.
If you want to see more content now, have Amazon Prime or really like sports, go with a Roku 2 or higher. The thousands of applications are almost as good as having standard cable, and the no-fuss set up gets you viewing in minutes.