Apple and Google have been the big names in smartphones for several years now, but they’re competing beyond just tablets and phones. The companies are now focusing on new streaming video products for TVs: Google’s Chromecast and Apple TV. These products each allow you to take your mobile content and stream it onto your big screen TV, making it easier to watch downloaded videos and TV shows with family and friends. The battle between Apple and Google in smartphones is pretty even, so how do their media streaming devices compare?
Apple has never been known for its devices playing nicely with others – far too often, Apple devices are compatible only with other Apple devices. That is the case here as well, at least at this point. While Chromecast works flawlessly with Android, Windows, Chrome OS, iOS, and Mac OS X, Apple TV only allows connections from iOS or Mac OS X devices – see the review from Verge here. This may not seem like a big deal if you’re only going to be streaming from your Mac or iPhone, but if you want to use a variety of devices or allow Android user friends to stream onto your TV, Apple TV’s not going to cut it. Chromecast takes the point here.
Apple may have lost the first round, but it easily triumphs this time around. Chromecast launches with only four major apps: Play Movies & TV, Play Music, YouTube, and Netflix. Apple TV, on the other hand, also has Hulu Plus, HBO Go, iTunes Podcasts and Radio, multiple sports media apps and three separate Disney apps for children. To be fair to Google, this could be a much more equal game in the near future, as many other content owners and providers have expressed an interest in connecting with Chromecast, including newcomers like Redbox Instant and online radio providers like Pandora. Chromecast is also the newcomer in this game. While Apple TV has had time to connect with its providers and ensure app support, Google’s still playing catch-up. For now, Apple TV is the clear winner, but give Google another year or so and this may be a different matter. However, both devices don’t allow you to record shows, nor can you stream recorded programs on your DVR to another TV. The only choice available now is DISH HOPPER. Read this post here and see why DISH along with HOPPER DVR is a great alternative and how you can save with DISH promo codes.
There are plenty of devices that let you watch Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu Plus on the big screen, but Apple TV and Chromecast allow you to mirror the screen of any compatible device on your big screen TV. The difference here is that while Apple TV puts the entire screen up on the larger display – everything and anything you want – Chromecast simply mirrors a tab in the Google Chrome browser. Which is better? Well, that depends on what you want. You can project more content onto your TV with Apple TV, such as PowerPoint presentations or text documents, but with Chrome’s tab-only mirroring, you can use it to mirror something on your TV while still using your computer for other tasks. The pros and cons of each mostly balance each other out, leaving it a matter of personal preference.
Chromecast is the winner here. The device costs only $35, while Apple TV is $99. Considering the fact that Apple TV is useless for anyone who wants to use a Windows computer or an Android device to stream content to their TV, they might have considered lowering the initial cost somewhat.
Both devices are a big of a mixed bag right now, with Apple TV limited to Apple devices and Chromecast’s lack of all-device mirroring. For the moment, though, we’d recommend Chromecast over Apple TV unless you’re a diehard Apple fan. It’s more affordable, gives you more device connecting options, and is working hard to bring you all the content you could want.
- License: Image author owned
- License: Image author owned
Karen Jones is a blogger for a number of coupon sites. For TV and cable service she recommends DISH, which offers free DVR upgrade and premium channels with promo codes.