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The Best Cable-Cutting Device For People Who Are Broke As Hell

A review of Google's new small and mighty media streamer.

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This is the redesigned Google Chromecast. It's an Oreo-sized gadget that streams music and video to your TV.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

Instead of watching your computer on your lap, you can Netflix and Chill on a big screen like a grown ass adult.

People who can afford $35.

The Chromecast is cheap. In fact, of all of the streaming devices out there – the Roku Streaming Stick ($50), the Amazon Fire Stick ($40), the yet-to-be-released Apple TV ($150) – it's the cheapest at $35.

People who hate setting anything up.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

Connecting the Chromecast to your TV is stupid easy, as long what you know what an HDMI port looks like (a face down sandwich made of an end piece and a regular piece). All you need to do is plug the Chromecast into a TV, connect the micro USB power cable to the Chromecast, and plug in the cable adapter to the wall. Done. Finito.

(Even connecting it to WiFi takes no time at all.)

Nicole / BuzzFeed

Then you download the Chromecast app, available for both iPhone and Android. This set up, which connects the Chromecast to WiFi and your phone, takes two minutes, max.

The app also automatically recognized which apps on my iPhone were Chromecast-able, which was really, really cool.

People without a lot of space.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

The Chromecast is the anti-cable box. It's shoo shmalll. Aside from the long, lanky power cable, it's very portable. There's a magnetic back so you can keep your cable tucked in transit.

People who travel.

Traveling for work? Hitting up an Airbnb with your kids? You can bring the Chromecast along and get Netflix on the big screen wherever there's a TV with an HDMI port. (Almost all post-2006 TVs have an HDMI port.)

People who always lose remotes.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

The Chromecast is controlled by your smartphone, tablet, or through the Google Chrome extension on your laptop . . . so, no more remotes. I have lost the remote for my Amazon Fire TV stick maybe 30 times. I am the worst.

People with subscriptions to streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Spotify.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

The Chromecast supports a lot of apps. In addition to Netflix, you can watch HBO Now, Hulu, Sling, Showtime, ABC, Fox, CBS, YouTube, and many many others. Apps like Rdio, Spotify, and NPR One work with Chromecast, too.

People who use Google Chrome as their browser.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

The Google Cast browser extension allows you to stream any website to your TV. It's not perfect. There's a bit of lag when you scroll, which can make watching any video stream frustrating. But it's great for showing pictures or presenting something.

People who rent or buy movies and TV shows, especially from iTunes or Amazon.

If you have content purchased from iTunes, you can't play it on the Chromecast. If you watch Amazon Instant Video or Prime video, you technically can't play it through Chromecast natively (Amazon doesn't have a dedicated Chromecast app). You could play Prime videos on your Chrome browser and cast them, but the Google Cast browser extension isn't super reliable and you'll most likely run into a lot of lag.

People who pirate content *and* have iPhones or MacBooks.

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Yes, pirating is very, very bad. But people do it. If you're one of these people and have illicit content stored on your Apple device, you won't be able to beam it wirelessly to your TV through Chromecast. You could get around this with third-party apps (like this) but, like the Google Cast Chrome extension, it's not perfect.

Google created the Chromecast and it's designed to work seamlessly with Android devices. Android phones and tablets can mirror their screens to TVs with the Chromecast, but iOS devices can't.

People who are very impatient.

Nicole / BuzzFeed

It's a $35 device and sometimes, it shows. My music streaming service Rdio straight up did not work. On two separate occasions, audio from NPR One started playing from my phone and my TV at the same time and I couldn't do anything to stop it, which must be what it'll feel like when the robots take over. The same thing happened with Netflix and I eventually just restarted my iPhone.

The 2015 Chromecast apparently has better WiFi than the 2013 version. I own the 2013 Chromecast and can confirm that this year's model is faster than the very laggy original version. But maybe not fast enough for more restless TV watchers who have recently switched from cable and are used to no wait times at all.

📺 Grade: B+ 📺

The new Chromecast (available at these retailers) is a device that you can take out of the box and start using right away. It's so, so simple to set up and, most importantly, it just works. For most people, that's exactly what you'll need when it comes to TV streaming.

The bottom line is: for $35, the Chromecast can stream an impressive amount of content to your TV. Just don't expect it to load faster than it would on your phone.

This Chromecast was provided on loan for the purpose of review.

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