Google’s new Chromecast HDMI stick is a lot of things: it’s a simple new way to bring internet video to your living room after the company stumbled with Google TV, it’s a new platform for content creators like Netflix, and it’s an interesting extension of Chrome as a platform beyond the browser itself. That’s a lot of responsibility for a $35 dongle.
But the Chromecast’s biggest challenge is serving as the start of a legitimate alternative to Apple’s AirPlay, which has set the standard for quick and easy streaming from a mobile device to TVs and other devices for years. While rival technologies like DLNA and Miracast have tried and failed to compete with Apple’s system, it appears Chromecast has a real chance, even if it’s not all the way there yet.
So how do they stack up? Let’s take a look based on what we know so far.