Many experts and consumers assumed the arrival of flat-screen high-definition TVs -- of all shapes and sizes -- signaled an apex in the world of technology.
Like most pieces of advanced equipment, the luster of the newness quickly wore off and customers began combing the aisles of Target, Wal-Mart or Best Buy or hitting the online stores such as Amazon in search of the next big thing.
What we got were TVs with a twist. Today's TVs are still flat, huge and display an amazingly crystal-clear picture that includes access to the internet directly through the TV.
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Suddenly, the thought of watching a movie on a 60 inch TV seems to fall on deaf ears when compared to using such products as Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku and other web-to-TV devices. This opens up the door to such programs at Hulu and NetFlix, provided your TV isn't already equipped with both anyway.
Apple TV and Roku certainly nab plenty of attention but Chromecast really takes flight as a more universally accepted and lauded product for a number of reasons.
The most glaring positive of Google's Chromecast is its price in comparison to others. Apple TV and Roku cost in excess of $100 bucks or so, while Chromecast quietly checks in for less than half that amount. Roku has certainly models that are around $50, but Chromecast still has them beat for around $35.
Apple TV and Roku come in box form, although hardly noticeable next to your massive TV and accompanying surround sound or DVD. Chromecast is only a stick, something comparable to a flash drive. Chromecast finds its way to your TV through a simple HDMI port. Most TVs come standard with at least two, so that is nothing but smooth sailing ahead for users of Chromecast.
One positive of Chromecast is that it is universally accepted between all devices, such as your phone or tablet. Apple TV, on the other hand, is only compatible with Apple products so if you decide to swap an iPhone for a Samsung Galaxy android-powered phone, you may wind up with an Apple TV that doubles as a glorified and rather pricey coaster.
Apple TV hardly is a second-class citizen by any means. They're a major player in the internet to TV marketplace but Chromecast goes all in with a big-time advantage of a smaller device that does the same job for less.
Even in the world of Apple, that combination is a magical one. Naturally, consumers may stick with Apple thanks to the name value and subsequent credibility the iconic brand carries with it.
That being said, Google's Chromecast manages to wiggle its way into the contender's circle and actually stands more than just a fighting chance.
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