The new way to watch TV in the digital era

The new way to watch TV in the digital era

Recently Google sent us a free Chromecast. Chromecast is a thumb-sized media streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port on your TV. Using an Android phone, tablet, iPhone…®, iPad…®, Mac or Windows laptop, or Chromebook, you can ‘cast’ your favourite entertainment and apps right to the big screen. Check out the video above about how to cast using Chromecast.
But before you go looking for a competition where Google sends you out a free Chromecast, stop right there. We got sent a free one because we are a Google Partner… and with this status, we get sent cool free stuff from time to time. In this case, we were sent the Chromecast to aid us in livestreaming a cast direct from Google Australia’s head office in Sydney this week.It was a cool event and we invited some of our VIP clients and contractors along to check it out. If you want to be invited to our exclusive events from time to time, make sure you sign up to our mailing list.Here’s what you missed out on:

My brother had actually recommended that I invest in a Chromecast some time ago. But you know what it’s like. It’s just another ‘thing’ to ‘get around’ to ‘looking into’. Even if it will improve your life, life is well, busy. And with the best of intentions sometimes these things just don’t happen.

So thankfully I was set this Chromecast by Google as it forced me to take another leap forward with technology. And I’m so glad I did!

If I can set up a Chromecast, anybody can!

When you take it out, it’s the size of a largeish USB, with a USB on one end and a power cord on the other. Now I may be quite techie but I’m good with software, not hardware, so I was a little scared to try setting it all up myself — I usually leave anything to do with remotes, sound systems, DVDs and TVs to my partner. But I stepped up to the plate and found the set up experience was super easy. Plug in the device. Follow the prompts on screen. Know your wifi password. It was all miraculously smooth to get going.

The first test I ran once all connected was streaming a YouTube clip from my iPhone 6 to the TV. The entire family sat around me in great anticipation and I nostalgically thought back to the day in 1982 that my Dad bought home a VCR, and we all marvelled at this contraption that could make the soccer players speed up (fast forward), and run backwards (rewind). This was all via a remote that had a cord plugged into the VCR!

Anyway here were my (aged 7 and 10) all wide-eyed when the video I was playing on my phone miraculously starts playing on the TV. And what did I play as a milestone first ever cast piece from phone to TV screen? An underwater Harlem Shake of course! Wholesome family fun!

Suddenly the fun of it all dawned on me. Rather than trying to look over someones shoulder at a ‘funny YouTube clip’ whilst saying ‘tip it on an angle so I can see it’, whilst everyone else in the room looks over and wonders what you are watching (which then requires you to ceremoniously pass the device around so EVERYONE can have a chance to see the funny clip), with a Chromecast you can put it on the big screen and EVERYONE SEES IT. Nice.

Then the power of it all also dawned on me. No need to wrestle for the remote any longer. The power lays in your hands.
If your kids dominate the TV you can assume the power of the screen with what you’d prefer to play simply by a couple of clicks on your laptop, phone or tablet. In the power of your phone and wifi connection.

Watching TV in the Digital Era

We really thought we were moving up in the world when we signed on for Foxtel a few years ago. When the kids were young, it was simply a luxury we couldn’t afford. But we’ve been paying $99/month or so for a while now, as well as purchasing the odd movie when it’s a rainy day of a weekend or school holidays, which is decent whack per year. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but… Foxtel have recently rolled out much cheaper packages – as low as $25/month. They’ve also go a new product in the form of ‘Presto’ which allows you to stream through a device such as a Chromecast onto your TV. But Presto is just one of a… variety of companies offering on demand services that allow you greater flexibility and choice than ever before when it comes to what you watch.

This great article on clearly outlines the most accessible ways in Australia to watch the TV and movies you want, when you want.

After reading this article, I… opted for Netflix via VPN and within 30 minutes my kids were delighted to be streaming a Pixar film from America that they’d never seen before.

Worried about the legal implications?

So was I. Although a legal grey area, accessing this geo-blocked media streaming service is actually endorsed by consumer body CHOICE.

According to the ACCC, your rights when dealing with overseas-based companies to buy products may not be protected by Australian law. You can read more on that here.

When Netflix will actually come to Australia and there will no longer be a need for a VPN is anybody’s guess.

There have been rumours circulating for a long time that they will be here before you know it. I don’t think it is a case of ‘if’ I do think it is a case of ‘when’.

Until it does, I’ll be quite happy streaming Netflix from the US.