If you had suggested to me a couple of weeks ago that I would shortly be engaging in financial intercourse with both notorious tax innovator Amazon and “Don’t Be Evil” privacy-annihilating behemoth Google, I would have scoffed at such an absurd proposition.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’ve had to swallow both my pride and principles in order to purchase a Google Chromecast, which is only available (where I live) via Amazon. But given the use case, it was by far the most cost effective solution for my favourite non-profit.
The organisation was lamenting the fact that its decrepit scrolling LED display for displaying forthcoming events was no longer functioning. Or rather, it may well be functioning but it needed programming via an ancient RS232 using software that is no longer available from the bankrupt manufacturer. In fact, the last time I saw such a display functioning it was announcing cab fares for various destinations in suburban London to an audience of highly inebriated young men, each intoxicant holding a doner kebab at various states of consumption. Quite what their beer-goggled eyes made of the prices, given the high speed at which they scrolled past them, is anybody’s guess. But then that lack of definition was most probably the point given the less than salubrious look of the taxi office.
Whilst no longer owning a working LED display, what the organisation does have is a massive television with an HDMI port into which I inserted the Chromecast. Set up is straightforward using an iPhone: switch to the Chromecast’s Wifi network, browse to a specified web page and follow the instructions. Within minutes I was had selected a YouTube video on my iPhone, tapped the newly present ‘Send to Chromecast’ button and said video duly appeared on the television after a few seconds delay. Impressive.
Next I installed Google Chrome and its Chromecast extension on an office Windows 7 PC. Again a ‘Send to Chromecast’ button appears and, upon clicking, the current browser tab is broadcast to the television. Again, there is a slight delay before the contents of the browser appears on the television but it must be kept in mind that this is streaming over a heavily-used Wifi connection.
The next test was to install an iPhone app, PixiPush, which allows sending of any photo to Chromecast for display. This is where the testing became very bogged down because once someone in the rapidly-growing crowd realised that they too could install PixiPush app and send their own photos to the Chromecast, the testing degenerated into a series of increasingly daft photos appearing on the television, each one upping the ante for stupidity and/or irrelevancy.
I’m not entirely sure whether the Chromecast can be locked down to prevent all and sundry from broadcasting their content to the device but certainly in this case it really can’t come soon enough.