Entertainment On The Go
It’s not all work and martinis on the beach. Sometimes we like to curl up in front of a movie, watch a game or binge watch our favorite TV series of the month. Most of the places we have stayed come with some form of local television in the form of cable or satellite. English programming is rare. We haven’t had cable for years anyway so we don’t often rely on what the television offers.
What we do like is Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s FireTV. Both devices can allow you to watch a ton of online programming via the tv monitor you have without the need for cable but, they each deliver the content to the television in different ways. They both require a wifi connection.
The Chromecast by Google does not provide content directly. Instead, it allows you to stream content from most any other device straight to the Chromecast over wifi which then delivers it to the tv via an HDMI cable. Say you are watching a cool youtube video on your tablet. You can “cast” this content to the Chromecast and it will then play on the tv screen. Almost any content you can get on your phone, tablet, or laptop can be “cast” in this way. We use this device to watch pro sports games, movies, listen to music on Spotify, etc. Chromecast comes in 2 different models, the original Chromecast and the new Chromecast Ultra. They are both super compact and deliver anything you can cast from your device. The Ultra is a fair bit faster, can be connected with an ethernet cable in addition to wifi, and can deliver much higher video resolution (assuming the monitor you are using can handle it). I use the original. I have not had a chance to try the Ultra but, I have yet to see a TV worthy of the high resolutions.
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The FireTV delivers its content directly to the television via an HDMI cable. The device is controlled by a remote control which operates a control panel that is displayed on the TV. There are thousands of apps available for download – many are free. Many more are free to download but require a subscription – think Netflix, HBO, or Hulu. The remote control can be voice activated which makes searching for content much easier.
Both of these devices are a one-time purchase price – meaning no monthly fees for them to work. However, most of the truly good content will require a subscription. So, while not completely free, it sure beats the monthly cable bills we used to have!
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