In home entertainment has taken huge leaps over the past years.  Thanks to the advent of “Smart TV’s” and the ability to connect to wirelessly to the internet, there have been two major changes to the A/V world of home entertainment.  Your TV now acts like a computer. It can either mirror the display of a computer screen, or act with its own brain-like device displaying feeds from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Youtube and more.  We chose to compare the latest batch of updated hardware from Apple™ and Google™.  The Apple™ TV arrived first in March of 2012, it displays up to 1080p resolution. The Google Chromecast™ came out about a year later in July of 2013.  Both devices connect via a HDMI port, but they are different moving forward.

Initial Thoughts

Both Devices are in a price range that is easily obtainable (ChromeCast $35, Apple TV $65), they both provide very similar services.  However the Chrome cast requires a mobile device like a laptop or smartphone to tell the device what needs to play on the TV screen.  The Apple TV can run standalone and it comes with a remote which means you can plop down on your couch and start playing music or a tv show without getting your phone out of your pocket.

The Setup

I have setup both ChromeCast and Apple TV before for patients in the past.  They are both fairly easy to setup.  The chromecast requires hoping back and forth between wifi networks.  The chromecast has it’s own wifi, which you connect to via a laptop or smartphone.  You have to download an app or extension in order to connect the chromecast to your wifi network so that it can work.  This took me about 5 minutes, and you want to make sure that your wifi is within good range (more than 1-2 bars). After an auto update when I connected to the internet. This was nice because it makes the setup run faster and I immediately get the device fixed and loaded with the latest software.

The Apple tv requires you to use the remote to setup the system.  This is where I ran into problems.  Not only would apple not connect to my wifi network, but I had to completely factory reset it, connect it to my personal wifi (on my phone) and then immediately run an update manually.  Although I doubt this is the experience for everyone, it was extremely frustrating.  I had to use the remote to manually point and click the network passcode, apple ID and other various things.  Now once I got it setup, it was smooth sailing.

The Final Verdict

After playing with both of these for the past 2 weeks, I determined that the Apple TV is best for in-home Entertainment. With a n easy to navigate menu and wide variety of options, it makes it the best option.  Google’s Chromecast however is better for “On-the-go” plug and play style. If you travel a lot then this is the best option for you. (No remotes needed, just your computer or smartphone).