The Good The Google Chromecast is a dirt-cheap wireless video dongle that streams Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, HBO Now and thousands of other apps and games to your TV using an Android or Apple phone or tablet, or a PC, as the controller. Its small size hides neatly behind your TV and makes it easy to take with you when traveling, and the new version adds compatibility with 5GHz Wi-Fi networks.
The Bad The lack of a dedicated remote means you always need a smartphone, tablet or PC nearby to use it. Slightly more expensive boxes and sticks, with their physical remotes, tactile buttons and onscreen displays, are more convenient to use. The only way to watch Amazon videos is by streaming from a PC.
The Bottom Line The innovative Chromecast might be the ultimate living-room accessory for your phone or tablet, but more traditional streaming devices deliver a better streaming experience.