Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast are two of the most popular methods for turning your dumb HDTV in a slightly smarter one replete with VOD services like Netflix as well as Cast (in the case of Chromecast) or AirPlay (Apple TV) abilities for taking media from one medium (phone, tablet, PC) to your HDTV.
Apple TV has been around for a long time; the device is now in its third generation. Chromecast is a newer device and, because of how little it costs, has grown dramatically since it was first launched a couple of years ago. As it stands Chromecast is the most popular digital streamer in the US, beating rival solutions from Apple, Amazon and Roku.
In a bid to further expand the presence of Apple TV around the globe, Apple recently confirmed it will be slashing the price of its streaming device to just £59. Now, that is still quite a bit more expansive than Chromecast, but it is a HUGE reduction on Apple TV’s price tag from last year, which, at one point, was £99.
Both Google and Apple have now revamped their respective media streaming devices, in the form of Chromecast 2 and the new Apple TV. Both setups are radically different to what came before and both set out to achieve their ends in slightly different ways. Chromecast 2 is a big update and features A LOT of new features, as well as a brand new, eye catching design. The new Apple TV is also a HUGE update as well and now runs on iOS and features fully baked in Siri support for vastly superior search functionality.
But that's not all Apple has up its sleeve for TV in 2015. Apple is reportedly in the final stages of its first proper move into TV territory. According to reports Apple will launch a VOD service, consisting of 25 channels. The new service will be available on all of the company’s products (Apple TV, iPhone, iPad and OS X) and is expected to launch during the summer.
“Apple is in talks with US broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox to launch the service,” reports The Telegraph. “The idea is to offer a “skinny” bundle with popular channels like CBS, ESPN and FX, while leaving out many of the less well-known networks that are included in standard cable TV packages.”
However, there is now some concern over the “deals” Apple has made with these TV companies –– and, as always, it concerns your data.
“New details have started to emerge about what kinds of deals the tech company will make with its content partners,” reports 9to5Mac. “The NY Post says that these deals will involve Apple turning over certain data about its users to programmers to help solidify its agreements. Apple is reportedly giving TV partners a lot of leeway, allowing each network to decide how to handle areas like advertising on the service. However, in order to attract these content producers, Apple is offering up data regarding its viewers, such as who they are, which shows they watch, viewing schedules, and more.”
The VOD service is expected to cost around $$30-$$40 per month –– this means it will cost more than Netflix and Amazon’s already established services.
Here we’ll be looking at Apple TV and Chromecast in order to find out which is the best solution for you. However, it is worth noting that Apple TV will only work correctly with Apple products, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone –– you wanna use Apple stuff you have to do it Apple’s way.Design, Specs, and Compatibility
The most noticeable difference between the Chromecast and the Apple TV is in the way they look. The Chromecast looks like you standard USB memory stick while the Apple TV looks like a small, mysterious black box not much larger than a hockey puck.
Both devices work by plugging into your television’s HDMI port. Chromecast accomplishes this via its HDMI interface designed directly into the dongle and the Apple TV accomplishes this via a standard HDMI cable that runs between it and the television.
By default it may seem like the Chromecast wins in the design department since it can be essentially hidden behind the television using a rear HDMI port, but the sad thing is the Chromecast isn’t able to draw power from the HDMI port so you need to use an included USB power cable to connect it to the TV’s USB port for power or plug it into a USB power adapter.
Here are the full specs for the Chromecast:
Output: HDMI, CEC compatible
Processor: Marvell 88DE3005 (Armada 1500-mini) system on a chip
Storage: 2GB flash
Max. Output Video Resolution: 1080p
Dimensions: 72(L) x 35(W) x 12(H) mm
Weight: 34 g
Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Power: USB (Power adapter included)
Supported Devices: Devices running Android 2.3 and higher, iOS 6 and higher, Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS 10.7 and higher, Chrome OS (Chromebook Pixel, additional Chromebooks coming soon).
And here are the specs for Apple TV:
Output: HDMI (not CEC compatible)
Processor: Apple A5
Storage: 8GB flash
Max. Output Video Resolution: 1080p
Dimensions: 23(L) x 99(W) x 99(H) mm
Weight: 270 g
Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth
Power: Built-in universal 6 W power supply
Supported Devices: Devices running iOS 6 and higher, Windows XP and higher, Mac OS X 10.3.9 and higher.