Chromecast adds Hulu, but is this really a win for Google?


Google Chromecast users got one more reason to stay glued to the couch Wednesday, thanks to the addition of Hulu to the popular streaming device. As with other devices, using the new service on the Chromecast will require a monthly subscription to Hulu Plus for $8/month. The announcement should be a welcome one to the Chromecast faithful, who up to this point have had a seriously limited collection of apps from which to choose, with Netflix serving as the only partner app to add to Google’s minion of streaming services including Youtube, Google Play, and Google Music.

Chromecast dove headlong into the streaming scene last July. For a mere $35, the streaming stick, which is about the size of a flash drive, provides an easy way to watch online content by simply plugging into a TV’s HDMI port, connecting to Wi-Fi, and pulling up supported apps on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets (though the new Hulu app won’t work for iPhones straight away.) But, while Chromecast has been extremely successful, the device’s lack of available apps has left it vulnerable to more seasoned devices in the genre, such as Apple TV and Roku, both of which secured rights to many of the most popular streaming apps long before Chromecast was in place.

Chromecast has been able to stay viable, however, thanks in part to a simple workaround. The device is capable of mirroring content from a PC or Mac web browser (as long as that web browser is Google’s own Chrome service) allowing users to utilize Hulu, as well as the vast collection of other omitted apps by simply punching them up from their home computer. In fact, research by Parks Associates indicates that 34 percent of Chromecast owners have been streaming video content from Hulu to their TV set every day. Of those, 50 percent are just using Hulu’s free service. 

Arriving late to the party has given the device a lot of catching up to do, and Google has been trying to lock down partnerships with major players in the streaming world such as Hulu since Chromecast’s inception. We will likely see many more apps added to Chromecast in the future, but no timetable has been given. Google doesn’t seem too worried, however. Being one of the most powerful companies in the world has its advantages, and Roku is still trying to secure rights to host an actual Youtube app on its devices. 

As the wheels of streaming entertainment spin in constant motion, the battle between Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, and other devices has only increased its fervor. Each step taken from one device seems to provoke an answer from its rivals, and luckily for us, the competition just makes our choice of options that much more alluring. With Apple TV and Roku now on deck, we can’t wait to see what comes next.

Home Theater

Google Chromecast returns to Amazon just in time for the holiday shopping crunch

It's been a chilly few years between Google and Amazon, but things may be improving. You can now buy two versions of Google's Chromecast on Amazon, something that hasn't be possible since 2015.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Step aside set-top boxes, the best streaming sticks are tiny and just as powerful

Which streaming stick reigns supreme? We pit the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra against the Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to help you decide which one will be the best fit in your living room.
Home Theater

Sling TV ramps up its base programming with Discovery Networks for free

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ season 2 gets a new, Spock-heavy trailer

CBS has released a new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, which premieres January 17 on CBS All Access. The new trailer features series newcomers Spock and Christopher Pike prominently.
Product Review

Step aside, Sonos: Riva's Concert is the best smart speaker you can buy

The Riva Concert series speaker is a fantastic, small-profile smart speaker with Alexa integration, truly excellent sound, and great looks, making it the perfect addition to your kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
Home Theater

From soundbars to headphones, here are the best last-minute audio deals

Whether you're looking for a great new pair of headphones or a fantastic new soundbar to bolster the sound of your brand-new television, these are the best audio deals to be found this holiday season.
Home Theater

Radiohead, The Cure, and more to join Rock Hall of Fame. Listen to their hits

Radiohead, The Cure, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, and more have been selected to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Here are our favorite songs from the four artists' hit-filled careers.

LG’s most affordable OLED TVs now come with $170 to $260 in gift cards

Trusted electronics retailer ABT is offering LG's most affordable OLED TV, the B8 series with $170 and $260 gift cards for the 55- and 65-inch models, respectively. While the OLED TVs don't often go on sale gift cards like this are…
Home Theater

Phiaton’s active lifestyle headphones do noise canceling on a budget

Looking for a set of active noise-canceling earbuds that can keep up with your active lifestyle, without breaking the bank? Phiaton's new Curve BT 120 NC could be just the ticket.
Home Theater

5 sonic stocking stuffers to improve your loved ones’ listening life

Looking for some simple and affordable gifts to get the music nerd in your family? Here are five great gift ideas that will improve their listening life -- and won't cost you an arm and a leg to give them.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.