When Chromecast launched in July, it was all the Internet could talk about. The small, HDMI-enabled device allowed users to easily stream video content straight to their TVs. Gone were the days of hooking up your laptop or transferring films to a USB stick. Well, that is, if you were lucky enough to get a Chromecast. BestBuy sold out in a day with orders from Amazon severely backlogged. It hasn’t even launched in Europe and already there’s insatiable demand on eBay for second hand devices.
But you don’t have to wait for a Chromecast unit to try out the experience because an indie developer has made CheapCast available. It’s an Android app that turns any Android tablet or phone into a make-do Chromecast. But does it actually work?
There’s a certain obscure enjoyment to be had from watching live video feeds – particularly amateur ones. Maybe it’s just me (I’m hoping it’s not, but it probably is), but spending ten minutes watching an eagle hop around in its nest or checking out the view from someone’s Manhattan apartment is, for some weird reason, fun.
I think it’s because you shouldn’t be able to see what’s going on in a random street thousands of miles away, but can. Of course you can also check out live vlogs, chat shows and amateur sporting events.
UStream are by far the largest provider of streaming services on the Internet. They also offer an Android application that I think would be of use to anyone who either loves live feeds or wants to broadcast a show of their own.
I had high expectations when downloading this application, I won’t lie. There’s a lot of places it could go wrong if you think about it. Poor quality video and having to spend ages for live feeds to buffer were my biggest fears. Slow response times and lack of incorporation with the main website were also potential fall-downs. Plus, given the fact that streaming live video from a mobile phone is a relatively cumbersome task, power and glitches could be a problem.
Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised upon installing and opening UStream.