Why We’re Loving Netflix + ChromeCast

posted by Andrea | 06/6/2014

netflix+chromecast

Just to be clear, Dave and I have never been huge TV watchers. We both have followed certain week-night shows over the years, but we are definitely NOT the type to just sit and veg-out in front of the TV (even if we had  nothing else to do).

After having kids, our TV watching went from a couple shows a week to sometimes catching the evening news — if we were lucky! Even if we got Nora in bed before 11:00pm and just wanted to sit and relax for a half hour, there was nothing good on anyway (we’ve always had the most basic, BASIC cable package we can find because we can actually get internet cheaper when we pair it with cable).

Anyway, this past Fall, my sister told us about Google ChromeCast and how they purchased the $35 device and then used it to stream Netflix to their TV. Dave and I were instantly intrigued and did a little research ourselves. We used some Staples Rewards money to get the ChromeCast USB device for only $1, and then did a free trial of both Netflix and Amazon Prime to see which one we’d like best.

It didn’t take us long to decide that Netflix fit our TV needs/wants a lot better than Amazon Prime, so we canceled the Prime membership before the trial was up and stuck with Netflix.

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I think it’s safe to say that our entire family has enjoyed using Netflix with our ChromeCast these past few months, as we can now watch a few of our favorite shows when and where it’s convenient for us.

Here are just a few reasons why we’re loving Netflix + ChromeCast…

NOTE: This post is not sponsored in any way :)

1. Nora can watch Daniel Tiger any time.

I realize some of you don’t let your kids watch TV… and I applaud you for that. But honestly, I don’t think I’d make it through the day if I didn’t let Nora watch a few episodes of her most FAVORITE show ever.

Before we had Netflix and ChromeCast, I would literally plan our day around the fact that Daniel Tiger was on at 11:00am. I’d make sure we were home by 11:00 so she could watch that show, then we’d eat lunch, read books, and I’d start the LONG process of trying to get her to lay down for a nap.

Now, we can watch Daniel Tiger whenever it’s convenient for us (like when I’m feeding Simon and she’s squirting multiple pumps of my nice lotion all over the place).

This in itself is 100% worth the $7.99 monthly Netflix fee :)

2. Dave and I can watch a favorite show when it’s convenient.

Like I mentioned before, we don’t watch a ton of TV, but we both have a few favorite shows. We both really liked The Office, Friends, This Old House, and we recently got hooked on Cake Boss.

It’s so nice to be able to watch one episode of a favorite show or rerun when there’s nothing else on and we just want to watch something other than bad reality TV, Judge Judy, the NEWS, or some type of crime-related drama.

3. “Free” movies!

Netflix doesn’t have every movie, but they have a lot of them! And it’s been really fun to watch part or all of a movie on a long weekend or over Dave’s spring break. We haven’t watched many movies yet, but I’m guessing we’ll probably use this feature more now that Dave is off of school for the summer.

They also have tons of kids’ movies, which Nora really isn’t old enough for — but again, it will probably be very useful in a few years.

4. We can stream shows from our phone, iPad or computer.

With a traditional Netflix membership, you can either order movies in the mail or watch them on your computer, iPad, or Phone. However, when you pair Netflix with ChromeCast, you can stream anything you’re watching via the Netflix App directly to the ChromeCast device on your TV.

This means I can scroll through shows on my phone while I’m feeding Simon or while Nora is napping on my lap without having to move a muscle or disturb any little people around me. It also means I can watch that show on our nice big TV instead of squinting to see it on my phone or iPad… AND that if I start watching a show on the TV, I can easily pause it… and then start watching it again on my phone, or iPad.

5. It stops after each episode.

I absolutely LOVE that the whole program shuts down after each individual show.

This means that in order to watch another episode, you need to manually open the Netflix app again and select the next episode. This also means that it’s much less likely that we’ll get sucked in to watching one episode after another. We can watch one and then be done and move on to more productive activities :)

6. No commercials!

I don’t think I need to elaborate on how wonderful this feature is!

I can watch a 30 minute show in about 21 minutes, and a 1 hour show in about 46 minutes.

 

The one downside to Netflix is that we can’t watch any current shows or movies — but that hasn’t bothered us too much. We love watching reruns of our favorite shows — and they have some pretty good cooking and travel shows too (yes, we’re nerds like that).

I realize Netflix and ChromeCast aren’t for everyone, but the pair has certainly been beneficial for us with a new baby around and lots more down time on the couch holding him.

We love that ChromeCast doesn’t have any recurring fees and that the Netflix fee is quite reasonable — especially when you consider the cost of more expensive cable, DVR, etc. etc.

I’m sure in the long-run, this duo probably decreases our productivity a little bit — but I know I regularly use it as a “reward system” where if I get a certain amount of things crossed off my list, I’ll watch one 21-minute episode of something before bed (while I’m making my to-do list for the next day!)

Do you use ChromeCast, Neflix, Amazon Prime, or any other programs like this?

If so, which ones are your favorites?

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30 comments

  1. lydia @ five4fivemeals

    06/06/2014

    I don’t know if that is like Roku, but you can get the PBS kids “channel” and watch a ton of free episodes plus little clips and features..

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve heard of Roku but never looked into it. Right now, we can get a bunch of PBS kids shows via Netflix… and we can get a bunch more right from PBS.com — which we can then stream right to our TV via the ChromeCast (as long as we go to PBS.org via Chrome and not FireFox or Internet Explorer)

    [Reply]

  2. Eileen

    06/06/2014

    Hi Andrea, I’m a relatively new reader of your blog. We also have chromecast and love it. The simplicity of using it with an iPad is really nice.

    I wanted to mention (and now I’m not even sure which blog post it was that gave me the idea), that we just bought a used (but works and in fine condition) a GE glass cooktop from Craigslist. I’ve purchased things via CL from time to time, but I honestly hadn’t even thought about looking for a used cooktop (ours was working, but had cracked and was getting larger). We were able to find one that was exactly like ours. I bet I haven’t even gone into the CL Appliance section before!

    Brand new GE cooktops were 700-800, replacement glass (which would have to be installed) was $350, the CLer was asking $400, we got it for $250. I really have to remember to look there first…it saved us SO much money and we’ve got a nicer cooktop than we’ve had for quite awhile (due to the crack). Thanks for the reminder to give CL a look!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — awesome deal on the cooktop! I’m in the habit now where I almost always go to Craigslist first — before I even look at any store. It doesn’t matter what I need, I always check craigslist first :)

    [Reply]

  3. Laurel

    06/06/2014

    I couldn’t live without Amazon Prime, not so much for the shows, but for the free shipping. I order so much and never have to wait until I have gotten $25 worth for free shipping. The shows are an added side benefit. I had to chuckle and it made me think back when you said that you may watch less TV now with the kids than you did before. When I was in the midst of having our four kids, I knew nothing that was going on in the world. The Persian Gulf War came and went and I had no idea, Presidental elections occured and I knew about those, but not much else. Cracks me up, because now that my kids are teenagers and young adults, I am the biggest news junkie. Just depends on your stage in life. Oh, and as far as TV viewing, we ended up with a major deal on ATT UVerse. We love it, especially the DVR and all of the added features. It’s one of those things that you don’t know what you’re missing until you have it and then can’t see being without it unless you had to. Kind of like Smart Phones. I don’t have one and don’t see the need, but probably if I were to get one, I wouldn’t want to not have one.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes I agree — Dave and I never had smart phones until 2 years ago and now we would NEVER want to live without them. We’ve never had fancy TV — mainly because we both know that if we ever tried it, we’d be hooked forever :)

    [Reply]

  4. Yvonne

    06/06/2014

    Hi Andrea, We took the plunge a few years ago and canceled our cable TV. I ordered a ROKU & Netflix. I absolutely love not having to watch commercials, the convenience of watching what I want when I want, and the variety of shows. One of my favorite shows right now is Mcleod’s Daughters. BTW, love your blog! I’ve been a fan for a few years now.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Yvonne! I’m not sure Dave would let me ever totally get rid of cable TV (he’s a NEWS junky) but I personally love the idea!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    If he is just into watching local news channels like ABC, NBC ect. you might want to check into a HDTV antenna. We got rid of our cable and got a ROKU but still wanted to watch some football in the fall and are able to get most of the games (minus those on ESPN) with the antenna. I think we paid like $20 for it at Best Buy with an Amazon price match.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jennifer. I’ll tell Dave to look into this!

    [Reply]

  5. Meg

    06/06/2014

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile and really enjoy reading your take on things. I noticed that you’ve started to qualify everything a lot lately with “this works for me but may not work for everyone” types of statements. I’m sure you have opinionated readers that must give you some blowback, but I wish you didn’t feel the need to do this. It’s a post about Netflix, for Pete’s sake! Don’t let the naysayers change how you write your blog. It’s great just the way it is.

    [Reply]

  6. Tari

    06/06/2014

    Hi Andrea!
    I like your review on the Google chrome cast, I’d been thinking about getting one, since we have youth kids over at our house all the time, and they all gather around a tiny screen to watch a funny video on the smartphone. I’ll have to look into that. We have both Netfilx, and Amazon Prime. I would like to have one service, but some of the shows are on only one or the other, annnnnd I am a terrible gift giver- both in timing and in gift choice, so the 2 day shipping has saved my bacon more than once on getting my nieces and nephews birthday presents, as well as many other things I buy online. I agree, the time saver factor is key for me. We don’t have cable, but we do have internet, and a small antenna (from Amazon haha) to get local channels. (we love having our friend over to watch 24!)

    [Reply]

  7. Jen

    06/06/2014

    We currently have Netflix and find it well worth the small monthly fee. We’ve watched quality TV shows and movies that we probably would never have heard of had they not been on Netflix. We stream Netflix through our Wii console, so I’m not sure if the Chrome Cast would add any additional features for us, but I appreciate the information and your review of it nonetheless. We keep throwing around the idea of getting rid of our cable package too but I haven’t quite convinced my husband he’d be okay without it :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey jen, It sounds like you have a pretty good system going — however, I thought I’d mention that with ChromeCast, you can show ANYTHING from your computer’s internet to the TV (as long as you are doing it in Chrome). You can scroll through email and facebook, you can show YouTube videos, you can even browse your photos on Flicker. Also, you can go to various TV-related websites (like HGTV or This Old House) and watch full episodes of their shows directly from their website (in Chrome). We’ve definitely enjoyed that part of using ChromeCast too!

    [Reply]

  8. Amanda

    06/06/2014

    We also love our Chromecast and Netflix – and Daniel Tiger is a big part of that, but they also have along with PBS have a few Veggie Tales, some old Mickey Mouse. I love that I can always find stuff to watch too. I love that I can operate it from our tablet or phones (we’re android people) or our computers. Also, we have some movies/shows that we have digitally stored on our computer, and we have another app that allows those to be streamed through the Chromecast on our network as well.

    We have amazon prime, but my primary complaint about prime video is that I can’t stream it to my TV. I can plug a computer into the TV, but it’s kind of a pain, and it means that I can’t use my laptop while we’re using amazon prime (like if I were trying to get some work done while our son is watching a show, as I also work from home)

    Like you, we’ll never truly be able to “cut the cord” because we’re huge sports people, so we need our ESPN, FoxSports, and Big 10 Network… it’s unfortunate, but it’s our reality.

    [Reply]

  9. Leigh

    06/06/2014

    We do pretty much the same thing with our roku, Netflix and our preschoolers. They recommend Kipper the Dog and the PBS kids app.
    We had no brodcast for 10 years, then got it last month for the ramp up to the World Cup, after which it will go. I found that all I use if for is recording a few shows I was watching on netflix to watch later.

    [Reply]

  10. Melinda

    06/06/2014

    We have the ChromeCast, Netflix, Amazon Prime, AND (once my husband opens his Father’s day gift) the Amazon streaming device. The Chromecast is great…except it doesn’t stream Amazon Prime and, frankly, there is just much more on Amazon Prime than on Netflix that interests us. I do like being able to put kids shows on for my children, so we use the Chromecast in our family room and, once we have the other device open, we’ll use that upstairs.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ah yes — I forgot to mention that Amazon Prime doesn’t work with ChromeCast — so stupid don’t you think!

    Anyway, I’m sure your hubby will be thrilled with his father’s day gift :)

    [Reply]

  11. Erica

    06/06/2014

    I have Netflix membership, and I got an Amazon Prime membership for my birthday. I like watching some stuff on Netflix, but I have yet to stream any movies or TV shows with my Amazon Prime membership – so far all I’ve used that for is to check out a few books from the Lending Library and order a few things for my husband and I that are eligible for Prime. How do you like the ChromeCast device? Is it different watching Netflix through Chromecast than it is on a regular TV?

    [Reply]

  12. Jenni/Life from the Roof

    06/06/2014

    Thanks for your review on Chrome – I had always wondered what it was exactly :).

    We have the Roku + Amazon Prime right now, and while I think Netflix probably has a better selection of movies, we use the Prime shipping all the time (and my husband has a student deal for one more year where it’s only $49/year). Even once it’s back up to $79/year, I think we will still go for the prime mainly for the shipping. We might be moving soon where our shopping would be even more limited locally, and having Prime would make our lives a lot easier.

    Our budget was tight enough that we couldn’t afford both Netflix and Prime, but down the road we might add it back in. I use it like you – for my kids’ shows. We also watch lots of the BBC series like Downton Abbey, etc. The Roku has a PBS channel which allows you to watch even current episodes if you don’t have time to watch them when they air. I kind of like that they don’t have too much of a selection, as it encourages me to find other ways to entertain myself :).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I’m tempted to “splurge” for the Amazon Prime too (for the free shipping) — but so far, I’ve been able to manage. I just wait until I have at least $25 or $35 worth of stuff to order and I get free shipping anyway. Definitely something to think about though :)

    [Reply]

  13. Heart and Haven

    06/06/2014

    We went for 9 months with no cable. I had committed to a summer, but we went longer than I had anticipated. We did enjoy more time as a family, but I did miss the PBS shows for my kids – they really do learn so much from those. It would have been great to have Chromecast as an option when we cut our cable! We eventually went with DISH (really good initial promo price) as my family enjoys watching American Idol as a family, etc. After our promo price expired, it’s not the cheapest option. Our contract has now expired, and we’ve considered cheaper options again, but we are spoiled by it now, haha. (If we were trying to pay off cc debt, etc. we know this could be an area we can save extra $$). Not gonna lie, I also enjoy watching some of the “bad reality tv shows”, lol. My husband usually watches some of “his” shows via Hulu during his lunch breaks on his computer. We have Netflix for movies (we still get them mailed, not streaming option). I don’t use it as much as we used to, but I do like their queue system so we automatically get the next movie shipped after we’ve returned the previous one.
    And I really don’t think you need to justify “less productive time” watching a few shows a week. A few shows a week to enjoy some downtime (especially as a “reward” for completing tasks) is completely reasonable. I’m a believer in moderation is the key. And hey, you can always call watching episodes of This Old House as “research” for projects on your house (which you eventually blog about), lol!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I used to enjoy reality TV more, but I’ve been really annoyed with it lately. not sure why??

    And I LOVE your justification for watching This Old House! it’s probably one of my favorite shows to watch because they go into such detail about all their projects. However, I’d love to know the budgets for some of their renovations. They don’t broadcast the budgets — but I know that one time, they did a $500,000 kitchen renovation. Are you kidding me!

    [Reply]

  14. Jaime

    06/06/2014

    We’ve been trying to work up the nerve to cut the cord. My favorite show on Netflix is Psych–highly reccommend it!

    [Reply]

  15. Eric West | Rethinking the Dream

    06/07/2014

    We gave up on cable tv a long time ago and have been using Netflix since before they offered streaming. We do the disk in the mail as well as the streaming, and since we do both, we bought a sony blu-ray player. It streams netflix and can do also do the dvds.

    I agree with your take on Amazon prime. The interface is difficult to use and it doesn’t have the selection that Netflix offers.

    [Reply]

  16. Debbie W.

    06/07/2014

    Is a person able to watch the nightly news through these? That has always been my husband’s hesitation for switching over to something like this. He watches the 6:30 news every night, and we don’t live close enough to any TV stations to be able to get it just with an antenna. We use Direct TV, but even their cheapest package is so expensive! Oh yeah, and my little girl loves Daniel Tiger too! It is such a cute show!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    No — live sports and the news are not available via Netflix — which is why we haven’t canceled cable yet. Those are basically the only two things we watch on regular TV anymore.

    [Reply]

  17. Nena

    06/07/2014

    Love netflix!! my 4 year old loves my big big friend!

    [Reply]

  18. Verity

    06/08/2014

    I love Leapfrog for my kids! I had worked and worked with my son on letter sounds, but Phonics farm just helped it all click, and we sing some of their number songs together now as he’s learning to count by twos.

    Do you find that you watch more TV now that you have the accessibility of Netflix?

    That has been a time-wasting temptation.

    [Reply]

  19. Nora

    06/09/2014

    We have been without cable for 4 years, now. We love netflix, as well. We had been using Hulu for a lot of the more current shows;however you can’t block certain advertisements. We kept getting planned parenthood commercials and birth control commercials showing up during kids programming. We didn’t want to explain STD’s, “Choice”, and birth control options to 3, 6, 8 year old kids. Having to answer your 3 year old’s question “What is Plan B?” is not how you want to start family night:( Hulu told us that there was nothing that we could do to stop those advertisements. So we closed our account.

    [Reply]