Chromecast VS Nexus Player: Which One is Better?

Nowadays people are more interested in smart TVs than conventional TVs. Smart TV provides a convenient way to stream content without increasing the number of TVs in your house. If you have a conventional TV then there is nothing to worry about because there are several devices available that you can use to turn your normal TV into a smart TV. Two such devices are the Chromecast and the Nexus Player.

Both Chromecast and Nexus Player is a product of Google and they are no longer new to the digital streaming market. Though they are from the same developer, they aren’t the same. Both Chromecast and Nexus Player can be connected to a TV and you can play media contents. In 2016, Google stopped the production of Nexus Player and Chromecast took its place. However, the Nexus Player is still available in the market thanks to different third-parties. Many users find it a bit difficult to choose which one to buy between Chromecast and Nexus Player. For such reason, in this article, I have discussed the difference between Chromecast and Nexus Player and compare their features so that you can pick the best one for you.

What is Chromecast?

The Chromecast is a digital TV streamer that enables a user to stream movies, TV shows, and other video content, on their TVs. You can use your phone, tablet, or laptop as a remote to play content from Netflix, Google Play, YouTube, and other sources. You have to connect the Chromecast to the TV and can stream videos through the HDMI. This device is very easy to use. Simply plug-in the device on your TV’s HDMI port and connect it to the internet. If you are looking for the simplest, cheapest, and most elegant solutions for streaming content to your TV the Chromecast is the best option for you.

What is a Nexus Player?

The Nexus Player is a digital player that is the updated version and comes in the market as the re-branding of Google TV. The Nexus Player lets a user watch movies, TV shows, listen to music or radio, and access all the favorite apps. Nexus Player also allows user screencasting the phone just like Chromecast. The best part of Nexus Player is; it supports voice control so you can easily control anything on your TV. But, if you are not comfortable with voice control then you can buy an optional remote control and use it for playing video games or doing other tasks. You can connect as many as four remotes at once on Nexus Player and play games.

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Key Differences between Chromecast and Nexus Player

  1. Chromecast supports both micro USB and HDMI port but the Nexus Player supports standard USB and HDMI port.
  2. Nexus Player has 2 GB of RAM while the Chromecast has 1 GB of RAM.
  3. You will need an external device to use the Chromecast device; on the other hand, the Nexus Player doesn’t require a controller.
  4. Nexus Player supports game playing but Chromecast doesn’t offer any game playing support.
  5. Chromecast requires additional setup to stream content to the HD TV but the Nexus Player does not require this type of setup.
  6. Nexus Player supports voice control so you can control anything without a remote control. On the other hand, Chromecast doesn’t support voice control so you will need the remote control.
  7. Nexus Player supports playing games with the gamepad however Chromecast doesn’t support any gamepad.
  8. Nexus Player has a simplified user-interface while Chromecast has no interface at all.
  9. Chromecast is available in various colors so you can pick your favorite color from the available options but it is not possible for Nexus Player.
  10. Chromecast supports Ethernet port which is not available for Nexus Player so you will get the buffering issue from the Nexus Player.

Similarities between Chromecast and Nexus Player

  1. Both Chromecast and Nexus Player support dual-band Wi-Fi. So both the Chromecast and Nexus Player support HD quality streaming at a faster rate.
  2. Both these devices support casting contents from Android or iOS smartphones to the TV.
  3. With Chromecast and Nexus Player you can easily stream contents from a wide range of apps to watch movies, music, TV shows, listening radios, etc.

Detailed Comparison of Chromecast and Nexus Player

Software Support

Both Chromecast and Nexus Player have a distinct operational procedure like the Chromecast requires a tablet or smartphone to cast content to the television. Chromecast comes with a mobile app that creates an ad hoc connection to your wireless network and allows you to stream your favorite show or movie to your TV. On the other hand, the Nexus Player works autonomously. It means the Nexus Player is not dependent on other devices or apps like the Chromecast. Nexus Player comes with a remote control but you can also download a virtual remote control and use it if you want.

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Both Chromecast and Nexus Player support a wide range of applications. There are numerous media libraries and television stations available from where you can stream content to your television. For example, you can stream various types of content from YouTube that range from movies to music videos. If you are using Nexus Player you can use the remote control to navigate through the apps. On the other hand, if you are using the Chromecast then you have to use the smartphone or other smart devices to navigate through the apps.

Hardware and Technology

The Nexus Player is a standalone product but the problem with Nexus Player is its limited connectivity. Nexus Player has a single HDMI port so you can connect it either to your stereo or to your television. Moreover, your connections have to support the HDCP or it simply won’t work. There is also a Standard USB port available on this player that is mostly used by engineers or developers, to install new firmware updates. Nexus Player supports Bluetooth keyboards and some additional gamepad to play games. Generally, the Nexus Player supports simple games available from the Play Store, but if you want to play high configuration games then you have to look for more advanced devices.

The hardware of Chromecast is not as robust as the Nexus Player but it performs accordingly what it’s designed to do. Chromecast can play videos in 1080p without any lag or buffering. When you connect the Chromecast to a soundbar, you can get Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 quality from the unit. There is a micro USB port available in the Chromecast that is used for power. Chromecast doesn’t run on Android so you can’t download and apps from Google Play store.

User Design and Performance

There are significant differences between the user design and performance of Chromecast and Nexus Player. For example, when you connect the Chromecast and enters daydream mode, it will show images at certain intervals, along with the time and the network the device is connected to. This is what you will get from the Chromecast until you tell it what to do. On the other hand, The nexus player has a design that includes a two-dimensional menu that offers a few YouTube recommendations for your day.

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When you install a few other apps from the Google Play store on Nexus Player, you’ll get more than just a few suggestions from the YouTube app. Once you have set up everything, you can use the voice search to find movies featuring your favorite actors. For Nexus Players, the performance mostly depends on the quality of the internet connection. So as long as you have plenty of bandwidth, there is nothing to worry about. The same is also for Chromecast. If you have a high-speed internet connection then you will get an excellent streaming performance from the Chromecast. Moreover, you won’t face any trouble streaming your favorite apps from your smartphone or tablet to the device.

FAQs about Chromecast and Nexus Player

How do I install APK on the Nexus player?

If you have the APK on your PC that you want to install on your Nexus Player then transfer it on a USB thumb drive. Now insert the USB drive into the back of the Nexus Player, then launch the file explorer app you have on your device. Now locate the APK file and launch it. Now follow the on-screen instructions to install the APK onto the Nexus Player.

Is there a monthly fee when using the Chromecast?

No matter which Chromecast you have, the only thing you’ll pay is the initial cost of the device itself. There are no subscription fees or monthly fees you have to pay when using the Chromecast. If you are using any premium streaming apps like Hulu or Netflix then you have to pay their subscription fees.

Which is the best Chromecast device?

The Chromecast Ultra has considered as the best Chromecast device thanks to its amazing features. The Chromecast Ultra can handle 4K HDR streaming, so it’s also more than capable of 1080p with quick start-up and streaming compared to other Chromecast devices. If you are looking for a device to stream in 4K then it’s worth spending little extra money on Chromecast Ultra.

Final Thought

So which of these streaming devices is best for you depends on your requirements. If you love streaming multimedia contents from different online services then Chromecast is the right option for you. However, if you are a gaming enthusiast, then opt for the Nexus Player because it will let you play games with the gamepad on the big screen. Now the choice is yours!                                                    

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