Gadgets

Google’s New Media Player

By
From the October 2013 issue of Columbus CEO

Movies, TV shows—videos, in general—were meant to be viewed on big screens.

Sure, you might settle for watching that content on a small tablet, smartphone screen or laptop when traveling from point A to point B. However, once you’re settled in a hotel room, your home or in the company of friends, that big flat-screen TV is just begging to be put to work.

Chromecast ($35 at Best Buy, www.amazon.com or www.google.com/chromecast is the most portable, not to mention cheapest, of today’s leading streaming media players. Apple TV is the best, but costs about three times as much. Roku (two to three times the price, depending on model) and Boxee (four times the price) are strong products as well.

Leading the pack in portability, Chromecast needs no remote. Its power source can be an electrical outlet or a USB port if your TV has one. The gadget itself plugs into the TV’s HDMI slot. After a quick setup routine to connect to a local Wi-Fi source, you’ll be streaming content from Netflix, Google Play, YouTube and a Chrome Web browser from any PC, smartphone or tablet onto that spacious TV screen. In fact, the device can stream content from anyone else’s smartphone, tablet or PC without additional setup steps.

It doesn’t matter if your mobile device/PC/Mac runs Android, iOS, Chrome for Mac or Chrome for Windows, Chromecast will work with them all.

And at a pocket-sized 1.1 ounces and shaped like a thumb drive, portability is its “superpower.” It supports high-definition videos up to 1080p resolution.

The software will certainly be updated over time to accommodate content from many more sources on your phone, tablet or computer.

Demand for this gadget has been so high since its debut that Best Buy stores were out of stock and the Google Play Store and Amazon were quoting anywhere from one to three months from order to shipping as of mid-August.

Phil Pikelny is vice president of Dispatch Digital and chief marketing officer of The Dispatch Printing Company.



Heated Suitcase

There have been lots of features added to suitcases over the past decades, but for the first time ever ThermalStrike has come out with a heated suitcase.

Available from www.skymall.com, there is a 20-inch carry-on version ($349) and a 24-inch upright model ($399). Each can be set to reach temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Why, you ask?

One reason might be toasty underwear or socks for your travels to the frigid north. ThermalStrike, however, touts the fact that heat is guaranteed to kill bedbugs (they die at 125 degrees F). Both bags plug into any 110-volt socket. If you are bedbug phobic, you’ll be glad to know these bags are TSA- and FAA-compliant.

 

 

Gambler’s Paradise

You can use your new set of luggage to travel like an international jetsetter, visiting the world’s top dozen casinos in eight different cities over four weeks. This gambler’s dream vacation offered online by www.veryfirstto.com costs only $149,000.

While the price may be steep, you’ll be treated to junior suites at the hotels and business-class air travel. Destinations include Las Vegas, Connecticut, Atlantic City, Macao, Monaco, Germany, the Bahamas and Argentina.

Veryfirstto.com will throw in £100 (about $155) every day to bet online with InterCasino.com, with 50 percent of the winnings going to charity.

If you decide to go, say “hi” to James Bond for me.