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Technology Today - Google Chromecast and Internet Security

By Robert Sanborn

It is amazing how one thing leads to another. I finally gave up Spectrum cable as the cost was getting too high and AT&T finally installed a fiber optic network through my neighborhood. The deal they gave me saves me $700 the first year so I couldn’t resist. Of course, getting used to the fact that the DVR is different, no saved programs or movies, but the internet is so much faster made it worth the difference. 

Comes baseball season and I discover that AT&T Uverse does not make MLB Extra Innings available and that is a problem because all of us really like to watch our Red Sox Baseball. Never mind how they are doing right now but last season was a blast and fun to watch so I wanted to subscribe again this year. I know I am stuck buying the MLB At bat package and I am ok with that but how to get it to the television becomes the tricky part.

The small LCD TV in the spare bedroom that no one watches except for the occasional guest does not have the Cable box. Just didn’t like the idea of spending $10 per month for a television that no one watches. But it is a four year old Samsung and does have an ethernet connection in the back and as luck holds out, I had a jack in the room; ran a cable; and I can log into the MLB App that is on the TV. One down.

The Office TV is a slightly larger Toshiba with a cable DVR and so I will leave it for last. The main TV in the Living Room is a 10 year old plasma TV from Panasonic and while it has all sorts of connectors; there are no internal Apps. It does have a 2018 vintage, so not that old, Sony BlueRay player that does have all sorts of Apps but not the MLB App. What it does have is the old Miracast technology that seems to like pairing with my Android phone but when I start the MLB app with a game in it, refuses to display it on the TV. What a pain. Miracast is supposed to be a pretty universal application for all sorts of devices but in this case, doesn’t work. Needless to say, I am quite disappointed with the Sony.

So the next step is to get a Google Chromecast. There seems to be several versions out there; a second and third generation that look identical; and a Chromecast Ultra that supports 4K video. For older TVs, go with the third generation device that I picked up at Target for $35.

It comes with its own USB charging cord, an AC Block, and the device. It is as simple as finding a spare HDMI slot on the TV and plugging it all together. There is a little power LED on the Chromecast device to let you know it is getting power. Of course since the two HDMI slots on my TV were occupied by the cable box and the BlueRay, I was in a little bit of a panic till I remembered there is a third HDMI connector on the front behind the hidden control buttons. So, tell the TV to go to the HDMI port number 3; then download the Google Home app on my phone, fire it up and it starts to look for devices that it can connect to and settles on the Chromecast unit. It also finds out your WIFI connection from your phone and sets up the TV. It brings up a neat little YouTube video to show you how it all works and you are ready to go. I fire up the MLB App, get my game going, hit the Chromecast icon and the game shows up quite clearly on my TV.  In fact, I noticed that the streaming to this TV is much more reliable than the built in app in the Samsung upstairs which is directly connected to ethernet and my network so should be even faster and more reliable. Go figure.


I haven’t even gone into everything else that I can cast to my TV from the phone and as long as the baseball games are there, I am good to go. What is even better and I can’t wait to try; to watch an in market game. I think all I have to do is to fire up the VPN, tell it to use a California source, and then I could even watch the Cubs. So far after watching several full games, the phone battery is still over 60% and there has not been a single blip in the video which is excellent.  Best $35 I have spent in a long time.

Internet Security Choices

From CES was a couple of interesting companies to chat with and see.   First was Bitdefender. They make a very good internet security package that is quite highly rated for your devices that will also cover Android, IOS, Apple, Linux, and of course Windows computers.  A Romanian company that is now part of the EU so they must adhere to strict EU Privacy policies. This gives them a leg up on some businesses and individuals that are concerned how much sway a government might have over a company like Kaspersky. Besides the software, they also have the BitDefender Box that protects all of your connected devices such as is connected from the Internet of Things (IOT) that do not have their own protection. You can read a review of it here.

Did you know that of the top 10 internet security companies, eight are based outside of the United States?

Avast Internet Security is based in Prague, Czech Republic
AVG Ultimate is based in the Netherlands but now owned by Avast
Bitdefender Total Security is from Romania
BullGuard is from London UK
F-Secure Total is from Helsinki Finland
Kaspersky Total Security is a Russian Company
McAfee Live Safe is from the USA
Panda Dome Advanced is based in Spain
Symantec Norton Security is from the USA
Trend Micro Maximum Security is based in Tokyo Japan

Three to also look at are:

Avira Internet Security Suite is based out of Germany
Sophos Home Premium who is based out of Britain
Webroot Secure Anywhere is from the USA now owned by Carbonite of Boston MA.

My Three favorite at this point are: Kaspersky Total Security, Symantec Norton Security, and Bitdefender Total Security.

Robert Sanborn

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