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Toss-up: Kogan TV dongle v Google Chromecast

Date

Adam Turner

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Connecting a television to the internet is easy using either of these gadgets.

Google Chromecast.

Google Chromecast.

Google Chromecast
Around $38 plus delivery
www.google.com/chromecast

Kogan Agora Smart TV QuadCore HDMI Dongle
$99
www.kogan.com/au

These tiny dongles link your television to the world. Plug one of these in and it wirelessly connects your television with computers, smartphones or tablets, so that whatever you watch on the device appears on your television screen. Once connected to your home Wi-Fi network they stream video from your devices or pull content from the web.

Kogan Agora Smart TV QuadCore HDMI Dongle.

Kogan Agora Smart TV QuadCore HDMI Dongle.

Google and Kogan's dongles plug straight into your television's HDMI port. They also feature a micro-USB slot for drawing power from a USB port or an AC adaptor.

The Kogan runs Android 4.2 like a smartphone or tablet, letting you watch videos from Google Play, YouTube and third-party apps. Alternatively the Kogan can stream video from around your home using DLNA or apps like Plex. There's also a WifiDisplay screen mirroring app which supports Miracast video streaming from Windows 8.1 and some Android devices.

Meanwhile the Chromecast doesn't run apps. Instead you can mirror any tab from the Chrome browser running on a PC, Mac or Chromebook including Flash-based Catch Up TV services. The picture looks much better than the Kogan.

You can also stream video to the Chromecast from a handful of smartphone/tablet apps including Google's Music and Movie stores, YouTube, Netflix and HuluPlus. To tap into Netflix you need to run a network-level Virtual Private Network.

Verdict

The Kogan is more flexible than the Chromecast, but Kogan's picture quality is mediocre. The Kogan is also more cumbersome to use and less stable, with a habit of occasionally crashing. Android fans might be happy to tinker with the Kogan, but the Chromecast's Chrome tab mirroring is easier if you’re looking for something that "just works".

5 comments so far

  • "Chromecast is not available in your country"

    And when it is, I'm guessing it'll be around $90+. If Kogan can justify his price, you can bet Google will, too.

    Commenter
    Steven
    Location
    Hobart
    Date and time
    December 02, 2013, 9:37AM
    • Ordered one from the "fishpond" site (books etc) a couple of weeks ago. All up cost with delivery was $50AUD.Looks like the unit gets sent from the US.

      Commenter
      JIM
      Location
      Bayside
      Date and time
      December 02, 2013, 11:06AM
  • In my experience, Kogan products are generally cheap and nasty..

    Commenter
    HighlyDubious
    Date and time
    December 02, 2013, 10:38AM
    • I got hold of a Chromecast a few weeks back. It is a great little piece of technology and it integrates beautifully with Chrome and YouTube

      Commenter
      Timbo
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 02, 2013, 12:30PM
      • So will the Chrome send dvd output that you are watching on your computer to the TV screen?

        Commenter
        njgarde
        Date and time
        December 02, 2013, 1:40PM

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