I spent more time playing with Chromecast this weekend while also contemplating the ongoing CBS blackout for Time Warner subscribers. At the moment, CBS is also blocking access to its shows on CBS.com for TWC subs. However, there is some legal argument that the network shouldn’t be able to discriminate against a specific set of viewers online. If that notion ever gains traction, then online access could be a viable alternative to watching CBS on cable.
Which led me to test out streaming from the CBS website. With Chromecast.
The good news is that casting the CBS stream to your TV is extremely easy. Switch TV inputs, open up CBS in your Chrome browser, click the Google Cast button, and you’re good to go. The bad news is that the video quality is atrocious. I’m not a pixel snob, but I was on the verge of getting nauseous trying to watch the disjointed playback.
In theory, using Chromecast to watch network television is an appealing cable alternative. But there are several practical drawbacks. There’s not a lot of linear content available. Where there is linear content, it looks like broadcasters want to put it behind a pay wall. And finally, the streaming quality is bad enough to make you long for an adjustable antenna.
Bottom line: Want to watch YouTube with Chromecast? It looks great. Want to stream CBS to your TV? Don’t bother.