One of the benefits of buying the Google Nexus Seven was getting £15 worth of credit for the Google Play store. The reason behind this was simple, from Google’s perspective, in getting you use to buying stuff from Google Play, so in future after exhausting the credit you’ll buy more.
I wanted to get a good idea of how everything worked… however here in the UK we get nowhere near the quality and quantity of stuff you can get in the US. So it was actually quite hard to find things. True apps were easy and I had already bought apps for my Nexus One phone, so the majority of these could be installed on the Nexus Seven without buying them again. One app I did install was Doubletwist which as well as allowing me to very easily copy music over to the Nexus Seven from iTunes on my Mac, can also stream video using AirPlay to my AppleTV. After installing I did test it out and I was pleased with how it worked. I used a clip that I had recorded using EyeTV and encoded for the iPhone as it happens. No it wasn’t 1080p HD, but the video quality was certainly acceptable and the wireless streaming worked well.
I did buy a book to try out the reading experience and was quite pleased. It was a similar experience to reading on the iPad, but the size of the device, been lighter than the iPad, made the reading experience easier, whilst the bigger screen made it a much nicer experience than reading on a phone. Of course, unlike Kindle books, it wasn’t possible to move around devices as you can with Kindle apps and devices.
I also wanted to try video from Google Play, alas you can’t buy films, only rent them (and no television programmes). I really can’t see Google Play replacing iTunes for me, as it doesn’t have the content that you can get on iTunes. Having decided to rent a film, I made the decision to rent Pirates from Aardman.
Having initially clicked “buy” on the Nexus Seven I could have started watching straight away… knowing the (poor) speed of my ADSL connection I decided not to. You could download your rental, so decided that would be more sensible than streaming. I set the Nexus Seven to download overnight and when I checked the next morning it was all fine.
With renting, you have 30 days to watch the film, and once you start watching you just have just two days to watch it. So though I was tempted to have a glimpse to see video quality I knew if I did that I would probably never to get to see the rest of the film.
When we got round to watching it, I spent a fair bit of time working out how to stream the film from the Nexus Seven, via AirPlay through the AppleTV to my TV. Hmmm though it is possible to do this with video you put on the device, alas DoubleTwist does not allow you to stream videos protected by Google Play DRM. There is no HDMI out, or any other video out for the Nexus Seven, making it nigh on impossible to view the video on a screen other than the Nexus Seven screen. In the end we watched Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs on Netflix instead straight from the AppleTV.
Not wanting to try and all crowd round the 7” screen of the Nexus Seven I tried to think of a solution. In the end it was quite easy. I went to Google Play on Chrome on my MacBook Retina which has an HDMI slot, connected it to the TV direct. Initially I wasn’t allowed to stream as I had downloaded it on the Nexus Seven… I found if I removed that downloaded file from the Nexus Seven then Google Play would stream from Chrome on the laptop.
Doing this allowed me to change the resolution to 480p. I was initially worried that my slow ADSL connection would cause buffering issues, however in the end we didn’t have single buffering problem.
I was impressed with the quality of the video, it looked great on my 40” TV. My only disappointment was that I was forced away from the Nexus Seven to watch it and use another device. As a personal device, the Nexus Seven is great for watching video, but if everyone in the family wants to watch the video then unlike the iPad the Nexus Seven didn’t work for us.