Bought a Google Chromecast. Got tired of having an HDMI cable running across my living room floor, plus theoretically I can leave the laptop upstairs in the office and play movies. Haven't tried that part but so far I'm liking it.
Thing 1: Drag a movie into a Chrome browser window tab, it starts playing (if it's the right format), then click the Chromecast button and it plays on the TV. Mostly I can then use my phone to pause or restart if I need to take a break. I like it. (I say mostly because a couple times when I've cleared the notification bar on my phone the Chromecast controls have also disappeared and I haven't yet figured out how to make them come back)
Thing 2: If it's the wrong format (see Thing 1) then I use Videostream, not quite as easy cause I have to start Videostream first, then drag and drop the movie file but also works fine.
Thing 3: Netflix and Amazon Prime, the two services to which I have access, both have buttons to just stream straight to my Chromecast.
Thing 4: Sure wish VLC would get with the program and add Chromecast in a stable version. I have a nightly build that includes it but you have to switch through a bunch of menus (OK, three) to get it to cast. (Aside: at what point will "cast" require a capitalization and become "Cast"?) VLC needs a stable version with a toolbar button. That would make me super happy since that is my go-to video player.
Thing 5: I can play music from iTunes by just casting the whole desktop from the Chrome browser. Only problem with that it is seems to have a time limit after which it just doesn't want to keep streaming. That time limit seems to be about a half hour or so which means not a full album. Not sure why this should be, I can find no indication anywhere on the interwebz that anyone else is having this problem, but there it is. The solution is to disconnect and restart casting after which it keeps playing for another half hour or so. A bit annoying and it doesn't do this when I'm watching movies from a tab or from one of the services with built in casting. (Hey Apple. I know you hate us plebes, but how about adding Chromecast to iTunes? I know, it ain't gonna happen. That's OK. Easy enough workaround.)
Thing Final: Well worth the $40 or so that it cost. I know one could argue that it's just replacing a single cable but I never liked having the cable snaked across my floor so this does a nice job and didn't cost much more than a high quality HDMI cable anyway.