Already in its third generation Chromecast which was first launched in 2013 functions as a streaming media player, and allows users to stream videos and audio available on the Internet. The Chromecast dongle once fixed onto a TV allows for the streamed video and audio selected on a mobile phone or laptop to be downloaded via Wi-Fi. Chromecast is importantly driven by the popularity of streaming services such as Netflix and more and allows cord cutters easy access to video and other content via the Internet. Additionally Chromecast is also able to mirror screens of a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device. Below we examine how Chromecast is setup, how it works and its important features.
Installation of Chromecast
The first generation Chromecast came in the form of a USB dongle but the most current device is a disc shaped button. A cable is attached to the body of the device and is used to attach Chromecast to the HDMI port of the TV. Power is delivered to the device via a Micro-USB port and cable which is either connected to the USB port on the TV, or an adapter which is plugged into mains power supply. Once plugged in and powered Chromecast can be setup.
Setting up Chromecast for the first time
Setting up Chromecast for the first time, involves using the television remote to switch to the HDMI port that it is connected to and selecting it as an input. Then using a web browser, such as Chrome on a smartphone navigate to the chromecast.com/setup URL. Once the Chromecast app from Google Play Store is downloaded, the user has to go through steps which will allow for Chromecast to be recognized. Once the Chromecast device is recognized on the mobile device used for the setup it can be named. Additionally users will have to connect Chromecast to their Wi-Fi network.
Selecting apps for use with Chromecast
Several apps available on mobile devices are compatible with Chromecast and these include YouTube, Netflix, HBO Go and Google Play Movies. However, the user will need a subscription to Netflix and other services, if they want to cast movies from the streaming service provider. Once the URL for a video is selected on the Netflix app installed on a smartphone, the content is directly downloaded to the TV and displayed.
Using Chromecast via the Chrome browser
The Chrome browser has a Chromecast button built into it and once it is selected the content on the webpage whether it is audio or video can be streamed on the TV. Meanwhile if you are using your smartphone or laptop to navigate, you can move to another tab or application to compose an email or open a word document while the video plays without any interruption on the TV.
Mirroring screens using Chromecast
When using a mobile device running iOS or Android the content displayed on the screen can be mirrored on a TV using Chromecast. On Android devices, the Google Home app has an account tab and a mirror device option which allows for the mirroring of the screen.
The third generation of Chromecast comes with several improvements including faster download speeds, and has helped make the device popular. Even though Chromecast does not have an on-screen interface on a TV it allows for users to easily select content using Android and iOS devices and enjoy audio and video on a bigger screen.