Google released its latest assault on the living room in the form of a tiny HDMI dongle, a device capable of streaming media from your computer, smartphone and tablet. It doesn’t work by itself though. It has to be paired with the software on your computer in order for you to send the media from your computer to the device. The good thing is that the software is free for all users. Here is how to get the Chromecast up and running in your home.
Customers can use the tiny $35 device, which plugs into any available HDMI port on your TV to “cast” media from the Google Chrome web browser to the TV. Netflix, Google Play and YouTube are already on board, as well as several others, but most online video should work.
You will also need the Chromecast extension, which can be found free in the Chrome Web Store. This will enable almost any streaming video to be sent from the browser to the TV.
In addition, customers can send home media to the device by using a slight trick in Chrome, though it must be a video or audio file type and the browser is capable of playing.
- Open a new tab
- Press “Ctrl + o”
- Open a file (video or audio) that Chrome can play
- Click the “Cast” button
Android and iOS
You mobile devices require another step. Head for the Google Play store or iTunes App Store and grab the app provided by the search giant to get underway. Android users will need to be running version 2.3 or newer of the mobile operating system to be compatible – but that should cover (almost) every device currently in use. The app is also free.
Once downloaded and installed, you can start it up for the first time.There is the usual set of privacy and terms to agree to, but there is nothing out of the ordinary contained within them.
The app will then begin searching for your Chromecast device – you will, of course, need to be connected to the same WiFi network as the Chromecast for this to all work. I initially had some issues finding the device on my network, and had to try a couple of times. However, with that minor detail out of the way, it was smooth sailing. The app does warn that your WiFi network will be temporarily down as this connection and setup occurs.
You will initially find Netflix, YouTube and Google Play movies and TV listed across the bottom of the app, but you can also download more services from the Play store to add to this. Simply tap your selection to send it to the big screen. All controls are handled from your device, which will act as a remote control.
The Chromecast holds a lot of promise in the future for how we consume media. The price is certainly right and the operation is smooth. It is only now a matter of waiting for additional services to find their way aboard this platform. Rest assured, the traditional media should be scared of this.
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