What is Google Chromecast and why should you care?

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(Pocket-lint) - Google Chromecast is simply a portion of hardware and strategy you tin usage to nonstop contented from 1 instrumentality to presumption connected another. It's casual to fig out, acceptable up, and use.

To assistance you larn what Google Chromecast is, however it works, and what you can bash with it, we've explained everything you request to cognize astir the affordable HDMI dongle.

What is Chromecast?

Chromecast is simply a household of dongles for your television, connecting to the TV's HDMI larboard to adhd astute functions to your TV.

Google launched the archetypal Chromecast successful 2013, updated it successful 2015 with the Chromecast 2, and past again 2018 with the Chromecast third-gen.

In 2016, Google introduced the Chromecast Ultra, which works identically to its predecessors but offers the quality to formed 4K streams. Chromecast Ultra besides supports Ethernet arsenic good arsenic Wi-Fi connectivity, to guarantee you person a bully capable transportation for those much demanding streams. Chromecast Ultra is inactive used, arsenic it's the instrumentality to get Google Stadia onto your TV.


In 2020, the Chromecast with Google TV launched, taking Chromecast successful a antithetic direction. 

This exemplary provides the casting functions offered by the erstwhile Chromecast devices, but acknowledgment to Google TV and a remote, offers a afloat idiosyncratic interface, with autochthonal apps. That mean you don't request to formed everything, you tin usage it conscionable similar a streaming stick, a rival to Roku oregon Fire TV. Practically speaking, it's simpler to usage than each the different devices.

It's important to enactment that astir of what we sermon beneath lone applies to the Chromecast broadside of the Chromecast with Google TV.


Chromecast connects to your location web and tin past beryllium controlled with your smartphone. This volition fto you unfastened an amusement app connected your telephone and - via Chromecast - play contented connected your TV.

Importantly it uses the Google Cast protocol to get that contented connected your TV, truthful determination needs to beryllium enactment from the root that you're using. Services similar Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Chrome (the browser), Android and galore others enactment support Google Cast, truthful it's a large level for streaming.

Google besides offered the Chromecast Audio successful the past. Unlike the different Chromecast models, it doens't enactment video, alternatively Audio lets you wirelessly "cast" to speakers and connects via 3.5mm, though this mentation isn't wide disposable - mostly due to the fact that audio casting is present wide supported by astute speakers directly, without the request for a dongle.

How does Chromecast work?

The important happening to realise astir casting is that it isn't astir sending the contented from your telephone to the Chromecast. In the immense bulk of cases, each you're doing is utilizing your telephone to archer the Chromecast instrumentality what contented to play by pointing it astatine the source. Chromecast past uses its ain transportation to retrieve that watercourse successful the champion prime it can.

That means that if you link a Chromecast Ultra to a 4K TV, for example, it volition play 4K contented that you can't presumption connected your phone.

However, if you're mirroring your telephone connected the TV, oregon viewing a website, past you're sending that straight from your telephone oregon machine to the Chromecast and some request to enactment connected. This is the lawsuit if you're casting your Android instrumentality screen, a tab from Chrome, oregon your Chromebook desktop.


In bid for Chromecast to work, you request to plug it into an HDMI input connected a TV/display, arsenic good arsenic link it to a powerfulness supply. On Chromecast this could beryllium a USB socket connected the backmost of your TV. For Chromecast Ultra it has to beryllium a partition socket, oregon determination isn't capable powerfulness for it to work.

You besides request a compatible Android instrumentality oregon iOS instrumentality with the latest mentation of the app - present called Google Home - installed, oregon you request a compatible Windows computer, Mac, oregon Chromebook with the latest mentation of the Chrome browser installed. The Google Home app is the aforesaid app you usage to power different Google hardware, similar Nest Hub, and to setup astute location features to power via your phone.

It's important that your Chromecast and instrumentality oregon machine are connected to the aforesaid Wi-Fi network. Otherwise, you cannot formed to your TV.


Set-up Chromecast

Setting-up Chromecast is truly simple. The process involves plugging your Chromecast into your TV's HDMI larboard and a powerfulness source, past installing the Google Home mobile app connected your mobile instrumentality to statesman the setup process, and pursuing the app's setup instructions.

The app volition automatically find your Chromecast and punctual you to link it to the aforesaid Wi-Fi web connected to your mobile device.

You tin besides acceptable up Chromecast to enactment with your computer. Simply instal the Chrome browser which volition natively formed to your Chromecast.


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Things you tin do

With Chromecast you tin formed movies, TV shows, and photos from Cast-enabled apps connected Android smartphones and tablets, iPhones and iPads. You tin besides formed full sites oregon tabs from the Chrome browser connected Windows computers, Macs and Chromebooks. To negociate your Chromecast, usage the Google Home app oregon Google Cast browser extension.

Importantly, there's nary idiosyncratic interface and nary distant required - each the power comes from your telephone oregon computer.

You tin besides formed your Android surface to your TV, oregon from peculiar apps connected your phone, to your Chromecast, to stock euphony oregon photos, for example.

How to cast

All you person to bash - erstwhile you set-up Chromecast - is pat the Cast fastener from a Cast-enabled app specified arsenic YouTube, and the contented volition instantly look connected your large TV. If you person much than 1 Chromecast-compatible device, you'll beryllium presented with a scope of options for erstwhile you privation the contented to play.

From Chrome browser connected your computer, you tin besides pat the Cast fastener successful a video subordinate similar YouTube. You'll besides find the Cast fastener successful your Chrome browser successful the menu.

Once you are casting, retrieve that each the controls past travel from your telephone - truthful it you privation to play oregon intermission oregon skip, you bash that connected your phone.


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What apps and sites are Cast-enabled?


Casting to your TV is simply a elemental mode to bask your mobile apps connected a large screen. You tin usage your mobile instrumentality oregon tablet arsenic a distant and power everything from playback to volume.

Within the Google Home app you tin pat What's On to browse contented from Cast-enabled apps you've already installed. You tin besides pat Get Apps to find Cast-enabled apps you haven't installed yet.

Some of the large apps include:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Video
  • Spotify
  • HBO Now
  • Hulu
  • Angry Birds with Friends
  • Watch ESPN
  • Google Photos
  • YouTube
  • PBS Kids
  • Twitch
  • Pandora
  • BBC iPlayer
  • and thousands more

There are tons of amusement options for casting, but utilizing Chromecast to stock your photos from your telephone is simply a truly casual option.

Of course, if you're utilizing the Chromecast with Google TV past astir of these apps volition beryllium connected the instrumentality itself, with nary request to interest astir casting.


Some websites are Cast-enabled. Currently, YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Movies, and much are Cast-enabled, and Google said it is adding caller ones each the time. You volition you cognize if a website is Cast-enabled erstwhile you spot the Cast fastener connected the website wrong the video player. For sites that are not Google Cast-enabled, you tin usage the browser itself - if utilizing Chrome - to presumption the contented connected your TV.

Some embedded video is besides formed enabled.

How to hole Chromecast problems

Chromecast is great, but it tin endure from immoderate problems. Here's the main breakdown:

Chromecast isn't listed arsenic a formed option: If you can't spot your Chromecast, effort restarting it. It's apt that it's not connected to the web and restarting it volition get it to reconnect to the network.

Chromecast won't link to your Wi-Fi: If your Chromecast won't link astatine all, it mightiness beryllium struggling to find a connection. The champion happening you tin bash is determination the Chromecast person to your Wi-Fi router - possibly connected a antithetic TV. Then you tin get it connected and marque definite that bundle is updated and truthful on. Alternatively, you mightiness request a Wi-Fi booster.

Your telephone isn't offering casting from a compatible app: You person to find the icon successful the app you privation to formed (normally apical close successful the app oregon the video) to initiate the cast. If you can't find it and you're successful an app that supports casting - similar Netflix - past it's apt that your telephone isn't connected to the web oregon the Chromecast is offline. If your telephone doesn't observe thing to formed to, it won't connection icon.

You can't power casting erstwhile you've started: This tin beryllium a problem: you commencement casting and past astatine immoderate constituent during the show, your telephone stops offering you control. If you're watching Netflix, for example, you past can't halt the formed and it volition binge done a fewer much episodes. Try restarting your telephone - oregon effort looking connected different Android device, which mightiness accidental thing is casting. If each other fails, you mightiness person to conscionable powerfulness disconnected your Chromecast.

The prime of the Chromecast looks bad: Chromecast automatically plays the highest prime it tin get from the stream. If it's looking blocky, it's astir apt due to the fact that your web transportation isn't great. Also marque definite that the HDMI settings connected your TV are close for the prime you're trying to stream.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Chris Hall. Originally published connected 14 March 2014.

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