TL;DR Version: In this series of posts I'll discuss digital texts or tools that I use in my personal or academic life. It'll partially cover tips, tricks, and tools that I use...and hopefully help you out as well.
Chromecast is a $35.00 HDMI dongle that plugs into the back of your TV or monitor into the HDMI input. Chromecast will “cast” or send audio & video from your Android device or Chrome browser to the TV or monitor that you plugged the Chromecast into. I posted about my Chromecast as soon as I first purchased it. I’ve been using it ever since…and bought one for (most of) my family.
With your purchase, you’ll receive the Chromecast dongle, an HDMI extension, and a power cord for the Chromecast. The extension allows you to squeeze or bend the device in behind your TV or monitor. You may be able to use a spare USB port on the back of your monitor as the power source…just disconnect the power block from the cord.
How do I use the Chromecast?
The first thing you’ll need to do is plug the Chromecast into the HDMI for your TV or monitor. You’ll also need to plug in the power source to the outlet, or a USB port.
Next install the Chromecast app on your Android phone/tablet, iPad/iPhone. You should also install the Google Cast extension on your Chrome browser. When you run the Android app, or iPad/iPhone app, it will search your wifi and look for the Chromecast. Once it finds the Chromecast it’ll ask if you want to connect it to your wifi. The Chromecast will also display a numeric code on your TV or monitor (which should be powered on, and tuned to the correct input). This numeric code should be added to the Android or iPad/iPhone app. It will sync and update your Chromecast…and you’re all set to start casting content.
What can I “cast”?
As soon as you get started with Chromecast, the thing to remember is that you’re taking content from your Android phone, your iPad/iPhone, or Chrome browser and sending it from the device to your TV or monitor using the Chromecast. The other thing to remember is that we’re still (relatively) at the beginning of the life of this type of device. This means that apps and extensions are continuing to be developed and improved.
I use Chromecast to watch Netflix on my TV from my phone or iPad. We love watching YouTube clips on our TV. I also use Chromecast with Plex or Subsonic to display my home media. (I’ll discuss this in future posts 🙂 )
Here are some other links that will give you an idea as to what you could/should be doing with your Chromecast. One of the best uses is to display photos and videos to family when they visit…or we visit them. We always have the best photos and videos on our phone, but it’s kind of ridiculous that we crowd around the phone to view them. With Chromecast we sit back and view them up on the TV.
I use Chromebooks for many of my classes and programs. I love the ability to cast a tab from Chrome up to the larger monitor. I use this functionality at home in my office. I can cast a movie, video, music, etc. up to a larger monitor mounted in my home office. This is also helpful when you’re reviewing a large spreadsheet, or Google Doc collectively with colleagues. The Google Cast extension will take anything from your Chrome browser and broadcast it up on the TV or larger monitor.
The future of Chromecast
The future of this device, and this form factor are quite bright. Many other companies are coming out with sticks or dongles just like this. The new Roku Streaming Stick looks great…but I prefer the functionality of the Chromecast. I really want the ability to use my Chromecast to present on the road. I currently bring it to watch content from my device to the hotel TV. I want to be able to plug my Chromecast into a monitor/projector/computer and present from my Chromebook. There are two main roadblocks to this (HMDI/VGA input, and restrictive wifi on the road).
I want Chromecast to be able to display/mirror anything on my phone or tablet…and I mean anything. My son and I game a lot and review content on our phones and tablets. I’d love to be able to watch him play Real Racing 3 mirrored up to our home TV.
Finally, I’d love to see Chromecast take more of a hold in our classrooms. I wanted Apple TV to take off, but the HDMI connection, and restrictive wifi in buildings killed that. I would love to be able to connect Chromecast to TVs and monitors all over my building, and instantly send my small screen, up on the big screen.
Image CC by iannnnn