We are going to explain everything you need to know about Google’s Chromecast , explaining what this device is, how it works and what you can do with it. It is one of the company’s most successful and well-known hardware products, which greatly facilitates the sending of content from your mobile to the TV.
We will start by explaining what exactly the Chromecast is with its basic concepts, and then we will go deeper to explain in a simple way how this device works. Finally, we will end with a list of more than ten functions of all kinds that you can do to get the most out of it.
What is the Chromecast
Google Chromecast is a device manufactured by Google, and with which you can send content from your mobile, your tablet or your PC to the television on which it is connected. With this, if you have found a video on YouTube that you want to share with the rest of the room or see on the big screen, you can do it in an extremely simple way.
The device itself is what is called a dongle, which is very similar to a USB stick, but with an HDMI connection and a small computer inside to do its functions. What you have to do is simply connect this HDMI pin to the TV, link it to your home WiFi connection and send content.
And these are two of its main advantages, that you do not need to connect by cable to the device from which you want to send content nor do you have to navigate in any internal operating system of the spike as it happens with the Amazon Fire TV Stick and some of its alternatives. You simply press the button to synchronize with the Chromecast of your mobile device and that’s it.
But that does not mean that the Chromecast is totally wireless, since it has a power cable with which you have to connect it to a socket. Once you have done it and configured it, you can send content from Android devices from version 4.0.3 for mobiles or tablets, iOS from version 7.0 for iPhone, iPad and iPod, the Chrome browser, and computers with the system ChromeOS operating.
How Google Chromecast works
To understand how the Chromecast works you have to understand two concepts. The first is DLNA, a technology to communicate devices through a network that is configured within your home network, which means that all devices will have to be using the same WiFi or Ethernet subnet. All will have to be compatible with DLNA, and there must be a device that acts as a server to offer content, while the rest act as receivers.
And the second concept is that of Miracast, a functionality that allows you to send two Android devices via Wi-Fi Direct (a technology that is used for the point-to-point connection in a simple way between two devices) practically in real time, and with minimal delay.
The Chromecast is a device that uses a technology that mixes the concepts of DLNA and Miracast, a protocol they have called Google Cast. With it, the Chromecast allows us to start and control the playback that is being made through other devices wirelessly.
The icon that identifies this technology and compatible applications is the one you see above. All you have to do is configure your Chromecast from the Google Home application, and once you have done it, click on this icon that you see above within the compatible application from which you want to send content and choose the Chromecast you want to send it to .
Once the connection between your mobile, tablet and computer and the Chromecast is established, your device automatically becomes the remote control. In applications such as Netflix or YouTube, you will only have to click on the content you want to see, and instead of playing it on the device itself, it will do it directly on the TV where you have the Chromecast.
What can you do with a Chromecast
Here is a small list of everything you can do with your Chromecast. You have everything, from basics like watching videos or playing music on your TV to others like being able to send your computer screen to watch it on TV or be able to play some compatible games.
- Watch your favorite videos and movies on TV: It is the main function of the Chromecast, to be able to transmit the videos you are watching on your mobile to your television. Applications such as Netflix, HBO or YouTube, in addition to the official ones of several television channels, allow you to send content to the Google device so that you can enjoy their content on TV.
- Watch videos in a group: One of the possibilities that the YouTube application has with the Chromecast is to create an automatic playlist. It does it automatically, and you simply have to press from any device that uses the same WiFi on the videos so that the option to put it in the queue appears. This feature makes the small Google device a perfect complement for parties and gatherings.
- Play live videos from Facebook: But in the era of social networks and instant messaging they are not all delayed videos, since there are more and more platforms that allow them to be broadcast live. In fact, live videos from Facebook and other pages also implement the Chromecast button by default from any browser without the need for extra applications, so it is another type of content that you can enjoy on your Chromecast.
- Your TV as a music channel: Spotify and other sound applications are also compatible with Chromecast, so you can turn your TV into an audio player that does not depend on the videos that may be on YouTube. And if, to top it all off, your television is connected to a sound system or powerful or quality external speakers, then the experience is unbeatable.
- Radio and podcasts on your TV: You also have other audio options beyond music. For example, applications like TuneIn Radio allow you to listen to a large number of radio stations online and send them to your Chromecast. You can also listen to podcasts with the aforementioned Spotify and applications such as iVoox or Pocket Casts.
- Karaoke at home with your Chromecast: It is not a karaoke in which you have microphones and a score, but if that trait of competitiveness is not essential for you, you have applications like Musixmatch that ** will turn your TV into a karaoke. It is an application that you can synchronize to show the lyrics of the songs that are playing on the Chromecast.
- Turn your mobile into a desktop console: In Google Play, the Android application store, you have a whole section of games compatible with Chromecast. This means that the small device also allows you to turn your mobile or tablet into a console that you can play on your television as if it were a desktop. This allows you to play games like the mythical Risk.
- A whiteboard for the little ones: There are other applications, such as CastPad that turn your mobile or tablet into a whiteboard and broadcast everything you do on it to the television through the Chromecast. The application has a free basic version with an interesting color palette with which to color the screen in multiple ways.
- A video surveillance system with your mobile: If you need to use a surveillance system, but you do not want to invest in it without knowing to what extent it is what you need, you will be happy to know that Chromecast can also help you turn your mobile or tablet into a Surveillance Camera. For this purpose, for 4.49 euros you have the tinyCam Monitor application for Android, which will allow you to monitor your home with any Android device that has a camera. You can upload the videos to the cloud, it supports temperature and humidity sensors, and it is fully compatible with Chromecast.
- Set up a home gym: The Android catalog also has several applications such as Runtastic Six Pack Abs, Fitstar Personal Trainer or Cody – Fitness video training. These are training apps with one point in common: they can be used with Chromecast to take advantage of your television.
- A kitchen assistant: If you have a television in the kitchen, Google’s Chromecast can also help you prepare step by step that dish you always wanted to try. Applications such as iFood.TV for iOS and Android are an example of how to get the most out of it, since on the one hand you can see the ingredients and descriptions on your mobile and on the other the videos on TV.
- Alarm clock for your sofa naps: Are you one of those people who often falls asleep on the sofa without realizing it? Well, you’ll be happy to know that your Chromecast can also function as an alarm clock thanks to projects like Wake Me Up Cast, which allows you to choose a specific video and schedule it to start playing at the time you choose.
- Go over your text documents as a group: Are you writing a text or an article and want to share it with your family sitting around the TV? Applications like EZCast allow you, among dozens of other things, to transmit text documents, spreadsheets and even PDFs to your Chromecast.
- Project the screen of your Android or browser: Android has the option to Send screen to synchronize with your Chromecast and to be able to see exactly the same thing on TV as on the screen of your device. Also, Chrome supports Google Cast, so you can cast your browser tab or the entire desktop. All you have to do is open the browser options menu and choose the Send option , and it will automatically start searching for the closest Chromecast.