We will explain everything you need to know about the Google Chromecast: 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, with which it is greatly facilitated to send the content from your mobile to the television.
We will start by explaining what exactly the Chromecast is with its basic concepts, and then we will go deeper to explain simply how this device works. Finally, we will end with a list of more than ten functions you can do to get the most out of it.
What is Chromecast
The Chromecast is a device made by Google , and with which you can send content
from your mobile, tablet or PC to the television in 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 extremely simply.
The device is called a dongle , which is very similar to a USB stick, but with an HDMI connection and a small computer inside to perform its functions. You have to simply connect this HDMI stick to the TV , link it to your home WiFi connection and send content.
These are two of its main advantages: you neither need to connect by cable to the device from which you want to send content nor do you have to navigate any internal operating system of the stick as happens with the Amazon Fire TV Stick and some of its alternatives. Simply press the button to synchronize with the Chromecast on your mobile device, and that’s it.
But that does not mean the Chromecast is completely wireless since it has a power cable with which you must connect to a socket. Once you have 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 operating ChromeOS.
How the 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 configured within your home network, meaning that all devices will have to be using the same WiFi or Ethernet subnet. They will all have to be DLNA compatible, and there will have to be one device that acts as a server to offer content while the rest act as receivers.
And the second concept is that of Miracast. This feature allows you to send two Android devices via WiFi Direct (technology used for a simple point-to-point connection between two devices) in practically 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 wirelessly start and control the reproduction that it is doing through other devices.
The icon that identifies this technology and the 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 so, click on this icon that you see above within the compatible application from which you want to send content and choose the Chromecast to which you want to send it.
Once the connection between your mobile, tablet, and computer and the Chromecast is established, your device automatically becomes the remote control. In applications like Netflix or YouTube, you only have to click on the content you want to see, and instead of playing it on the device itself, it will do so directly on the television where you have the Chromecast.
What can you do with a Chromecast?
Next, we leave you 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 being able to play some compatible games.
- Watch your favorite videos and movies on TV: It is the main function of 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 various television channels, allow you to send content to the Google device so that you can enjoy its 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 click on the videos from any device that uses the same WiFi so that the option to put it in the queue appears. This function makes the small Google device a perfect complement for parties and gatherings.
- Play live videos from Facebook: But in the age of social networks and instant messaging, it’s not all deferred videos since there are more and more platforms that allow you to broadcast them 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 system: 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 off, your television is connected to a sound system or powerful or quality external speakers, then the experience is already unbeatable.
- Radio and podcasts on your TV: You also have other audio options beyond music. For example, apps like TuneIn Radio allow you to listen to a large number of online radio stations and send them to your Chromecast. You can also listen to podcasts with the aforementioned Spotify and apps like 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 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 blackboard for the little ones: There are other applications, such as CastPad, that turn your mobile or tablet into a blackboard and broadcast everything you do on it to television through 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 don’t feel like investing in it without knowing to what extent you need it, you will be happy to know that Chromecast can also help you turn your mobile or tablet into a Surveillance Camera. To this end, 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 videos to the cloud, it supports temperature and humidity sensors, and it is fully compatible with Chromecast.
- Set up a gym at home: The Android catalog also has several applications, such as Runtastic Six Pack Abdominals, Fitstar Personal Trainer, or Cody-Fitness video training. These are training apps with one thing 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, the Google Chromecast can also help you prepare that dish you’ve always wanted to try step by step. Applications such as iFood.TV for iOS and Android is 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 tends to fall asleep on the sofa without realizing it? Well, you’ll be happy to know that your Chromecast can also wake you up thanks to projects like Wake Me Up Cast, which allows you to choose a certain video and schedule it to start playing at the time you choose.
- Review your text documents in a group: Are you writing a text or an article and want to share it with your loved ones all sitting around the television? 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 of Send screen to synchronize with your Chromecast and be able to see on TV exactly the same as on the screen of your device. Plus, Chrome supports Google Cast, so you can cast your browser tab or your 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 nearest Chromecast.
Sharlene Meriel is an avid gamer with a knack for technology. He has been writing about the latest technologies for the past 5 years. His contribution in technology journalism has been noteworthy. He is also a day trader with interest in the Forex market.