In the years since Google Chromecast hit the market it has made big waves on account of its affordability and usefulness.
Google Chromecast is a small HDMI device that lets users stream content from the internet directly to their TV.
It also lets users stream audio and video content from their smartphones, tablets and PCs to their TV.
Chromecast comes in two current versions; the latest model retails at $59, with a 4k Ultra version available for $99. You can also pick up the now-discontinued first-generation version for around $39 if you hunt around (the main differences are that the newer model supports 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, something relatively few modems support, as well as offering better Wi-Fi performance in general). With these prices, the Chromecast series offer a much cheaper option for streaming TV than Apple TV ($239), the Telstra TV ($192), or even the Foxtel box – all offering similar functionality.
To stream IPTV using your Chromecast, users will have to subscribe to an IPTV service first. In Australia, users can choose from paid services – for example Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now, or hayu – as well as free options such as Crackle and YouTube.
A new Chromecast needs to be configured before it can begin streaming. To set up Chromecast, users will need a TV with a HDMI port, a computer or a smartphone (or tablet) and internet access through Wi-Fi.
How Does Chromecast Work?
It might be good to understand a bit about how Chromecast works before setting it up. Chromecast is a bit like a set-top box, but simpler, cheaper and on a tiny HDMI device. And it uses your phone, tablet or PC as the controller. Just like an IP Set-top box, it streams the content using a broadband internet connection. You could say that it almost converts a regular TV into a smart TV.
Setting up Chromecast
Configuring the Chromecast device is simple and doesn’t take too long.
Here are the steps:
- Make sure that you have all the components at hand: the Chromecast dongle, a USB adaptor, an optional plug-pack power supply and an optional HDMI extension. All of these are provided in the box.
- Connect the Chromecast dongle to the TV (via the HDMI port). If you don’t have enough HDMI ports on your TV, you may want to buy an HDMI splitter.
- Connect the USB power cable to the other end of the Chromecast device and plug it in. Some modern TVs may be able to supply with Chromecast all the power it needs, so users may not need the power adapter if their TV is new and has a USB port capable of supplying the power instead.
- Turn on the TV. A blue screen with a “Set Me Up” message should come up. If it doesn’t, press the “source” button on your remote until it does. On TVs that support it, Chromecast will select the correct HDMI port automatically.
- Download the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet – you’ll need a mobile device for the initial setup, but once it’s done you’ll be able to cast from your desktop or laptop computer if you want. Once downloaded, just run it and follow instructions. Keep your Wi-Fi user name and password handy so that the Chromecast device can connect to it.
Once done, you will see a “ready to cast” screen.
Sorry, were you expecting more steps? Chromecast prdes itself on making it easy to stream almost anything you can imagine to your TV. And part of that includes a simple, one-time setup process.
As of November 2017, Chromecast is available in two stand-alone versions – but more recently, Google has been licensing their popular creation to other manufacturers. So you’ll also find Chromecast devices built in to the latest audio-visual hardware, including Android-powered smart TVs, AV receivers and even the new Foxtel Now streaming box. If you see a “Chromecast Built-in” logo on your device, you’ve already got a Chromecast ready to go!