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The Chromecast Google streaming player is a great, inexpensive way to stream media to your HDTV using a computer or mobile device. After the product’s hugely successful launch, finding one right now can be a little difficult, but when you’re finally able to buy one — remember, it’s only $35 — here’s what to expect:
What Is the Chromecast?
Chromecast is a simple product with a huge future. It’s a dongle that you plug in via the HDMI port on your HDTV. It is very easy to set up. When you buy the dongle, you also get a USB cable for power, an HDMI extender, and a power cord for the wall or power strip. Your Chromecast Google streaming player uses your home WiFi connection, so make sure you have a WiFi connection at home before you purchase this product (also, make sure your WiFi network is running properly with a mobile speed test from BandwidthPlace.com).
How to Set It Up
Depending on what device/operating system you use (e.g., Android, iOS, Chrome, Mac, or PC), the setup can vary slightly. Once you plug the dongle into the HDMI port, plus the power into the TV USB port (or the wall outlet), follow the setup instructions and you’re ready to cast:
- Plug in.
- Switch the Input on the TV to the appropriate setting.
- Download the app.
- Run the software.
- Confirm the code.
- Rename your Chromecast (optional).
- Enter your WiFi info.
- Start casting!
How to Use the Chromecast
Once you’re set up, every supported device on your WiFi network can cast to your TV (this includes Android, iPhone, iPad, and every computer with a Chrome browser). When you turn on Google Chromecast, you’ll see a Chromecast button on your YouTube, Netflix, GooglePlay and Pandora (these are native to the device, but hopefully in the near future we will see more apps like Hulu, Plex, Spotify and more). Hit the Play button, you’ll see it buffer, and then it’s playing on your TV. Your device is now your remote control!
The only complaint would be the illusion that the device just plugs into your TV and works. It feels a little less plug-and-play when you attach it via the USB port for power (and looks a bit ugly, too). Also, Google awards Android users with an “easier” setup. But, for $35, the almost-plug-and-play approach is hard to resist!
Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.