Chromecast is Google’s cheap, portable answer to Amazon Fire, Apple and Android and other smart TV options. By acting as a transmitter between your streaming provider and your television screen, the nifty little device displays whatever content is sent to it.
Most people only use the machine to stream video content from supported sites such as Netflix and YouTube, but it is capable of a lot more. Basically, you can put anything that is on your smartphone, tablet or desktop onto your television screen. Having last received a makeover in 2015, with a 4K release (for those with 4K TVs) in 2016, many insiders are expecting another update soon.
The capabilities right now are pretty impressive in themselves, so whether or not Google rolls out a new model soon, it’s good to get to know what they are. You’ll get much more out of your media streaming device this way.
The list below is by no means exhaustive, and more applications are being added all the time. But this should start showing you the impressive possibilities of the Chromecast, and inspire you to keep looking for more.
Use Your TV as a Dashboard
Download Dashboard Cast from Google Play, and use it to configure a set of helpful widgets. These widgets have been designed to take full advantage of your television’s generous display size, and you can set them up however you’d like. Get information on the weather, stock prices, personal notes and calendar dates, and much more. Mornings are about to get a whole lot easier.
Play a Range of Games
An Xbox One it is not, but there are plenty of games that can be enjoyed via your Chromecast. You just need to download them to your Android or iOS device, and then use your tablet or phone as a controller.
Enjoy some family fun with a dance-off in Just Dance Now, or indulge some 90s nostalgia with Sonic Jump Fever. You can even play at your favourite casino this way – simply download the app and then get winning! And by downloading CastPad, which allows you to draw on your mobile device screen and have it come up live on your television, you can even go old school with a round of Pictionary.
Mirror Your Browser
Whatever you are looking at in your browser can now be beamed to your TV screen. Just make sure you are using the latest version of Chrome, and then choose the cast icon in the overflow menu. You’ll be able to choose between casting only your browser, or casting your entire computer screen. This is a perfect way to look up information for group tasks, or to see anything you’re working on with a bigger-picture perspective.
Manage Your Media with Plex
Plex is a great example of how technology is becoming more streamlined and sophisticated all the time. Once you’ve signed up for this service and downloaded the app, your scattered visual, video and audio content is organised and sent to your Chromecast. From here, all of it is accessible via the comfort of your television screen.
Let Your TV be Your DJ
Listen to your own playlists via Chromecast by downloading Google Play Music from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Then open the app, choose the cast icon, select Chromecast from the device list, and play what you want to listen to.
Google Play Music, Spotify and other music streaming services can also be accessed and you can use the larger speakers of your home entertainment centre for the listening pleasure of your guests, or just for yourself. Even when you’re not using it to view video content, this device is a great tool for daily living.