Google gets an A+ for keeping a secret. In an age where product announcements are trumped by leaked memos or suggestive executive tweets, no one had heard of Google Chromecast until a couple days before its release. Yet, this technology made such a splash that it was sold out at Amazon and Best Buy within a week, so says Richard Hall with NewsOK.
It’s time you discovered the secret about this little $35 piece of technology.
Chromecast allows you to stream audio and video to your HDTV from a PC, Mac, or Android device. Support for iOS will come shortly, but there is a workaround until that feature is available. The app adds an icon to the Chrome browser and supported streaming apps. Load your favorite shows and click the icon to send the movie to your TV. No remote is needed. You control everything from your device. No cables are needed because it’s all wireless.
The Chromecast device and app should work without changes to your current home network. A quick check on HughesnetInternet.net shows that the standard PC and Mac configurations for a home network are compatible with Chromecast.
The box contains a dongle that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. This device is actually the Chromecast unit and it’s only the size of a large USB thumb drive. There is a micro-USB cable and an AC adapter in the box. You plug the USB cable into the AC wall adapter and the dongle. Or, if you have a free USB port on the TV, you can bypass the AC adapter and use the USB port. Some people report that their HDMI port provides enough voltage to the dongle that they don’t use any external power. Try several configurations until you find the right one for you. Then download the Chromecast app to your preferred device.
Chromecast apps are available for PCs, Macs and Android devices. iPad and iPhone users can find an app to run in the Safari browser. Once installed, run the app and give the Chromecast device a network name. Enter the connection information for your home network and the setup is done.
While connecting the Chromecast to a home network is easy, Scott Lowe, writing for IGN, experienced difficulty connecting to his secured corporate network. He has had little trouble connecting other devices to that network so this is likely something Google will fix in future upgrades. After all, the Chromecast has been out for only a week.
Once setup is complete, bring up your favorite streaming service and, once started, click on the Chromecast icon. Depending on the device, you can stream from Google Play, Netflix and YouTube. On a PC or Mac, your Chrome browser will have a Chromecast icon. You can stream to the browser and click the icon on an active tab to send that stream to your TV.
While the supported streaming services are limited, Google has published a Chromecast API so developers can link their streaming services to Chromecast. While content is streaming, you can use your device as a remote, controlling the playback.
Compared to AirPlay, Chromecast lets you use your device for other things while the movie is streaming. The Chromecast device is retrieving the movie from the Internet, not from your device, freeing up those resources for other tasks.
Unlike AirPlay, you can’t stream local music or video to your TV, says Will Greenwald of PC Magazine. You are limited to the content you can receive through the supported streaming services. No word yet from Google if this will be in future releases.
The Secret is Out
For $35, the Google Chromecast lets you consolidate your streaming services and control them from one device. Having just been released, there is huge expansion potential ahead. It’s no wonder that it sold out only days after its release.