Google Chromecast Setup: How to Start Watching Fast

Everything you need to know to get started using the inexpensive dongle

3 Chromecasts in yellow, black, and red


Google Chromecast is a device that plugs into your TV and allows you to stream television shows and movies from your phone or other mobile devices and even play games. This article explains how to set it up.

Before You Get Started With Chromecast

It plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. The device includes a bit of extra cord in case your HDMI ports are inconveniently located, but you must have an HDMI port on your TV for this to work at all and, of course, access to power. In some cases, you may be able to plug the Chromecast into the USB port of your TV in order to power it. 

You need to have Internet access and a wireless network. If you want to use the Netflix, YouTube, HBO, Google Play, or other streaming service features, you need to have accounts set up for those as well.

You can use Android and iOS phones and tablets as well as computers and laptops to control Chromecast. 

Google Chromecast Setup

Once you have plugged your Chromecast into your TV, you should follow the onscreen instructions and download the setup app. This is easiest to do from a laptop, but it is technically possible to set up your Chromecast from an Android tablet or phone, too.

It doesn't matter how you configure the Chromecast; you can use something else to connect to it. Using a smartphone to connect is the preferred method for many.

You do need to install a player for each device you want to use with your Chromecast, but you don't have to individually configure it. If you are connected to the same Wi-Fi network as a Chromecast, you can control that Chromecast.  

How to Use Chromecast as a Video Player

Chromecast can be used for playing Netflix, Hulu, YouTube or any app that is compatible with Chromecast.

  1. Open the app you want to use. 

  2. Select the movie (or video) you want to see.

  3. Tap the Cast button from any mobile device (smartphone, tablet, laptop). The button will be in different locations on your device depending upon what you're using.

  4. Select the Chromecast device you want to use. (Some people have several set up.)

  5. Use the mobile device as a remote to play, pause, and otherwise direct the movie.

The video playback on the Chromecast is super smooth and on par with the other types of hardware such as Xbox, Playstation 3, Roku, and smart TVs

Playing videos from a Chromebook or Mac laptop may not be as smooth, however, because you are screencasting the videos instead of just sending them to the device as you did with your mobile device.

ChromeCast Extension Notes

With the proper plugin, you can screencast from your browser tab. Anything in your Chrome browser window is mirrored on your TV. That's great in theory. You could then watch Hulu and all sorts of other videos that have arbitrarily been banned from video streaming devices, right? Well, sort of.

Streaming services are free to ban the behavior, and some do. You will also run into hurdles if you want to cast something from a browser tab that is using a proxy server. Give it a try, though - it's legal and the extension is free.