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

Google Chromecast plugs into your TV and streams television shows and movies from your phone or other mobile devices and even play games.

Before You Get Started With Chromecast

Chromecast 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 the device 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. 

Chromecast requires 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.

Use Android or 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, follow the onscreen instructions and download the setup app. This process is easiest to accomplish from a laptop, but it is possible to set up your Chromecast from an Android tablet or phone, too.

You must 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. 

  2. Select a movie.

  3. Tap the Cast button from any mobile device (smartphone, tablet, laptop).

  4. Select the Chromecast device.

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

The video playback on the Chromecast is 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 so that anything in your Chrome browser window mirrors 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.