Chromecast: All You Need to Know

How Chromecast can be used to stream music and videos to your TV

Chromecast Dongle
Chromecast colors. Image © Google, Inc.
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What Does a Chromecast Device do?

Chromecast is a hardware device developed and manufactured by Google that enables you to wirelessly stream media to your TV.

Rather than using a wired connection, the Chromecast device can be used to stream digital music, video, and images over Wi-Fi. If for example you've got media on your phone, then instead of using a cable to connect it to your TV, you can use Chromecast as a wireless solution.

Design And Features

The Chromecast dongle (second generation) was launched, Sept. 2015, and comes in a range of colors. It has a circular design and has a built-in flat HDMI cable. This part plugs into a spare HDMI port on your HD (high definition) TV. The back of the dongle is also magnetic for attaching the end of the HDMI cable when not in use (a sort of 'cable tidy' feature).

The Chromecast device also sports a micro USB port (located at the other end of the device). This is for powering the unit. You can either use a spare USB port on your TV or the power supply that comes with it.

Incidentally, if you see a Chromecast device that looks a bit like a USB flash drive, then this is a first generation (released in 2013). This version is no longer manufactured by Google, but the software is still developed.

What Do I Need to Get Chromecast Working on my TV?

In order to stream music and video to your TV using the Chromecast device it's essential that you have a Wi-Fi network already set up in your home.

Using your wireless router, you can:

  • Stream From a Mobile Device You can use your phone or tablet to stream content. However, you'll need to install the Chromecast app on it first, or a Google Cast compatible app.
  • Local Storage If you've got a music / video library then you can stream this too. This could be shared folders on your computer, an external hard drive, NAS (network-attached storage), etc.You just have to make sure it's available as a shared resource on your home network.
  • Streaming From the Internet . If using your laptop or desktop computer to stream music and video, you'll need to be using Google's Chrome Web browser. The advantage of this is you can stream just about anything using what is known as 'tab casting'. In simple terms, this just means mirroring what you see on your computer to the big screen.

What Kinds of Online Services Can I Use to Stream Music And Video?

For digital music, you can use services from your Chrome browser or mobile device such as:

If you use streaming video to discover new music from your computer or mobile device, then Chromecast covers these services (and more):

  • YouTube
  • Vevo
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime Video