Sometimes it’s easier to share a funny video with your friends on a bigger screen or show them your holiday pictures on a screen they can all see, rather than all huddling around the tiny screen on your device. That’s where a “Chromecast” comes in handy.
A Chromecast is a device that plugs into your TV that lets you see whatever’s on the screen of your phone or tablet on your TV screen. You can also listen to music through Spotify, watch films through Netflix (or something similar) or watch hilarious cat videos on YouTube on a bigger screen. Your phone or tablet acts as a remote so you can easily browse videos to watch, pause and play them without having to leave your armchair.
Chromecasts are made by Google and cost £30 for the basic one or £69 for the ultra version (the ultra version lets you watch films in better quality). You can buy them from Argos, Curry’s or any large shop that sells electrical items. With the cost being so little, the Chromecast has proved very popular and definitely one to rival the Apple TV device (a similar device to Chromecast but made by Apple and six times the price).
What do I need to be able to use a Chromecast?
Firstly you need a TV with an HDMI slot available, your TV will have a number of sockets on the back (most of which you’ll never use) but they handily have names by them so you can easily find the HDMI slot. The Chromecast also needs a power source, this can either be a USB slot on your TV or from a plug. To set it up, you will need an Android device with the Google Cast app (might be called Google Home depending on your device) downloaded on it. Both your Chromecast and your tablet or phone need to be connected to the same wi-fi network otherwise you can’t cast from one to the other.
Setting up your Chromecast
Once you’ve connected your Chromecast to your TV’s HDMI port and either a wall socket or USB port on your TV, open up the app on your device. The app will detect your Chromecast automatically and it will ask you to connect it to the same wireless connection that your device is connected to.
Using your Chromecast
Once it’s connected you can start casting films, TV shows, photos and lots more to your TV screen. To do this, you tap the cast button which looks like this:
It’s usually in the top right hand corner of certain apps or websites and once you’ve tapped it, whatever’s on your device’s screen will appear on your TV. Some of the apps that are Cast-enabled include Netflix, Youtube, Google Photos, Spotify, BBC iPlayer and lots more.
If your TV screen doesn’t change straight away to show what’s on your device’s screen, you might need to change the channel by pressing on the input or source button on your TV remote. You can then use the up and down arrows to get to the channel for HDMI and click on that. If you don’t get the option to scroll through the channels, just keep pressing the input or source button on your TV remote until the HDMI channel appears.
If you don’t fancy muddling about with a Chromecast, you can just buy an HDMI cable to plug into your device (Android only) and this will mirror the screen from your device on your TV’s screen. Unfortunately you can’t buy a cable that will work with Apple devices as Apple want to encourage you to buy their own Apple TV.