Chromecast is still very popular among everyone who wants to stream videos to a television. But you can do a lot more with this versatile device. For example, you can play games with it, cast web pages and stream your own media files. In this article, we provide 13 Chromecast tips.
Google has a hit with its Chromecast. Worldwide, more than thirty million of these compact streaming devices have been sold. Understandable, because for a few bucks you can make any television 'smart'. Well-known apps that have built-in Chromecast support are, for example, NPO Missed, RTL XL, YouTube and Netflix. So much for the well-known story, because you can do a lot more with this Google scion than you might initially think. Read this article and be surprised!
Set up Chromecast
Of course, before you can get started with your Chromecast, you need to have it connected and installed. This is quite simple, by connecting the Chromecast to the HDMI input of your television (or monitor). Then connect the power supply to the Chromecast and turn on the screen, and then go through the installation steps on the screen. You can read more about this in our How To: This is how you can connect and set up a Chromecast.
01 Welcoming Chromecast
As soon as you configure your Chromecast via the Google Home app, you will immediately be presented with an interesting option. You can possibly enable the so-called guest mode. By the way, you can also find this function by navigating within the settings to Devices. Then tap the button with the three dots and choose guest mode to activate this function. All visitors can now effortlessly cast videos to your Chromecast, without a connection to the home network is required. When a guest taps the cast icon (rectangle with three hyphens), a notification appears that a Chromecast is nearby. Confirm with Connect. The Chromecast connects itself to the mobile device of your visitor via an inaudible ultrasonic sound, provided the distance between the two devices is no more than seven meters. In the unlikely event that the connection is not established, you must manually enter the correct PIN code. Your visitors can then start the video stream via a direct WiFi connection.
02 Cast Android screen
You can effortlessly control a Chromecast from an iOS or Android device. That works fine from both operating systems, although Android does have a nice extra in store for you. This way you can cast the entire screen of the mobile device to your television. Handy in case a certain app doesn't have Chromecast support built in. Open the Google Home app and expand the settings menu at the top left. You then choose twice Cast screen/audio. Consider carefully whether you want to share the Android screen portrait or landscape, although you can also change that during the display. Finally, tap the name of your Chromecast. Are you having trouble sharing Android screen? It is possible that the correct microphone rights are not enabled. Open Android settings and go to Apps / Google Play Services / Permissions. Activate the rear switch Microphone.
03 Customize Backdrop Window
If you don't cast anything to your Chromecast, a slideshow will normally appear on your television with snapshots that you have saved to Google Photos. Don't like that? You decide which data you display in this so-called Backdrop window. Open the Google Home app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. Select the item via the settings menu Devices. You then tap backdropedit. A comprehensive list of information will appear for you to display on the Backdrop window. By default, the Google Photos and Weather options are already enabled. Alternatively, you can also add snapshots from Facebook and Flickr, although you must provide login details for this. It is nice that you decide which photo albums you show on television. By the way, you don't necessarily have to share personal things. For example, your Chromecast displays important news headlines via Play Kiosk. You can also display general photos from the web. Make a choice and pass via Customspeed Optionally, adjust the slideshow refresh rate.
There are currently three different Chromecasts for sale. First of all, you can purchase the regular version in white or anthracite for 39 euros. This allows you to cast videos via the wireless network in a maximum resolution of 1080p. You can connect the device with a fixed HDMI connection by plugging it into a free HDMI port in your TV. A power cable is also included, because the Chromecast does require mains power.
If you want a more stable network connection, consider the Chromecast Ultra. This one looks almost identical but is only available in black. This device costs 79 euros and has the added value that an Ethernet adapter is incorporated in the power supply. This more luxurious version also supports a maximum resolution of 2160p (4K Ultra HD), for example via the Netflix or YouTube app. If you have a 4K television, it is therefore advisable to spend a little more money.
Finally, Google has the Chromecast Audio in its range. As the name suggests, this product is only capable of casting audio to the amplifier or speaker(s). The Chromecast Audio costs 55 euros. If you want to equip a regular Chromecast or Chromecast Audio with Ethernet, you can purchase a separate adapter in the Google Store.
04 PC Control
Your Chromecast does not only work with your smartphone or tablet, because you can also control the device from your computer. Many websites even have Chromecast support built in, so you can cast web videos directly. You do need Chrome for this. Open Netflix or YouTube in this browser and look up a nice video, film or series. During playback, click the cast icon, then click the name of the Chromecast. Note that a new icon pops up in the top right corner of Chrome. Click it to adjust the volume or end video playback. Other websites with Chromecast support include Dailymotion, Google Play Movies, and Facebook.
05 Cast tab
If a website doesn't offer Chromecast support, there's no man overboard. You can cast an entire Chrome tab. In this way, you can request the Chromecast from the PC, for example, to pick up an episode of NPO Missed. It works simply. Navigate to the web page you want to cast and open the Chrome menu at the top right. Through cast click on the name of your Chromecast. A picture will now appear on the television within a few seconds. In the top right corner of Chrome, use the cast icon to control the volume level or pause the video. If a website has built-in Chromecast support, this option is always preferred (see previous paragraph). The picture and sound quality is then better. In addition, this option requires less computing power from the system.
06 Share desktop
You simply display the desktop of your computer on the television. This is useful when, for example, you have to give a presentation or want to show self-made photos. You need the Chrome browser for this. Open the menu at the top right and click cast. rear castnasty you will see a small arrow. As soon as you click on that, you choose desktopcast. Then click on the name of your Chromecast, after which you confirm with To share. In the last window you decide if you wish to also play the sound from the PC on your television. Keep in mind that you can only pass audio from Windows machines. That doesn't work on a Mac or Chromebook.
Permanent cast icon
It is cumbersome to open the Chrome menu every time before the cast icon appears in the toolbar. You can also opt for a permanent display. In the Chrome menu, choose cast. You then right-click on the cast icon in the toolbar, after which you confirm with Always show icon.
07 How to Fix Video Shocks
The Chromecast's HDMI connector is optimized to play videos at a refresh rate of sixty frames per second. If a particular video stream contains a different refresh rate, you may see jitters in the picture. This depends, among other things, on how the television processes the video stream. Especially people who cast sports competitions sometimes suffer from this. Good news, because after an adjustment your Chromecast can also smoothly play video material with a refresh rate of fifty frames per second. You need the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet for this. Open the settings menu at the top left and go to Devices. Tap the icon with the three dots and choose Institutions. If you want to lower the refresh rate of the HDMI output to fifty images per second, put a check in front of HDMI mode for 50 Hz.
Your Chromecast works well as a glorified game console for simple games. Since a year and a half, game developers have been able to add a cast icon. The images appear on television and the smartphone serves as a controller. That way you are perfectly able to play video games in large format. There are many great titles available for both Android and iOS. For example, try the entertaining video game Angry Birds Friends. As soon as you open this game for the first time, the app will automatically detect the Chromecast within your home network. A message will appear asking if you want to play Angry Birds Friends on a television. Tap on OK , then tap the name of your Chromecast. On your smartphone screen, press play and enjoy the game. In this example, you swipe the smartphone to launch the catapult. You can then see the result on television. Tap twice in quick succession to open the menu. You can now close the television display if necessary.
Multiplayer games are also available for Chromecast. Several people then connect to the Chromecast with their smartphone or tablet, after which everyone can play along. If you like knowledge games, try Big Web Quiz, for example. You can play this quiz with a maximum of six people at the same time. There are also more games that you can play with multiple people on a Chromecast, such as Tricky Titans and SCRABBLE Blitz.
09 Plex Media Server
A Chromecast does not have a free USB port to connect a USB stick or external drive with media files. Do you also want to play your own media files via the Chromecast, for example downloaded movies and series? The most convenient method is to set up a Plex media server on your PC or NAS. You can then send the media files directly to the Chromecast via a mobile app. Download the Plex Media Server program to your PC. In addition to Windows, versions for macOS and Linux are also available. In addition, you can install the media server on a NAS. For example, there is support for the brands Synology, QNAP and Netgear. After installation, Plex will open in your browser. Create an account and then log in.
10 Streaming your own media
You first let Plex know where your media files are stored. Click on the option jointlibrary and choose between Movies, TV Shows, Music, Photos and Other Videos. You come up with a name for the location and set the desired language. In the next step you indicate in which folder the media files are stored. You confirm last with Add library. Give Plex some time to build up the media catalog. For example, if you have added a folder with movie files, you will see all the covers appear. From the Plex media server, you now cast media files directly to the Chromecast. Click the cast icon at the top right. Then you choose cast and select the name of the Google device. All you have to do is play a movie within Plex to start the video stream on your television.
11 Plex App
Do you find it difficult to control the Chromecast from the Plex media server? Understandable, because a computer is simply not such a handy device for selecting video streams for your television. Fortunately, you can easily connect the media server to the Plex app, after which you use a tablet or smartphone as a remote control. It is important that the mobile device is connected to the same home network as the Plex media server. After opening the app, log in with the correct username and password. Find a fun movie and tap the cast icon at the top. A menu will appear in which you select the correct player. Obviously that is your Chromecast. The video stream starts immediately. The mobile device now acts as a remote control. This way you can pause playback and skip scenes. You can also create a queue, so that the Chromecast plays all the desired video files one after the other.
Is your Chromecast not working properly or is it not possible to connect a mobile device? Sometimes it pays to go back to factory settings. There is a reset button on the side of the housing. Press and hold this button for some time. A notification will appear that the Chromecast will reset itself to factory settings, after which the device will reboot within a few seconds.
12 TV remote control
Anyone who accidentally presses the TV remote control while using the Chromecast may look surprised. The device supports the hdmi-cec protocol, so that it can process certain commands from a suitable remote control. For example, in certain apps it is possible to open or pause the video stream. Thanks to this function, it is no longer necessary to unlock the smartphone before you can pause. Convenient, because pausing via the TV remote control is a lot faster. For example, it works in the YouTube and Google Play Music apps. Incidentally, it is a requirement that the television in question can handle the hdmi-cec protocol. Manufacturers use different names for this. LG calls the protocol Simplink and Samsung Anynet+. Philips uses the name EasyLink.
13 5GHz Support
Unlike the first-generation Chromecasts, all current models support the 5GHz frequency band. Especially in urban areas where many people live close to each other, the 2.4 GHz frequency band is in many cases too busy. As a result, there is quite a bit of interference due to all kinds of overlapping channels. When the WiFi connection of the Chromecast is unstable, in many cases it pays to broadcast a 5GHz signal. You will be less bothered by neighboring networks, so your Chromecast may process video streams more smoothly. Keep in mind that other wireless devices must also be compatible with 5 GHz, such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, game consoles and e-readers. Fortunately, there are also so-called dual-band routers that can broadcast the Wi-Fi signal in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.