Google & Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra have become staples in living rooms throughout the country, not least thanks to their ever-increasing app support. Able to stream Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Spotify and hundreds of other popular services, Chromecast streaming devices can be worth investing for those who want to redecorate their television cheaply.
It's not just about video and music streaming, though. Chromecast offers a whole range of other useful functions that can easily be overlooked. From mirroring your entire desktop on your TV to turning your big screen into a personal photo album, there are lots of tips and tricks that you can use to get a richer Chromecast experience. To help you get the hang of your Chromecast, we've created an overview of our favorite less-known features to help you get the most out of your streaming adventures, whether you're new to the device or a Chromecast vet.
If you've already set up your Chromecast, go to the next trick, but we wanted to help you get things started in case you are new to the product and just take it out of the box. This is the essential equipment: a TV with an HDMI input (4K or otherwise), WiFi access, a free USB port or socket and a computer, smartphone or tablet with the Google Chrome browser (for a computer) or the Google Home app installed. Simply connect the Chromecast to the HDMI port on your TV, connect it to a power source, and then visit the Chromecast installation page to download the required app. The Chromecast guides you through the rest. We also have a complete guide to setting up Chromecast if you need a little more help.
Note: If after connecting your Chromecast to your Wi-Fi network, you still cannot "see" the Chromecast from your Chrome extension for browser casting or compatible apps (such as Netflix), you may need to make some adjustments to your WiFi router. Go to the above Chromecast page for help with troubleshooting.
Connect Chromecast to Google Home
If you already have a voice-controlled Google Home device and want to use your voice to search for YouTube or the weather on your Chromecast-connected TV, you can quickly connect your Chromecast to your Google Home ecosystem.
Make sure that the two devices are on the same network, then open the Google Home app and look for the More Settings . Click on the TV & # 39; s and speakers tab where you will see a list of connected devices. Tap the plus sign (+) at the bottom of the screen to link the Chromecast to Google Home. Once added, you go to the races.
Connect an Ethernet Adapter
While the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra is already rocking an Ethernet port to deliver ultra-high-definition content, the standard Chromecast does not. However, that does not mean that you cannot install yours afterwards. You can purchase an Ethernet adapter directly from Google for just $ 1
Using Chromecast as an audio streaming device
Bluetooth is great for streaming audio to newer audio systems and wireless speakers, but those notification sounds can be annoying. With the help of WiFi you can bypass it and still use your phone while you moan thanks to a whole range of iOS and Android music apps with Chromecast support, including Pandora, Google Play Music and Spotify.
If you have a modern A / V receiver, soundbar or active speakers with an optical input. Streaming with the Chromecast is as easy as connecting an optical cable from the audio output of your TV to the optical input of your audio device. (Note: in some cases you need to set your TV audio to "external speakers" and choose the optical output. This menu is usually found in the settings menu under Sound.) Do you have an older amplifier with only analog inputs? Simply buy anand connect it to the RCA input of your sound system. Or, as is increasingly likely, your TV can have an HDMI-ARC connection, in which case any sound from your Chromecast can be sent back from the TV through the TV to the audio device via a single HDMI connection.
Another option is to connect your Chromecast directly to an HDMI input on your A / V receiver or soundbar and use your phone as both the controller and the viewing window to see what's going on.
Mirror your Android phone with Chromecast
Fans of vertical integration will appreciate that Google has brought Android and Chromecast together, allowing users with most Android devices to "mirror" content from those devices to a large screen via Chromecast . The service is available on most Android devices with Android OS 4.4.2 or higher. To start mirroring, simply connect your Android device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast, open the Google Home application and tap the navigation tray at the top left. Tap the & # 39; Cast Screen Screen & # 39 ;, select Chromecast and you're done. What is on your phone can now be viewed in the bright lights of your TV. To end the cast, open the navigation drawer again, tap the Cast Screen button and select Disconnect.
Experience 3D virtual reality without a clumsy headset
This tip is a bit more expensive and complicated than others on our list, such as you need a 3D TV, an Android phone and the freemium Cardboard app from Google to get this done. If you are in this category, keep reading. To use the function, you must first activate SBS mode on your 3D TV, usually through your TV's setup menu. You must then download and launch the Cardboard app on your smartphone. Then simply mirror the content of your smartphone to your television as indicated above, and put on your 3D glasses wrapped with your television so that you can enjoy a 3D experience that resembles virtual reality directly from your TV.
Score free offers from popular apps
Google often does its utmost to thank its Chromecast users with an abundance of monthly free gifts. The tech giant offers deals for Hulu and Google Play, many of which offer access to free films, extensive streaming tests and months of unlimited music. Simply go to the Google Chromecast offer page and scroll down to see a list of available offers, or, if you prefer, via the options menu in iOS or Android.
Stream a slideshow with Google Slides
Do you have a slideshow that you want to broadcast on the big screen? If you use Google Presentations, you can stream your presentations via Chromecast. First make sure that whatever device you stream is on the same WiFi network as your Chromecast. Then click on the & # 39; Present & # 39; in the top right corner of your slideshow to open a drop-down menu and select & # 39; Chromecast & # 39 ;.
Stream local video & # 39; s
Although Chromecast does not work like an Apple TV or Roku, you can nevertheless stream video & # 39; s stored on your computer or network as Chrome the file type on your PC or Mac supports. Open a Chrome browser and press CTRL + O for PC or Command + O for Mac and search for the video you want to play. This gives you the option to choose local video & # 39; s from an installed hard drive, an external hard drive connected to your computer and some network locations.
View natively supported file formats here or go to our next tip for playing additional file types.
Using Plex to play any type of local media
Because Chrome cannot play every video file format, you need a little help from a third-party app. That is where the Plex application comes in handy. It indexes video, audio and photos on your computer or media server and takes care of all the background work so that everything you own can be streamed to your Chromecast.
After you have downloaded the app, point it at where you store your media. It will then organize all your content for easy access. Using your smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac, simply select what you want to stream to your Chromecast and it will cast to your TV. View our complete guide to using Plex for more information about this powerful media server software.
Send websites to your TV
Google Chromecast makes it easy to send web pages from the Chrome browser to your TV via the device – if you are not yet using the Chrome browser , you must download it now. When you're done, you can cast any webpage you're viewing to your TV through the Chromecast by clicking on the menu with the three dots on the right side of your address bar and then choosing "Cast …". A new menu will open in which you can select the device to which you want to cast. The page you are viewing will then magically appear on your television. This function is also called & # 39; cast a tab & # 39; called.
Find all Chromecast-supported apps
Although you can send almost anything to your TV via tab casting, there are Chromecast-specific apps that offer enhanced streaming and dedicated support. The list of compatible apps for the Chromecast continues to grow and Google offers a list of these on its website.
Improve video playback by adjusting streaming quality
People with slower internet packages who often stream video & # 39; s via YouTube or Netflix have probably been hit by buffer problems and loading screens at some point. Buffering and delay are usually a bigger problem if you have a bad WiFi connection or if the server from which you stream has a lot of traffic. It is possible to improve the playback speed, but this is at the expense of lower quality video. If you have all kinds of buffering issues, just go to the Google Cast extension options and set the "Tab Projection Quality" to "Standard (48 in)" to switch to lower resolution playback.
Add Emoji & # 39; s to your Chromecast name
With the Google Home app, you can have some fun naming your device by allowing the use of Emoji characters. Choose your Emoji the way you would normally do via the keyboard – it's an option for with Android, Windows, iOS and MacOS apps.
Host a YouTube party
Playlists are among the remarkable features of Chromecast and give you the option to set the order of YouTube videos & # 39; s. Other people on different mobile devices or computers can also contribute to the YouTube queue, provided they are on the same Wi-Fi network. To use the function, simply search for the YouTube video that you want to watch and open it. You can then browse for new video & # 39; s and after selection the app asks if you want to play it now or add it to the playlist. That's how you made a YouTube party.
Always make video & # 39; s in full screen
This specific tip is useful when sending video from the Chrome browser on your PC or Mac, as opposed to casting video from your phone or tablet. If you need to do something else on your computer but want to keep the video you are streaming from the Chrome browser in full screen, simply press Alt + Tab to switch between tasks. The video that was originally played in full screen when you changed tasks will continue to do this on the TV.
Use your smartphone to turn on your TV
Thanks to one of the unique features of the Chromecast, this modern TV can turn on & # 39; s and switch to the correct HDMI input as soon as you & # 39; s or music starts streaming from your smartphone or tablet. The Chromecast uses HDMI-CEC technology that supports most newer televisions and with which HDMI devices can turn on those TV & # 39; s. Television manufacturers have not always enabled this feature out of the box, so you may need to search the settings of your TV to turn it on.
Moreover, not every television brand calls the CEC function the same. For the more popular television producers, the names are as follows: Samsung (Anynet +) Sony (Bravia Link or Bravia Sync), Panasonic (Viera Link), LG (Simplink), Toshiba (Regza Link).
To use this function, first connect the Chromecast using the supplied AC adapter instead of a USB port. This ensures that the Chromecast gets power even when the television is switched off. With the correct CEC function on, you start casting music or video from your smartphone to your Chromecast by pressing the & # 39; Cast & # 39; clicking in the top corner and your TV will turn on and automatically display the correct HDMI input for your content.  Note: Connecting to the HDMI-ARC port of your TV can enable a better CEC handshake transfer, so if this function does not work, you can try this solution.
Use your own photos as a background to create a digital photo album
Although the standard stock photos of the Chromecast are beautiful, you can also customize your background with your own Add photos, as well as illustrations from the Google Cultural Institute, images from news stores, and even weather data and satellite images. The feature requires the latest software version for your Chromecast and for the Google Home app on your Android or iOS device, although both need to be updated automatically on most devices.
However, to add personal photos, you need them from Google Photos. Go to Google Photos & # 39; s on the internet or install the Google Photos & # 39; s app on a device and load your images. When you are finished, check that your device and your Chromecast are on the same Wi-Fi network. Then tap the & # 39; Cast & # 39; in Google Photos & # 39; s. This will send your photos to your TV.
How to mirror your entire desktop
Click the three-dot menu to send your entire desktop to your television, select Cast… , Choose your device, and then choose Desktop from the Resources drop-down list. This option requires a high processing power of your computer and can slow down video playback, lower video quality and work slower if your PC or Mac is not very powerful (it will also cause a dent in your laptop's battery if you & # 39; is not connected).
How to use your Chromecast in a hotel room
Using the television service provided by the hotel can leave a bad taste in your mouth, but with Chromecast with a portable WiFi access point you can dump your hotel TV forever. We recommend a portable Wi-Fi hotspot because the Wi-Fi network of a hotel tends to become incredibly slow for video streaming and hotels often charge fees for use per device.
If you want to use your Chromecast on a hotel room TV, first connect the device to one of the available HDMI inputs on the TV. This can be a challenge (or impossible) with TVs that are bolted to a cupboard or against a wall. But once you've connected Chromecast, turn on your portable router and connect the Chromecast and your mobile device, PC or Mac to the wireless network.
Once the Chromecast and the cast device synchronize, you can now stream all content to the hotel TV exactly as you would with your home TV.
Here is our complete guide to using Chromecast in a hotel.
Note: Using your phone as a mobile hotspot works but keep your data limits in mind – Chromecast can eat data quickly. Also, some hotels have put their TV's entrances on some sort of lock, limiting the use of third-party devices.
Guest Mode: Have any Android device cast to your TV without logging in to Wi-Fi  Are you one of those people with a Wi-Fi password that is ten kilometers long and you refuse to change it (or don't you know how)? If this is the case, these little tricks can send your guests everything they want from their own device without having to jump on your network. To use the Guest Mode feature, open the Google Home app on your Android device, tap the device that guests want to use, tap the triple dots in the right corner and select "Guest Mode" and then scroll the On function. Your Chromecast then sends a & # 39; special wifi beacon & # 39; which allows every user to stream securely, thanks to special authentication of your Chromecast via inaudible audio tones.
How to reset your Google Chromecast at the factory
Chromecast is developing a problem that you cannot bypass or stop working completely, there are a few ways to reset the device to factory settings. The first method involves opening the Google Home app on your device. Then select the Chromecast device that you want to reset, and then open the settings by tapping the button in the upper right corner . Then tap the & # 39; More & # 39; top right button and then select & # 39; Restore factory settings Chromecast & # 39; (on iOS this is simply called & # 39; Reset & # 39;).
You can also manually restore the factory settings to the device by holding down the physical button of the Chromecast. The LED light turns orange and eventually white. At this point, release the button and the Chromecast will restart.
Access to the hidden settings menu of Chromecast
If you want more control over the streaming quality of your content, you want to have access to the hidden extension options of Chromecast. Click the Cast extension button on the right side of your address bar and select Options . Right-click anywhere on the Options page and click Inspect Element to open the page's HTML code. Expand the Q uality == "custom" code line and look for two lines of text with the text Display: none. Delete both lines of text and the Google Cast extension options will appear.
Note: Keep the Options window open while changing the hidden settings; otherwise you have to search again and remove the HTML lines to produce the hidden menu.
Use Chromecast with Amazon & # 39; s Kindle Fire
Although the Chromecast claims to only support apps on iOS or Android devices, you have the option to cast with a Kindle Fire. Streaming apps such as Hulu, Netflix or Pandora work great when using a Kindle Fire.
Play motion-control games with your smartphone and Chromecast
Yet another feature that is not officially supported by Google is the ability to play motion-controlled games using your smartphone and Chromecast. The games themselves are not groundbreaking, but do support multiplayer functionality, so you can enjoy retro-style gaming with your friends. Google offers such a game called Super Sync Sports and the use of the movement functionality is easy.
First cast the page from your computer to your TV via the Chromecast and follow the on-screen instructions. Before you know it, you wave, flick and wave your smartphone around hoping to beat your friends in a virtual race. We recommend that you hold your phone firmly, otherwise you can find the star of a motion controller mount.
Recommendations from editors