The Chromecast. A simple concept, but one that is wildly useful and goes along nicely with the rise in online streaming services. The idea is that you can use the Chromecast to stream content from a mobile device to your TV. Pretty standard stuff, right? However, the Chromecast isn’t as plain as it might seem…
So, I pull up my favourite YouTube video, tap the little cast icon, and, provided I’m on the same WiFi network as the Chromecast, I can play the video on my TV. The thing is, the Chromecast doesn’t just mirror your device’s screen onto your TV. No, it actually takes over the streaming for you, meaning you can close the YouTube app on your device and continue doing whatever you want to be doing.
The Chromecast will either fully or partially take over the stream, depending on which site you’re using. If you’re streaming from Netflix, HBO or some other ‘trusted’ service, it will take over completely, leaving you free to browse Facebook, update Instagram or play Candy Crush. If you’re trying to stream from a more… dodgy site, then you’ll have to leave the app open on your device, though you can still turn the screen off.
Depending on how you’ve set it up, the Chromecast can also be controlled via a notification on any Android phone on the same network. This allows you to pause, play mute or stop the casting from anywhere in the house, though it does get annoying if a family member ‘accidentally’ taps on the stop button.
The Chromecast can also be controlled by voice if you have a Google Home connected to the same wireless network (read about the Google Home here). This is very useful if your Google Home and Chromecast are in the same room and your phone and remote are out of reach.
This is a tough section to write, as there are very few that I can think of. It’s a little bit annoying that the standard Chromecast doesn’t support 4K video, and that the Chromecast Ultra is vastly more expensive but other than that it’s a fantastic little device. Just a tip from me though, don’t use your TV as the USB power source for the Chromecast. If you do, you won’t be able to use the Chromecast without turning the TV on.
This review has been shorter than usual, but I sincerely hope it’s given you an insight into the small but powerful product that is the Google Chromecast. It’s very useful and I just love having an alternative to the rather clunky BBC iPlayer app for TV. Thanks for taking the time to read this review, and if you have any feedback or suggestions, let me know below.
Purchase a Google Chromecast here.