What is Chromecast?
Everything you need to know about Google Chromecast
Technology has taken a giant leap forward in the past decade when it comes to streaming movies and TV shows.
You’ve probably heard the word “Chromecast” getting tossed around for years now, and you might already know that it’s some sort of device you hook up to your TV, but you’re not sure exactly what it is or how it works.
In short, the Chromecast is a mainstay in streaming and should be at the top of your consideration list after cutting the cable cord. We’ll explain how to get started with Chromecast, what makes it stand out from other streaming services and look at which version to choose.
What is Google Chromecast?
The Google Chromecast is one of the most popular media streaming platforms on the market. It’s a dongle, which is a small device or adapter that adds functionality to whichever device it plugs into. The Chromecast plugs into an HDMI port on your TV and essentially turns it into a smart TV.
Chromecast is an excellent streaming device for anyone who doesn’t own a smart TV or anyone who wants to stream content on their TV directly from their mobile device.
How does Chromecast work?
The Google Chromecast connects to your home network and is then fully controlled by your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
It can mirror the content displayed on your casting device, and it can also stream content from applications such as YouTube and Netflix using Google Cast. Many apps and services already support Google Cast, so you’re only one click away from streaming your favorite shows to your TV.
Google Chromecast setup
Setting up your Google Chromecast is a piece of cake. You simply connect it to a power supply and then plug it into your TV’s HDMI port.
Once you’ve done that, you need to have the latest version of the Google Home app installed on your smartphone or tablet.
If you plan on using a computer, laptop or Chromebook to stream content, you must have the latest version of the Chrome browser installed, too.
Your devices also need to be connected to the same WiFi network for them to function together.
Chromecast vs. other streaming devices
The Google Chromecast is somewhat unique among other streaming platforms.
Unlike other devices such as the Roku Streaming Stick+ and Amazon Fire Stick 4K, the Google Chromecast does not have an integrated user interface. Everything is controlled from the device you choose to cast from.
That means no remote control is included with your Chromecast since your casting device becomes the remote control itself. When you cast content from streaming apps like Netflix, you can use your device to control everything, including volume and playback.
Which Chromecast should I get?
The Chromecast has gone through many versions and generations since its inception back in 2013. The latest generation of Google Chromecast is currently offered in two variations.
Chromecast 3rd Generation
The Chromecast 3rd Generation is the latest version of the original Chromecast available. There aren’t significant changes from previous generations, but it’s still an excellent option if you’re looking for a cheap way to stream content on your non-smart TV.
It’s lightweight, portable, and you’ll have access to over 2000 apps, including favorites like Netflix, Disney+, and YouTube. You can also connect your Chromecast and Google Home together and control your TV hands-free.
The base Chromecast devices are something of a dying breed, though. When they first debuted, smart TVs weren’t as common as they are today. Many smart TVs today have built-in casting capabilities, so the Chromecast won’t be very useful if you own one of those already.
Chromecast with Google TV
The latest Chromecast is kind of a contradiction of itself. Chromecast was known for not having an interface and for being fully controlled by an external device.
That’s no longer the case with the Chromecast with Google TV. Google has adapted and made a streaming set-top box out of their original Chromecast dongles.
The Chromecast with Google TV features a user interface where you can browse and stream content. It now comes with a remote, so it’s not necessary to control your Chromecast with your mobile device or laptop anymore.
It supports 4K streaming and can be controlled via Google Assistant. It also comes in three colors: snow, sunrise and sky.
App selection is much broader than the Chromecast 3, which only supports apps with Casting support. The Chromecast with Google TV features over 6,500 apps, including HBO Max and Peacock TV.
The only drawback to the Chromecast with Google TV is that it lacks an ethernet port, but you can purchase a low-cost adapter for that if you prefer a wired internet connection.
Kevin Luna is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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