Android TV is on its way to consumers, but until then, the Chromecast is an excellent tool to use for streaming media from your smartphone, tablet, or PC to your television. Coming in at the size of a USB dongle, this has become an increasingly popular device across the world as it becomes available internationally. Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your Chromecast.
Use your smartphone to turn on your TV
Most modern televisions are equipped with HDMI-CEC technology that allows connected devices to power them on. For example, you fire up a streaming video on your smartphone to cast to your television and it will automatically turn on. In order to get this to work, you’ll need to enable CEC functionality on your TV. In general, it has a different name depending on the manufacturer:
- Sony: Bravia Link or Bravia Sync
- Samsung Anynet
- Panasonioc Viera Link
- LG SIMPLINK
- Toshiba Regza-Link
If you cannot get this to work, it’s possible that if your Chromecast is plugged into a USB port on your television, it’s not providing enough power on standby to keep it running. If so, you can try plugging in your Chromecast to the wall outlet and see if that works.
Default full screen mode from PC or Mac
This feature is essential if you cast content from your PC or Mac regularly to your Chromecast. You won’t need to have to enable full screen mode each and every time that you do so.
While this is done automatically one your smartphone or tablet, it requires a little bit of a trick on your PC. Simple press Alt-Tab when you’re casting from full screen and you’ll be able to still keep the casted video as full screen on your Chromecast and go about your merry business onto other things on your PC.
Reset your Chromecast
If your Chromecast is acting a bit wonky, you’re selling it, or lending it our to a friend, it is useful to perform a factory reset of your Chromecast. You can do this directly from the settings menu of the Chromecast app, but another easier method is to just hold down the physical button on your Chromecast for 25 seconds.
Which applications work with Chromecast?
Knowing is half the battle and this rings true for your Chromecast too. Unfortunately, not all of the applications available in the Play Store are compatible with Chromecast, even some that you would assume are. To help tally a list of all the apps that have Chromecast support has a look at the Google Cast Store.Cast Store for Chromecast Apps
In the store, you can browse different genres of apps that are compatible from media steaming services to fun little games you can play.
Use Chromecast Offline
If you want to use your Chromecast when you don’t have an accessible Wi-Fi network nearby, you can still create a wireless access point from your smartphone that you can use. To do this, go to the Settings on your smartphone and click on More under the Wireless and Networks tab. From there, click on Tethering & Portable Hotspot and Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.
This will allow you to stream videos and whatnot from your mobile and others that connect to this created network. Keep in mind, however, that while this is great for local content that is stored on your smartphone, it can consume quite a bit of data if you’re not careful and start streaming YouTube videos.
Sideshows and presentations
While we are still holding out hope that Google will update its Drive app to be able to natively steam presentations to your Chromecast, there is a work around that you can use until then. Whereas the app itself won’t allow you to cast presentations or content, you can head over to your Drive account via the Chrome Browser and then cast it to your television.
Transform it into a mini game console
While not a powerhouse gaming console, there have been some developers who have released some pretty fun games for the Chromecast. For example, there is a Hangman game that you can play on your television with friends and even a Flappy Bird-esque game called Up Down Fish.Hangman for Chromecast Up Down Fish - Chromecast Game
For more information on some our favorite apps for the Chromecast, check out our 5 useful Chromecast apps article.