Google Chromecast is yet another media-streaming device on the market that makes it ridiculously easy to cut the cord and ditch cable TV. Besides delivering tons of content from all the usual suspects (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), it's super cheap, conveniently portable, and has a slick, inconspicuous design. Sure, it doesn't boast Apple TV's user-friendly ecosystem, Roku's 4K capabilities, or Amazon Fire TV's unlimited access to Prime Instant Video. But Google's HDMI dongle remains a worthy adversary, with a long list of secret superpowers that are mostly MIA with the other guys. Here are 13 tips and tricks to get the most out of Chromecast. Say goodbye to your social life.
Credit: Flickr/Colonnade Boston
Stream in your hotel room
I think we can all agree that the limited channel selection and overpriced PPV at most hotels are garbage. Come prepared next business trip with your own digital room service. Chromecast will work on any hotel TV with an HDMI port. There is just one catch: you need a portable wireless router. No biggie. Purchase something affordable (and portable) like the Satechi Smart Travel router/adapter and plug the room's Ethernet port in. Connect the Chromecast to your media device and catch up on some Game of Thrones.
Watch media that's stored on your other devices
Wouldn't it be cool to cast media files from the cloud or your other devices onto the TV? Google doesn't think so, hence why Chromecast doesn't officially support this feature. However, with Android being an open-source platform, there are third-party apps out there that bring this fantasy to reality. Enter the Plex app. This media-management program organizes all movies, music, and photos stored on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet and can mirror the content onto Chromecast.
Credit: Flickr/Pierre Lecourt
Upgrade your sound system
For the music lovers wanting to cast their Spotify playlists on TV, but stream audio through their home entertainment system, listen up. There is a way to upgrade your audio system by combining the sound receiver with Chromecast. It just requires a bit of technical work. Purchase a HDMI-to-VGA adapter that can plug into the AUX port of a speaker. Here is a video tutorial to help out. It certainly beats dropping an extra $35 on Chromecast Audio.
Find free content fast via the Rabbit TV Plus app
Chromecast pretty much works like any other media streamer, in that there is no real shortcut to discovering content fast across all platforms. This is where Rabbit TV becomes a time-saver. It aggregates free content available online by pulling from over 750 streaming channels, while organizing everything for faster discovery. Press the Cast icon at the top right of the app and mirror whatever videos you please from any iOS or Android device.
Credit: Flickr/Tero Mononen
Get faster streaming with a wired connection
The good news is the latest Chromecast model comes equipped with three antennas to optimize Wi-Fi streaming for faster results. Bad news is, like most wireless devices, performance lag is inevitable due to the device sharing the same connection as most of your other home gadgets. You can try applying some of these tricks for faster Wi-Fi or invest in Google's Ethernet adapter, as a wired connection will deliver speedier results. Just saying!
Add emojis to your Chromecast name
As if you really need another reason to feed your emoji addiction. Those who can't resist have the luxury of applying these digital icons to their assigned Chromecast name. Use the Google Cast extension to access the Chromecast options > click on the device name > select edit. From here you'll copy/paste the new emoji-filled moniker from the browser into the name field. Save some time by doing it directly from the Android or iOS Chromecast mobile app using symbols from your phone or tablet's default keyboard.
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