'What is Google Chromecast?': Everything you need to know about Google's smart streaming device

GoogleThe Google Chromecast is a small but powerful streaming device.
  • Google Chromecast is a unique device that plugs into any TV or monitor with an HDMI port, and can stream content from your phone or computer onto the big screen.
  • You don’t have to pay any subscription fees to use a Chromecast, although you’ll still have to pay for services like Netflix and Hulu to access them.
  • If you’re using a computer with Google Chrome, you can “cast” nearly any webpage onto the TV, and view the internet in a higher resolution.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

What is a Google Chromecast? It’s essentially a streaming device that wirelessly connects your phone, tablet, or computer with an HD monitor. If your monitor or TV screen has an HDMI port (which nearly every TV screen nowadays has), you can turn it into a smart device that can connect to all sorts of apps you have on your phone or computer.

Right now, Google sells the 3rd Generation Chromecast for $US35. Meanwhile, the Chromecast Ultra – which lets you stream in 4K resolution, and has a faster processor – comes in at $US69.99.

But no matter which Chromecast you buy, that initial purchase price is all you’ll pay: using a Chromecast requires no subscription and has no fees. The only other fees come if you’re subscribed to and using the device with premium streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.

A Chromecast can breathe new life into an older TV, and it can give you access to content on a device that might otherwise be locked, such as a television at a hotel that might charge fees to watch movies or shows.

Here’s how to use it.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Google Chromecast (From $US35 at Best Buy)

Google Chromecast Ultra 4K (From $US69.99 at Best Buy)

How to set up and use a Google Chromecast device

1. Connect the Chromecast to a power source, then plug it into an HDMI port on the TV you want to use.

2. Switch on the television and make sure it’s tuned to the proper HDMI channel (HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc.).

3. Download the Google Home app on your mobile device, and set up the Chromecast as a new device. Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your mobile device.

William Antonelli/Business InsiderSet up your Chromecast like you would any other Google device in the Google Home app.

4. Follow the on-screen prompts to set up your Chromecast.

Your Chromecast is ready for streaming. Now you’ll want to get your mobile device or computer ready to start casting.

If you’re using your phone or tablet:

1. Launch the streaming service of your choice (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.) on your mobile device.

2. When the show or movie begins, tap the casting icon in the corner of the screen to stream the content to your TV. You may have to select the name of your Chromecast from a list – you’ll have named it during setup.

Steven John/Business InsiderTap the casting icon in the corner of the screen.

If you’re using a computer, you’ll want to:

1. Launch Google Chrome.

2. Click the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of your screen.

3. In the drop-down menu that appears, click “Cast.”

Screen Shot 2019 11 27 at 10.33.54 AM (2)William Antonelli/Business Insider/HuluYou can cast nearly any webpage or streaming service from this menu.

4. You’ll be presented with a list of all the Chromecast devices in the area. Select yours, and your browser will appear on the Chromecast’s screen.

And that’s it: this compact little dongle will now allow you to enjoy all your favourite media, anywhere you can get a Wi-Fi connection and an HDMI port.

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