Things you’ll need:
- The Google Chromecast dongle
- An open HDMI port on your television
- If you have an older television, you may also need an open USB port on the TV or else an available power outlet.
- A Chromecast-enabled device, such as:
- A computer with Chrome with the Chromecast extension installed
- An Android tablet or phone with the Chromecast app installed
- An iPad or iPhone with the Chromecast app installed
How do you tell if your HDMI port can support the Chromecast all by itself? Super-easy: when you plug it into the HDMI port and turn it on, does the light come on? If it does, you’re good! If it doesn’t, you’ll need to connect the dongle to a power supply, either using the USB cord or the power module (both included with the device).
The Chromecast actually creates a special media-only network for the devices running various iterations of the app and extension, and those in turn use the television as the primary display for whatever you’d like to watch. So, the next part of the setup is to connect the Chromecast to your wireless network (you’ll need the network name/SSID and password/key passphrase to connect) through your device of choice. Since the Chromecast has no physical input options besides the ports, your device becomes the controller through the app you’ve installed.
Here’s where it gets really fun: You can install the Chromecast controller (extension or app) on multiple devices and choose which one you’d like to access at any given time. You’ll be getting into your Netflix or Hulu Plus or YouTube from within the app, and because each device has its own network address, you can even have multiple Chromecasts in the house installed on different televisions. (At only $35 a piece, that’s pretty affordable!)
Just to be clear, you still have to have your own account for any paid subscription service, and as far as those go, it’s entirely up to you whichever you prefer. Different services offer different ranges of titles and media, and the Chromecast will access a number of them (check here for the latest list). If you’ve purchased any music, television shows, or movies through the Google Play store, those can all be accessed through the Chromecast app, but though you can install the Chromecast app on iOS devices, your iTunes purchases remain locked away (for now).
The Chromecast is an easy and inexpensive option for near immediate gratification, especially if you already have subscription services. And remember – when in doubt, feel free to ask you friendly neighborhood RadioShack expert! We’re in this together!
Check back here periodically to see the most common FAQ questions answered!