A Chromecast Tutorial with pictures - Set up Chromecast on Windows, Mac OSX, iOS and Android
Setting up and using Chromecast
Chromecast was introduced late July 2013 to much hoopla and very mixed reviews. It was a mere $35! It allowed you to get Internet content on your TV from your phone, tablet or computer!!! It supported Netflix and Youtube and …. well, that was about it… Not exactly ready to take on Apple TV or Roku, but CHEAP!
But like all things Google, it was released incomplete, in Beta if you will, like everything else they do. It would either blow up and get huge, or whither away and get cancelled. I was pretty sure it would be the former so I bought one and threw it in a drawer for 10 months to see.
So, over time more good apps were added, and in February 2014, the SDK (software development Kit) was released to make it easier for developers, and the number of apps exploded, and now it seems as if maybe it will be worthy of one of the HDMI ports on my Receiver. Well, that and my Roku box died…
What does it support? Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, Pandora, Google Play Music, Movies and TV, HBO Go, Rdio, MLB.TV Premium (useless the way the Phillies are playing) and a whole bunch more that I never heard of. You can even cast local files and “tabs” in the chrome browser if your computer/tablet/phone is fast enough. That last thing may need some explaining if you are unfamiliar with how it works. Using apps, the Chromecast does not get content streamed to it from your phone/tablet/computer, it gets it streamed directly over your wireless network from the Internet - your phone/tablet/computer just tells it where to get the stream, and tells it when to stop and start, etc. You can start streaming and then do other things, call someone, browse the web, or whatever, and it won’t matter a bleep to the stream. The other scenario - trying to cast a “tab”, basically a Chrome browser screen to the Chromecast DOES require the streaming to come from the computer/tablet/phone, so quality and feature support will vary quite a lot. Before you get all grumbly about that, let me ask you if your Roku or AppleTV lets you do the same? No? OK, so lets agree it's an awesome feature to have and lets move on...
1) Connect your Chromecast to the TV
Connecting the Chromecast is easy enough for anyone familiar with the latest USB and HDMI connectors, but for somebody who stares blankly back at you when you say “hand me that micro USB cable, please” this could be a difficult and perilous adventure... The HDMI connector is easy enough. It's big enough, and the shape is such that it's hard to go wrong, and very hard to go very wrong. That little micro USB may be “polarized” - it only fits in one way, but it's small, and it's very nearly flat! If your eyesight is not what it once was, then figuring out which end of the female and male connectors are flat and which are rounded can be difficult. And it's a fragile connector... Both the female and male are. So be gentle. It's a very common connector on smart phones now, and other small electronic devices, so if you have trouble find someone who is a phone nerd (or any young adult) and get them to help you plug it in.
If you can plug in the micro USB then your hardest task may well be finding an open HDMI jack on the TV or Receiver where you'll want to plug it in. Then plug in the power to the closest power jack you can find, and you should be ready for installing the software. If you have trouble plugging in the power plug, well... you're on your own. Perhaps you could go and enjoy the great outdoors or a nice popsicle or something instead?
Install and setup Chromecast on Windows
Install and Setup Chromecast on your Mac
Install and Setup Chromecast on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
Install and setup Chromecast on Android
Using Chromecast and Conclusions
Note: If you would like help with your chromecast please don't call! - email us at "firstname.lastname@example.org" and we will try to help you.