Google's Chromecast is a great way to stream anything in your living room, and mastering its intricacies can really make it shine. There are some hidden Chromecast capabilities many people don't know exist -- here are some of the best ones.
Turn Your TV On Without A Remote
Forget your TV remote -- if you have a Chromecast hooked up, you can turn your TV on and even switch to the Chromecast's input with your mobile device. You just need to enable the HDMI-CEC setting on your TV, which allows you to send control commands through an HDMI device -- in this case, your Chromecast. Whatever device you use to manage the Chromecast, be it your smartphone, computer, or tablet, would then act as your primary remote control for the TV.
Different TV brands have different names for HDMI-CEC, so you may need to search for yours. Gigaom lists a few for more popular brands:
- Samsung calls it Anynet+
- Sony calls it Bravia Link or Bravia Sync
- LG calls it Simplink
- Panasonic calls it Viera Link
- Toshiba calls it Regza Link
If yours isn't listed, you can probably find it in your user manual, by checking with the manufacturer, or just by Googling around. As you can see, most of the names have the word "link" or "sync" in them, so looking for that in the TV's settings is a good place to start.
Go Mobile And Use It In Your Hotel Room
If you've tried to use your Chromecast in a hotel before, you probably experienced a block to the Wi-Fi connection. Next time pack a portable wireless router, too. Plug the router into the wall's ethernet port and plug the Chromecast into the HDMI port on the television. Connect your Chromecast to the portable router to bypass the Wi-Fi block and start streaming.
Given the price you'll pay for hotel Internet connections, this may not be worthwhile for domestic trips. If your hotel offers free connections via Ethernet, however, it's definitely worth trying.
Use Guest Mode To Keep Guests Off Your Wi-Fi Connection
Of course you want to keep your wi-fi network secure, but sharing your network with friends and guests can be good too. Chromecast's Guest Mode makes being both safe and generous easy. Open the Chromecast app from your device and select the device you want to cast to. Then just tap to enable guest mode at the top of the screen. Once enabled, your friends can enjoy streaming from their own device without connecting to your network so you don't have to worry about any shady or illegal activity coming back to haunt you .
Host Group Video Chats On The Big Screen
Video chatting is fun for friends and family and productive for businesses, but no one likes crowding around a tiny screen. With the Chromecast, you can turn a regular video chat into a much more comfortable group chat on your TV. Just mount your webcam or device to a place where it can see everyone, and cast the call to the Chromecast. This is great for business meetings and family gatherings alike.