Google Chromecast originally came out in 2013. A new version was released just this year. Naturally, the new Chromecast is much better than the old version. Instead of a simple interface that requires you to use a PC to use, Chromecast now gives you a better streaming experience.
Now, the interface design of Chromecast is completely different. With it, you can view popular content from popular streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus. You can stream in 4K along with extensive apps that you can optimize to make your experience better.
Chromecast has leveled up to the point where it’s become more akin to Roku and Apple TV. In this article, we’ll be telling you all about Chromecast. We’ll also talk about what it can do and how to optimize Chromecast so you can have a better streaming experience with the best Chromecast setup.
What Can Google Chromecast Do?
Before going over how to optimize Chromecast, let’s talk about how to make it work first. For Chromecast to work, you’re going to need to do a few things. You need to plug it into your TV via HDMI. You also need to connect it to a stable power supply.
In addition to these, you also need a smartphone compatible with the latest version of the app. Another option to take is for you to install the app on your PC. Google Chromecast also comes with a separate remote.
After acquiring everything you need, we will now discover how to optimize Chromecast. You can now run Google Chromecast easily. Using Chromecast, there’s quite a lot you can do. With it, you can watch TV shows or movies, and even view photos. It’s like having cable TV except you get a streaming service instead.
You can also use Chromecast to put your Android screen onto your TV. Let’s say you’re watching YouTube videos on your phone, you can just put it on Chromecast and enjoy watching your fave YouTubers on your TV. The Chromecast app is also excellent for viewing all of your favorite mobile apps on a bigger screen.
Using the remote, you can control everything on the screen. From video playback to volume, you name it and your Chromecast remote can do it. And if you download the Google Home app, you can go to the “What’s on” tab to see apps you can use Chromecast with. You can even install new compatible apps to make your Chromecast experience even better.
There are tons of apps you can try out with Google Chromecast. Apps like Netflix, HBO, Twitch, and YouTube are all compatible. But did you know you could cast Spotify onto your TV screen with it as well? Chromecast will also show you which installed apps are capable of being cast.
What Can I Optimize on Chromecast?
Discover your Chromecast’s features and what it can do. Let’s go over how you can give yourself a better streaming experience. What exactly can you optimize on Chromecast? In this section, we’ll give you a brief rundown of how to optimize Chromecast to your liking.
Chromecast Mirroring Quality
You can mirror your whole screen or a tab from your computer onto Chromecast. However, it does require you to have the latest version of Google Chrome installed. This feature is excellent for people who want to do a presentation using Chromecast.
With the app, you can mirror your phone’s screen onto Google Chromecast. To use mirroring, you’ll need your phone to be on the same network as Chromecast. From there, you can cast your screen using the Google Home app.
Chromecast has a screen mirroring and screen casting option. Improving quality for mirroring can be quite tricky. Mirroring your screen is good for watching short videos or viewing photos, but it might not do the trick when it comes to movies and TV shows. Using the screencast feature instead of screen mirroring may be a better option.
The mirroring quality of Chromecast is about as good as your device is. For instance, if you’re using a phone with a low resolution, the result may prove considerably worse for Chromecast. In terms of how to optimize Chromecast mirroring, there are actually only few options. Thus, we recommend using a device with high resolution such as a tablet for the best mirroring experience.
Chromecast Full Screen
For people who want to use Chromecast to present, you have the option of casting your current tab or your full screen. It’s similar to Twitch Studio, which allows you to stream a single game or your entire screen. However, the option to cast the entire screen for Chromecast is still experimental and being worked upon.
To cast your entire screen, you can open the Chromecast extension on your desktop from Google Chrome. From there, you just need to click the dropdown menu near the “Cast this tab to” option.
While you can cast your full screen, it is still in the works so don’t be surprised if your Chromecast starts crashing. Depending on your specs though, it might work perfectly fine. The sound from casting your entire screen will also come from your desktop and not the TV you’re casting on.
You can also opt to use your computer while watching TV. However, this is possible only if you’re using the full-screen option with Google Chrome. To do this, press Alt+Tab to switch tasks. Doing this will put the content in the background allowing you to use your computer freely.
Chromecast requires a stable and fast internet connection for good quality streaming. This means you may experience buffering in some of your videos while using Chromecast. And we all know how much buffering sucks the fun out of your viewing experience.
You can fix this by lowering the quality of the videos you watch to improve your video playback experience. To do this, go to your options in the Chromecast extension. From there, you need to select Options and lower your quality to Standard (480p). The overall quality may be reduced, but at least you’ll be able to watch without interruptions.
On the contrary, you can also increase your quality if you already have a speedy internet connection. You see, the initial settings of Chromecast make it so that you’re always on 720p. In the same Options menu, you can set the projection quality to Extreme (720p high bitrate).
We recommend lowering the streaming quality if you’re having a hard time with buffering. Otherwise, you can try taking it up a notch if you have a good internet connection and are confident that you’ll be able to stream just fine without problems.
Ever wanted to play games on the big screen without having to buy a console? Well, we tell you how to optimize Chromecast to do just that in this section. Let’s say you want to play a fantasy RPG on your TV. Using the full-screen option, you can cast your favorite games onto the screen and play with a controller.
Chromecast is also compatible with Google Cardboard so you can play 3D virtual reality games and have them show on your TV. To do this, all you need to do is download the cardboard app on your smartphone. From there, mirror your phone’s screen on the TV.
The Chromecast app also supports some motion-controlled games. You can play games like Super Sync Sports or Just Dance Now with it. There are also other games available, most of which are family games. You can even play Pictionary with it. Some games you download on your smartphone can be played on Chromecast while your phone acts as a controller.
Don’t worry if someone else is using Chromecast while you’re gaming on your PC. You can continue playing games on your computer while watching something on Chromecast. However, if you want to do this, then using the full-screen feature is a no-go.
Chromecast Audio And Music Streaming
You can also play music on your TV with Chromecast. To do this, you’ll need Google Play Music downloaded on your phone. Simply open the app, tap on the cast icon, and choose what you want to play.
Pairing Chromecast with Google Play Music can also allow you to stream more than Chromecast audio and music. However, this is only possible provided you already have a Play Music subscription which costs $10 a month. With it, you can stream radio and you also get YouTube Premium as an add-on. You can also opt to use other services like Pandora and Spotify instead.
If you have Google Home speakers, you can pair them with Chromecast. Since Google has voice-activated speakers, you’ll be able to control your TV with your voice. Keep in mind that you need a Google Home device and the latest version of its app in order to function properly.
Alternatively, you can just connect speakers with optical input to Chromecast. You’ll need to connect your optical cable from your TV to your device and set your TV audio to external speakers. Another way to connect your speakers is by connecting Chromecast directly to your HDMI input.
With Chromecast and voice-activated speakers, streaming audio and music has never been better. Say for example you’re having a party and you have Chromecast enabled, all you need to do is tell it what music to play next. It’ll follow your command and play your desired song.
Things To Take Note
Now that we’ve gone over how to optimize Chromecast, let’s talk about how to give you a better overall experience. There are a couple of things you can do with Chromecast that a lot of people don’t know about. Here’s a couple of things you could do to make your streaming experience a lot better.
Access The Hidden Settings Menu
If you’re an advanced user you can try accessing the hidden settings of Chromecast. On the Chromecast browser extension, simply right click the options and select Inspect element. Afterwards, look for a Quality custom section in the code. Expand this and delete the “display: none” code.
Just like that, you now have access to the hidden settings. Using the hidden settings, you can set the minimum and maximum bitrate. Moreover, you can adjust the minimum and maximum frame rates to your desired limits as well.
The hidden settings menu also allows you to change the audio bitrate and video buffer. However, you might have to learn some extra technical terms to know what everything does. People have also reported mixed results with the hidden settings. Some say it works while others say nothing changed.
Activate Chromecast Without A Remote
Let’s face it, we’ve all lost a TV remote or two at some point in our lives. Don’t worry if you can’t find the remote or you’re too lazy to reach for it, because Chromecast doesn’t need one. Your very own phone can act as the remote.
Chromecast supports a technology called HDMI-CEC. If you have a TV that supports this, turning on the CEC feature while running Chromecast will allow you to use your phone. And not only that, but you can also use your computer as well.
Turning on the CEC feature can be quite tricky though. Each TV brand has its name for it. For Samsung TVs, it’s Anynet+, and it’s called Bravia Sync for Sony. You’ll need to find the right name for CEC that matches up with your TV’s brand.
Using HDMI-CEC makes it so you don’t have to change the input every time you use Chromecast. Casting using different devices is made easy with it since it makes your TV switch to Chromecast automatically.
Link Your Netflix Profile
Your Netflix profile can be linked to Chromecast so you can save yourself some trouble. Go to the Google Home app and then tap the + icon on the top left. Once you’re given access to a different menu, click on “Videos and Photos.” That’s where you’ll be able to link your Netflix account.
Every time you open Netflix on Chromecast, it’ll automatically be your Netflix account that opens. This saves you the trouble of having to log in every time you open the app. After linking your account, you can open Netflix via voice activation. This feature also isn’t limited to just Netflix, though.
With Chromecast, you can link your YouTube profile as well. Going through the same Videos and Photos menu and signing into your YouTube account will set you up. It’s an incredibly useful feature that some people fail or forget to do. And it’s sad people don’t do it more often because then they aren’t getting the most out of Chromecast.
Utilize Google Assistant to Control Casting
Assuming you’ve already set up your Google Home account and Chromecast, you can link them together. To do this, go to your Google Home app and select More settings. Select “TVs and speakers” from the Services section.
Once you’ve selected TVs and speakers, you’ll be taken to a different page. Now, press the + at the bottom right and press Add. Adding the app will allow you full voice control. You can also change your device’s name if you don’t want to say Chromecast all the time.
If you want to change Chromecast’s name, go to your Google Home settings by clicking on the TV and speaker icon. Then, you can change the device name by clicking on the settings and the Name option. Change it to whatever you want and then save it.
Changing the name of your Chromecast is pretty cool. It allows you to personalize Chromecast to your liking. You can set the name to whatever you want, provided Google can recognize it. You can even change the name to Jarvis and feel like Tony Stark whenever you start a video.
Buy An Ethernet Adapter
Connecting an ethernet adapter to Chromecast can be useful, especially if you want to put Chromecast in a place with weak WiFi. Buying an ethernet adapter and then connecting it to Chromecast will help it connect faster and load videos better.
Buying an ethernet cable can also help enrich your overall streaming experience and reduce buffering. It’s a way to improve your video playback experience in the event you don’t want to reduce video quality. It isn’t a surefire method, though.
You can buy an ethernet adapter from Google for $15 and plug it into your Chromecast. If you want an adapter already included, you can buy the Chromecast Ultra. It’s more expensive overall, but it’s better since it supports 4K streaming.
Enable Guest Mode
If you like having friends over, you can enable guest mode to save your friends the trouble of having to connect to your internet. Using guest mode requires you to enable it on the Google Home app.
To enable guest mode, tap on the device your friends are using and tap on the dots on the top right. There will then be a dropdown menu, where you will select Guest Mode. Keep in mind that you will have to do this for every device that you want guest mode turned on for.
Guest mode is a good solution if you’re too lazy to input your WiFi password every time you have a friend over. Enabling it will send a beacon allowing users to pair their devices with Chromecast and stream without a hitch.
The Bottom Line
Google Chromecast is a handy device that can do a lot of things. With it, you can stream videos, music, and even play some video games. And though it can be quite confusing to use sometimes, we hope we’ve successfully informed you of how to optimize Chromecast to give yourself a better streaming experience.