Is Google’s Chromecast Worth It? All you need to know

Google launched its Chromecast in 2013 and it has become a fundamental device for any user thanks to the fact that it allows us to have applications and the Internet on the TV regardless of how old it is. There are many models that have been launched from the first to today and they are very useful. That is why we explain how it works, what it is, what uses it has and what advantages it offers us.

All Chromecast models until today, the differences between the different generations of this smart dongle with HDMI or which one to buy. Advantages, characteristics, prices and utilities of having the Google device at home. We review everything you need to know about him.

What is Google’s Chromecast?

Google launched its Chromecast in 2013 in order to have a device that would allow us to send the screen of the mobile phone, tablet or computer to the television without having to rely on cables and without any excessively expensive and annoying device. The Chromecast is small, it connects via HDMI to the TV and allows us to watch streaming applications, games or videos on any device even if it is obsolete and does not have Smart TV functions. What it does is communicate devices connected in the same network, devices connected via WiFi.

In 2020, Google launched a revamped model that not only allowed us to send content from other devices but also includes Google TV. What does this mean? That the Google Chromecast is no longer as such a pin to send the screen of our phone or tablet but a device that makes any television smart thanks to the fact that we can install applications to watch series or movies without depending on the mobile, for example. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and many more.

Among the advantages (both of one and the other) is that it is easy to take anywhere and easy to install or configure. Just plug the HDMI of the TV and the power in one of the sockets you have. It is affordable compared to other similar devices (it does not exceed 70 euros) and it is compatible with practically any television thanks to the fact that it does not need to be a specific brand.

How does it work

The operation is simple although it depends on the model, one or the other. Simply connect the HDMI to the TV and the USB cable and its corresponding adapter to the power outlet. This will turn on the Google device and we can start using the dongle. It depends on the model whether there is an interface or not. On Google TV we will have to access an interface where we can log in, configure our apps …

In the case of the conventional model, it works through Google Cast technology that unites the idea of ​​DLNA and Miracast . DLNA is a technology that allows you to connect two devices connected to the same home network. For its part, Miracast is a function or technology that uses Wi-Fi Direct to connect two Android devices. What the Google device does is unite both so that we can connect it to the phone or tablet at the same time that we can control the playback remotely.

You will have seen the technology icon many times: a rectangle with a WiFi symbol in the lower left corner that means that this application is compatible and that we can send the content to the TV if you have previously plugged in the Chromecast. Automatically, mobile and TV connected, we control from the phone to access one application or another or switch between series and movies, move through the gallery or access games that you have installed on your smartphone.

Uses and utilities

Although it depends on the model you have and if it is the classic Chromecast or the current one with Google TV , there are a series of functions and common uses of the device that have made it an essential since its launch in 2013

Watch videos on TV

If you don’t have a Smart TV, it allows us to send the content from your mobile phone, tablet or computer. We can send content that is in our own gallery stored locally but we can also use it to see on the big screen series on Netflix , HBO movies or videos of programs on YouTube, for example. You can send the football game you are watching from your phone to be seen in large format on a cinema screen or in the living room, for example.

Listen to music or have karaoke

The speakers of your television will always be louder than those of your mobile phone. We generally have a speaker at home and it is becoming more and more frequent for it to be a smart one like Home or Echo. But also the Chromecast is useful to take advantage of the TV sound system to listen to music since applications such as Spotify are compatible and allow us to send the songs to turn the TV into a stereo controlled from the phone itself.

Another advantage that it allows us is to have karaoke on TV for parties with friends or family since you can read the lyrics of the song on the screen.

Radio and podcasts

As in the previous case, we can also listen to radio and podcasts using specialized applications and sending the content to TV to take advantage of the highest quality audio equipment that it offers us . Spotify allows us to play podcasts but there are also other compatible radio services such as iVoox or TuneIN Radio that you can download for mobile phones or tablets and send the content through Google Chromecast to TV.

Do sport

During the 2020 confinement, it was common to use YouTube videos from channels such as Gymvirtual, but there are also many applications for Android and iOS that allow us to follow an exercise routine. It is not comfortable to follow sports drawings or videos on the phone while we concentrate on doing it well, so using the TV as a support screen can be one of the best uses for the Chromecast if we want to have a gym at home with these training apps .

Show your photos

Have you gotten married and invited your family to see the wedding photos? Do you want to show your friends the photos of the last trip? The Chromecast is one of the best ways to do it if the images are in the phone’s gallery since we can project the Android screen with the TV screen and there will not necessarily be 10 or 12 people milling around your smartphone to see the photos.

Big screen video games

You may not have a desktop console like the PS5 or the Nintendo Switch but you can turn your phone into one thanks to Android apps and games that you can install and cast through the Chromecast. This allows us from family board games such as Trivial to other types of titles available for smartphones that we can use to watch it on TV.

Chromecast Models

We currently have two devices for sale in the Google store. The Chromecast 3 model (it is not the last and then the Ultra arrived, as we will see in the next section) and the model with Google TV that allows us to convert the television into a Smart TV regardless of whether or not we use the phone or tablet. There are big differences between them since one allows us to see content in 4K and another does not, for example, or one has a remote control and another does not. They are totally different.

Google Chromecast with Google TV

Available in various colors and with resolution up to 4K with HDR. It is not a device that you connect to the HDMI and control with the phone, but it includes its own control remote (also voice control with the Google Assistant) and works with the Google TV operating system so that you can access all the applications of streaming and unify them in a single interface. You can search all the content without having to go from one app to another. For example, you can tell it to show all Audrey Tatou movies and it will search for them on all the platforms you are registered on without having to search one by one.

It also allows you to control smart home devices, combine with Nest brand speakers or displays, or play on Stadia. And, like any other model on this list, you can send content from Android or iOS devices either mobile or tablet if you want to project it on the TV. The price is from 69.99 euros and can be purchased in white, pink or blue.

Google Chromecast 3

The affordable model that is currently sold in the Google Store is the Chromecast 3 from 39 euros and available in black and white. It is the “classic experience” to play streaming content on your device to send it to TV. It is cheaper than the previous one but it also has fewer options. Playback quality here is in HD at most, up to 1080p.

Nor do we have a physical remote to control the content or Google TV, so there are no apps installed except the one you already have on your mobile or tablet. Yes, you can combine it with NEst speakers and screens (but it does not allow you to control home devices) and also, of course, it allows you to send content from iOS and Android. This option is more affordable and simply seeks to allow us the usual for less than 40 euros but it does not make your usual television smart if you do not have a phone or tablet through which we are going to control it.

Choosing between one or the other depends on your needs, tastes and budget.

Previous models

Although Google currently only has two different models for sale, there were more that were released in recent years from the first in 2013 to the most recent model with Google TV and that completely changes the use given to the device.

The first generation arrived in 2013 , as we have explained before. This model did not bet on the round design that today characterizes the device and simply had a microUSB input for power, an LED for status indication and an HDMI output. Very similar to a pendrive, it had a maximum screen resolution of 1080p at 60 Hz and with an internal storage of 2 GB.

The second generation soon arrived after the success of the first model. In 2015 we knew Chromecast with e l design round that we know today and betting on a small HDMI cable with the connector on the end.

The Chromecast Ultra arrived in 2016 with the intention of giving us the possibility of watching content in 4K resolution after the success of platforms such as Netflix in Spain. With a price in Europe that was around 80 euros and that improved speed. It was replaced in 2020 by the Chromecast with Google TV and is currently not for sale in the Google store but we can find it in some distributors.

Chromecast audio

Unlike the previous ones and the following ones, Chromecast Audio was released in September 2015 although it was discontinued at the beginning of 2019. It was not intended for video playback but for listening to music. There were no later models or new generations of this device and their idea was to stream audio thanks to a single 3.5 jack output that was connected to a conventional speaker to control it from the mobile. The idea was to convert an old or classic sound system into a smart one with WiFi in which we could change the songs from the mobile or the tablet through this Chromecast.

How to buy the Chromecast

The “official” way to buy the Google Chromecast is through the Google store with the two current models available for 39.00 euros or 69.00 euros and with home delivery to receive it at home. But the brand’s devices are also available in other physical and electronic stores. In addition, in other stores we can not only buy the current model but other old models such as the Ultra that we have talked about in previous paragraphs.

When buying it you should look carefully since there are many similar or imitation devices to Google Chromecast that are similar in design and functions to that of the brand but they are not the same nor do they have Google’s own guarantee so you can have more compatibility issues.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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