What is Chromecast key? What it is used for? And Why does it matter?
All these questions and further more will be covered in this post while introducing Chromecast, the incredible innovation offered by Google .
How Chromecast was born
The arrival of smartphones and touch pads in the last decades, has a deep impact on the way users consume digital content, including an unprecedented growth of video viewability on mobile. However, nothing equals the comfort and user-friendliness of a display on the screen of a large living room TV.
To bring these two worlds together, Google launched Chromecast in early 2014. The principle of this HDMI key is simple, and consists in streaming the content accessible from your smartphone or tablet to your TV. But has the product really meet the expectations and needs of Internet users?
What is Google Chromecast?
The Google Chromecast is a gadget whose appearance strongly recalls that of a traditional USB key, with which most neophytes tend to confuse it. Nothing to do, however: the little Google key, also called a “dongle”, does not fit in a USB port but in an HDMI port on your living room TV.
Once installed, it communicates via your home Wi-Fi network with your smartphone, digital tablet or even your computer, and can broadcast the content available on these devices on your TV screen.
The Chromecast therefore acts as a simple content broadcaster from a mobile device (or a computer) to a television, as is implied by its fairly simple technical configuration: in addition to its Marvell processor which ensures minimal computing power, the on-board key a Wi-Fi module, a 512 megabyte RAM and finally two gigabytes of internal memory (which cannot however be used for personal storage purposes).
The Google Chromecast is marketed directly by Google and by many resellers at a price of $ 35.
- See also: Chromecast: 18 Tips And Tricks For Better Experience
Chromecast Installation and operating principle
To get it working, the Chromecast key first needs a specific power supply, which its HDMI connector cannot provide. You will therefore have the choice of connecting it to the USB port of your television (if the latter has one) or to an electrical outlet via a USB adapter, supplied with the key.
Then download the Chromecast app for free to your smartphone or tablet. Note that the key is compatible with devices running Android and iOS (from version 6.0). In one case, the application will be downloaded from the Google Play Store, and in the other case it will be available from the App Store.
By opening the application, your smartphone will detect the Wi-Fi signal emitted by Chromecast (all boxes are compatible) and will be able to synchronize with the key. Therefore, the key is installed and a small specific icon will appear at the top right of your screen each time you can “cast” content on your TV.
Chromecast Compatiblity, applications and uses
The Chromecast key is not a universal diffuser, which implies that its use is limited to a few applications made compatible by their developers. However, their list tends to get longer and allows to multiply the possible uses for this small versatile key:
• Google’s various streaming services, starting with YouTube, Google Play Music and Google Play Movies, naturally ensure full compatibility with the Chromecast key. If you have access to an internet connection with good speed, it is thus possible to benefit from the largest library of free videos in the world, at a quite satisfactory picture quality.
• Several video on demand services, including Netflix.
• Many streaming or replay apps from major TV channels.
Finally, note the possibility of broadcasting content from a computer equipped with the Google Chrome browser and its Google Cast extension. You will therefore be able to display an Internet page directly on your television through this channel, with potentially all the associated content (photos, videos, etc.), despite however a certain latency in the display.
What Chromecast is not
Contrary to popular belief, and unlike Apple TV, the Chromecast application does not by default allow “mirroring”, that is to say reproducing in real time your smartphone screen or tablet on your television.
Once you have selected a content to view (for example a YouTube video), the application simply indicates the file or stream to download. From then on, the key works autonomously and ensures all alone the diffusion on the television screen.
This configuration is not without presenting some advantages: thus, once you play video on television, you remain free to use your smartphone for any other use (read your emails, telephone…). Only downside: the need to return to the Chromecast application to act on the broadcast (pause, change the volume level …).
The Chromecast key has no storage space and does not carry any native apps. For its operation, it remains entirely dependent on a smartphone, a tablet or a computer with a Wi-Fi connection.
An ideal accessory for certain user profiles
Beyond those who simply want to enjoy the gigantic video content of the Internet on their television, the Chromecast proves to be a particularly profitable investment for two categories of users:
• Owners of a television that is not connected, but which nevertheless has an HDMI port, will see it as an excellent opportunity to benefit from improved features without having to buy a new device. In this situation, the price of $ 35 demanded by Google ensures an excellent quality / price ratio.
However, if you already have a connected TV with access to YouTube or other online services, the added value will be less obvious.
• Many subscribers to an ADSL Internet / TV / telephone box receive a low speed, oscillating between 1 and 1.5 megabits per second, and which prevents them from using the TV decoder included in their offer in good conditions. Chromecast, which consumes less bandwidth, offers them an interesting alternative and gives them access to numerous channels, even if it means making some concessions on the definition of the image.