Occasionally, I have trouble focusing my eyes to read text on my phone or tablet. In these cases, zooming in is futile, and I find it easier to focus through the top half of the bifocal in my glasses. Instead of bending my head at weird angles or holding my device up higher, I use a Google Chromecast to project my screen onto the TV- no wires or cables necessary.
What is a Chromecast?
The Chromecast is a $35 device that allows the user to connect their computer, tablet, or phone to their TV. The device is plugged into a HDMI port on the TV, and it also uses a power outlet. By using the same wifi hotspot as the other device, the Chromecast can project internet tabs, apps, and more onto a TV. My family has at least three of these devices in the house, and I even brought one to college with me.
Setting it up
To set up the Chromecast:
- Plug one end into the wall
- Plug the other end into the HDMI port of the TV, which is best described as a rectangle with a smaller rectangle on top.
- Go to the Chromecast set up website or app to finish the process
- Connect to a wifi hotspot
- Name your Chromecast
- All done!
How to set up a Google Chromecast on college wifi
- Go to the college’s device registration page
- Add a new device
- Type in the Chromecast’s MAC address, which you can find in the app
- Click confirm
With most later versions of Android, 6.0 and up, the user can easily cast their entire phone screen by swiping down on the status bar and selecting cast. I use this late at night when I have trouble focusing my eyes on text messages, or when I am using an app that has small font. This is also useful when I am demonstrating a function on my phone to someone, as it is more practical to look up at a screen than to look over my shoulder.
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Many apps on the iPad support streaming to Chromecast, including:
- Netflix for watching movies with friends on FaceTime
- YouTube for playing videos I have to take notes on
- Google Chrome to broadcast tabs I am working on, watch videos, enlarge files, and more.
- Kanopy for watching free documentaries from my library
- Blackboard for doing homework
The video or app doesn’t have to be open on the iPad in order for it to broadcast.
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With my desktop and laptop computers, I have been able to mirror tabs open in Google Chrome onto my TV flawlessly. Because some websites are impossible to zoom in on, I often will broadcast them to the TV to read information better. Extensions such as Adblock are still able to be used on the screen. Most recently, I broadcast a PDF file that I opened in Google Chrome to the TV so I could see it better.
At times, the Chromecast will have special offers available for users. Some offers have included free trials, free movie rentals, and even Google Play credit which can be used to buy apps, movies, books, games, TV shows, etc in the Google Play store.
In the two years I have been using it regularly, I have found this device to be incredibly useful and an affordable alternative to a smart TV, and it’s incredibly easy to use- my parents who describe themselves as technology challenged are able to use the device with ease. With all of the bonus offers, the device has paid for itself, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who benefits from a larger screen.
I received no compensation for this review and purchased this item on my own. This is a completely unbiased review.