8 Creative Uses for Google’s Chromecast

Google’s Chromecast, which was announced last July, came into a crowded scene of gadgets that let you watch web-content on your TV. From the Roku to Smart TVs, there are lots of ways to get online videos onto your TV screen. What’s really cool about the Chromecast is that it goes far beyond just letting you watch online videos on your TV.

With the ability to cast any tab from your Chrome browser onto your TV, or even cast your entire desktop, the Google Chromecast becomes more than just a way to watch online videos on your TV – it becomes an incredibly productive and exciting tool. We’ve come up with 8 unique uses for Google’s Chromecast. Read on to find out just how you can make even more use of your Chromecast.

If you have yet to purchase a Chromecast, find out if its the right fit for you by reading our in-depth review. And don’t forget with the holiday season coming up, it makes a great geek gift for under $50.

Put On A Slideshow

One of the most obvious uses for the Google Chromecast outside of using it to watch videos on YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and more, is to use it for photo slideshows. If you upload your photos to a photo-sharing site like Flickr, a social network like Facebook, or even just back them up to a service like Dropbox, you can simply browse the photos in your Chrome browser, and cast that tab to your television. Rather than crowd around a small computer screen, bring your photos to life on a large screen.

Share A Demo Or Presentation

A great trick with Chromecast is the ability to cast more than just a tab to your TV screen – you can cast your entire desktop. Just click on the Chromecast button in your browser, click the little arrow button and select ‘Cast entire screen.’

Cast   8 Creative Uses for Googles Chromecast

As you’ll see in the menu that it’s an experimental feature and it remains a little buggy. That said, it’s a great way to share PowerPoint presentations, perform demos for clients, and more. You can take your presentations and demos anywhere there’s a television set and wireless connection.Ā Of course, when doing something like this, it’s preferable to have a wireless mouse on hand so it’s less confusing.

Use Your TV As A Huge Monitor

Even if you don’t want to share a presentation or demo with other people, you might want a huge computer screen but don’t intend on springing for yet another gadget — why not use the Chromecast instead? If you have a laptop or desktop, all it takes is a $35 Chromecast, a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard (if you’re using your desktop) and you’re done.

TVMonitor   8 Creative Uses for Googles Chromecast

Again, like when using Chromecast to put on a presentation, you can cast your entire desktop, not just a tab.

Video Conference With Friends And Family

If you’re video conferencing with friends and family, rather than have a whole bunch of people trying to crowd around a computer so they can see the people you’re talking to – cast your desktop to your TV instead. If you’re using your laptop, place it in front of the TV so whoever you’re conferencing with can see all of you too. Better yet, if you have a portable webcam, set it atop the TV. You then have a huge screen to see whoever it is your video conferencing with on a huge screen.

Watch Web-Only Content

The Chromecast already supports quite a few services including Hulu, Netflix, HBOGo, Google Play and more. While the list might be growing, there’s no reason you can’t watch even more browser-only content while you’re waiting. Amazon Video can be cast through your Chrome tab. Hulu web-only content can be viewed on your TV. As long as you can play it in your browser, you can view it on your television set.

Web Only   8 Creative Uses for Googles Chromecast

When Google first released the Chromecast, casting unsupported content was pixelated and almost unwatchable, but thankfully, that has since been resolved.

Watch Videos Stored On Your Computer

If you have a lot of downloaded videos saved on your computer, you can watch these on your TV too. All you have to do is drag the video file onto a Google Chrome tab and it will play directly from your browser. Simply cast that tab to your TV and you can watch the entire video on your TV instead of your computer.

Listen To Music

When it comes to entertainment, you don’t have to limit yourself to video content alone. Why not play music as well? Any kind of music that can be played through your Chrome browser can be heard through your TV speakers. Whether you prefer GrooveShark, the web-based version of Spotify, or even a YouTube playlist, you Ā can pump up the music rather than depend on laptop speakers.

Play Online Games

If you tend to play computer games online, why not bring the game to life on a computer screen? Whatever game you happen to be playing in your browser can be cast to a much bigger screen on your TV, but as is the case with some of the earlier options, if it’s a game that requires a mouse or keyboard, opt for some wireless gadgets to really enhance the experience.

Google is clearly on to something with bringing gaming to the Chromecast even if they’ve started small. iOS and Android users can play Tic Tac Toe using two separate devices. All you have to do is download either the iOS or Android version of the game and cast the game to your TV. It may be a basic start, but it’s a start nonetheless.

TicTacToe   8 Creative Uses for Googles Chromecast

Can you think of any creative uses for Google Chromecast to add to the list? Share them with us in the comments.

Image Credits: Chromecast Via Flickr

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47 Comments -

Doru P

Awesome :D

Nick

Thank you for this — however to me it seems ‘using it as a huge monitor’ is kind of just being redundant when listing anything else in there…

maven2k

I have to agree with you there.

Nancy

Thanks for your comment Nick. What I meant by monitor was using it as a computer monitor. So while most of the ideas here are for using it as a display (to watch shows, slideshows etc.), using it as a monitor for your daily work online (adding a wireless keyboard/mouse) you don’t have to spring for a large computer monitor if you already have a TV.

Nick

Perhaps I must elaborate (sometimes I rattle off ideas without properly communicating.. lol.) In my head when I think ‘use it as a computer monitor’ things like viewing web-only content, playing videos, presentations, playing online games, video conferencing all kind of fall under the same umbrella. I wouldn’t hook my computer up to my television via HDMI to just look at it :P chances are I’d be doing all of those things to begin with. xD

Regardless, your travels with the Chromecast are of interest to me. Just stinks because I already have a “Smurt teevee” (+sarcasm) and don’t want to buy something I already effectively have. Even if it is 150% faster, doesn’t crash, not laggy… haha.

kris

you cannot cast amazon instant videos to chromecasrt

maven2k

Yes, you can. You just cast the tab in your browser that you’re playing the video in and make it full screen. I’ve done it several times.

Scott

You can also plug a Chromecast into an LED projector to watch movies, etc. on a big screen. It works great – much simpler than plugging in by USB/DVI/VGA.

sergio

about the “Watch Videos Stored On Your Computer” section: my chrome doesn’t play the video I drag on it. it tries to “download” them :(

TennCup

Give it more time. Chrome is slow with videos. It does say downloading, and it is. It’s downloading from your hard drive to Chrome. Tricky, huh?

arun prasath

is app service providers available in india for watching on tv?

Donna

I can’t get my Chromecast to work with my Mac, just tells me the device isn’t found. Bummer.

Nick Odemus

Howdy:

Any chance you could go into more detail regarding “Watch Videos Stored On Your Computer”?

This would be the only thing about Chromecast I would need…

Cheers

Nancy

If you browse to the window where your file is stored, and then just drag the actual file onto your open Chrome browser window/address bar and it should start playing in that window. You can then cast that tab to your TV using the Chomecast button. If you need any more help – please let me know.

TennCup

It takes a while to play, but it WILL play. Drag, drop, wait 2 minutes. :)

Deneen

does this work through wifi?

MrN

Nope it works through magic powers… (and I’m using scarcism just for your information)

Todd

Similar to several that were already suggested in the article, being able to have friends with multiple devices (phones, tablets, laptops) in a party environment streaming their favorite Youtube (or any other web video service) clips to the Chromecast sounds like a lot of fun.

Peter Hill

Can I cast Browser content using an Android device or is that still restricted to a computer?

Terry Pearson

You can only cast from your computer for that :-( However, It sounds like the next 4.4.x release of Android might allow screen casting.

Robert B

In some ways the Chrome cast is sort of neat, however for me at least it is a rather redundant useless device. It seems to only work with the Chrome browser is that correct? I do not use the Chrome browser because I do not like its UI. I already do everything you talk about in your article with a very simple and cheap device, a 5 dollar HDMI cable. You mention that with the Chrome cast you can use your HDTV as a monitor, well that is what my monitor is. I use an LG 32″ 3D HDTV as my every day monitor. I have an HDMI cable going to this device along with an older 47″ Vizio HDTV from my Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 video card. So what ever I am doing at the moment with my PC is on my TV with out spending 35 bucks on the Chrome Cast. I switch between my Fios TV, PS3, and my PC by selecting the appropriate HDMI port on the Vizio TV. My PC is the only thing connected to my LG. Any content, music or videos for instance stored on my PC I play in VLC, as for DVD’s and Blueray movies I have a BD burner installed and it all displays in full screen on my TV because that is my monitor. You do not need the chrome cast, it is just an unneeded 35 dollar expense that restricts you to using the Chrome web browser.

Michael

I too have my PC connected to my big screen. It’s great for watching downloaded movies.

However, for watching Netflix, Youtube, etc., with Chromecast I can sit on my sofa or be in the kitchen, and use my phone or tablet to play/pause whatever I’m watching or listening.

It’s not a revolutionary device; it’s an evolutionary device. Well worth the money for the ease of control it offers.

Robert B

I do the same thing with both a wireless keyboard with a touch pad the Logitech K 400 that was purchased before the Cromecast was available as well as a couple of apps that turn my cell phone (its an Android based phone) into a Windows remote as well as apps that I can control as well as stream my content to my phone and tablet via VLC. I also have a free VPN client called Neo Router installed and I can access my PC from any where and control the desktop on my my PC. I can upload photos I have taken on my phone and edit them with PhotoShop and then download them back to my phone all remotely I was doing this before Adobe introduced their Adobe cloud apps. I have even played some games running on my gaming rig at home. All this takes is having a fast internet connection. Lately I have been using my PS3 for watching Netflix and Amazon Prime because I like the PS3’s apps and their interfaces over using a web browser. For people who do not have a smart TV there are several ARM devices that are the size of large pen drive that run Android that will turn your HDTV into a smart Google TV. Most have wifi, bluetooth built in along with having a micro sd card slot and they connect via a regular HDMI port to your tv that sell for around 80 to 100 dollars. When I am at home sometimes I connect my Samsung Galaxy S3 to my HDTV via hdmi and play some of my favorite Android games on the big screen. If Google evolves the Chrome Cast to be able to stream from phone to phone or tablet then I will reconsider buying one but for me I was already set up to do the same things by other methods before the Chrome Cast came to market.

Brian

Robert, for someone with the know how to set up all of that and purchase the extra peripheals thats fine. The Chromecast is targeted to the mass population at a cheap price. It is what it is. A wireless option for $35 bucks. With only TWO required devices, the chromecast and phone/tablet/computer

Robert B

Yes I have a pretty decent gaming rig and I owned all of that mentioned before the Chrome Cast was ever in the market place. However I feel that my original comment that you can do the same thing with a cheap HDMI cable still holds. Almost all laptops as well as computers out there today have at least a DVI port and most have HDMI ports on them. If your PC is powerful enough to use the Chrome Cast then it is powerful enough to power an HDTV. It is easier in my opinion to learn how to pull up the driver config utility for your desk top or laptop PC’s graphics card and to add your HDTV as an additional monitor than it is to use the Chrome Cast. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to do any of it including using the Chrome Cast. In my opinion the Chrome Cast is a novelty that is one more channel that Google has to get their marketing hooks into you thus the requirement to use only their Browser. If they wanted to really make life easier for the user then it could have been made to work with any browser or even displaying your desktop. Doing any of this is much easier than setting up say the average stereo receiver. People are not as dumb as you think, they only have a lack of pertinent information. This is why sites like Make US Of exist and are so successful, a whole lot of people who come here and read all the articles as well as how to’s want to know more and usually how to do stuff in an easier way. I was only offering a different way of doing the same thing but 30 dollars cheaper and with out the restrictions that the Chrome Cast comes with ie only working with and only displaying what your Chrome browser is displaying. With a direct connection to your TV any PC out there is instantly turned into an ad hock HTPC if only for a few minutes. Say you like to game well you can game on your nice big HDTV or say you are listening to music, if you want those colorful visualizations are now on your big HDTV. Say you have friends over and you want to share your latest photos, you can set up a slide show of your latest shots of your vacation or family outing and even if you do not have any special software for this but are running Windows 7 you can use your screen saver to display any photos you wish and display them as a slide show. You can even adjust how often the pictures changes. I am not saying do not buy the Chrome cast, just offering a different way of doing the same thing for less money that is a whole lot more flexible.

Snarky_Librarian

Your point is valid Robert, and we all understand there are always different ways of doing things, but as I have my computer in a completely different room than my TV and no laptop to ad hoc to (and I’m sure I’m not the only one), the Chromecast is a nice little tool.

However, I’d also like to know how much you pay for HDMI cables, as most of the ones I’ve seen tend to be a bit pricey, particularly if you need one longer than your arm. That said, $35 doesn’t seem so expensive in comparison.

In addition, the ease of use allows my young son to be able to find something on Netflix using our tablet and play it on the TV with no issue. Playing music from my phone via Pandora (plus control the volume) is handy when I’m nowhere near the setup, but still have my phone in my pocket… but yes, all this can be done with your wireless keyboard and mouse and HDMI cable that you got on sale so it’s cheaper than $35. (Sarcasm intended, but don’t get offended, just having fun).

james wilding

A couple of weekends ago running a Google apps conference in the UK, we had multiple users connecting to the chromecast from their phones, Chromeboojs slates and iPads. In short wireless demo slamming our best bits of GAFE and chromeā€¦ astonishing playtime!

Mohammed

It would be great if Google would enable the Chome extensions on the Chrome App for mobile devices (ie android tablets) so that one can cast the Chrome tabs from more than just PCs/Macs. Any idea if Google has this in plan and, if so, the time horizon. Otherwise, I just got my Chromecast and is is great for Netflix.

Simsage

Unfortunately I do not have a smart TV, so I thought Chromecast would do the trick for me, well it did’nt I did everything and spent about 2 1/2 hrs trying I had to change
my WIFI name etc still did not work, so I sent it back. Amazon was great the refunded me even before I had mailed it back thru UPS. I would love to be able to use my
32 ” as a monitor, guess I have to buy a smart tv.

Michael

You probably bought a lemon. As far as I know, the device doesn’t need to run on a smart TV. All the smarts are contained in the Chromecast.

Redheath

Nancy, when I drag my local video files to my Chrome browser, it just tries to download and save the file, not open it up and play it. You had success doing this and then casting the tab?
Any ideas?

Diego Abril

it won’t open Avi videos, just MP4 for what i have seen, code your videos to MP4 or from now on download and make your videos as MP4 is the standard convention nowadays.

also if is to much of a trouble use Plex now is fully supported by chromecast.

Ben L

How about using it for product demonstrations (particularly the pointer mode for the Android/iOS app (Ultimate Mouse https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.negusoft.ucontrolpro).

Christopher B

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davros

while it is true that you can tab-cast anything, doing so with video is pointless because of the audio/video mismatch that happens. serious lag.

Nancy

In my experience – if you give it a minute, it usually adjusts and plays properly

csrx

What’s the deal with not being able to access videos from my computer unless I drop it in a chrome tab!?

Some time ago, Google joined the Microsoft/Apple trend of crippling functionality to force us use their other products (Chrome in this case). That is just a crappy way to do business.

The way to get people to use their other products is to make them better than the alternatives.. NOT force us thru silly constructed dependencies.

What I want is to be able to access my hard drives via a media screen, or at least a file manager and queue up vids/music. NOT have to open a Chrome tab (especially since I don’t use Chrome!) and drag vids/music, one at a time, to access the media via chromecast.

When this is available.. then I’ll consider chromecast.

Brian

what’s so bad about opening a chrome browser? you sound like it’s the worst thing in the world. Its part of using the device. Really not a big deal…..

Jack

How does one connect a wireless mouse or wireless keyboard to the chromecast? For that matter can I connect either to my Samsung smart (some times) TV?

Nancy

You connect the wireless keyboard and mouse to the computer/laptop that you’re using to cast your screen – and then you can just set the computer aside and use the TV as a big monitor. Does that make sense?

Walt

No that doesn’t work in that you cannot see the mouse cursor on the TV.

Anonymous

I haven’t even started to explore how to stream entertainment to my TVs. My first interest is using my TV monitor to view my work! I am having trouble getting my Mac desktop to show on my TV monitor. I followed the directions to “cast my entire screen” but nothing is happening. I am not technologically proficient, so it might be something simple. When downloading chrome cast to my Mac, i declined making chrome cast my browser – is that the problem? i do have the icon in my dockā€¦.

Anonymous

Me again. just figured it out. Awesome! My work will be SO much easier. Ok, little steps here!

Joe blow

Cheaper solution. HDMI cable.

Josh

Using an HDMI cable requires that your PC/laptop is in the same region. My PC and its very large monitor setup use HDMI connections – now on the other side of the house I can stream and control my whole media library straight from my phone … no cords, no dedicated pc, no laptop – nice and clean and easy. Its worth $30 to me to not have any visible cables or ever plug in a cord before viewing in my main tv area. Or I can stream from my phone or tablet with feet up on the couch. Convenience and simplicity pay for themselves quickly.

susan c

my chromecast never works with Google Chrome. I getting an error to take it out of incognito mode. my Google Chrome is not in incognito. Netflix works YouTube works Google internet does not