Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
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.’
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. 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.
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.
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 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 [No longer available] version of the game and cast the game to your TV. It may be a basic start, but it’s a start nonetheless.
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