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How to set up Chromecast in 5 easy steps [VIDEO]


Chromecast featured 2

Announced only yesterday, your friends here at Phandroid were lucky enough to get our hands on Google’s newly announced Chromecast. Yesterday we unboxed it for you guys and today, we’ve been spending the better portion of our day playing with the tiny dongle (best, word, ever). Before I give you guys a full hands-on, I thought it’d only be fitting to walk you through the entire setup process which, after about 10 minutes, will have you up and casting. Check it out.

Step 1: Plug in Chromecast

Chromecast upside down

The easiest part in the whole process is physically inserting your Chromecast into your television. If your HDMI port is in a tricky area, use the supplied HDMI extension that come inside the box. Of course, to give the Chromecast some power, you’ll need to plug in the micro USB cable/adapter. Pretty straightforward.

Step 2: Install Chrome

Chrome web browser download

While Chromecast works on a variety of mobile devices (Android, iOS, etc.), there’s only a few apps that support them (YouTube and Netflix, with more on the way). If you were hoping to beam your favorite videos from Hulu Plus, HBO Go, or music from services like Spotify, you’re going to need the Chrome web browser to make that happen. So, our first step involved simply downloading and installing the official Google Chrome web browser for your laptop/desktop computer here.

Step 3: Install Google Cast extension

Google cast extension

To be clear, the Chromecast is the product that Google is offerings, while Google Cast is the name of the service making it possible. Make sense? Okay, now that we got that out of the way, you’re going to need to download and install the Google Cast extension for Chrome in order to beam content from your Chrome web browser, to your newly purchased Chromecast. While this isn’t completely necessary, if you want to watch the vast assortment of videos available only on the web (and not just those from specific applications that currently support Google Cast/Chromecast) — do it.

You can download and install the official Google Cast extension for Chrome via the Chrome Web Store here.

Step 4: Install Chromecast desktop/Android application

Chromecast setup desktop android apps download.jpg

Now here comes the “hard” part: setting up your Chromecast to recognize your home WiFi network. You can do this one of 2 different ways. Either download and install the official Chromecast application for your desktop/laptop computer here, or download the Android app from the Google Play Store here). From there, you’ll need to wait for the program/app to recognize all available Chromecasts, and once it’s done, you can enter in your WiFi password to get Chromecast connected to the internet.

Chromecast setup desktop android apps.jpg

Step 5: Start casting!

Chromecast screencast tab

Now that Chromecast is up and running on your home network, you can connect to it with just about any of one of your mobile devices, or using your home desktop or laptop computer. While only few apps and video sites currently support Google Casting, more should be on the way. If you guys have any questions, feel free to shout them out in the comments below. Stay tuned for a full hands on where I walk you guys through Chromecast, and show you everything that it is (and isn’t) capable of.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I was really hoping chromecast would be able to stream my all my music/video i keep on my NAS. So I wouldn’t have to use my PS3 to do that.

    1. You’d want something more like a GoogleTV to do that. Personally I use a WD Live TV to do it. Works amazingly well.

    2. If your NAS is hooked up to a computer with a Chrome browser either:

      A) Drag the file to an empty tab or

      B) Copy the file path and paste it into the address bar of your Chrome browser

      Once the file starts playing, just use the Google Cast extension to throw it to your TV.

      1. you can also hit “Ctrl + O” while in chrome and it will open a “open file” dialog and you can browse the file location and select it, and hit “open” and the video file will start playing in a chrome tab, that you can cast to your chromecast. you also have options under googlecast chrome extension that allow you to change resolution and things like that to increase performance, as playback performance on higher resolution videos can be affected by your wifi signal strength/network speed and computer performance. I had much better performance when switching from 720p to 480p, but I have a pretty crappy wireless network.

        1. Nice!

    3. Better yet just upload all your music to Google Music (if you have less than 20,000).

      Then just use the Google Play Music app and cast it on your TV/AVR and use your phone as your media remote control.

      The beauty is that you can take your phone anywhere around the house as long as you are in wifi range and change the music turn up the volume, etc!

      This makes it worth the price all by itself. I’m sure its just a matter of time before you can do the same with Rdio, Spotify, etc… once they’ve added the feature to their respective android apps.

      1. The problem when using google music is that they downgrade the music to a 320kbs mp3 instead of keeping the in whatever format you have them in. Meaning if you have lossless music its going to be downgraded.

        1. Clarify: does Google transcode on upload or on first stream? If the latter then who cares, you can get your lossless file back.

          In any case, you can’t hear the difference between a lossless file and 320kbps.

        2. I had a feeling you were going to say this. I do agree, but I can live with 320kbps, as I use it on my phone, car dock, tablet, and PC trying to do all this with lossless files in a PITA.

          Also for the average music listener is still a great way of getting pretty decent music quality to their home audio receivers or TVs. The google play music app just works.

          I wonder if they even know that their lousy pandora apps, and media players hooked up to their tvs is playing 64kbps lol. 320kbps for them would be an serious upgrade.


  2. Thanks for the video Chris. What version of the YouTube app are you on? I have 4.5.17 according to the PlayStore, and when I play a video in it right now I don’t see the “cast” button to the left of the share button, like in your video. I also don’t see it in Netflix. I don’t get my Chromecast till tomorrow (just shipped, thanks amazon!), will the button just automagically appear then?

    1. you dont see the cast button because the app doesn’t see that you have a Chromcast dongle since you dont have it yet.

      1. That’s what I expected but I’m trying to figure out how that happens. I’m assuming that the mechanism is, for example, that Chris is signed into Chrome browser on his Mac with the same google account his phone is registered into, setting an Account flag that Chromecasting is available. So, signing into Chrome might be an extra setup step for those who haven’t done so or are installing Chrome for the first time. Anyone verify that?

        1. That’s not how it works at all. The app (or maybe Android) detects the Chromecast on your local wifi network and will present the button when it sees one or more Chromecast. It is very similar to Airplay Screencasting with Apple TV and iDevices.

          1. That doesn’t really answer the question of how it is detecting it though. I suppose it would be helpful to know whether any device on the same network would see the Cast button, even ones registered to different Google accounts.

          2. It has nothing to do with your Google account and everything to do with your network. So to answer your question, yes. Anyone. With any other Android device. Using any other Google account would be able to see the Chromecast as long as they’re using the same network.

            This is actually one of the cooler features of Chromecast in that your friends can come over and everyone can contribute to the same YouTube queue filled with whatever videos they like :)

          3. Hey Chris… maybe post a somewhat related article later about how to get (android) visitors on your home wifi network much quicker via NFC or by scanning QR codes so they can join in on the Chromecasting without having to manually type in a long crappy password. I generated mine a while back using a generator like this:

          4. Yep, this is a very cool feature. I can see using this community feature with Netflix, Youtube and Music a lot. I plan on running some speakers out to my fire pit outside. It will be nice to allow my friends to add a few songs to the Google Music playlist when we are all chilling next to the fire.

            Does the queue mix apps? Meaning, can I create a queue that includes a mix of Youtube videos and Google Music songs? Or is the queue per app?

          5. You also need the Chromecast app for Android, or the browser extension for Chrome. Or stuff don’t work.

        2. I think you need to be connected to the same network. Not 100% on this until I get mine but I’m sure someone else will chime in.

          1. You almost certainly have to be on the same subnet (e.g. 192.168.1.*) otherwise things get annoying fast.

            And if Chromecast gets more widespread we’ll want people visiting us to be able join our wireless network more effortlessly, which means — at least for android — that NFC and/or QR codes to auto-join a network will finally become more common. (I’ve got 2.4 and 5Ghz codes stored as an image on my phone that people can scan to join my network (more secure than taping it to the back of my router anyway))

          2. you do, as right now on my phone, at work, the chromecast button doesn’t show up on netflix, youtube, etc., but at home, or my brother’s house, where he has a chromecast as well, the buttons do show up as soon as I connect to wifi.

  3. Thanks for this video. It answers all the questions I had about how exactly this thing is set up to join your wifi. Very straight forward.

  4. Nice video, Chris! This should definitely help a lot of people. Too bad Google nixed my Netflix deal by indicating I purchased today, instead of yesterday, so I cancelled that order. I’ll likely swoop one of these up again later down the line.

    BTW, I think you need to get some wire organizers from Home Depot, before you get more furniture in your new pad.

  5. Nice bioshock infinite chris how you got a blast with that game

  6. THX for the tutorial,great job!

  7. dat wire managment! (⌐■_■)

      1. If your tv supports HDMI 1.4 then you Don’t need it at all! My tv which a 5 year old 42in Vizio LCD(not LED) supports it. HDMI 1.4 has been out almost as long as HDMI itself. So most of you shouldn’t even need the power cable in the first place

      2. Hey Chris, there’s a USB port right above your hdmi port on your tv. Just use that to power ur chrome cast so you don’t have to use your android charger for it. That’s what I’m doing and it works great

        1. I do the same with an HDMI mini-computer. One advantage is when your TV is off, the device gets no power. When you turn your TV on, then the device also gets booted up.

          But doesn’t HDMI also provide power? I’ve read people saying version 1.4 and up does, so can’t the Chromecast dongle draw power from there?

          1. I’m not sure but I have a new Sony tv I bought last month and my chromecast didn’t work until I used the usb port

    1. i saw the same thing but decided not to coent. figured Chavez is too busy with Android to organize his wires..

  8. Top Notch, very helpful and intuitive…….; )

  9. When you were watching the youtube video it showed in SD, if you turned your phone sideways would it change the video resolution showing on your TV? Just thinking if the phone is held up and down, it uses SD resolution and then sideways it has the option for HD.

  10. Waiting for a AVR with Chromecast and Miracast :D, being able to hook up my Note 10.1 with a PS3 controller and play GTA vice city will be awesome.

  11. Seems cool but I can already do all this with my Xbox’s and my sisters PS3. I’ll pick one up from Best Buy though if they’re still offering the free Netflix with it.

    1. They’re not, you missed that one.

      1. No, they still are. I work there. But good luck finding it in stock. We sold out day 1.

        1. All the signs point to that they bought a limited amount of 3 month license to go with the initial production and that is now sold out. Also everywhere else including Googles site says they are no longer offering the 3 months of netflix, is it your day off or something?

          1. You’re were absolutely right haha. They were still offering it when I posted that comment, that’s when I got mine.

  12. Since you mentioned asking questions… how long is the microusb cable that comes with the Chromecast? Just asking since if it’s fairly short, I might have to source another one since the distance from the HDMI ports on the TV to a power outlet may be towards the upper end of 3ft already.

    1. If you are only 3′ from HDMI to power outlet, you should be fine. I believe the cable that comes with it is about 4 or 5 feet long. I know My tv is in an armoire, and sits at about chest height, and though I am not a tall guy by any means, between snaking the cable through the armoire and out the back down to the power strip on the floor, it was definitely more than 3′.

  13. So if you use the web browser plugin you can stream “web only” content to the tv? Currently we have to plug in our computer and use the TV as a second monitor. This alone would make it worth purchasing.

  14. Was wondering if it could be setup solely using an Android phone–and according to the article it looks like it can! Wonderful! Wifey has the laptop this weekend on a trip, so i’m hoping to pick one of these up from the local BB & didn’t want to have to wait until she got back to set it up.

    Great write-up!

  15. Any word yet on apps like Vudu or Flixster getting supported?

  16. Seriously why show a Mac book instead of a PC

  17. I’ve seen other reviews state that if your tv is HDMI 1.4 compatible, you don’t need the usb plug. Can anyone confirm this?

    1. I have read this too.

    2. C-Law replied in the MITM “dat cable management” thread saying that it did not work for him on his relatively new SONY. In Chris’ video, we also saw the LED lights come on only once the USB cable was connected. So, it is looking like Chromecast cannot be powered from HDMI.

  18. I live in a house with 5 other people. There needs to be a way to add a password so everyone here can’t just stream to my chromecast whenever they want, whether it’s on accident or to mess with me. It hasn’t happened yet but I could see it happening. If there’s some way to add a password, please tell me!

  19. question?: if i have some movies that i dwnld from an app that are saved on my SD card can a broadcast those to my HDTV? thanks

    1. On a PC or an android/iOS device? Use “CTRL+O” to open a file on chrome on a PC. On android, you need to get the path to the file pasted into Chrome’s address bar. Let us know how you do it and if it works.

      If you can, too, try turning off your WiFi router and see if you can connect direct from an android device to the Chromecast dongle with no central network. If we can do this, then we can have a portable home theatre system that we can set up anywhere we can find an HDMI TV. If it needs a WiFi router, then we’ll have to carry one around. And then I wonder if that could work without being connected to the internet, just using a WiFi router as the “hub”…

  20. Is anybody having problems installing the device. I can’t seem to get it working, it doesn’t detect my wifi. Anybdoy has any suggestions on how to fix this?

  21. Having trouble connecting from my Droid. I get a message saying the wifi networks for are different. After setup this device will be connected. I hit ok and it goes to connecting to my wifi but it just shows the chrome icon spinning and never connects. Anyone have any suggestions? Thank

  22. i have been using dnla for most of this for a couple years now , my smart tv has it and all of my phone since my mt5g did also

  23. How to type password for enter wifi?

    1. By following simple advices on the following webpage, making money at home through internet is not impossible or difficult anymore. Just try once and you will know it.. This is the address..w­w­w.B­a­y­9­0.ℂ­ℴm

  24. I have a big question. I live in a rural area and use a MIFI for basic home internet (no streaming . . . 10GB data). I have an iPhone with unlimited data (old Verizon plan). Can I setup a wireless router in the house for just the iPhone and Chromecast to use? And can I setup the Chromecast with my PC and then actually run it from my iPhone? I know this is complicated but I’m SO excited at the possibility of watching my Netflix, etc. on the TV instead of my tiny phone :-) Thanks for the help!!

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