Why every household absolutely needs a Chromecast

I enjoy media, I enjoy technology and I really enjoy when the two cross paths. One could be forgiven for assuming that this intersection happens often, and it does, but it’s not often that it’s executed nearly as well as Chromecast. That is why I think Chromecast is the one gadget I would recommend, to anyone. Sure, the Google-built dongle is already in its second iteration, but I don’t actually know how many South Africans are currently casting.

I’ve mentioned this to a few people, but I think that television’s biggest competition at the moment is the Internet. Think about it, when is the last time you watched an entire movie, or TV episode without looking/glancing at your device at least once? It’s been a while if I am being honest. There is so much content out there online, that it can almost become overwhelming, and that is where Chromecast comes into the fold.

Chromecast brings near anything you can stream online (video and audio) to the biggest screen in your house, your television, for around R600. Creating YouTube playlists together might seem like an anti-social thing to do at home, but in our home of two, we’ve found it really great. Queueing up documentaries, punctuated by silly videos and a seemingly endless supply of ‘The Voice’ blind auditions, I can safely say that my television barely needs an aerial, or satellite connection. You can cast from apps like Netflix as well, it might require a VPN on your smart device as well, but enjoying these on a big screen is well worth the effort.

I even stream sports broadcasts to my computer, before casting them to the television. For this you will need a DSTV smart card linked to your account, so if your folks aren’t the streaming kind, you know what to do.

And if you are thinking “but what kind of internet connection do I need here in Africa for it to work?” I have good news. I only have a 4MB line at home, it’s uncapped as well, and except for when Supersport’s can’t decide on a resolution when bandwidth gets tight, I can stream to the television while the missus watches TED Talks on her iPhone. I don’t know what sorcery Google uses to make this possible, but there you go.

You can also cast mp4 videos from your Chrome browser on desktop. This might be a way down the article, but it’s incredibly useful. Have movies on your laptop but you’re sick of either a. copying said entertainment to your hard drive first, before plugging that into your tv, or b. your miniscule screen? Well here is your solution. Simply drag the film into a new Chrome tab and hit the cast icon. Then hit fullscreen. I’ve never seen anyone cast for the first time and not exclaim “wow, this is amazing!”

It does other fun things too, like turning your television into a living portrait filled with slideshows of photos. There are numerous photo sources to choose from, including your own backed up Google Photos.

All of this happens while only one rule needs to be adhered to, both devices (the Chromecast dongle and your computer/smartphone/tablet/laptop) need to be connected to the same WiFi network – that must obviously be connected to the internet. That really is all it takes to bring the wealth of the internet to your television. I have a sneaky suspicion that once you try it, you won’t be able to imagine life without it.



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