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Buying a Google Chromecast

What Is Chromecast?

Google Chromecast is a hardware device that allows you to wirelessly stream audio and video content. This small, circular dongle plugs into an HDMI port on your flat screen TV or any digital television, audio/video receiver or other device that can play back audio and video. It uses streaming apps on your IOS or Android device as an interface, instead of TV-based menus and a remote control. You can choose from regular or Ultra Chromecast. The primary difference between the two is that Ultra is better suited for providing 4K Ultra HD content to a 4K viewing device. There is also Chromecast TV, which has the Chromecast feature built in, and a Chromecast audio streaming device, which you can plug into the auxiliary input of a portable speaker to stream your favorite tunes.

With Google Chromecast, you can cast content to your TV from many different sources. You can cast content that lives on your smartphone, tablet, computer or Chromebook, including photos, audio or video from your personal library. You can also stream content from an online source. In this case, the content doesn’t go through your device, but rather streams directly from the service. Using Guest mode, you can let friends and family stream media to your Chromecast, even if they’re not logged onto the same Wi-Fi network. Plus, you can use Google Home to access streaming content using “Hey Google” voice commands.

What Do I Need to Use Chromecast?

You need a Chromecast dongle, an HDTV with a spare HDMI port, a solid home Wi-Fi network and a computer or mobile device. Your Google Chromecast can be powered by your TV with a USB cord if you have a suitable port on the back of your set, or you can use the included adapter to plug it directly into an outlet. You’ll want a fast, stable Wi-Fi connection to avoid unpredictable viewing experiences. If your current wireless home network is inconsistent, you may want a wireless router. This is especially true with the Ultra Chromecast, since a stable, fast connection will minimize buffering and skipping while streaming 4K Ultra HD and HDR content. You can remotely control how you watch and listen to your content using your smartphone, tablet, computer, or with your Google Home Hub.

What Can I Stream with My Google Chromecast?

You can enjoy TV shows, movies, videos, songs, games, sports and more from over 1,000 apps. Some apps, like YouTube, Daily Motion and Crackle, are free. Others, like Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO GO require a subscription. You can also watch live TV broadcasts by accessing services like DirecTV Now, Hulu Live TV, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV. You can stream digital music from services like Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music and more. Though not every streaming service is an option with Chromecast, you’re likely to find plenty of suitable content among the huge selection of Chromecast-enabled apps you’ll find in Google Play or the App Store. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to access local stations live. And finally, you can utilize Chromecast to cast websites from your Google Chrome browser to watch on-screen presentations, photo slideshows or just surf the web.