I'm not a huge fan of gadgets. I like my technology to have a real purpose, and I rarely buy things on impulse. But I made an exception for the Google Chromecast because it was cheap (around $40) and tiny, and seemed like it might be quite fun to play with. And my hunch turned out to be correct.
Chromecast is a small device, about the size of a chunky memory stick, which contains not a USB connector but an HDMI one. Plug it into the back of your television or monitor, and it connects to your wifi network. Download the Chromecast app to your phone, tablet or laptop, and you can now stream compatible audio and video to your TV. Your smartphone or tablet, along with the Chromecast app and something like Youtube, now has a real purpose in life.
You can also stream (or cast, as Google calls it) the content of your web browser to a Chromecast device, direct from your Windows desktop or laptop. There's a free browser extension for Chrome which adds the all-too-familiar Chromecast icon (see below) to your browser, ready to click whenever you like. Just make sure you're not browsing anything confidential when you click it, though!
There's also a relatively new Chrome add-in which lets you cast any of the videos from your PC directly to your device. So if you have a collection of home movies on your computer in digital format, you can now cast them to your TV.
From your Chrome browser, head to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/videostream-for-google-ch/cnci... to get started. This will download the video caster add-in. And if you don't have the standard Chromecast extension, it'll download that for you too. Then you'll be all set to enjoy using your Chromecast from your PC.
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