7 useful hacks for Google's Chromecast

7 useful hacks for Google's Chromecast

Got a Google Chromecast? You might want to try these hard to find features.

We love Google's Chromecast 2. For $50, it delivers pretty much everything you want, and makes your dumb TV smart with a range of useful features. When using a paired smartphone, the Chromecast 2 makes it easy to stream content from apps and the Google Play store - but Google's streamer is even more versatile than that.

Although simple to set-up and easy-to-use, the Chromecast 2 comes with a surprising amount of extra features: if you know where to look. Here's a list of 7 hidden features, tips and tricks you can use with Google's streaming dongle.

1. Control presentations

The Google Chromecast 2 is great for entertainment and leisure, but it also makes a good tool for work. If you're using Google Slides – which is available for both Android and iOS – Google's Chromecast 2 lets you project your presentations to the big screen.

After installing the app and opening your presentation, simply click the Chromecast button, and your presentation will be beamed straight to a connected TV. As you'd expect, everything you do on your smartphone is echoed on-screen, so you can switch slides just by swiping.

2. Play games

The original Chromecast was perfect for streaming TV and films, but the Google Chromecast 2 adds games to the mix. Although there are currently only a handful of games available for the streamer, they're surprisingly good. But the best bit? The Chromecast 2 lets you play games with multiple players – and they can use their own smartphone as a buzzer or controller. Great for parties!

3. Stream your music

The Chromecast 2 also lets you stream music straight to your TV. People with better speakers might be better off getting a Chromecast Audio instead, but if you've already got a home audio system attached to your TV – it's a useful feature to have. Enabling it is easy, too.

4. Increase the quality

The Chromecast lets you stream almost anything from your laptop to your TV, but if you think the quality isn't up to scratch, there might be a fix: If you've got the Chromecast extension installed in your browser, you can actually check the quality of the stream.

Head to the Cast icon in your browser, and select 'Option.' There you'll see three different bit rates; click 720p for the best picture - or 480p if your connection is slower.

5. Use it with your TV remote

The Chromecast 2 is easy to control when you've got your smartphone to hand - but what about when it's elsewhere? Thankfully, Google has made it possible to control the Chromecast with your regular TV remote.

If your TV supports HDMI-CEC, it's likely you'll be able to pause, rewind and play with your existing remote – but the feature is still in its early stages, so might not work for every model of TV.

6. Change your backdrop 

The Chromecast 2 offers more personalisation this time round, and it's actually possible to upload your own pictures and use them as a backdrop. To set it up, just head over the Chromecast app and click on the devices tab, and then the gear icon. From there you'll be able to access backdrops, and choose the images displayed on your Chromecast.

It's possible to link your Google Photo, Facebook and Flickr accounts to the dongle - but if you're tired of your own snaps, Google lets you choose pictures from a range of other categories, from satellite images to art.

7. Use a wired connection

One of the best things about the Chromecast 2 is its ability to stream wirelessly - but sometimes a wired connection is best. If you're having difficulties with your wireless connection, you can connect your Chromecast 2 to the internet via its built-in ethernet port. It might not look as pretty, but it'll certainly get the job done. 

This article originally appeared at alphr.com

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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