Google Chromecast Unboxing and Setup

I was one of the lucky few to get my pre-order in for a Google Chromecast when it was first announced last week.  For those that aren’t familiar with this device, its a HDMI dongle that plugs into your TV to stream content.  This content includes things like YouTube, Netflix, or a mirrored copy of any open tab in your Chrome browser.  The really interesting thing is that Chromecast will work with Netflix and YouTube on Android and iOS.  This functionality works right out of the box.

Chromecast has been more popular than I think Google ever expected it to be.  At launch the dongle came with 3 months of Netflix for free.  Some people, such as myself, thought of the price as 3 months of Netflix and an additional 11 buck for a Chromecast.  The simple fact is that the Chromecast is cheap gadget that can almost be considered and impulse buy at $35.  This article will be an unboxing and guide for the setup of your Chromecast.  Keep your eyes open for a full blown review once I’ve gotten a chance to play with my new toy.

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As you can see the Chromecast comes in a pretty small box, one that features the dongle right on center stage.  The setup instructions are printed right inside the box and in an included instruction manual.

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When you lift the Chromecast out of the box you can see all the other cables and pieces included below.  The items included are a USB cable for power, and HDMI extension cable, and a power supply for the USB cable.

To setup the Chromecast its pretty simple, plug the dongle into an open HDMI input on your TV and then connect the USB power supply to the Chromecast.  If you have an open USB plug on your TV you can power the Chromecast over USB.  If your TV doesn’t have an open USB port that’s not a problem just use the included power supply to power the device.  After you’ve plugged in the dongle and the USB power supply you’re done with the hardest part of the setup.

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Once your Chromecast powers up you will see this setup screen appear on screen.  Just go to the URL provided to continue the setup process.  If you are using an Android device this link will direct you to an app to download for setting up the Chromecast.  However, if you are like me and use iOS you will need to use a browser for setup as the iOS setup app is not yet released.  I used my iPad for setup but could have just as easily used my laptop.

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Once you go to the setup page your browser will greet you with this screen. As you can tell my Chromecast looked just the same as this image.  Since the images matched I moved on to the next step of setup.

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In this step the Chromecast will use its Wi-Fi ability to become a hotspot named after the device itself.  In my case there was a new network being broadcast called ‘Chromecast7220.’  The web-site instructs you to connect your laptop or tablet to this new network.  Don’t worry this is only a temporary network, it will be gone soon.  Once the tablet/laptop has been connected to the Chromecast hotspot it will display a code on both your browser and on the TV.  If the codes match, click on the ‘That’s my code’ button.

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This next setup phase keeps you connected the Chromecast hotspot.  In this screen you will choose which network to connect your Chromecast to and even rename it.  Clicking in the wireless network box will display all the networks your Chromecast can see.  Just select your Wi-Fi network and enter your password.  In my case, I connected to my network ICanHazInternetz.  I then decided to rename my Chromecast to Chromecast of DOOM.  Really, you can pick any name you want, so go crazy.  Click ‘Next’ to continue your setup.

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The setup process will now ask you to reconnect to the network the Chromecast has just been configured to work with.  Guess, what?  Now your setup is complete and the Chromecast will show that on the TV.

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Setup is a breeze with this device.  Chromecast suggests using the HDMI extension for a better Wi-Fi signal.  I can say that I tried the device both with and without the extension and noticed a very slight difference in my Wi-Fi reception.

This was a quick walk-through the setup process of the Google Chromecast.  Personally, setup took me about 5 minutes and a lot of that was because I took pictures throughout the setup process.  I assume setup would be even easier with an Android device and its dedicated app.  Since I don’t own any Android devices I didn’t have a chance to try setup via this method.  If anyone out there has done setup with the app let me know how it worked in the comments below.

I hope to have a review up soon on the Chromecast experience as a whole.  After playing with it a little bit I can say its very easy to throw videos up on the big screen and then control them with my iPhone or iPad.  My early review is that for $35 the Chromecast is a fun toy to add to your home theater setup.

Chris Ferrell ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chris Ferrell is a long time fan of just about all things geeky and nerdy. Growing up he was introduced to Star Trek, Star Wars, and video games by his father. Those hobbies stuck and he has just added to them since. Now Chris writes for Gonna Geek and co-hosts the Official Gonna Geek Podcast, All Things Good And Nerdy podcast, and WTWD Radio Free Woodbury.

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36 Comments

  1. Bored Techie says:

    Sorry, but your way too late to the party. What is the point of this article exactly? People already know how to set it up and you are adding nothing new. Waste of time. Ever heard of unique reporting?

    • Late to the party? This was posted on July 31, that was less than a week after the Chromecast was released. Granted its less relevant now but when this was first posted it gave early impressions to people who couldn’t get a Chromecast because they were sold out. This device sold out so fast that many people could not get one and were curious. This article gave some insight into the Chromecast so that people without one could get user impressions.

      And if you think it’s not relevant then you should look at all sorts of other sites that do unboxings and initial impressions. It’s pretty much standard practice in the tech blogging world.

      Sorry you didn’t like the article but thanks for stopping by.

  2. anon anonny says:

    The problem is this just showed up on google news, and it says the article is 30 minutes old, as well. Bored Techie thought it was new news.

  3. Stephen Stephen says:

    Thanks for letting us know it was listed there – much appreciated. As Chris mentioned, it was posted awhile ago (July 31) but hey, gotta love google’s way of finding “news”… and when of course when people make errors trolling the internet — when clearly they didn’t look at the date of the article. :D

  4. Joseph Kadoch says:

    Mr. Chris, I appreciate very much your detailed information and patience. I’m still in the position everyone else was on July 31. Did not understand everything clearly but hope to do so as soon as I receive the Chromecast device.
    A question: Your third group of paragraphs: “If your TV doesn’t have an open USB port……”
    Does this mean that I may also use it on a non-HDTV? New, flat screen, but no USB ports. Is that the only reason the power supply is included for?
    THANK YOU. Best regards, Joseph.

    • Joseph thanks for stopping by. The Chromecast will only work on an HD TV with an Hdmi input. The device connects there and draws power via USB. In my case I had an open USB port I could use for power. No data is sent via the USB connection just power. Hope I was able to clear things up for you some.

      • Ted says:

        As Chris says, the USB port is only to provide power. One my TV’s is an older, simpler model lacking USB input, but a friend alerted me to the service port which is USB and does provide the necessary power. Not a biggie because a TV needs power and the Chromecast comes with a power adapter and cord, but I thought it was a neat trick and wanted to share.

        On to a bigger and more interesting topic: what impact will this have on Cable TV. For example A&E has an app and I can watch all their recent shows on my Android (or iThingy if I had one :-)) with only an Internet connection. I contacted them and while they could not comment on future developments they did share they are interested in the technology. What if many content outlets did the same thing? Bye-bye Time Warner.

        • Now that would be an interesting play by the cable channels but I don’t see that being the situation long term. Advertising dollars off the apps are no where near what they make on ‘conventional’ TV. My guess is eventually A&E will require you to login with your Cable/Satellite providers credentials at some point.

  5. Anonstar says:

    Does Chromecast work with the Microsoft Surface RT? I hoping to replace my desktop with something smaller, but I would still like to use the new device to stream shows and movies through the internet while running another program so I can work a little or send e-mails while watching tv. Thanks!

    • So far the only devices that support Chromecast are iOS and Android based with the exception of the Chrome browser on your computer. Google was releasing an SDK to developers to add Chromecast support but I don’t recall Windows being one of those. Considering the fight Google is having with MS in regards to a simple YouTube app on Windows RT it could be a while before Windows RT works with the device.

  6. Joe says:

    Hey Chris . Quick question . I have nfl Sunday ticket mobile .. Do I have to cast games from my laptop to tv. Or can I cast from mg nfl Sunday ticket app on my iPhone?

  7. Teresa Willoughby says:

    When I set up my Chromecast device on our HDTV I downloaded the app for my iPad/iPhone. Now that I have my computer back, (Windows 7) I’m trying to figure out how to utilize it from my computer. Unfortunately, I cannot figure it out. Can you please help me?

    • Teresa, to use Chromecast with your PC you’ll need to be running the Chrome browser and download the Chromecast/Google Cast extension. Just download it from the Chrome web store and then you’ll be able to cast from your PC to your TV. Let me know if that doesn’t work.

  8. nick says:

    i have the verizon nfl mobile, would i be able to stream that to my tv

    • Assuming the Verizon NFL Mobile app incorporates Chromecast support into their app yes. One other alternative would be to use a Chrome browser on your PC and use the Google Cast extension to broadcast your browser tab to your TV.

  9. Jameka says:

    How can I use this with my xfinity app?? I am streaming from an iPad mini and two android tablets. However, the xfinity app has not worked on the androids…

  10. rob says:

    Chris, I guess I’m “‘late to the party”. Correct me if I’m wrong, this device can only be used for certain applications, and does not transmit everything on my computer (Excel, Word, etc.) – basically using the TV as a monitor?

    • Rob, the Chromecast only transmits from certain apps on your handheld device. You can also cast a single tab from your Chrome browser to the TV. So far there is no way to mirror your PC on the TV.

  11. Bobby Green says:

    My Win 7 laptop cast fine, but my smsung tablet sees the TV and list all the right #’s, but does not get the code and I don’t get the folder to csst. What have I left out.
    Bobby

    • Bobby, you only need to setup the device once with any one of our devices. From that point any Chromecast compatible app/browser on the same network should be able to see it. I guess make sure your tablet is on the same network as the Chromecast.

  12. Andy says:

    Chris, will please help an 80 year old Luddite? Just heard from Amazon that my Chromecast will soon be delivered and your how-to will be a great help. I will be using an iPad mini where I have a bunch of movies and TV shows but I don’t have any idea about Chrome. What is Chrome and do I need to add it to my iPad in order to use the new device?

    Thanks

    • Andy, you only need to use Google’s Chrome browser to stream content from your PC to your TV. Right now the Chromecast will support streaming via Netflix and YouTube apps on iOS. As of right now iOS devices do not support Chromecast from the iPad’s native video app.

  13. A. Brooks says:

    Could you please explain the difference between these sentences you have made above. “You can also cast a single tab from your Chrome browser to the TV. So far there is no way to mirror your PC on the TV.” You also say “you only need to use Google’s Chrome browser to stream content from your PC to your TV.” So, I don’t understand the difference between “there is no way to mirror your PC on the TV” and “stream content from PC to TV. Thanks so much.

    • Sure, what I meant by that is that if you wanted to mirror MS word on your TV the Chromecast will not let you. The thing you can stream from your PC is a tab within Google Chrome. What you can do, is open a video within Chrome and stream on your TV, its sort of a loophole.

  14. A. Brooks says:

    OK thanks… think I understand now. So I could go to CNN, click on a video news clip, and send it to my TV as long as I was using the Chrome browser..

  15. Mick says:

    In the set up phase is it possible to access the web via a VPN or does it stick to the conventional way? I want to access region blocked sites. Can you help? Thanks

  16. Scott says:

    Three days of hell! This is such a simple device, but in my world that equals — “hang on for the ride”! I spent 3 hours just trying to get the Sony Bravia TV screen to show the Chrome logo and still never got it. Then after spending another 80 minutes with Google Support it was decided that the device was not working. What I would see on the screen was a 2 sec. flash “setting up your Chromecast” followed by a black screen.

    I couldn’t accept that such a simple device wouldn’t work out of the box. I learned to reset it to factory settings as follows: remove device from HDMI/TV, then while it is still powered – hold the button (next to the micro USB) on the device for at least 40 seconds. You will know it’s complete when the light changes to a soft pink and then transforms into a bright red.

    The next day, I attached it to my other Sony Bravia TV and within an hour (doing multiple factory resets and kicking things) it showed up on the screen as it should’ve in the first 60 seconds of installation!!

    I enjoyed my Chromecast for the rest of that day. The next day I put it back on my original TV only to find out it WOULD NOT WORK! In my mind, that pointed to the TV as the culprit. I called Sony Support and shared quality time with them for another hour or so before they had the bright idea of updating the firmware on my TV. Voila’ All is well! Life is Good! And, the Chromecast lives up to expectations… except I was told it functioned at the 1080P level – it does not. 720 is standard, with a “High Rate” 720 as an option.

  17. Greg Binde says:

    I have SmartHub for watching Netflix, Crackle, MLB.com, etc. When I travel I hook up an HDMI cable from my laptop to the TV. Will this Chromecast work with my Samsung Galaxy S3, for watching NFL Mobile? I’ve seen conflicting answers on-line and I don’t want to waste my time purchasing one to find out it doesn’t work and have to return it.

  18. I just received Google Chromecast all hooked together using hdmi adapter and electrical plub even though I have USB PORT

    I have Sony Bravia not a smart tv. I have att uverse, high speed internet, wifi for samsung galaxy tablet and kindle is also using wifi.

    I am at a standstill I am AFRAID TO PLUG IT IN!

    HELP ME PLEASE!!

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