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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.