The other day, I wrote about my favorite hotel accessory, the TP-Link mini router. There is another accessory that I like to use along with it. In fact, this little accessory can be used anywhere, not just at hotels, but it fits perfectly with hotels.
The Google Chromecast
The link for the Chromecast is my Amazon affiliate link. The price from Amazon is actually a few cents less than from Google directly.
The Google Chromecast was launched last year and became an instant hit! This little device is something that plugs directly into TVs (and can be powered by them as well through the USB service port) and enables a multitude of devices to cast the screen or app to the TV. Plus, it does all of that for the low price of $35.
When the Chromecast was launched last year, it included 3 months of free Netflix which made up for the cost of the unit itself ($34/35 for the unit). Unfortunately, that offer is not around anymore but the cost of the Chromecast is still an excellent deal. It does many of the things that streaming to the Apple TV does but for 1/3 of the price! Not only that, but it works with Android devices, iOS devices, and laptop/desktop computers.
Some of the most popular apps that you can use to cast to your TV through the Chromecast are:
- Hulu Plus
- PBS Kids
- MLB.tv Premium
- Google Play Movies and TV
- Google Play Music
- Google+ Photos
There are many more and some that are available only from the desktop version (like casting right from Chrome) or Android. That the Chromecast even works with iOS devices is huge because that opens up a lot of compatibility. True, you cannot cast your iTunes media to Chromecast but there is a lot of video in the apps above that will work.
As for setting up the Google Chromecast, it is incredibly easy and fast. It took me about 2 minutes to get it plugged in, setup, and connected.
To set it up, you will first download the Chromecast app to your device. After doing that, you will connect to the actual network name of the Chromecast. This is needed to set up the Chromecast and point it to your network that you wish to use. If you are going to be streaming from apps that require an internet connection, make sure the network you use is connected to the internet.
Once you are connected, you are ready to go! After you launch a compatible app, you will see the little Chromecast icon in the upper corner of the app. Select your Chromecast from it and you can cast your app to your TV.
Many hotels will actually have an A/V control panel that will allow you to plug your device directly into it. For other hotels, check back in a week or so for a post to help you “hack” your hotel TV. 🙂
This device can be used anywhere – not just your hotel room. But, if you do have it for travel, it makes a great hotel accessory. As a NY Yankee fan, it gives me a way to watch Yankee games from the hotel TV just using my phone and MLB.tv account. Going from the small phone screen to the big TV screen is great – and in high definition, too!
For a small device that is available at a cheap price, the Google Chromecast is definitely one that you should throw in your travel bag. Not only is it great for the hotel, but it can be handy for presentations as well.