This blog is my attempt to share information with faculty, introducing new apps, websites, or other snippets of information that may be of use to faculty. I am also using it to keep track of projects I'm working on that might be good to reference in the future.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chromecast

Chromecast is Google's device to show video from mobile apps or from your laptop computer to your TV.  It uses an HDMI connection and your wi-fi network to communicate between your device and the TV.  Since most of our newer video projectors in the classroom have HDMI I wanted to see if I could hook it up to the projector and 'chromecast' from my laptop (or desktop computer) and my old iPhone4.  In the end, both worked well.





First I wanted to test chromecasting from a laptop.  This could be useful for our classes that use Chromebooks, or teachers that need to hookup via HDMI for some reason.  Our current connections from the wall to the overhead projectors is only VGA and RCA.  On the few occasions we've had presenters with only an HDMI port on their laptop (no VGA), we had to run a long HDMI cable from their laptop to the projector.

Taking the Chromecast out of the box, it was very easy to set up.  The only downside that I didn't expect is that it uses a power source - your options are using a USB cable (included) to plug either into the projector/TV USB port to power, or use the included power adaptor.  It's not a big issues, but we need to make sure the projector has a USB port (which our's do), or there is an open power outlet within 3 feet.  Most of our projectors are hung more than three feet from a power outlet.  Here I have it plugged into the HDMI port with the optional HDMI extender, and then plugged the USB for power into the USB slot on the far right.  Fairly easy with our NEC 311W projectors.


When you plug in the Chromecast, turn on the projector and set input to HDMI you will get this set-up screen.  You need to do the initial setup on the local wireless network, via a computer.   It can see the network, and your computer will see it also, even though it is not logged into the network.  You will have to tell it which network the Chromecast will use and enter the password.  The instructions they provide are fairly easy to follow, if you have no issues.


Once you have it set up, you will have to download the Chrome browser extension to get it to work from your computer.  


Once you install extension, once you are in Chrome you just have to click on the icon at the top right address bar and choose the Chromecast you want to connect to.  As long as you are on the same wireless network you can connect easily.  

I also took the device home and installed to a TV, just to test it, and it worked easily the first time out.  The only concern I had with the install was that my TV didn't have a USB port, so I had to use the power adapter, and fortunately it was close enough to use the included USB cables.

Everything is working great now!
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