Five nifty uses for Google Chromecast

Long after it's American and European launches, Google has finally made their Chromecast "streaming stick" available on Australian shelves. Chromecast is a small black device that plugs into your existing television via a HDMI port, enabling you to stream content from either your smartphone or Google Chrome on your computer, straight to the big screen. The dongle has been priced at $49, and is available through the Google Play Store, JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith.

Long after it's American and European launches, Google has finally made their Chromecast "streaming stick" available on Australian shelves. Chromecast is a small black device that plugs into your existing television via a HDMI port, enabling you to stream content from either your smartphone or Google Chrome on your computer, straight to the big screen. The dongle has been priced at $49, and is available through the Google Play Store, JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith.

Once Chromecast is setup and connected to your network, a Chromecast icon appears in compatible apps on phone and tablet, much akin to Apple's AirPlay. Pressing this will enable streaming for that app. On desktops and laptops, the Google Cast extension needs to be installed, adding a Cast button to Chrome's toolbar.

Quickflix, ABC and Foxtel have all stated that they will be adding Chromecast support to their mobile apps, but their respective web version can all be comfortably "cast" from a Mac or PC.

While local developers are busy upgrading their apps, here are a few neat thing you can do with the Chromecast right now –

  1. Watch the vast amount of cat videos YouTube has to offer on the big screen. In fact, you can watch any web content on the big screen, whether it's a Flickr photo gallery or the latest episode of CyberShack.
  2. Pump some fat beats through your home entertainment system using Rdio, and enjoy a beautiful display of high resolution album art on your TV. Pandora and Google Music also have Chromecast support, but Spotify is currently missing the feature.
  3. Ditch the projector for your next work presentation. Simply move your PowerPoint to either OneDrive or Google Drive, plug a Chromecast into any TV, and hit the cast button! You'll also look super savvy!
  4. Extend the functionality of your Plex Media Server. Plex "simplifies your life" by organising your media (videos, photos and music) and allows you to access it from anywhere with an internet connection, on nearly any device. Chromecast is by the far the easiest way to get Plex onto your TV, or even onto your neighbours' for those times you just need to show them the happy snaps from your latest holiday.
  5. Draw on your TV! Using CastPad or DoodleCast you can turn your into a canvas and let that artist talent shine. Also much easier to clean than that time I decided it would be a good idea to paint over the family television with whiteout when I was 4…

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