Your phone can make your TV look smart

The Chromecast device plugs into an HDMI port

Does anyone watch network TV any more? The evening news is about it for me, and then the commercials drive me crazy. When I want entertainment I get it from streaming services like Netflix, HBO Go or Amazon Prime. Sometimes I even get my news from streaming services like YouTube, CBS, or PBS. But, how to accomplish this? I don’t have a smart TV, but I do have a Chromecast on the TV which means I can bring up a show on my computer or phone and “cast” it to the TV as long as the TV input is set to the correct HDMI port.

During this pandemic, #StayHome time, I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix and I’ve learned that my phone is actually the best way to stream shows and cast to the TV. I have a Netflix account and the Netflix app on my phone. I have an Amazon Prime account and the Prime Video app on my phone, and, of course I have the YouTube app on my phone. With any of these apps, I can happily watch shows on my phone, but it just takes one tap on the Cast button and now the show is on my big screen TV, the sound is coming out of our surround sound speakers and both my husband and I can be comfortable on the couch and watch the show. If I need to pause, just tap the screen on the phone.

It’s like having the phone as a remote control, but you’re not controlling television functions, you’re controlling the programming. The TV just provides the screen and the speakers.

What do you need?

  • A TV with HDMI ports
  • Good Household WiFi
  • A Chromecast device ($35)
  • Google Home app to set up the Chromecast on your TV
  • Subscriptions to streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix
  • The app on your phone to access Amazon Prime Videos or Netflix

When you bring home the Chromecast device, you’ll find easy to follow instructions on setting that up. The end result is that your phone’s streaming apps will have a Cast icon and when you tap it, you’ll see whatever you called your TV, for example “Living Room TV.”

Now all you have to do is find the show you want to watch and tap the play button, then tap the cast button, and choose Living Room TV, or Bedroom TV, or whatever other TV you have set up.

Wi-Fi is important

There are 2 prerequisites for this to work. First, the TV must have its input set to the HDMI port with the Chromecast device. Second, your phone must be connected to the same WiFi that the TV/Chromecast is using. If your phone is not connected to WiFi, if it is using your cellular provider instead, the Cast button won’t appear. If you have good Internet speeds on your WiFi, then watching your shows this way will be a pleasure.

My only question is, what do I watch now that I finished bingeing all of Homeland?


2 replies on “Your phone can make your TV look smart”

  1. It depends on the resolution of your TV.
    Chromecast Ultra has higher resolution (4K) and faster wireless speed. It can do HDR video and has an Ethernet port for hard wire Internet.
    Chromecast is less expensive.
    The streaming features are the same.

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