Google Chromecast: What is it, How it Works, and Other Details You Should Know

  • What is Google Chromecast?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Difference between Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra

Google Chromecast is one of the best choices for people who are into streaming and video on demand services but want to watch from their TVs.

Most streaming services in Australia these days, such as Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video, and Foxtel Now are typically available through web browsers or dedicated apps. They are perfect for on-the-go entertainment.

However, many still want to watch through their TVs, especially at home and with their families. Most smart TVs allow you to download and install a dedicated app of a specific streaming service. But if you don’t have a smart TV or it’s not compatible with the service you want, a streaming device like Chromecast is your best choice.

In this guide, you will know more about the following:

  • What is Google Chromecast?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Difference between Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra
  • How does it work?
  • Compatible devices and streaming services
  • Chromecast alternatives
  • Best broadband plan with Chromecast

What is Google Chromecast?

Google Chromecast is a streaming device that allows you to stream from your TV.

When you stream videos or shows, you typically go to the dedicated app on your device or go to the website. For TV, you need a streaming device that houses the dedicated apps for the streaming services you are using.

It’s a device that you plug into your TV via HDMI port and is powered by a USB cable, which is included when you buy the device. You can then control it via your smartphone or computer.

You can watch videos on YouTube or shows from Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Plus, you can also access Google Play Store, and even Google Stadia, the company’s game streaming service.

Moreover, you can use it to stream almost anything from your computer to your TV by casting your screen.

It’s a small device and can fit your bag, so you can definitely bring it with you if you’re traveling if you want to keep up with your favourite shows. But do remember that it does not support anything that requires browser-based logins, so it may not work with hotel TVs that much.

How Much Does it Cost?

Streaming devices are a one-time-only payment. Basically, what you’ll have to pay for monthly are the subscription services that you’re using. But for Chromecast, you’ll only need to pay for $59 once and then use it as long as you want.

You can buy the device in dedicated stores in the country as well as on Amazon Australia.

What’s the Difference Between Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra?

Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra have the same function.

However, Chromecast is the regular version that can stream videos and shows up to 1080p only, while the Ultra version is the upgrade and allows viewers to stream ultra HD videos and shows at 4K resolution. Plus, it also comes with HDR color technology.

Another difference is that the Ultra version requires an external power source compared to a USB cable connected to your TV, like the regular Chromecast. But it does come with a built-in port for Ethernet cable.

When it comes to content, they are completely identical.

Chromecast Ultra is available wherever the regular version is sold for $99, nearly double the price of the original Chromecast.

How Does it Work?

Basically, the device is somehow an antenna. You tell it what you want to watch, and it will stream the video to your screen through its connection to the internet.

Nevertheless, you can also use the device to cast your smartphone or computer’s screen on your TV. If you’re using it for this, you should remember to keep your device awake at all times, or else the feed will go down.

All you really need is connect your Chromecast to the right port on your TV. For the remote, you can use your computer or your smartphone. You will need to install the Google Home app on your device to control the device. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices. Or you can control the device with your voice through Google Assistant.

Soon enough, Google might be offering Chromecast users with a real remote control so viewers could use their phones while watching.

Compatible Devices and Streaming Services

Almost everything is on Google Chromecast. You can use it to stream Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Binge, Stan, Foxtel Now, ABC iView, Quickflix, Disney+, and more streaming services. You can also watch videos directly on Youtube.

When it comes to TVs, you can use Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra to any TV as long as it has an HDMI port. This means you can use non-smart TVs to watch your favorite shows, making the device an incredibly versatile tool for every couch potato.

Chromecast Alternatives

Chromecast is not the only streaming device available in the Australian market. You also have the Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV stick, the Foxtel Now Box, and the Apple TV.

Roku TV and Amazon Fire TV stick can be bought on Amazon Australia for around $69, while Apple TV is a lot more expensive at $209.

Meanwhile, Foxtel Now Box is available for $99, but if you want to get the best of Foxtel Now you’ll have to pay for the monthly subscription fee of $25 per month. Nevertheless, it’s not really necessary.

Best Broadband Plan for Chromecast

Since you’ll need a constant connection to the internet to use Chromecast and stream videos, it’s best to upgrade to an unlimited broadband plan, which is already available on NBN. If you haven’t upgraded yet, you’ll most likely pay a lot more than you expect since streaming can quickly consume data.

An hour of streaming Standard Definition videos will already consume 1GB, while Ultra 4K videos could consume up to 7GB of videos per hour.

Besides the consumable data, you’ll also want to ensure your speed is up to par for a smoother streaming experience.

Most of the time, an NBN 12Mbps plan is enough, but if others are using the internet and you’re not the only one streaming, upgrade to 25Mbps, or maybe 50Mbps.

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