So, Chromecast is available in Australia. You’ve paid your $49, you’ve got the box home and now you’re wondering… how the hell do I set this up? Well… this post is about just that: how to setup your Chromecast and what sort of content is available.
While some tech enthusiasts have imported the Chromecast from overseas and have been using it for months, some of us in Australia have waited for the Australian release. If you haven’t picked one up yet, visit your local JB HiFi or Dick Smith electronics and pick one up for $49. You can also order it from the Google Play website with the included cost of shipping.
In The Box
So firstly, let’s take a look inside the box. The Chromecast dongle itself is quite small, weighing in at just 34 grams, 72mm long and 35mm wide. The reason it’s so small is probably because the technology inside isn’t all that impressing. It supports single band 802.11b/g/n which means you won’t be able to use your dual-band or AC access points, it’s output is 1080p and it’s not-host powered. This means you’ll need to plug the Chromecast into power using the included Micro-USB cable. Now if you have a spare USB port on your TV, you can plug the Chromecast into that and it will work happily. However, this means you won’t be able to use the Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) to automatically switch on your TV – your Chromecast will still work fine if you switch to the correct input however.
You’ll also find a HDMI extender cable in the box just incase the Chromecast doesn’t fit into the port. Google have also mentioned that the cable is used to improve the Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s around 15cm in length and I needed to use it to plug the dongle into my TV, since there wasn’t much room. But you might find you won’t need it.
In terms of setting up, you’ll need to use a compatible device to run the setup application. For Android users, you’ll need to be running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher to download the Chromecast application. For iOS users, you’ll need to be running iOS 6 or better to download the Chromecast application. For desktop users, you’ll need to be running Windows 7 or higher and Mac OS X 10.7 or higher to use the setup application. You’ll also need Google Chrome installed and the Chromecast extension which is used after the Chromecast has been setup.
- So, to get started, you’ll need to plugin the Chromecast into your TV’s HDMI input. You’ll then need to power the device either by using the included power adaptor or using a USB port on your TV.
- You’ll then need to switch your TV on and switch to the respective HDMI input. At this point, you should see some on screen instructions on how to setup the Chromecast. Open the Chromecast setup application on your device.
- You’ll be then asked to select a wireless network. Keep note that Chromecast only supports single band 802.11b/g/n, so you won’t be able to use your 5GHz or AC network if you’ve got one. Additionally, it will only support WEP, WPA and WPA2 Personal security types. So if you’re in a corporate environment using WPA2 Enterprise, you’re out of luck.
- At this point, the Chromecast will install any updates that are available. This took around 5 minutes and the Chromecast restarted several times.
- Once you see the “Ready to cast” screen, you’re done! You can now start casting.
And that’s the setup of the Chromecast. I’m surprised on how streamlined the process is, overall the whole setup procedure took around 10 minutes. Well done Google!
While there are quite a few apps now available for Chromecast, we won’t go through them all. However, here is a section of our favourite apps for both iOS and Android that work well with Chromecast. Unfortunately, there aren’t any specific Australian apps that support Chromecast as yet. We’ll definitely report on it when it happens though.
Pandora – iOS / Android
Pandora is a great, free music radio experience for iOS and Android. You’re able to create a radio station based on an artist and it will play similar music. While it is ad-supported, it does support Chromecast. So download it and give it a go. Download for: iOS and Andorid
Spoticast – Android
Currently, Spotify doesn’t have any official support for Chromecast. However, a 3rd party application called Spoticast will enable just that. While it does take abit of fiddling to get working, it’s quite buggy but works. It’s the best thing we have at the moment. Download for: Android
Dayframe – Android
Dayframe allows you to easily share pictures to your Chromecast. It has support for a number of services including Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, 500px and more. You can control the slideshow from the device and even like the pictures from social media. The app is available for free too! Download for: Android
Photo Cast – iOS
Much like Dayframe, Photo Cast allows you to share the pictures from your phones gallery. The slideshow will even keep going when your phone is disconnected or out of range. Such a great way to share photos with family and friends on the big screen. Download for: iOS
Netflix – iOS / Android / Desktop
If you’re a Netflix user on any of the above platforms and you’re in the US, you’re in luck. Netflix has support for casting content to your Chromecast. If you’re on desktop, all you need is the Chromecast plugin installed on Google Chrome and you’re ready to go. Currently, both the iOS and Android apps support Chromecast. For us Australians, even if you’re using a DNS redirection service, Chromecast won’t play Netflix content. Checkout our guide here. Download for: iOS and Android.
Google Apps – iOS / Android
As you would expect, the majority of the Google apps you’ve got on iOS and Android support Chromecast. We’ve tested YouTube, Google Play Music and Google Play Movies on the Chromecast and it works fine from both platforms. You can also send a YouTube video playing in your browser to the Chromecast at the click of a button when you have the Chromecast plugin installed.
I think the Chromecast is a great piece of technology. It’s a cheap piece of gear that takes a “dumb TV” and turns it into a Smart TV. It’s quick and really easy to setup. I’m glad it was released in Australia however, it’s disappointing that we don’t have any Australian apps on it yet. Services like Quickflix, ABC iView and others would complete the Chromecast experience in Australia. Even though some services have confirmed that they’ll support Chromecast in the future, they should have been ready by release date of the Chromecast. I have a feeling some people may be turned off from the Chromecast due to this fact. We’ll see… It’s only early days for the Chromecast in Australia.
TechGeek purchased a Chromecast for the purpose of this article.