Why I use a Chromecast with my Mac instead of an Apple TV

Use a Chromecast with your Apple Mac

If you want to mirror your Apple Mac’s screen on the big screen TV in your lounge, you can use an Apple TV. However, a Google Chromecast is one quarter of the price can can do the job.

Who needs Apple TV when you can use a Google Chromecast? OK, the Apple TV does a bit more than a Chromecast, but for some tasks:

  • Chromecast is just as good
  • It is a fraction of the price
  • It works with Apple Mac, iPhone, iPad, Windows PC and Android phones/tablets

I admit I have an Apple TV in the lounge and use it to watch movies and catch-up TV on the big screen, but in my bedroom I have another fairly big TV and that has a Chromecast dongle plugged in the back.

A Chromecast enables the Mac’s screen to be cast to the TV and you can browse the web on your big screen TV, watch YouTube and other videos and movies, and more. When someone is using the TV in the lounge, I can watch TV upstairs using my MacBook.

Power up Chromecast

I will assume that you have a Chromecast and that it is plugged into the TV and powered up. Change the TV input source to the Chromecast so that it shows the home screen (a slideshow and some info).

Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast

Get the extension

Open Chrome on your Mac and go to the Chrome Web Store. Search for chromecast or Google Cast and select Extensions below. Google Caste is at the top of the search results.

Google Cast extension for Chrome browser

Click the ADD TO CHROME button on the right.

Google Cast extension for Chrome browser

When this message appears, click Add extension.

Add the Google Cast extension to Chrome browser

Cast the browser

Click the Chromecast button in the toolbar and select the Chromecast device from the menu. When setting up the Chromecast dongle, you can choose to call it anything you want. I gave mine the obvious name Chromecast, but yours might be called something else.

Cast the Chrome browser to the Chromecast connected to the TV

When this menu option is selected, whatever appears in the browser window appears on the TV screen. You can therefore use the TV as a large monitor for browsing the web. Make Chrome full screen on the Mac and it is even better. This mode can be useful for demonstrations too.

Cast a movie

Instead of casting the whole browser window, if you want to watch a video you can make it fill the screen so there are no menus, window borders and web page clutter.

Go to YouTube for example and select a video. Here is The Martian bloopers and gag reel. In the toolbar at the bottom of the video is a Cast button. Mouse over it and it says Play on TV. Click the button and the video is streamed to the TV and plays full screen.

Cast YouTube to the Chromecast connected to the TV

If you want to stop casting from the Mac to the TV, click the Cast button again and then click Stop casting.

Casting from the Mac to a Chromecast connected to a TV

Set the picture quality

Click the Chromecast button in the browser's toolbar to display the menu. Select Options on the menu. The extension options enable you to select the quality of the video stream sent to the TV. The Auto option is usually best and it will automatically select 1080p for video streaming provided your TV, Mac and home network can cope with it.

Set the Chromecast extension settings

This is a brilliant way to watch movies, videos and other content using your Mac. Just cast it to the big screen TV in your lounge, bedroom, kitchen or wherever the TV is.

It’s cheap too, and an Apple TV would be four times the price. Chromecast is so cheap you could put one on every television in your home.

 

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