Stream & Cast

With this week’s title, I don’t blame you for thinking that I switched to a fishing enthusiast column. The good news is that I’m not built for sitting in one place, hours on end, waiting for a nibble on my fishing line. With my luck I’d end up with an old boot when I reeled it in!

If you have been assessing the feasibility of cutting the cord, or the recently augmented streaming of cloud-based programming to your digital world devices, you may have come across the jargon “cast.”

Casting is loosely related to streaming – i.e. you can stream content like a YouTube video or Taylor Swift’s latest single without casting – and Google’s Chromecast is a popular choice when used together with your other digital world tools such as your Android smartphone, Android tablet or the Chrome browser on your computer.

Just like streaming devices like AppleTV, AndroidTV, FireTV or Roku, Chromecast also connects to a TV/display via an HDMI port.

The difference between streaming devices and Chromecast is that while streaming devices have additional circuitry akin to a tiny computer within itself to receive (i.e. stream) content from the internet and project it to the attached TV/display, Google’s Chromecast lacks that tiny computer circuitry. Instead, you use your Android smartphone, Android tablet or Chrome browser.

What case is most suitable for Chromecast? Maybe you tend to look for content using your smartphone with a small 5-inch screen and it doesn’t do justice to the video you found. Or you want to share it with a room full of people. If you had a Chromecast attached to your TV/display, you can cast the content from your smartphone, enjoying the video on your 55-inch screen instead of the 5-inch screen on your smartphone.

Another example is my particular case. I use it to cast the Google Slide presentation running on my tablet. In my Discover Digital Literacy! class, I cast my tablet’s screen to the big screen so my students can see what I am doing and follow along, as they have the same tablet as mine.

Don’t feel left out if you are an Apple device user. They have the same functionality except they call it “AirPlay.” In Apple’s ecosystem, AppleTV pulls double duty as a media streamer and an AirPlay receiver.

Another option, for both Apple and Android devices, is to use a software like “Reflector 3” which essentially provides the same receiving functionality; a computer is attached to a TV/display so the iOS or Android can cast to the big screen. Now you know!

Tak Sato

Strategist with over 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder for the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, and Founder of geek with a heart with the service mark "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:35 AM, 02.20.2018