Category Archives: TV

Google Chromecast

(This article was written when I was myself living in Spain)

Many ex-pats living here in Spain have found out how they can watch British TV on their laptop or PC. They do this by either using software to hide their IP address (the address of their computer on the internet) so that the BBC or ITV don’t realise you are not in Britain, allowing you to watch BBC iPlayer or ITV player, or by using a website such as www.filmon.com which lets you watch and (if you pay a subscription) record programs and even download them to your PC.

But laptops are not ideal for a family to watch TV on and it would be better if you could watch the program on your larger TV screen. If you have a Smart TV then you can probably already do this, but if you have a modern, but standard, TV then you need some other method.  If your TV and laptop have an HDMI (high definition media interface) socket, you can use a suitable lead to connect them together. This works well, the only downside is that the leads are not normally very long so you need to sit the laptop near the TV.

Alternatively, you could purchase a small device called ChromeCast which uses your WiFi to send images and videos from your PC to your TV. The device plugs into an HDMI socket on the TV (most recent TVs have such a socket but older ones may not so check first) and gets its power either from a spare mains socket through the power unit supplied or from a USB socket on the TV. Again, many TVs have such a socket. To use the device you need to set the ChromeCast up by going online at  https://cast.google.com/chromecast/setup/  . This is quite a simple process and once the device is configured to your WiFi, you can use any of the many programs available to send content to your TV.

One of the easiest programs to use for this is Google’s Chrome browser. This allows you to add what is called an extension which puts a “Cast” button on the screen near the top right corner. Anything you are watching can then be “cast” to the TV.

What if you have a film on a USB stick or on a hard drive that you want to watch on the TV? Simply open a Chrome browser window and drag the film onto the page and it will start playing and be shown on the TV screen as well.

ChromeCast devices cost in the region of 35€ and are available from computer outlets and online. If you plan on using the supplied power unit then think about where you buy it to ensure it will have a Spanish plug.