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How to use Google Cast to stream your favorite content

Key Takeaways

  • Google Cast technology enables seamless media streaming from a smartphone to a Cast-enabled device.
  • Setting up Google Cast with Chromecast or other devices is straightforward and user-friendly.
  • Google Cast, Apple AirPlay, and Matter all offer similar functionality, but Google Cast is cross-platform compatible.

The Google Chromecast was a revelation in the streaming space, with Google selling millions of Chromecast devices over the years. At the center of that technology is Google Cast. It allows you to stream all different types of media from your smartphone to a Cast-enabled device. Thus, your smartphone turns into a remote of sorts and the cast device does all the heavy lifting.


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Using Google Cast is like riding a bike. It might seem daunting at first, but it’s actually pretty easy once you get used to it. If you have a brand-new Google Cast-enabled device and want to set it up, you’ve come to the right place.

Google Chromecast settings page

What is Google Cast?

Google Cast is a technology that allows you to stream video, audio, and images from your phone to your TV. It works in a couple of different ways. If your media is stored locally, a Cast-enabled app and device will fetch the file from your smartphone and display it on your TV. For streaming media, the cast device will pull a URL from your phone and stream it directly on the device.


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Google uses the term as a catch-all for all of its devices that are capable of casting. Thus, all Chromecast devices are Google Cast devices, as are smart TVs with Chromecast built-in and virtually all set-top boxes and streaming sticks that run Android.

It’s true that Google Cast isn’t the only version of this technology available. Miracast preceded Google Cast by a year and did something similar. Amazon Fire Sticks and Apple AirPlay also have similar technologies. Each version of this tech has its own individual protocols but operates the same way.

Google Chromecast


How to set up Google Cast on a Chromecast

Before you can use Google Cast, you have to set up a device that can receive a cast request. The most common device for this is Chromecast.

  1. Connect your Chromecast to your TV and make sure its USB power cable is plugged in.
  2. Download, open, and log into the Google Home app on your Android phone or iPhone.
  3. In the Google Home app, hit the Devices tab at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Tap the Add button. Select the Google Nest or partner device option.
  5. Select your home on the next screen and hit Next.
  6. The app will begin by looking for the Chromecast.
    • Once found, it’ll ask you to confirm the code on your TV screen with the one in the app.
  7. On the next screen, agree to the terms and conditions.
  8. Assign the Chromecast to a room. Usually, the living room or bedroom will suffice.
  9. Next, it’ll have you connect your Chromecast to a Wi-Fi network. Choose the one your phone is connected to.

Continue through the prompts until you have finished. Once done, the Chromecast will be set up and ready to accept Google Cast requests. You can adjust additional settings by selecting the Chromecast in your Google Home app.

Google Cast screen 1


How to set up Google Cast on a set-top box or smart TV

All Google TV set-top boxes, such as the venerable Nvidia Shield TV, come with Chromecast built-in out of the box. Some TVs, such as LG’s 2024 OLED lineup and many Sony TVs, and others. To use them with Google Cast, they need to be set up just like the Chromecast.

Fortunately, the setup process for these items is much easier than a standalone Chromecast. Once your TV or set-top box has been set up and connected to your home’s Wi-Fi, it will be ready to cast by default. There are no special settings or processes you need to deal with.

Google Cast icon 2


How to stream using Google Cast

The setup is the most complex part of using Google Cast. Once all the hardware is set up, actually casting media to your TV works exactly the same way in every app that has Google Cast support. Thus, the instructions below work on everything from Spotify to Hulu as long as the app works with Google Cast.

  1. On your smartphone, open the app you want to cast to your TV.
  2. Find and tap the Google Cast icon — it’s usually in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Select the device you wish to cast your smartphone to.
  4. Once your device and phone are connected, the Google Cast icon will change from transparent to filled-in.
  5. From there, simply select the media you wish to cast to your TV.

Your TV will then cast the media as prescribed. At this point, you can actually leave the app and do other things on your phone as the Google Cast device will do all the heavy lifting from here. You only have to go back and change the media when you feel like it.

Recent Apps Apple TV copy

How does Google Cast compare to Apple AirPlay and Matter?

In terms of pure functionality, there is virtually no difference in usability or performance. All devices that support casting essentially work the same way. The main difference between the various casting technologies is compatibility. Google Cast works cross-platform on Android, iOS, and even PC, provided you use Google Chrome.

Nvidia Shield TV


Apple AirPlay is restricted to Apple’s ecosystem, so you have to use Apple TV, iPhones, and Mac devices to make it work. Thus, if you have all Apple devices, then AirPlay is the obvious choice. However, if you like to mix and match your hardware, then Google Cast will be the more compatible solution.


What is Apple’s AirPlay? Your complete guide

Apple’s AirPlay can quickly cast audio and visual content, and it’s available on most devices. Here’s how it works and how to make it work for you.

Amazon entered the chat a bit late but has been promoting Matter Casting since CES 2024. The advantage of Matter Casting is that it would be an open standard that is compatible with anything that has Matter support. So, while Google Casting is the king of compatibility for now, Matter Casting may usurp that eventually.


Q: Is Google Cast the same as Chromecast?

Chromecast is the hardware and Google Cast is the software. Chromecasts use Google Cast to connect to your phone and stream media.

Q: Is Google Cast an app?

No, it is a protocol that connects your phone to your TV or a device connected to your TV. It does not have a dedicated app. However, app developers have to include support for Google Cast in their app if they want their devices to be compatible with Google Cast products.

Q: What are the benefits of Google Cast over a set-top box or smart TV?

Mostly, the biggest benefit is performance. TVs and set-top boxes aren’t typically as fast as your smartphone. It takes less time to open the Netflix app on a smartphone, hit the cast button, and then pick a TV show to watch than it is to open your smart TV’s UI, select the Netflix app, and then put on your TV show.

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