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Google Chromecast: Streaming Made Smarter

As I blogged in the past, most guests have either an iPhone or some type of Android device. I wanted to standardize the experience to be able to accommodate guests with these types of devices, and provide easy ways to play content on the TVs through their phones with supported apps. I opted to make Chromecast an available capability.

Making Additions

I’ve blogged in the past here about our support for Apple TV and AirPlay on our TVs. In this post, I’ll explain how Chromecast ability was added to all TVs at Loudoun Escape and some of the updates I made at Loudoun Escape after setting this up.

Adding Chromecast support to TVs is fairly straightforward to do. The easiest way to do this is to get devices like these and add them to each TV. I went with the Google Chromecast Ultra because they provide native support for 4K TVs. Connecting the HDMI cable can be a challenge depending on your TV and access to the HDMI port. I found these HDMI extension cables made it easier to connect to Chromecast, and were even more helpful for devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

chromecast

Setting Up

Setting these up is easy. You download the Google Home app and work through the instructions. I initially had to link to a Google email account to set up the Chromecast Ultra devices. However, I removed this account link after everything was set up. As this will be always on at a rental property, and Google didn’t seem to provide any adequate security, it didn’t seem like a good idea to keep these linked to any of my personal or business Google accounts.

As I was initially setting up Chromecast on each of the TVs, I gave these devices the same name that I had given the Apple TV devices. I found that this can be confusing because you may not know where content is being streamed. I went back through and renamed all Apple and Chromecast devices to have a naming convention that included “Apple TV” and “Chromecast” in the device name itself.   

For example, the basement theater Apple TV and Chromecast was named “Basement Apple TV” and Basement Chromecast respectively.  This makes it very clear when guests want to stream.   The TV should automatically switch to the right HDMI when you try to stream. When you want to switch back to the Apple TV, press the “MENU” button on the Apple TV remote.

Working through Issues

One challenge I am still working through, is that the Loudoun Escape basement TV (a 75″ Samsung 4K smart TV) will not keep the Chromecast connected. I’ll post back in the event that I can get this fixed.

Satisfied Guests

Apart from that issue, I am very happy with Apple TV and Chromecast. These make sure guests can stream content (music or videos) directly from their personal devices directly to the TVs. This avoids the need to connect directly to the TVs. Guests love this ability and have shared a ton of positive feedback through reviews and messages to me directly.

streaming made easy

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