How to Mirror Your Computer Screen on Your TV Using Google Chromecast

Chromecast allows users to stream either a browser tab or an entire desktop wirelessly

How to Mirror Your Computer Screen on Your TV Using Google Chromecast
Image: Pixabay
September 20, 2016

Ever wanted a computer screen the size of your television? Good news: if you have Google Chrome and Google Chromecast, you can make it happen.

It is possible, of course, to hook up your computer to your TV manually using an HDMI cable. However, this is not the ideal option because the length of the cable will determine where you can—and cannot—put your computer. Fortunately, Google has come up with a wireless solution: Chromecast. This feature enables users to mirror either a single browser tab or an entire desktop on their TV screen with no wires in sight.

Setting Up in Chrome

To use Google Chromecast, it is necessary to use the Google Chrome browser. Browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari will not work; the feature is now built into Chrome. Make sure to install and set up the Google Cast app on your phone or tablet if you just bought a Chromecast. Then follow these steps to begin casting:

  1. Either click the Chrome menu and select "Cast," or right-click the current page and choose "Cast."
  2. A dialogue box will pop up with a checked box that says "Enable casting to cloud-based services like Google Hangouts." This feature will allow users to cast browser tabs directly to Google Hangouts. You can either leave it checked or uncheck it—it makes no difference to casting onto your TV screen.

  3. Click "OK, Got It," and in the future you'll only see a smaller Cast dialogue pop up.
  4. To choose what you want to stream when casting, click the small dropdown arrow beside "Cast to." When you cast from most websites, clicking this arrow will allow you to choose whether to cast only your current browser tab or the entire desktop.

Casting a Browser Tab

  1. Click the arrow beside "Cast to" and choose "Cast tab."
  2. Select whatever you named your Chromecast in the list of sources. If you don't choose a source, Chromecast will automatically begin to cast the current tab by default.

When you cast a tab, there will be a blue rectangle (the "Cast" icon) to the left of the "X" on the browser tab. The dialogue box can be closed by clicking the "X" in the box. If you close the browser tab by mistake, or click the "Stop" button in the dialogue box, Chrome will stop casting the tab.

Casting the Desktop

  1. Click the arrow beside "Cast to" and choose "Cast desktop."
  2. A window will pop up, asking you to choose exactly which part of the screen you want to share (e.g. the entire screen versus only one part of it) and whether or not you want to share the audio as well. Choose your selections and click "Share."
  3. A message will pop up at the bottom of your screen when you cast it saying, "Chrome Media Router is sharing your screen [and audio]." To dismiss the message, click "Hide" (it will reappear when you return to a Chrome window); to stop casting, click "Stop sharing."

Casting a Supported Website

There are some websites (e.g. YouTube, Netflix) that have special support for Chromecasts. The video or audio players on these sites will display a special "cast" icon. Follow these instructions to cast from one of these sites:

  1. Either click the "cast" icon in the audio or video player, or choose "Cast" in Chrome's menu.
  2. If you choose "Cast" from Chrome's menu, select the website from the source list.

If you cast without choosing something specific on a supported website, Chrome will automatically cast from the site instead of your tab.

And that's all there is to it. Google Chromecast is a good option for those who want to stream their computer screens onto their TV but don't want to be limited by cables and wires.