I absolutely love my Google Chromecast. It has simplified my streaming life 10 fold and all for the low price $35. It's been over a year of me playing with the Chromecast and it has come quite far! It now has simple games that can be played with multiple people, you can use your own personal photos as the backdrop making your TV a large digital photo album and even guests can log onto your dongle ("log onto your dongle!" Hah!) without accessing your personal Wi-Fi network. Crazy amount of change for a little over a year of time and very impressive.
All of that makes this next part very difficult for me. It's a complaint and it infuriates me to no end. Windows phone users CANNOT connect to the Google Chromecast! STILL! It has been out for around a year and a half and still Windows phone's barely have so much as a functional Google Search app. What is going on?!
Listen, I know this is a complicated corporate type thing where Google not only doesn't see the Windows mobile platform as a viable competitor and also, why give them the ability to use their device when exclusivity promotes the market to by the more "mainstream" device, but still! For a company held to almost God-like status that has slides instead of stairs in its office and seems to fight for the little guy and stand up for internet rights, it seems odd to hold out against Windows Phone users like this.
That being said, I have found a work around! It's not the best but it's pretty easy. For those of you familiar with remote desktop type programs you've probably already been doing this but for the rest of us who don't want to get up to use a computer to change what we're casting all the time, pay attention! With a little help from TeamViewer you can use your Windows Surface RT, any other Surface tablet or Windows phone (even the Nokia Lumia 520!) to cast anything you'd like. Also, you'll get the added bonus of having remote access from your mobile devices as well!
What You Need
This isn't a very complicated set up so just make sure you have everything listed here before we start:
- Google Chromecast
- Desktop PC (with Google Chrome and Chromecast Extension installed)
- TeamViewer installed on your PC and an account to match
- Windows Phone or Tablet (the original Surface RT works well) with the TeamViewer app
- An internet connection
That's it! If you're reading this article than you should have everything on that list all ready besides the TeamViewer app. It's a free download on both the mobile devices and on your desktop PC. Same with the account for TeamViewer!
How To Get Connected To Your Chromecast
First you should follow any TeamViewer installation guide lines to get it installed onto your PC. It walks you through everything you need to know to get everything running. You'll have to create a password to get connected. Don't want your computer just waiting to connect with anybody on the network!
Once you have everything set up on your PC, get the TeamViewer app! Once that's installed just sign into it with your TeamViewer information and click on your PC, which should be listed under "My Computers" to the right. It will ask you for authentication (the password you set up for the PC) and you should be up and running!
On the Surface tablet it's operated pretty much the same way you operate your own desktop. For the Windows phone though, it comes with a whole new set of controls so make sure to pay attention when you first launch the app. Basically you're controlling the mouse pointer but there's a couple other gestures that pretty much let you run whatever you want on your PC straight from your Windows Phone!
Windows Tablet Remote Controlling My PC
Screenshots From TeamViewer Running On Nokia Lumia 520
What more do you need from me? You should know what to do now! Connect through TeamViewer and just open up a Chrome tab with Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube or whatever it is you want to cast and just go for it! You just turned your Windows Phone/Surface/Tablet into a remote control for your Chromecast, albeit through a very convoluted way. A long work around for something Google could just help us out on but for those of us holding onto an old iPhone just to use as a remote control for the Chromecast know the frustration of having run out of power and now having a useless streaming dongle.
Okay Windows users, now is the time I ask you the real questions. This ridiculous work around, while very simple, could easily be avoided if Google gave up 2 hours to any of their departments to make the Chromecast connect with Windows Surface RT/8 devices but they wont. Those of you users out there who have a device with a hard drive (anything not Windows Surface RT) can download Chrome to your tablet and use the Chromecast extension right? Has anyone jailbroke their device to make this work? Does Chrome run smoothly on those higher end devices not using ARM technology? And does Google have a valid reason for not supporting us users on the Windows bandwagon? Let me know what you think or if you have any other Chromecast questions, tips or tricks to share!
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