While not exactly a remnant of the stone age, there’s something that feels antiquated about connecting to a projector through a wire. I can hail rides on my phone using Uber. I can change the settings on my thermostat using Nest and my cell phone. But sitting in a controlled and organized meeting room, shouldn’t I be able to wirelessly connect my computer to the projector or TV? I think so! Fortunately, with a little tinkering and $35, I can do so with Google’s Chromecast.
Most people use Chromecast to turn regular TVs into smart TVs. Just plug the Chromecast dongle into the HDMI port, and you can wirelessly stream Hulu, Netflx, and many other media sources. You can even stream from your phone.
Chromecast for Meetings and Conference Rooms
Less well known, is how you can use Chromecast for business purposes. As most projectors and wall-mounted TVs in conference rooms have an HDMI port, you can also use Chromecast to wirelessly display your screen. This works best if you’re sharing something that is in a web browser. As the name implies, Chromecast is designed to work best in conjunction with Google’s Chrome web browser. Chromecast has solutions for sharing things that are not in your browser, which I’ll get to in a bit.
Using Chromecast in the conference room also has another big benefit - quickly and easily switching who gets displayed on the screen. In a wired setting, you have to unplug the wire from the first computer and plug it into the second. Quite impractical if you have a big group or people are sitting far away from the cord. With Chromecast, whoever wants to control the presentation can simply click on the “Cast” button in Chrome and they’re in control.
How to Set Up Chromecast for your Conference Room Projector
Setting up Chromecast in a meeting room is pretty straight forward and the requirements are very manageable. First, you’ll need a Chromecast dongle, which you can buy from Google as well as a number of retailers. You’ll also need pretty good wifi as well as a projector or TV with an HDMI port. Lastly, you’ll need a little bit of patience. While Apple TV is about as simple as you get, Chromecast requires a little finagling. Tech Republic wrote up a good overview on how to set up Chromecast in your conference room. If you’re more visual, this video on YouTube was pretty straight forward. If you really need detail or are running into issues, check out MakeUseOf's excellently detailed article on how to set it up. If you’re using a mac, there’s plenty of documentation on how to set it up. Ron Stephenson wrote up a good guide, with plenty of screenshots on how to configure Chromecast for your mac. You’ll need to download the Chromcast for Mac app, but otherwise, the setup is about the same as you’d experience on a PC. If you continue to run into issues with your mac, try out Air Parrot.
Using Chromecast for Business Presentations
If you’re using Google Drive, sending your presentation to the TV or projector is pretty straight forward. But what if you’re using Powerpoint or Keynote and the file is saved on your computer? In this case, you have a couple of options. First is that you can use Chromecast to mirror your computer monitor to display on the projector or TV. Select the “Cast entire screen” to display whatever is on your screen. Note that this is experimental and can be a little buggy. Thinkgeek wrote up a really great guide on the various sharing modes and has some good advice on how to get around the most common issues.
If you have trouble sharing your entire screen to cast the presentation, you have a few options. First, you can save your presentation in HTML version and then open it in the browser. You can also broadcast your Powerpoint presentation online and share the link. Finally, you can use use Office.com or iCloud to put your documents online. Regardless of the path you choose, make sure that your presentation looks good in these formats before presenting. Some images, fonts, and animations can look a little wonky when you switch over. I wouldn’t be surprised if you run into some issues the first time you try to do this. There’s an informative discussion over in Reddit that I found to be really helpful when troubleshooting.
One cautionary note in using Chromecast. We spoke to Pat Ausman, a user of Roomzilla, at Beaver Country Day about how BCD uses Chromecast. Pat noted that if you use Chromecast on a mesh network, you may run into connection issues. Pat noted that BCD has "a mesh wireless network and sometimes maintaining the connection is not stable - in fact the more chromecasts we have connected the more often the one your are looking for doesn't show up on the list of available devices."
Try it out!
Did you set it up in your meeting room? How did you find the process? Did you run into any issues? Leave a message or send us a note if you have any questions or suggestions.