The Chromecast has always been a device with more potential than practicality, but that may change with the latest update. Version 1.7 of the Chromecast app on Android will offer users the ability to stream anything on select Android phones and tablets right to their TV screens.
Ambarish Kenghe, product manager for Chromecast, took to the official Android blog to share the news. Screen casting is a beta feature that will roll out with the latest update to the Chromecast app and allow users to view photos, games, music or whatever else they like on their televisions. At present, iOS devices cannot use screen casting, nor can most Android tablets and phones.
Google's support site offers a complete list of phones and tablets that support the feature, and all of the usual suspects are present and accounted for: the Nexus line, the Samsung Galaxy line, the HTC One M7 and a handful of LGs. The site promises that additional devices will join them soon, but don't expect every single Android device to show up.
Casting your screen is exceedingly simple. Open the Chromecast app, select Cast Screen from the menu, select your Chromecast and then open up whatever you like on your mobile device. When you're done, you can cancel the process in much the same way.
As the process is still in beta, expect screen casting to run into a few hiccups along the way. Whether it's reliable enough to cast demanding games or perfect quality video will likely vary wildly by the type of device doing the streaming and the strength of its Wi-Fi connection. Over the next few weeks, users will likely discover which processes work well, which work poorly and which don't work at all.
Support for screen casting is still rolling out to devices, so don't panic if you can't use it just yet. If you have one of the supported phones or tablets, you should be able to start casting before the end of the week. Then, all you have to do is think of something you want to see on your big screen besides Netflix.