Digital signage helps companies get more out of their in-venue marketing efforts. You can use it to advertise new products, connect with your customers and make your facility a more entertaining place to be.
If you’d like to get started with digital signage, you’ll need a media player to do so — and Google Chromecast is a popular choice.
In this article, we’ll explore why that’s the case and provide you with step-by-step instructions for setting up your digital signage solution on a Google Chromecast.
The Google Chromecast is a media device that’s similar to other popular consumer products such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku devices.
It’s a small device that you plug into the HDMI port on the back of a TV. You can use a Google Chromecast to quickly and easily stream a wide variety of content to whatever television you connect it to.
Why it’s popular
Google Chromecast is popular for the same reasons that other media players like it are. The device enables consumers to watch a wide variety of content on a television screen without having to subscribe for cable or pay for a costly media device. For example, you can purchase the latest edition of Chromecast for under $30.00.
Not a standalone media player
One of the biggest misconceptions about Google Chromecast is that it is a standalone media player. It’s not. Instead, you need to use another device in combination with the Chromecast before you can stream content through it to your television.
You do this by downloading the Google Home app on whatever phone, tablet or PC you want to use to stream the content. We’ve included instructions for doing this in a later section.
Chromecast latest tech specifics
Chromecast connects to your TV screen through its HDMI port. The latest edition supports up to 1080p resolution, 60 frames-per-second and features micro-USB power. It also supports all wireless networks in the WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz) range.
Google Chromecast works on all major operating systems, including Android, iOS, Mac and Windows. Google designed the product to be as usable as possible across many different devices. So you really should be able to use this almost regardless of whatever TV you might have.
Chromecast and Digital signage
Google Chromecast is for more than just consumers — it can also be an excellent digital signage media player for companies. In this section, we’ll explore why that’s true, how it works and what types of benefits you can expect from using Chromecast for digital signage.
How it works
It’s important to keep in mind, Chromecast is a device that facilitates the transfer of content from one screen to another. It doesn’t actually store content or process it in any intelligent way.
A company that wants to use Chromecast for its digital signage will need another device to “cast” content to the TV. This is typically a phone, tablet, or PC. So you need to have a second device ready to use in combination with Chrome to unlock its potential for digital signage.
Why it’s worth doing
Using Chromecast to facilitate your digital signage displays is worth doing for a few key reasons.
First, it’s extremely cost-effective — Google Chromecast only costs about $30. But it also enables you to take advantage of the capability of your existing device for media streaming instead of having to purchase a new, dedicated one for each of your screens.
Additionally, Google Chromecast is a small, simple device that doesn’t take technical expertise to use. Simply plug it into your TV, connect it to the streaming device you want to use, and let it work. You won’t have to pay for any professional installers to use this.
Setting up your Chromecast for digital signage
Unpack your Google Chromecast from the box
First thing’s first: you need to unpack your Chromecast from the box it came in. When you do, you should see each of the following:
- Chromecast device
- Start-up guide
- 3-pin power adapter
- USB-C to USC-A cable
- 2 triple-A batteries
Connect your Chromecast to the TV
After you’ve verified that you have everything you’re supposed to, it’ll be time for you to connect your Chromecast to the television. This is a straightforward step.
Start by plugging the HDMI cable into your device and an HDMI port on your TV. Then use the USB-C to USB-A cable to connect your Chromecast to its power adapter and plug it into an outlet.
Turn your TV to the correct input source
Next, turn your TV on and change the channel to the correct input source. This will depend on which HDMI port you plugged the cable into during the previous step.
Download the Google Home app
Now it’s time to download the Google Home app on whatever device you plan on pairing with the Google Chromecast to stream content to your TV. Once you do, make sure that you’re connected to the same WiFi signal that you’re using on your Chromecast.
Google Home will tell you how to do the rest. It prompts new users to follow a series of self-explanatory setup steps. After you’ve completed this setup, you will be able to begin using digital signage software to broadcast displays through your television.
Pros and cons of using the Chromecast for digital signage
Chromecast can be an excellent digital signage solution — but it isn’t the best fit for everyone. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of using a Chromecast for digital signage to figure out whether it’s right for you or not.
- The low-cost setup digital signage player
- Simplicity makes it easier to install, set up and troubleshoot problems
- Many people already have Google accounts and will be familiar with the Google Home app’s layout
- Requires you to use another device to actually play the content you want to display on your screens
- Doesn’t offer any value-adding features like analytics or dynamic content scheduling
- Does not include any templates for easy digital display design
- Needs to be connected to WiFi at all times to function
- There are no dedicated digital signage modes on the Google Home app
Alternatives to Chromecast
Google Chromecast is one of many different options that companies can use to display digital signage on their screens. It’s a simple, cost-effective solution that’s a good fit for businesses with simple digital signage goals.
But if you want to optimize your digital signage, then you will get the best results from investing in software that was specifically made to help a company reach its digital signage goals.
For example, a tool like UPshow includes features like:
- Dynamic content scheduling
- Templates for fast and easy digital signage display design
- More than 500 channels of streaming entertainment
- Analytic features to help you track the impact your ads have
You can also manage the content that you share with UPshow on any internet-enabled device. The changes that you make will instantly broadcast across all of your screens. This can be a huge time-saver for companies with large venues that have multiple screens with digital signage content.
But UPshow isn’t the only digital signage option you have. Here are some other alternatives to Google Chromecast.
Amazon Fire Stick 4K
Amazon Fire Stick 4K is perhaps the most popular alternative to Google Chromecast. The two devices are very similar to one another. However, the Fire Stick is easier to transfer from one screen to another than Google Chromecast.
It’s a small dongle that plugs directly into your screen’s HDMI port. It also stores your data, unlike Google Chromecast. That means you won’t have to set it up from scratch or use an app to manage it each time you want to use it.
Android boxes are very similar to Google Chromecast. But the main difference is that they can work offline, whereas Chromecast can’t. So if WiFi is sometimes an issue in your location, then you may want to look into using one of these instead.
Chromebox and Chromebit
Chromebox and Chromebit are two other digital signage solutions that are worth considering as alternatives to Chromecast.
Chromebox costs about $200, which makes it a pricier option. However, you do get extra value for that higher price tag. It’s a larger box that essentially gives you all of the functionality that you need for a wide variety of digital signage solutions.
Chromebit is a bit older than Chromecast and it doesn’t have any updates available to take advantage of new innovations. However, it saves all of your progress, even when it goes offline. That makes it a good solution for some business owners.
UPshow makes digital signage easier
Google Chromecast is certainly a digital signage option. But, realistically, if you want to get as much out of the time and energy that you invest into creating digital signage content, you want a more powerful tool. UPshow is that tool.But don’t just take our word for it. Sign up for a free demo today to see exactly what UPshow can do for you.