By Trae Jacobs,
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Not all TVs are considered “smart.” Especially if you have an older model or one meant for display. Smart TVs typically have a streaming player built-in, or they have their own platform to navigate and stream. When you’re shopping for a new Sharp TV, you may be wondering if it comes with a streaming player or a Chromecast.
No, Sharp TVs do not come equipped with Chromecast, nor do they include an external Chromecast streaming stick. You can, however, still enjoy all the features of a Chromecast stick through the onboard HDMI ports on all Sharp TVs.
There are plenty of TVs out there that include the Chromecast service, and there’s a chance you don’t need Chromecast at all. Read on to find out more.
What is Chromecast, And How Do I Use It?
Chromecast is different from a streaming player, such as a Roku or Google TV. Chromecast sends movies, music, and more from your Android device or PC to any device with an HDMI port.
The device itself provides the stream and sends it to your screen and speakers. With a Chromecast, your phone or computer provides the stream, and your TV acts as a mirror.
Is Chromecast Easy To Use?
Yes, Chromecast is very easy to use. It’s a plug-and-play device. Virtually every Android and PC has the ability to cast. Search your device’s online owner’s manual to find out how. Typically, it’s a simple process that only takes a click or two.
Is Chromecast Worth It?
That depends on you. A person with an Android phone who likes to stream shows and wants to watch them on a large screen is going to benefit from Chromecast if their TV doesn’t have a built-in player.
Chromecast is also valuable for people who want to share their device’s content with friends or family. If you have an Android and keep a Chromecast handy, you can plug it into anyone’s TV, as long as they have an available HDMI port, and share pictures and videos, as well as use your own streaming services on their TV or PC.
Are There Alternatives To Chromecast?
Chromecast performs a very specific function. It receives information from Android devices and PCs and turns a screen into a monitor. If that’s what you’re looking to do, there is no better solution. There may, however, be alternatives.
Use Your PC as a Data Hub
If your television connects to your home’s wireless internet service, you’re in luck. There’s a good chance you can stream directly from your PC. First, you’ll have to enable file sharing and make sure the TV communicates properly with the computer.
Follow these steps on Windows versions 7 and newer:
- From your start menu, go to “settings.”
- Click on “network and internet.”
- Scroll down just past “advanced network setting” and choose “network and sharing.”
- On the menu on the left, choose “media streaming options.”
At this point, you should see a box on your screen with a button that says “turn on media streaming.” Click on that and that, and any device connected to your home network with the ability to read and stream files can access your PC’s library.
Miracast is a common built-in casting protocol in most modern PCs and Android devices. Before you spend money on a Chromecast, do a little digging and find out if you already have a solution.
Using Miracast from your PC works a lot like using your PC as a data hub with one major difference: Miracast turns your TV into a wireless PC or phone display. Once connected, use your PC or Android to navigate your streaming services or files.
WIFI Direct works a little bit differently than Miracast. It allows a device that doesn’t have an internet connection to connect to one which does. It also allows fast and easy file transfers between Android devices without the need for cables or an internet signal at all.
WIFI Direct might sound a lot like Bluetooth. In reality, it is, but with one major advantage: Range. Wifi direct is a great way to send files from device to device across your home network without both being in the same room.
Do Any TVs Come With Chromecast?
All those options may sound a little bit more than you were bargaining for. Not to worry. There are plenty of TVs out there with built-in Chromecast for those who know they want one.
Samsung, Sony, Hisense, and TCL, are among the most popular brand of TV with built-in Chromecast. TCL and Hisense offer lower-priced models with fewer frills, so be sure the TV you settle on has the features you’re looking for. Features such as Chromecast or Roku will be listed on the box.
So Do You Really Need A Chromecast?
Chromecast is a nice feature to have, but chances are, it’s not really necessary. For Android and PC users, you’ll find a ton of options available for streaming and file sharing other than Google’s dongle. The best reason to use Chromecast is if it comes included on your device.