How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

Google’s streaming stick is a great travelling companion, but how can you use Chromecast without Wi-Fi?

When the Google Chromecast was first unveiled more than six years ago, it offered an alternative way to access online content on televisions. 

Allowing a raft of content, including TV, films, photos and games photo galleries or presentations to be beamed right to your TV at a time when smart TVs were only just demonstrating their power, the idea of using a small USB peripheral to transform your regular TV into such a smart device was worthy of attention.

Fast forward half a decade and the third generation of the Chromecast is available, with even faster and higher quality streaming, thanks to the 4K-enabled Ultra iteration.

It allows content from almost any device, whether a PC or Mac, iPhone or Android phone to be streamed to a big screen using Wi-Fi. But what happens if your Wi-Fi is down or you're trying to expand your viewing possibilities without a Wi-Fi connection? Perhaps you want to share your content to a TV in a public place, or somewhere that doesn't have a public Internet connection, such as a hotel or in a remote location.

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However, unlike the Amazon Fire Stick, the biggest competitor to the Chromecast, Google's device can beam content to a TV without ever having an internet connection. 

Using Chromecast without Wi-Fi

The first thing you'll need to do is ensure your Chromecast is running the most up-to-date firmware. As we've mentioned, using your Chromecast without Wi-Fi will only work with the most recent software. 

This is because Chromecast now has something called guest mode. This enables Chromecast owners to open the devices to guests, without those users having to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. When an app that is Google Cast-ready is launched on a guest user's mobile device, this device detects the presence of a special Wi-Fi beacon and shows the Cast icon within the application. When the Cast icon is tapped, casting to a Nearby Device' will be listed as an available option. 

The Chromecast device generates a random four-digit number that is required to cast to it using guest mode. When a device nearby tries to connect, the Chrome cast device transfers this four-digit number using short inaudible tones. Should audio tone pairing fail, a guest will then be given an option to connect manually by entering the 4-digit number displayed on the TV display and in the Chromecast app.

Mirror, mirror

You can also mirror the display of an Android device to a Chromecast streaming stick without using Wi-Fi. Sadly, no similar options for iOS devices are available at present.

To mirror an Android device, open the Chromecast app on it (the Chromecast app is now known as Google Home), tap on the burger menu in the top left corner (this looks like three lines together), tap on Cast Screen/Audio, and then choose your Chromecast device.

Screen mirroring works differently to wireless display (which has been part of Android since Jelly Bean 4.2, as the resultant output is less laggy and choppy than wireless display). Screen mirroring with Chromecast does, however, require Android KitKat 4.4.2.

Using Chromecast without Wi-Fi (but slightly cheating by using wired connections instead)

If your Chromecast is connected to a TV that for some reason is in a Wi-Fi blackspot, then you can (if you have a long enough Ethernet cable or powerline) connect the Chromecast directly to an Ethernet port of your router via an Ethernet adaptor for Chromecast.

This wired connection will create a fast and reliable link for the Chromecast device. All the user needs to do is to connect the included USB cable from the Ethernet adapter to the Chromecast, and then run an Ethernet cable from the router to the Ethernet adapter. The adapter itself will need to be plugged into an electrical socket as well, so this will be necessary as well. Once all this is done, the Chromecast device will automatically be set up to use an Ethernet connection instead of a Wi-Fi network.

Image: Shutterstock

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