What is Google Casting or Chromecasting?
This article is a summarized extract from The Budgeteers' Guide to 21st Century TV.
Chromecast, also known as Google casting, is a framework developed by Google to allow smaller, quieter devices to direct multimedia playback to bigger and/or louder devices (that's mostly Google's description, not ours). Roughly translated, that means your phone or tablet (the littler, quieter device) can direct movies and music to bigger screens (say a TV) or to louder speakers. The little device is called a sender, and the bigger display or speakers are called a receiver.
When casting the output of an app (the sender) is re-directed — or cast — to another screen (the receiver) — for example a TV. Alternatively, the sender can instruct the receiver to retrieve the media stream from another source (for example a Netflix streaming server on the internet). Either way, the sender device acts as a remote control to the TV, telling the TV what to play and controlling the playback.
Casting shifts the focus away from the TV to our personal devices — and in effect, partially "breaks" the traditional TV habit. There is no longer a single remote, or for that matter a centralized TV: any sender can cast to the TV or any other casting receiver. In addition, the casting sender has the control to select content and start things off...before the TV is involved.