|Atlas Informatik How-To
Tips and Tricks for Chromecast Gen. 4
If you want to buy a fourth generation chromecast (production starting 2020)
or have already bought one, I can give you some useful information here which can save a lot of time and trouble:
- Chromecast can stream 4K videos in 60 hz (3840x2160 pixels), supports HDMI 2.0, but it draws a lot of power from its USB port. It needs about 1.5 Ampère, which means that you can't power it at almost any common USB output. It almost always has to be connected to the mains using the included power supply. Unfortunately, this means you lose the possibility to switch it on and off automatically together with the TV or the AV amplifier. So the device will stay on power for 24 hours and 365 days if you don't switch it on/off manually. You could also achieve this with a so called "unplug appliance" connector strip. This switches off the connected devices completely if the power demand drops below a small value. Actually this is not really necessary for two reasons:
- If you have connected the Chromecast to a CEC-compatible device, it automatically switches to standby mode when you switch off the CEC device anyway. You can recognize this by looking at the white LED: It shines only half as bright as at full operation. To CEC there is also another tip in the text below. As information: CEC is a protocol that allows devices to exchange information with each other.
- The power consumption is relatively low even when the device is in full operation. So if you calculate it, it draws about 7.5 watts. Then add some loss, let's say it draws 10 watts. Then it would consume about 30 kilowatt hours per year at 8 hours daily operation. Plus the one in standby, maybe 35 kilowatt hours. At the absolute maximum, with 24h full operation, it would then be approx. 90 kilowatt hours (upper limit). If a kilowatt hour would cost 14 US-cents over the thumb, you would pay about 12$ per year. This is the maximum value. If one would buy such a device for the power cut-off, one could save perhaps 6€, which however would only pay off over the years. During this time you would also have the disadvantage of not being able to switch on by remote control and then having to wait until Chromecast is ready to start.
- For example, you can connect a small Bluetooth keyboard by pressing the small round button below the LED. Caution: The Logitech K380 does not work well. The keys are received, but Chromecast only knows the US layout. Even after switching the Gboard setting in the Chromecast settings to "German (Switzerland)", 'Z' and 'Y' were still swapped and the umlauts did not work. The bluetooth entry "Logitech K380" is there but doesn't provide any settings. A pity. Maybe this can change later due to software updates. I like the K380, it's a great keyboard. It's small, easy to transport, can be used for practically all devices and doesn't break immediately if it falls to the floor.
- Beware of a bug that I have encountered: The connection of the Chromecast to the smartphone via 5G network only works if the name (the SSID) of the network does not have an underscore '_' in the name. My network was called "Name_5G". Chromecast cannot cope with that. I had to rename the network to "Name5G". Only then could I connect. It can make you sweat a lot if you don't know it. It's also a bit tedious because you have to reenter the network password once for each device.
- Chromecast does not automatically switch the resolution when you move it from a 4K to a 1K connection. There is simply no picture, even after restarting all devices.
Solution: First you have to connect it to a 4K input. Then go to the Chromecast settings (top right under the user icon), then Settings->Display & Sound->Advanced Display Settings and there switch the resolution to 1K. If you are a traveler, Chromecast is very small and easy to store which is good, but it is recommended to switch the resolution to 1K before disconnecting the device, otherwise you might not see anything at the new location.
- Chromecast offers 4K at 60 Hz in its settings only if the TV operates its HDMI port with version 2.0. If you get only "4K 30 Hz" at the top of the Chromecast settings, this is exactly the reason.
Solution: You can go to the TV's settings and if there is a setting "HDMI 1.4" and "HDMI 2.0", you can switch to "HDMI 2.0". Most of the TV and the Chromecast do not react directly to the change. One of the tested TVs had to be cold-started first, on Chromecast the settings had to be exited with the Home button and reopened again. In any case you should play a 4K video as a test and press the info button on the TV to see whether "3840x2160@60Hz" is really displayed.
With some TV models, this can also happen due to a brief power failure (thunderstorm). The TV forgets the setting, switches back to HDMI 1.4 and Chromecast is then forced to go down to 1K. You should therefore check the resolution from time to time.
- If Chromecast can no longer be accessed from the smartphone or a spinning cursor is displayed for a long time (>20 seconds), there are 2 solutions that nearly always help:
- Switching the WiFi connection of the smartphone off and on again.
- It has happened rather rarely that the WiFi of Chromecast has turned itself off. In this case, open the Settings via the Chromecast remote control under the account icon and reactivate the WiFi.
- There is also something to know about the volume control: After the setup, you might be surprised that the volume buttons on your smartphone can no longer control the volume of Chromecast. Don't panic, this can also be fixed in the Settings: Under Settings->Remotes & Accessories->Remote setup->Volume control the entry Automatic (CEC) is active. If you switch to Chromecast Volume, the buttons start working again.
© 2020 Andres Rohr. This topic stems from the author himself. It is not simply copied from the internet.