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Feb 10, 2020

Video Casting Fail While Traveling And What I Learned

Video Casting Fail Using WiFi
And What You Can Do Instead

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During our recent trip to Peddlers Village, we had the idea to spend half of one of the days lounging around in the hotel room watching holiday content. To set this up, we brought with us a laptop and a Google Chromecast.

The TV in the room was not the latest version. Even though it was flat and had HDMI plugs. Only one of them worked as I found out, but that is one we can use. So after trying two other slots that were empty, I took out the cable that was set up there already and worked and plugged in the Chromecast there. The setup finally worked and we could see the Chromecast screen and the code to be used. The hotel had only one WiFi source which was also the source for the entire village. While the connection worked on our phones, it was not a strong one. When I tried to connect the Chromecast to it, the device would not be able to find it and connect. After several attempts and switching WiFi on and off on the phone, the Chromecast would not connect. It was a bust in terms of being able to view Disney+ and other content from the computer or phone. We were not able to cast from either.

Instead of watching a movie on the large screen, we ended up watching one on the small screen of the laptop. It was not as much fun and not everyone had a full view. After some time, we turned it off, and instead got dressed and went out earlier, which maybe was a better idea anyhow.

Related articles:
How to setup Chromecast
The Dangers of Free Wi-Fi and How To Protect Yourself

After I got back, I was reading through some articles and one of them sparked a thought. While my original plan with using a device like Chromecast was good, it also relied on the assumption that the WiFi at the hotel would be good. Most destinations we have traveled to lately, the WiFi connection has been pretty good and fast. And I did have the right gadgets for the tasks: Chromecast, USB power cable, and a phone/laptop with casting ability.

What I realized is that I could also have a backup plan. All I would need is an HDMI cable.

With this simple gadget, I would be able to bypass using Chromecast or similar device and WiFi and connect my computer directly to a TV. Even the most outdated flat-screen TVs have at least one HDMI port. While yes, this would be a wired connection and potentially cumbersome with the wire going across the room, it still provides an option that would not be there prior. And since these cables are quite compact and lightweight (10-foot weighs only 4.96 ounces), they would be easy to just add to my GRID-IT organizer with other wires.

An HDMI to HDMI connection would work well with my PC. However, if we have another laptop with us we would also need an HDMI to USB-C adapter. And maybe even an HDMI to Lightning adapter.

Live and learn, and then get and bring useful gadgets on your trip :) 

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