Sexy Chromecast trick: It can play video files from any computer

Forget streaming from Netflix and all that jazz. Chromecast can play back MP4 files (and other formats) from your PC or Mac like a champ.

An image of a MP4 being played back through Google Chrome and Chromecast. Droid Life

Google's Chromecast turns me on, but it doesn't really compel me as I've got several streaming solutions in my home. At least, that's what I thought until I read Thursday that Chromecast can play video files on any computer connected to the streaming dongle.

This is huge news for those who thought Chromecast is just another glorified streamer.

As pointed out by Droid Life, a Chromecast can play back local video files hosted on a computer running Google Chrome with the Chromecast extension installed.

To access files hosted on the computer and play them on a Chromecast-enabled TV, a Chrome user simply needs to access their file directory by hitting Ctrl+O (or Command+O on a Mac) and select the desired video file. Voila! Playback. You can also just drag and drop the video into the Chrome Web browser.

If you happen to notice choppiness during streaming, it may be due to your router not having enough transmission speed to stream effectively -- 802.11n routers seem to work best, according to several comments I've seen.

Astute Chromecast users have already figured out that the Chromecast can stream AVI, MPEG, and MP4 video files from their computers, but it appears MKV files only play video, with no audio. Despite that setback, this newly discovered functionality could enhance the appeal of the $35 device. Does this unannounced feature make Chromecast more attractive to you?

 

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