Chromecast has become one of those pieces of technology that fills far more needs than originally expected. It's not only a means to view YouTube videos or slide shows of cute kitty pictures on Facebook — you can also cast local videos, music, and images. Carry your Chromecast dongle with you, set it up on the local area network (LAN), and quickly cast your videos to a crowd of people to help instruct, manage, or even entertain.
But what's the easiest method of doing this? If you happen to have Solid Explorer purchased and installed, you can add an easy-to-use plugin that gives you the ability to quickly cast media files to the Chromecast — all from within the Solid Explorer browser. By using this method, you make the casting experience nearly foolproof and fast, and you don't have to remain trapped within a browser to cast files. Let me show you how it's done.
What you'll need
Here are things that you'll need before you get started:
- A configured Chromecast device
- The Chromecast app
- Solid Explorer File Manager
- Solid Explorer Cast
- Media files to cast
I'll assume that you already have your Chromecast device set up and know how to connect to said device (open the Chromecast app, locate the Chromecast device in the listing, and tap to connect).
Note: The full version of Solid Explorer isn't free. However, there is a 14-day free trial, so if you're curious about how well this works, install the app and kick the tires.
Now, you'll need to install the Solid Explorer Cast Plugin. Here's how:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Solid Explorer
- Locate and tap the Solid Explorer Cast Plugin entry
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing carefully
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
You won't find a launcher for the Solid Explorer Cast Plugin, because it's just a plugin for the already-installed app. In fact, you have to go to settings (within Solid Explorer) to find any mention of the Chromecast plugin. Exactly how is it used? Let's walk through the process.
Using the Solid Explorer Cast Plugin is quite simple. Here's how (remember, you must first be connected to your Chromecast device):
- Open up Solid Explorer
- Navigate to the media file you want to cast
- Tap the file you want to cast
- From the pop-up menu (Figure A), tap Solid Explorer Cast
- When the file opens, tap the play button
Using the Solid Explorer Cast Plugin on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.
That's it. The media file will immediately begin casting to the Chromecast device, and you're good to go.
If you're looking for the easiest method of casting media files from within a file browser, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more efficient tool than Solid Explorer and its Cast Plugin. Give this a try, and see if it doesn't turn you in a faster caster.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.