I now have two of these, especially as Curry’s were selling them at £18 across black Friday week with free delivery. Effectively the Chromecast allows you to display your favourite apps to a HDMI capable display. In the box you will find the Chromecast itself, a USB power adapter, USB power cable and a flexible adapter (useful for if your Chromecast cannot directly fit into a HDMI port). All this for under an RRP of £30. The power adapter is only needed if you don’t have a powered USB port locally such as in the TV. In my case I power one of my Chromecasts via a local Wii console which has USB ports at the rear.
Apps for IOS are minimal with YouTube and BBC iPlayer including Chromecast options. The videos are not directly sent from a mobile device to the Chromecast but instead sends the URL of the desired media to the Chromecast for it to fetch directly. The mobile device acts as a controller for video playback, volume and queuing up further videos.
Third party apps exist to send photos and videos but these can be erratic depending upon the strength of you network connections and bandwidth.
Using an android device rewards you with far greater benefits such as full screen casting of your device (Apple still prefers its own AirPlay setup). And the need for streaming photos has been made moot since Sky’s recent update and ability to stream photos through the Sky+ app.
I cannot see these being used in a wider teaching context mainly due to the fact that the Chromecast would need to be connected to a network, that is not to say it cannot be used, I’m wondering if it’s possible to tether to a smartphone – maybe a future trial.
Update: To tether to a smartphone your likely to need two devices 1) smartphone to act as “router” 2) device to perform connection activities (the iPhone does not list its own hotspot as an internal option within the Chromecast app)