VLC is one of the most popular free and open source multimedia players for PC that we can find. Its great success is mainly due to the fact that it is compatible with practically any audio and video format without the need to download, install or configure codecs. However, despite this, it is also one of the most innovative, seeking to bring users functions that are not available in other multimedia players, such as, for example, support for Chromecast.
What is a Chromecast
Chromecast is one of the must-have devices in any home. We connect this device to the TV (or any screen) through an HDMI port and it allows us to play video from different sources. Its original use is to allow us to send videos from a mobile phone to the TV, especially on televisions that do not have a SmartTV function. However, it is not the only use we can make of it, since, together with the VLC player, we can use this device to play movies on the computer and send them, wirelessly to our television.
The only thing we need is to have the VLC player at hand, a Chromecast, ideally second generation or later (to achieve the best possible performance) and a computer connected to the local network. It is recommended that the computer is connected by cable to the network, and the Chromecast by Wi-Fi at 5 GHz, so we will achieve the best possible quality when transmitting content.
The latest Chromecast, with Android TV, can function as if it were a standalone Smart TV, but it also allows content to be sent directly from the mobile to the television as if it were one of the previous versions of the device.
Advantages of using VLC with a Chromecast device
First of all, we must bear in mind that when talking about these two elements, one hardware and the other software, they are among the most significant in the multimedia sector in recent years. Both, each in their own way, have opened a wide range of possibilities to millions of users around the world. Therefore their union and joint work is something that sooner or later had to come. Thus, on the one hand we find the versatility when it comes to receiving and playing all kinds of multimedia content on a television or projector.
In addition, on the other hand, we find VLC, a powerful software that we can and use in the vast majority of current devices and operating systems. Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine that being able to directly send audio or video from the program in any of its versions, to a Chromecast connected to a television or projector, can meet the needs of many users.
Cast VLC content to a TV with Chromecast
The first thing we must do is make sure that the VLC player is installed on our computer . And if we do have it, we must make sure we have one of the latest versions installed, since, although the support for Chromecast has been in the player since version 3.0, at first it was very unstable.
If we already have it installed, the next thing we will do is open the video or movie that we want to play and start watching it directly in VLC. Once the video is open (we can pause it), the next step will be to tell the program to send it to the Chromecast.
To do this, we will select the «Playback» menu , and the «Processor» section. We can see that VLC automatically shows us all the cast devices, such as the Chromecast, that we have in our house.
The video will automatically start playing on the destination, that is, on the Chromecast. While it is playing there we will not be able to see it from VLC on the PC, although we will have to use it to control the playback.
If we get tired of TV and want to go back to the PC, we simply go back to the “Processor” section of the “Playback” menu and choose what we want to play in “Local”. The video will reappear on the PC.
Control VLC remotely
One of the problems when sending content from the PC to a TV through the Chromecast is that we will not be able to control the playback, unless we take the keyboard to the TV, or have it near the computer.
In that case, the best we can do is resort to one of the many wireless controls that allow us to control VLC from an Android or iOS mobile remotely. One of the most popular is VLC Remote, which we can download equally for Android and iOS.
These programs require activating the VLC remote control, which we can do from the Preferences menu , choosing the option ” Show settings> all ” and going to the ” Main interfaces ” section.
Here we will configure a password in HTTP and assign port 8080 in Telnet.
If we are going to use the VLC Remote that we have just talked about, instead of configuring VLC by hand we can use the « Setup Helper « program, which we can download from its website, to help us set up and start the player to control it remotely from mobile.
Clever. We save the changes and we can start to control our VLC remotely. In this way, once connected to the TV through the Chromecast, we only need to have our mobile phone at hand to pause the movie, move through it and even scroll through the playlist.
Although this feature works, the truth is that the Chromecast is not intended to send content from a PC to the television, but to work from a smartphone. And, therefore, we may run into some problems when using these features.
One of the most common is that the Chromecast does not appear from the PC . This can be due to a number of reasons, but the most common is that the PC and Chromecast cannot communicate over the local network for some reason. This may be because the PC’s firewall is blocking VLC connections, or because we have the computer and the device on different networks. We must also make sure that the Chromecast is turned on, since if we have not turned on the TV it is likely to be in sleep.
Another quite frequent problem is that the reproduction goes slow, to jumps . This is because either the PC or the Chromecast is too far from the router and the transmission speed is not enough. We must try to place the device as close as possible to the router, and the PC, if possible, by cable. If we continue to have problems, it may be that the video we are trying to play is too heavy (for example, a 4K UHD video) and the bandwidth is not enough.