Google’s New Chromecast – How To Add Your Own Backdrops

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For those of you who don’t know, in my other life I write about technology. One of my tasks this week was to have a play with Google’s New Chromecast and overall it was a fun experience. I’d used the original and found it to be a handy device for sharing content on my smartphone (and laptop) wirelessly to the TV, from anywhere in the house. The new model has a better design (easier to fit into HDMI ports in crowded areas), better wi-fi etc…all for a bargain of $35/£30 and its just as quick and easy to use.

One of the additional cool things that the Chromecast does is when idle, it displays a constant stream of wallpapers from some of the best photographers/artists around, including Michael Bonocore, Brian Matiash and Trey Ratcliff. Essentially your TV turns into a massive digital photo frame of awesome… and you can add your images in there too!

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The first thing you need to do is upload images to Google Photos as an album. Just the usual process and I’d suggest a couple of things which will make your life easier now and in the future…

  1. Export your images in 16×9 format (I went for 3840×2160 resolution so they were futureproof, Chromecast uses a lower res if you want to save space etc).
  2. Call the album “Chromecast Wallpapers” to make it easy to locate.
  3. Make the album public/shared.

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Next open the Chromecast app on your phone/tablet and go to the devices tab. Click the cog and under Backdrop, make sure Google Photos is set to On. (You can also turn on/off other people’s images, the news feed, weather etc in here too). When you turn on Google Photos you will get the chance to select albums from your profile. So you just need to check for the “Chromecast Wallpapers” album you created earlier. Done!

From now on your own images will be dropped into the Chromecast wallpaper stream at random.

If you want to see my 4k selection, maybe to download one and use it on your own Chromecast or desktop, you can view the selection here. Enjoy!

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