Can Chromecast Be Powered by HDMI?

So you’re planning to buy a new Chromecast but you’re wondering how to set it up with your TV and if everything is compatible. Shouldn’t HDMI be able to power the little gadget? Are you really only limited to the original power supply?

Chromecast’s power issues can be a little tricky because Google’s support mentions one thing while Chromecast owners discover other solutions. Let’s take a closer look at how Chromecast works.

Can Chromecast be Powered by HDMI?

No. Chromecast cannot be powered by HDMI because HDMI can only output 5 volts which is not enough power for the device.

Contrary to what you might think, HDMI ports can carry power, but it’s a very small amount (approximately 5 volts) and the connected device needs to support a specific standard, which is called Mobile High Definition Link or MHL.

Most phones, particularly Androids, natively support the MHL standard. It makes things like using an HDMI adapter on your phone to share content on a bigger screen possible, without draining your phone’s battery.

Chromecast, unfortunately, doesn’t support that standard. And even if it did, the 5 volts provided from the HDMI wouldn’t be enough to power it.

So the Chromecast won’t work if you plug it directly into an HDMI port, it needs more power from an external source.

How Does Chromecast Get Power?

Every Chromecast comes with a USB cable for power. Chromecast Ultra uses a USB wall-charger that is similar to what smartphones use.

Google also claims the Chromecast Ultra can only work with the original power adapter, no other USB cable will work with it.

Can Chromecast be Powered by TV USB?

It depends. Some Chromecasts can be powered by a USB port on a TV but it depends on both the Chromecast model, your TV model, and the USB port.

For example, certain TVs have USB ports that don’t output enough power to support the Chromecast, while others do. On that note, most TV’s USB ports are meant to read data and not supply power to other devices. In some cases, these are marked with a little icon.

Likewise, some Chromecasts don’t require as much power as others. The most demanding Chromecast is the Chromecast Ultra. The best way to find out if Chromecast can work with your TV USB port is to simply try it.

In my case, my Chromecast 3 works perfectly fine when plugged into my LG TV’s USB port. There’s a good chance your TV’s USB port will power your Chromecast too. It’s worth a shot.

Officially, Google recommends using all Chromecasts with the original wall charger, it’s supposed to provide the best performance.

Does Chromecast Use a Battery?

Chromecast does not use a battery, it needs to be connected to a power source. Without external power, the Chromecast won’t work.

How Can I Use Chromecast Without a USB port?

You don’t need a USB port to use a Chromecast, one end plugs into an HDMI port on your TV and the power cable can be plugged into a wall power socket. If you don’t have an available socket, consider buying an extension cord.

Does Casting Use a Lot of Battery?

Casting doesn’t use battery because you’re simply using your phone to send a link to the Chromecast, and then the Chromecast loads that link separately from your phone. It doesn’t use your phone’s resources.

In fact, you can cast media, such as YouTube, to the Chromecast from your phone, and then you can continue using your phone for other tasks, such as replying messages or browsing the internet.

Casting essentially sends a command signal to the Chromecast, telling it to load certain media, and then it loads it on its end. In other words, the phone controls the Chromecast.

The only way that casting can drain a phone’s battery is if you leave the phone’s screen on for the entire duration. A lot of people don’t realize that after you tap the casting icon, you don’t need to keep the phone’s screen on.

Another point to mention is both the phone and Chromecast need to be connected to the same Wifi network, and enabling Wifi on your phone can cause the battery to drain faster.

 

Image credit: “Google Chromecast 2” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by TheBetterDay

About S. Santos

Tech columnist and tech blogger, audiovisual aficionado trying to keep up with the ever-evolving world of gadgets, home entertainment, and personal technology. If not fiddling with AV cables at home or in front of the computer, he can be found playing tennis or padel.

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