UPDATE – 10/15/2020: With the release of the new Chromecast with Google TV, you can now have a fully-featured remote that will do way more than the remote that came with your TV. In addition to a physical remote, this new device includes the Google TV interface that you can navigate with the remote to find the content you want to watch instead of casting from specific apps on your phone. You can definitely still follow the steps below to use your TV remote for some basic casting controls but we would highly recommend picking up this new device if you are interested in having a remote with your Chromecast.
The simplicity of Google’s Chromecast is part of the reason so many people have decided to make it part of their home tech. Unlike other streaming consoles – like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV – Chromecast does not come with a remote, so you are out of luck if your phone is in the other room charging and you just want to quickly Play/Pause or exit out of a casting session. The good news? You can do this right now with the remote that came with your TV.
The technology that makes this possible behind the scenes is called HDMI-CEC, or HDMI Consumer Electronic Controls, and is built into most modern TVs. It has been around since 2008 and we’ve written about how this tech allows your Google Assistant to turn on the TV and play your favorite show with a simple, “Hey Google, play Stranger Things on the Living Room TV.” HDMI-CEC is also the reason your Chromecast can automatically switch inputs when you start casting.
You Need to Enable This Feature On Your TV
Since most TVs will ship with this HDMI-CEC disabled, you will need to enable this feature to use your TV remote or home theater remote with Chromecast. Different manufacturers have different branding for HDMI-CEC, but it was in the ‘General Settings’ under ‘External Device Manager’ on my Samsung TV. You can reference How-To-Geek if you need help finding this setting on your TV. You might also need to keep the Chromecast plugged into the wall via the provided wall adapter if your TV doesn’t keep the USB port powered on when the TV is powered off if you want to take full advantage of HDMI-CEC and allow power on and off controls via the Chromecast dongle.
Once you have successfully completed these steps there is no additional setup required: it should just work. With your TV remote, you can Pause/Play and stop a cast using the exit, stop or return buttons. At this point, we have not had luck with the rewind and fast forward buttons, but your luck may vary. Give it a shot and see what happens!
Not a full Chromecast remote
Don’t be mistaken, this trick does not make your TV remote a fully-functioning controller for Chromecast, but to be honest, you don’t really need one. There has been some discussion on the internet recently about what it would be like to have a Chromecast with a built-in remote or how the Stadia controller could possibly work as a remote, but Google has long argued your phone is the best remote. Google built Chromecast without a user interface or menu that would require you to hunt down and find a remote all the time. It is made this way on purpose and we just don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Even without a remote, Chromecast is powerful and has a lot of fun tricks up its sleeve. Not to mention the fact many functions on Chromecast can be controlled by the Google Assistant and Google Home speakers. You can say things like:
- “Hey, Google, skip to five minutes on the Living Room TV” or “Hey, Google, skip forward/back one minute on the Living Room TV.”
- “Hey, Google, set the Living Room TV volume to 50 percent” or “Hey, Google, volume down on the Living Room TV.”
In the end, Chromecast is just a different way to think about watching things on your TV: built from the ground up not to require a remote and with the expectation that there would never really be one for it. However, when those times arise where your phone isn’t around or you are in a rush, having the ability to pick up your old, trusty remote can come in extremely handy.