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chromecast is good but... 2018-09-08 20:56 UTC
I'm really liking the Chromecast devices. My son gave us one for Xmas a few years ago, and I plugged it into a TV in my daughter's room. She didn't really use it. Recently, we got on of those Aker Nebula Mars projectors when it went on sale (more on that later, I suppose) and the older lightweight Chromecast is a perfect partner for it. So I got a more recent "Chromecast Ultra" for my daughter's TV - something of a waste, since the TV can't display the big resolution of the new Chromecast, but anyway - I have the new device plugged straight into a wall outlet, instead of the TV's underpowered USB port, because the new ones need more juice. This naturally creates a situation where the Chromecast can be on and active while the TV is off. Thanks to the CEC feature of the TV, when you start casting something, the TV automatically turns on - slick!

All that is great until it's time to go to sleep. There is apparently no way to make the Chromecast turn off the TV, and when it's not casting, it likes to show really cool pictures in its "ambience mode" which look great, but when you're trying to sleep, it would be much nicer to have the TV off, or at least showing a blank screen. You can certainly grab the remote control and turn the TV off (and maybe you can do it by touching the TV somewhere, but it's way up on a wall and she can't reach it) -- but now that's the *only* reason you need the remote - to turn the TV off. If not for that, we could stow away the remote somewhere so it's out of the way and won't get lost.

So, I set off on a mission to try to figure out how to turn off the TV with the Chromecast, or at least get it to stop showing cool pictures. I learned that if I had a Google Home speaker device, I could simply say something like "Google - turn the TV off" and it would make the Chromecast send a command to turn the TV off. Without the Google Home device, not so much....

GooglePerson12:16 PM
Thanks for contacting us! My name is GooglePerson. I'm happy to answer any questions you have about Chromecast.

Me12:16 PM
Hi - and thanks!

GooglePerson12:16 PM
Hi, You! I can see that you are looking at this article, Cast video from Chromecast-enabled apps to your TV. Can you tell me more about what's going on?

Me12:16 PM
I have set up a chromecast ultra with a TV that support CEC control

Me12:17 PM
If the TV is off, and I start casting, the chromecast turns on the TV with a CEC command (I suppose - anyway, the TV turns on automatically)

Me12:17 PM
that's great. But what I want to be able to do is to turn the TV off using a CEC command from the chromecast

Me12:18 PM
I can't find any way to do that. I'm using the Google Home app on android and ios

Me12:19 PM
Turning off the TV would be ideal, but my real goal is simply to get the screen to be blank, because the TV is in a bedroom and keeps me awake when the screen is on

GooglePerson12:19 PM
Do you wanna do it through voice command on your Google Home app to turn off the TV?

Me12:20 PM
I would prefer not to use a voice command - but it would be interesting to see whether it worked or not - does the Android Google Home app accept voice commands?

GooglePerson12:20 PM
It doesn't. Actually what the Chromecast can do right now is just really turn on the TV but turning it off through is not supported.

Me12:21 PM
That's pretty much what the support website seems to indicate as well.

GooglePerson12:21 PM
It's actually a feature of your TV that if your casting to your Chromecast, the CEC feature of your TV will trigger the TV to turn on.

Me12:22 PM
I see

Me12:22 PM
Can I get the Chromecast to show a blank screen instead of (or during) ambience mode?

Me12:23 PM
Also - I have to ask, I'm reading that if I had a Google Home speaker device, that I could use a voice command to turn off the TV

Me12:24 PM
Does that mean that the Chromecast is sending an off command to the TV over CEC?

GooglePerson12:26 PM
Chromecast receives commands from the casting device. So normally, with a regular TV that doesn't have a CEC feature, when you cast to the Chromecast, the Chromecast is going to receive it but it's not going to turn on the TV. But on your case since you have a TV that has that feature, the CEC triggers the TV to turn on once you cast something to your Chromecast.

Me12:27 PM
Yes - that makes sense - but how does the Google Home speaker send the command to turn off the TV that the Chromecast is attached to?

GooglePerson12:29 PM
That is actually a feature of the Google Home. However with the Chromecast device, all it knows is to cast to the TV.

Me12:29 PM
If the answer is simply that Google does not allow a user to activate CEC based commands unless the user has a full Google Home speaker setup, that's a valid answer -- I don't like it, but at least I could stop searching to try to find the answer

Me12:32 PM
Assuming the answer is "yes", can I ask about how I can blank the screen display (without turning off the TV) when I'm not actively casting?

GooglePerson12:32 PM
I agree with you. However, the best thing that I can suggest you is to get in touch with the manufacturer of your TV because what you're asking is not really a feature of Chromecast anymore.

Me12:34 PM
(I know you're probably dealing a number of frustrated Chromecast customers on this issue -- I feel like I should let you know that instructing the customer to contact the manufacturer of the TV may not be interpreted as a helpful recommendation)

GooglePerson12:34 PM
Currently, there is no way for you to get a blank screen if you're not casting. By default, what you are really going to see are the pictures.

Me12:34 PM
OK - thanks for the clear answer on that as well

Me12:35 PM
I really appreciate the time and responsiveness. If you have anything else that I should know, I will certainly be glad to hear it. Otherwise, I believe I should let you move on to the next chat session.

GooglePerson12:37 PM
I understand. However, as much as I wanted to give you a definite answer, that is beyond my scope since CEC is not a feature of the Chromecast and that goes with the TV already. But I appreciate you raising this concern and we will try to further investigate on this issue relating to the CEC feature of the TV.

Me12:37 PM
Thanks very much GooglePerson - have a great day (or evening, etc., which ever applies)

GooglePerson12:38 PM
Is there anything else that you'd like me to further assist you with?

Me12:38 PM
We've covered everything - thanks again

I feel kind of bad for stressing on this, but it's just that the Chromecast is **so close** to being an ideal controller for the TV and substitute for the remote - it's sort of maddening that the one thing you can't do is turn off the TV or somehow make it stop showing things. The Chromecast devices have been around for quite awhile now, and they're not free (they're not real expensive, I guess) - just seems like a feature they should have by now. And I'm definitely not getting a Google Home voice assistant speaker simply so I can turn off the TV without a remote.

Anyway, whatever frustration the Chromecast Ultra creates with its inability to let you sleep, the regular old Chromecast makes up for when it's attached to the Nebula Mars. The Mars has an unexplainably old and underwhelming version of Android on it, and so rather than deal with stone age media apps, it's much better to use something else to send video to it through the HDMI port. The Chromecast (not Ultra) is low power and runs off the USB port of the Mars, so the whole operation can be completely mobile and battery powered for quite a while (using the Mars' beefy battery) -- assuming you have wifi in place so that you can cast stuff to the Chromecast. Or you can plug the Mars in and power the whole thing of course. And when you shut off the Mars by closing its lens cap, the Chromecast shuts off too!

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