Home entertainment: The best in TV apps


If the app you’re using has a ‘cast’ icon, Chromecast can send all audio output to any speaker in the house – or all of them, via Chromecast audio. The audio version, as the name suggests, will play any audio from your mobile devices to any existing speakers in the house with the addition of a simple, and small, piece of apparatus. Plug a Chromecast Audio into all the speakers you want to use, run the simple set-up and you’re ready to go. Really – there’s very little to go wrong. Any speakers could be used, but you’ll need to run ‘passive’ speakers (those without their own power source) through a standard amplifier.

HOME ENTERTAINMENTThis means that you are no longer encumbered by wires – just set your TV up wherever you like, put your speakers wherever you feel like (one caveat: the Audio versions need constant mains power) and you’re ready to party like it’s €19.99, which it very nearly is. The cost of all this technology is currently sitting at around $40 for the Chromecast and €40-45 per unit for the Audio versions. Using your existing phone or tablet, four speakers you already own and your existing TV, you could go full multi-room multimedia for around €200 all told – and you will no longer be saddled with crappy TV or computer speakers.

“All well and good” you say “but I need to watch catch-up TV from Australia or the US and they don’t allow me to watch as I’m in Europe”. Well, what you need is a Virtual Private Network or VPN for short. Don’t worry, it’s not going to get weird and techy. A VPN is basically an internet bag of tricks that makes you appear to be coming from somewhere else. So, when you open a US site like ABC iview, you’ll appear to be in the US and you’ll get to see the content with no restrictions. VPN accounts that usually involve very minimal setup and involve only remembering a user name and password can be yours for around €40 a year, and many have options to appear to be located in tens of different countries or territories. Be sure to check that the service is legal wherever you reside in real life.

If you have it all set up and it’s working well, great. Feel free to invite me to your home and give me a demo of your wondrous new system. But don’t just play Coldplay. I was lying about that.