Chromecast Ultra

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who haven't filled their house with every sort of electronic device imaginable, and then there's the rest of us.

This is one of those times you need to follow the directions.

And here's the thing: When you're at the point where you're literally tripping over random power cables and microUSB cords and USB-C dongles and light-up Lightning connectors, you start to cut corners. You don't even bother taking the power cable out of the box half the time, and instead use whatever the hell is already connected, or just laying around, or whatever.

But there's a good reason to actually use the power cord that comes with your device, particularly when it comes to little devices that stream a whole lot of high-resolution video.

In this case I'm talking about Chromecast Ultra — Google's $49, 4K-ready Chromecast dongle.

The short version? You need to use the power adapter that comes with your Chromecast Ultra. And it'll know if you don't. Yes, really.

How will it know if you're using that old microUSB cable you had laying around, plugged into some old phone charger? It's simple. Chromecast Ultra knows exactly what the power flowing from its own power adapter is supposed to taste like. If it tastes something different, you'll get a little notification on the screen saying as much. And if you see that, there's a pretty good chance you won't be able to stream anything in 4K.

And to be fair, Google does warn you about this on the Chromecast Ultra help page:

Important: Chromecast Ultra won't work with any other USB cable, or any USB cable plugged into a TV. You must use the power supply included in the Chromecast Ultra box.

So the moral of the lesson is this to clean up your crap the first time, when your wife asks you.

And to also use the included power adapter with your Chromecast Ultra. (Which, by the way, also serves as an Ethernet adapter.)

[##Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast Ultra is Google's little HDMI dongle that could. It uses a phone or tablet (Android or iOS) to initiate a video stream, and the dongle takes over from there. It's supported by all the best apps, and basically is the easiest way to take a video from your small screen and put it up on the big screen.

It also can work in conjunction with Google Assistant, so all you have to do is speak the words, and it'll appear on your TV.