Chromecast is a truly wonderful thing. Having sold millions of units so far, this currently $30 HDMI dongle from Google will plug into your TV and unlock a world of media streaming content with controls at your fingertips via your smartphone. Chromecast is also cross-platform compatible, so even those stubborn family members who still have iOS devices will be able to join along in streaming media to your TV. You can even mirror your screen with compatible phones, and most rooted phones can force the feature if they aren’t on the compatible list. But what about all the apps that support Chromecast? Let’s take a look at 20 of some of the best apps around that support sending content straight to your Chromecast.
General Media Streaming
Do you have a bunch of movies, TV shows or just videos on your computer that are otherwise very difficult to get on your TV? Maybe those files are in a format that Chromecast doesn’t natively support and can’t be played with the other local media casting apps out there? Plex is the app for you, as you can set up the free and easy to use Plex Media Server on your PC that hosts all these files and easily Chromecast it when you want to. What’s more is that it’ll transcode the videos on the fly to a format that the Chromecast supports, so no need to worry about whether or not your videos are in the right file format or not. Plex is $4.99, but is beyond worth it if you’ve got a large digital library and would rather just Chromecast it than have to set up another means of sending it to your TV.
Avia can claim the title of first app to allow streaming of any content to your Chromecast. When the Chromecast was first unveiled only officially supported apps could send data to the HDMI dongle, however Avia bucked the trend and showed that you can truly send any content to Google’s media streamer without restrictions. Avia has received a complete UI overhaul since it’s launch, and Chromecast streaming is much cheaper than many of these other streaming apps too.
AllCast is developed by Koush, the legendary developer of CyanogenMod fame, and is quite possibly the most updated app on the Google Play Store. Just like Avia and Bubble, AllCast can send any content to your Chromecast, and it’s constantly updated with new features. AllCast supports more devices than just Chromecast too, so in case you have other DLNA players or even an Apple TV you can use Chromecast with those. It’s a little more costly though, around $5, but is totally worth it if you’re a streamaholic.
Dayframe turns your TV into one of those fancy digital photo frames, but this is much easier to use since it supports practically every social network out there, which gives you access to just about every photo you’ve likely ever taken to stream to your TV. It’s also got tablet support too, so if your tablet is sitting in a stand on the counter or something it can double as a photo frame instead of just taking up valuable room. Chromecast slideshow is available in the free app, and there are plenty of custom options available in the premium version.
Photowall is an interesting experiment by the Google Creative Lab that lets you turn your TV into a doodle factory. You take pictures and can then draw on them, giving others the option to do so as well and presenting an interactive photo wall on your TV. After the fun is done a video form of the action is uploaded to YouTube to share the memory of all the fun.
Who doesn’t know about Google+ Photos at this point? If you’ve been with Android for even a little bit of time you’ve likely seen Google+ Photos rear its head on your device, and the auto backup that Google has in the Photos portion of the app is in full spotlight here. You can send any backed up photo to your Chromecast, but you have to make sure it’s backed up. If it’s not on the Google cloud it can’t go on your TV, hence the reason for the local media streamer apps above.
Pocket Casts offers a fantastic podcast listening experience, and now you can listen to them on your TV too. Just pick your favorite podcast (you know it’s our weekly podcast!) and send it to your TV to listen to while you wash dishes, clean the house or just lounge around. Pocket Casts is $3.99.
Rdio dubs itself as the social jukebox, and has over 25 millions songs available in its music library, ensuring there’s nearly nothing you cannot listen to on the service. Chromecast support only rounds out this package as you can easily beam it to your Chromecast to play while doing other things. Rdio is free to try and $9.99 per month after that for unlimited listening.
Google Play Music
Google Play Music made a name for itself when launching, as it not only sports an online library of over 20 million songs, but also lets you include your own music by uploading it to Google’s servers and putting them in your library so that everything is in one convenient place. It was the first Chromecast music streaming app and still remains one of the best around. Google Play Music is free to try and $9.99 per month after that for unlimited listening, and Chromecast owners who haven’t signed up for the service yet can get a couple of months free right now thanks to a special promotion Google is running.
Pandora was probably the first streaming service you’ve ever heard of, and it’s still around for good reason. While it only offers radio services instead of the robust albums available on something like Google Play Music and Spotify, Pandora’s radio mixing algorithms are still better than anyone else’s thanks to the tie-in with the Music Genome Project. Pandora is completely free and ad-supported, and a yearly ad-free subscription is around $40 per year.
What is there to say about YouTube, really? The worlds biggest personal video streaming service offers plenty of content and even subscription-based shows and rentals now, and has full Chromecast integration.
ESPN is for sports lovers, and what’s better than watching sports on your large TV in the comfort of your own living room? Watching them completely on demand and on your schedule, that’s what! You’ll need to have a TV subscription package to watch, but this is full live ESPN on any of the channels you currently pay for right on your Chromecast, and it includes plenty of additional content as well.
Vevo is the place to go for music videos, and that hasn’t changed for years now. With full Chromecast support you can easily turn your TV into a real Music Television, not that silly reality show garbage that TV is full of anymore.
By now it’s highly likely that you’ve heard of Hulu Plus, but just in cast you haven’t it’s likely the easiest way to watch TV shows on demand on your Chromecast. Featuring a massive library of TV shows, including ones that have just recently aired, Hulu Plus costs just $7.99 per month and gives you unlimited access to anything in the library.
Crunchyroll is the place to go for Anime, and with Chromecast support this is easily the best way to watch Anime on your TV without going through the hassle of having to search the internet for it. Crunchyroll has the world’s largest library of anime to stream, and offers a free restricted version for you to basically try out, and when you want the full HD and ad-free versions you can try those out for free for 14 days before subscribing monthly.
Google Play Movies & TV
Google Play is a huge compendium of movies and TV shows, all available for purchase and yours forever. Unlike many of the streaming services, Google Play lets you buy practically any movie or TV show out there and have it in your digital library forever. With perfect Chromecast integration this is a no brainer for anything you’ve purchased through Google Play.
Crackle is a fantastic and absolutely free way to watch classic movies and TV shows on your phone, tablet or beaming it to your TV via Chromecast. Crackle’s library is massive and features stuff that some other apps just don’t have, including your favorite shows from years past.
BBC is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to quality original programming, and the iPlayer app now brings all that programming right to your TV on demand via your Chromecast. Content is sorted by category and there’s loads to choose from, plus it’s all free!
Netflix was the original movie streaming service, and it’s here and better than ever with Chromecast. Giving you an absolutely massive library of movies and TV shows, Netflix always has some sort of free or promotional event going on that lets you try the service before subscribing to it regularly.
HBO Go was one of those powerhouse apps that launched on Chromecast a few months after the debut of the media streamer and caught worldwide attention. Featuring all your favorite HBO content, HBO Go ties in with your cable package and lets you stream anything on HBO’s network right to your Chromecast on your time.