Chromecast turns your ‘dumb’ TV into a smart TV, and Chromecast Audio streams audio to almost any speaker. Beam web browsers, streaming services and games from your device to your TV, or any audio to your speakers. The collection of compatible apps is always growing, so here’s our list of the best Chromecast and Chromecast Audio apps.
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Netflix was one of the first streaming services available on TV. It has gone through many changes over the years – for better or worse – but you have some slick options available to you now. Note that Chromecast for Netflix is limited to Android devices with Android 4.1 or higher.
With Netflix on your Chromecast, you can stream the entire Netflix library of movies and TV shows, in 1080p depending on your Wi-Fi connection. You can get HD videos with the standard HD plan that costs around $13 a month.
Netflix on your Chromecast includes some decent features. You can have subtitles, audio dubbing and Surround Sound. And while you do get a good selection of movies and shows, the price is pretty high and Netflix has been increasing its prices and will likely do so again in the future.
Hulu, like Netflix, is a great TV show and movie-watching service, where you can stream unlimited amounts of either on your Android smartphone or tablet for a monthly fee. It has received high acclaim for offering a great selection of TV shows and movies and has some solid original content such as THe Handmaid’s Tale and the Stephen King-inspired Castle Rock.
All of this, of course, can be beamed from your smartphone or tablet to your TV via the wonderful Chromecast.
HBO Now, like HBO Go, is a standalone streaming service that doesn’t require a cable subscription package. For $14.99 per month with HBO Now, you can have access to your favorite HBO shows not just on your phone, but also through Chromecast. Enjoy shows like Game of Thrones or The Wire on the big screen, without paying for cable.
AllCast, from legendary developer Koushik Dutta, is one of the original and best Chromecast streaming apps. AllCast not only works with Chromecast, it can also be used to stream to your Amazon Fire TV, Xbox 360, Roku, Apple TV and more. Note that the free version has a five-minute viewing limit per session, so consider forking out the $4.99 for the premium version.
VideoStream is the VLC of Chromecast streaming: it plays everything. With no need for different codecs or plugins, VideoStream simply streams content from your laptop or PC direct to your Chromecast-equipped TV. That’s right, this is actually a Chrome extension for your computer, but once it’s installed, you just need to grab the VideoStream Remote app from the Play Store and you can control everything from your phone or tablet.
The Chromecast already does a great job at streaming most things you throw it at directly from different devices, but BubbleUPnP acts as a great bridge to let you stream things from different DLNA devices, media servers and cloud storage services.
BubbleUPnP has some nifty Chromecast-specific features too, such as transcoding various media formats that are incompatible with Chromecast by default so that they work with the dongle. Rounding off the great features is a playback queue, which lets you line up media from various different devices to play on your Chromecast.
Plex is a personal multimedia app that lets you stream your videos, music, photos and home movies to your Android phone from any computer which is running Plex Media Server. It enables media syncing from your phone as well as from Google Drive, Dropbox and other cloud storage services.
And now it goes a step further with Chromecast support: you can enjoy the services Plex has to offer on your HDTV. The mobile app is on the Play Store as a free demo, with additional features unlocked via a one-time purchase or a Plex Pass subscription for the more premium service.
It was only in 2015 that Spotify support was added for Chromecast, but we’re glad it was. Now we can enjoy our favorite music streaming service on our TV, with more than 30 million songs to choose from in an intuitive user interface. This is a must-have Chromecast app.
Pandora needs little introduction as a streaming radio app, but it is Pandora’s Chromecast support that earns it a spot on this list. The best thing is, you probably already have Pandora on your phone, so there’s no need to install anything else since it works with Chromecast already. If you’re not already using Pandora, then give it a try and access up to 100 personalized radio stations for free.
Offering a consistently excellent alternative to the likes of Spotify, Deezer is particularly great for those listeners who are into rarities and live albums. The interface recently underwent an aesthetic overhaul, too. Deezer’s library varies between countries, but it actually comprises more songs than Spotify.
With thousands of radio stations to choose from, this easy-to-use app lets you tune in and start listening to your favorite music for free. The iHeartRadio app features sophisticated algorithms to create custom stations for you based on your favorite music and also lets you tune in to live radio and the occasional live music event. It’s designed to work with your Chromecast, making it the best music-streaming app currently available for the dongle.
Just Dance Now
Ubisoft has made its popular Wii game available for the Chromecast. Keep a firm grip on your smartphone, get dancing, and Just Dance will evaluate your performance. The app features an online multiplayer mode, ads and in-app purchases.
Angry Birds goes competitive in this iteration of the classic franchise. Play against your friends using one screen thanks to Chromecast, and enjoy the tournament-style gameplay. You’ll never have to play alone, since there are worldwide tournaments, and there are new levels released every week.
Looking for more games to use with Chromecast? Try these great multiplayer games for Chromecast to liven up your party!
Pocket Casts is one of the highest-rated apps on Android, and one of its finest no-nonsense podcast managers. You can not only stream, but download, all your favorite podcasts, then set up a playlist to beam to your Chromecast. It supports both audio and video streams, and has a neat interface that’s in line with Lollipop’s Material Design.
Amusingly, when we got in touch with the developers to ask about Pocket Casts’ success story, they attributed it to a mixture of “blind luck” and “pure skill”. There you have it, the formula for a successful app…
It may not be the highest-brow film streaming service out there, but Crackle has a great easy-watching selection available for free. You aren’t going to find the latest and greatest content, but with films like Men In Black, Bad Boys, and Snatch, it’s a great trip down memory lane for those of us who grew up in the Nineties and Noughties.
For our UK audience, the BBC iPlayer app is one of the best you can use if you have bought yourself a Chromecast dongle. It lets you watch live TV, and stream the latest programs from one of the best broadcasters of television in the world. Expect plenty of nature documentaries narrated by honey-voiced David Attenborough, incisive documentaries, panel shows, and plenty of classy, understated mini-series. Unfortunately for our US audience, the app is geo-restricted.
Is our list not enough for you? Make sure to check out the Cast Store, which gathers all Chromecast-compatible apps together in easy-to-find categories, so that you don’t have to search high and low in the Google Play Store.
Have we missed your favorite Chromecast app? Let us know what we’re missing in the comments and maybe we’ll include it next time around!