Best Apps for Google Chromecast
The Google Chromecast lets you display video, photos, pictures and other media content from supported apps on your big-screen TV, using your Android or iOS device as a remote control. You can also send content straight from a Chrome Web browser on your computer. There are hundreds of apps that take advantage of this unique technology, which Google calls "casting," to offer a new way to link your mobile device and your TV. Check out the following apps that let you cast content to your TV.
Netflix (Android, iOS, desktop; subscription)
The Internet media subscription juggernaut Netflix (Android, iOS) needs little introduction. The service — which lets subscribers watch thousands of TV shows and movies from their desktop or mobile device — has also had some success with original programming such as House of Cards. Netflix now includes Chromecast support, so subscribers can cast the latest episodes and movies straight to the big screen rather than watching on a cramped smartphone or desktop screen, while still using their mobile device for playback controls.
Hulu Plus (Android, iOS, desktop; subscription)
If you want to keep up with current TV favorites, Hulu Plus (Android, iOS) is the service for you. This subscription-based service gets new episodes of popular shows from ABC, Fox, NBC, Comedy Central, the BBC and more, often just a day after the episodes air. Whether you want to stay current on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., South Park or Family Guy on any device you choose, Hulu Plus provides a simple and affordable way to do it. You can also watch movies and original shows, like Deadbeat and A Day in the Life, and Chromecast lets you do it seamlessly through your mobile device, PC or TV.
HBO Go & HBO Now (Android, iOS; subscription)
HBO Go lets users stream their favorite HBO content straight to their Android or iOS device. Enjoy the latest and greatest movies, and access the best HBO original programming, such as Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and True Detective, as well as bonus features and extras. While it's free to download the app, you do need to have a participating cable subscription to access content. Another option is the new HBO Now (Android, iOS), which dispenses with the cable element entirely in favor of direct streaming service.
Spotify has become synonymous with online streaming music, thanks to its ease of use, freemium features, and a massive song library of more than 30 million tracks. The Spotify app (Android, iOS) allows for more free music streaming than ever, and a $9.99 monthly subscription lets you save an unlimited number of songs for offline listening. Chromecast support lets you cast your music to your TV or sound system, sparing your dinky little phone speakers and letting you enjoy your music on more worthy gear. Factor in Spotify's Party DJ mode, pace-matching Running feature and personalized Discovery Weekly playlists, and you'll likely be hitting Play on this app for a long time to come.
Pocket Casts (Android, iOS) is an excellent podcast app that neatly combines style and function with a clean design that showcases subscribed podcasts in tile format. Tap on a tile to bring up an episode list, summaries and download options. A smart playlisting feature helps you sort and categorize your downloaded content for easy listening. Pocket Casts also includes video podcast support, auto-downloading and automatic cleanup of downloaded episodes to save storage space. Other helpful playback features include quick skip forward and back buttons with configurable time intervals, a sleep timer and Android widgets. It's a feature-packed podcatcher that only gets better with Chromecast support for streaming your podcasts to the big screen or your sound system.
AllCast (Android, iOS) (Free, $4.99 premium unlock)
ClockWorkMod's Allcast (Android, iOS) is an extremely versatile media player and gallery app that can stream your photos, videos and music to your Chromecast, as well as other streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, or a variety of smart TVs. Not only does it handle local content, but AllCast supports streaming photos and videos from cloud storage such as Dropbox and Google Plus. The free demo lets you try out AllCast with a 5 minute cap on viewing a video or image, with a premium unlock for full functionality costing $4.99.
YouTube (Android, iOS; free)
The official YouTube app (Android, iOS) puts the power of the world's most dynamic video-sharing network at your fingertips, with mobile streaming, video search, playlists, channels and video recommendations. Considering YouTube is a Google service, it's a given that it would be among the flagship apps taking advantage of Chromecast in order to beam your videos straight to your wide-screen TV. YouTube's been busy expanding its reach, with a new dedicated YouTube Music app (Android, iOS) and YouTube Gaming (Android, iOS) adding more specialized options.
TED (Android, iOS)
The motto of the TED conferences is "Ideas worth spreading," and the official TED app (Android, iOS) makes it easy to do just that. With this app, you can download and view more than a thousand TEDTalk videos featuring some of the best and brightest talking about ideas that truly matter. While watching it on a touchscreen is okay, it's a much better experience streamed to the big screen. Whether you're into art, design, philosophy or philanthropy, TED is bound to inspire and entertain.
Plex (Android, iOS; $4.99)
Plex (Android, iOS) is an acclaimed media center app that lets you create your own media server on a PC and stream your videos, movies and music straight to your Android or iOS device. Plex delivers a rich browsing and player experience, with support for enhanced metadata, posters and other details as you browse through your media library.
Videostream (Chrome) (Free)
Videostream lets you cast videos from your desktop straight to your TV. It takes advantage of your desktop or laptop's muscle power to do the transcoding necessary to support more than 400 video and audio codecs out of the box, with subtitle support. In practical terms, that means that Videostream will play almost any media file you throw at it, from ubiquitous MP3s and MP4s, to more esoteric formats such as MKV. The player extension is free, with an optional subscription or lifetime purchase to unlock extra features like playlists and customizable subtitle support. Videostream also features a pair of mobile remote controls for Android and iOS.
Crunchyroll (Android, iOS, desktop) (Freemium)
Crunchyroll (Android, iOS) is a a streaming media service that focuses on bringing the latest and greatest Japanese anime and J-dramas to their viewers. Featuring shows from a variety of genres and hits such as Naruto, Sword Art Online and RWBY, Crunchyroll has a lot to offer for fans of big eyes and small mouths, and it also comes with built-in Chromecast support so you can stream from your mobile device to your TV. Free users can access a limited library of series, while premium subscribers can access the entire library, as well as simulcast episodes of selected series broadcast on the same day as in Japan.
Twitch (Android, iOS, desktop; free)
Watching other people play video games is more popular than it's ever been. Twitch (Android, iOS) lets you watch everything from eSports championship matches to everyday play-throughs of Bloodborne, all in real time. Whether you want to watch games on a PC, PS4 or Xbox One, there's a channel for you. Follow well-known streaming personalities, watch your friends or just dive in and see if someone's discovered a great new game that you could be playing.
Tricky Titans (Android, iOS) has you and up to five friends competing in a fun local multiplayer game driven by the Chromecast and your smartphones or tablets. Each player takes the role of competing giants, each trying to protect their village, either by blocking, attacking other titans, or charging up to empower their next turn's action. The player who has taken the least damage at the end of a set number of rounds wins the game. It's a fun combination of cute graphics and careful bluffing, planning and diplomacy that makes for a fun couch multiplayer experience with friends.
Crackle (Android, iOS, Web; free)
Crackle (Android, iOS) is a free, ad-supported streaming service for a rotating selection of TV shows and movies. It also has some original programming, including Chosen and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It can now cast to Google Chromecast via its mobile apps and its Chrome browser app. While the content is primarily focused on Sony's offerings, it's a nice free option if you don't want to add another paid subscription to your cart.
WatchESPN (Android, iOS; subscription)
Although Chromecast has access to individual apps for most major league sports, you could also leverage your cable subscription to get them all at once. As long as you subscribe to a cable package that includes ESPN, you can take advantage of the free WatchESPN app on Android and iOS. Using this app, you can not only watch live TV from eight ESPN networks but also check out recorded shows and exciting highlights on demand.
More Streaming Stories
Need help setting up a new Chromecast? Check out our Chromecast setup guide which also comes with some handy suggestions on what else you can do with the device. Looking for new shows to stream to your screen? We've got you covered with a list of some of the best shows to binge-watch. Don't want to be a slave to Big Cable anymore? Look up our guide to cord-cutting and pick out an HDTV Antenna so you don't miss out on local news or sports.