32 of the best apps for Google’s Chromecast
Google’s Chromecast is an unusual device. Unlike most streaming set-top boxes, it doesn’t come with a remote, a bevy of pre-loaded apps or even an obvious menu system.
Instead, the Chromecast acts as a conduit for the apps and content you might find on your PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. The latter two are particularly important – by tapping the cast button in supported apps, you can use your mobile device as a remote and easily tee up new goodies from your sofa.
But knowing which mobile apps support Chromecast and, perhaps more importantly, which ones are worth bothering with is tough. To make your life a little easier, we’ve created a shortlist of our favorites.
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Unlike Amazon, Netflix is yet to offer its own hardware. Instead, the company wants to deliver its on-demand streaming service through every device and platform known to man – including Google’s Chromecast.
The integration is smooth across both the iOS and Android apps. While casting, you can access additional controls on your mobile device for scrubbing back and forth, toggling audio and subtitles, adding a five-star rating and more. Furthermore, you can slide the panel away and continue browsing the app while the TV show or movie streams gracefully to your TV.
The Sopranos. Boardwalk Empire. The Wire. HBO is notorious for producing and broadcasting TV shows of the highest calibre and, as a result, many of us are desperate to watch their latest programming.
HBO Go is only available to US subscribers who already have a have a HBO subscription with their television service provider. Obviously, those parameters make HBO Go a fairly niche product on the global stage, but if you can get access – it’s a legal and stress-free way to stream Game of Thrones through your TV.
Google Play Movies TV
If you’re buying or renting videos from Google Play, it’s quite difficult to whip them across to your TV. Chromecast is the simplest workaround, which is hardly surprising given they’re both part of Google’s media ecosystem.
Streaming is supported from both the iOS and Android app, although as a reminder you can’t buy anything from the former. Both apps allow you to browse your library while the video is playing, and there’s a simple seek bar for controlling the content.
Backed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Crackle offers free movie and TV streaming in the US, Canada, Australia and Latin America. The service is ad-supported and as you might expect, most of its content is fairly old.
Nevertheless, a free streaming service is useful to have at your disposal, especially when it supports the Chromecast. Crackle also offers some original programming, such as Bannen Way and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. If you’re on a budget, Crackle is a useful addition for your personal app collection.
The BBC is considered a public treasure by many British citizens, but it shares a similar reputation in other parts of the world too. Its digital efforts are spearheaded by iPlayer, a portal for streaming TV, radio and the occasional movie over the internet.
Boot up the app, tap the cast button and you can whisk any piece of content over to your TV. During playback you can jump back and forth with the seek bar, change the volume and subtitles, or just look at another part of the app.
➤ iOS | Android
Availability: UK. A ‘global’ version of the iPlayer app is also available in: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg , Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
Price: Free download
Aside from the BBC, few broadcasters in the UK have stepped forward to back Google’s Chromecast streaming dongle. BT Sport was one of the only big players to throw its support behind the device, making it easier for subscribers to watch its burgeoning portfolio of sports channels.
The service has rights to a substantial number of Premier League fixtures, as well as Moto GP and Rugby Union. BT Sport even offers ESPN as a bonus, giving viewers a flavor of the live coverage in the US. If you’re without a satellite or cable TV subscription, Chromecast is probably the simplest way to watch BT Sport on the screen in your living room.
Hulu Plus isn’t on the same level as Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Instant Video, but it’s still a valuable movie and TV streaming service. In fact, Netflix and Hulu Plus offer very different libraries – so if you can’t find a show or episode Netflix, there’s a chance it’ll be on Hulu Plus instead.
Over the last few years, Hulu has also been experimenting with original shows such as Battleground, The Awesomes and Behind the Mask. None of these have garnered the same acclaim as Netflix originals House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, but they’re worth checking out all the same.
It’s strange to think that an energy drinks company was one of the first to embrace Google’s pint-sized streaming dongle. Red Bull offers more than just va-va-voom in a can though; the company is also a media powerhouse, sponsoring the best athletes in a range of action sports.
Its movies, mini-documentaries and original shows are second to none, and you can watch them all through the Red Bull TV app for iOS and Android. While a video is streaming, you can review a personalized stream of recommended videos on your device, or back out and continue browsing the app.
Featured image credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images