The 15 Best Chromecast Apps – January 2019
The Chromecast is one of the more innovative streaming devices in this mobile-first era of technology, changing how we use our TVs, even many of the older TVs that don’t have smart functions! Plug your Chromecast into an HDMI port on your dumb or Smart TV, and you’ll be able to “cast” content to your Chromecast, which then displays on your TV via the Chromecast’s own HDMI output.
The content that you can “cast” is infinite. You can cast web pages, images, and depending on the apps installed, even media content from YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music, and hundreds of other options. And the best part? Most of these applications are all free to download, though some like Netflix or HBO Go might require a subscription to cast content to your TV.
Like we mentioned, the Chromecast can even work with “dumb” TVs, so long as it has an HDMI port, or a way that you can setup an HDMI adapter. This is nice because, instead of spending between $500 and $1000 or more on a top TV, you can pick up a $35 Chromcast to give your old TV smart functions that would otherwise cost an arm and a leg. It brings your old TV into the modern era with just a few dollars and a couple of minutes of your time to setup!
It’s worth noting that the Chromecast itself doesn’t have apps installed locally. The Chromecast is simply a streaming interface. So, apps on Android — i.e. your smartphone or tablet — will add support for “casting”, which then are able to automatically recognize the setup Chromecast in your home and stream content to it.
So, what are the best Chromecast apps you can use on your Smart TV or old, “dumb” TV? The options are endless, but if you follow along with us, we’ll show you all of the best choices there are to get started with. And without further ado, we’re starting out with…
HBO Now is one of our favorite options to use with the Chromecast. There isn’t a whole lot of great content airing on TV these days, but the great content that does air seem to be on services like HBO. You can ditch that expensive TV subscription and do an HBO Now subscription instead. So not only will HBO Now save you money, but you’ll still be able to watch old, current, and new series that air on HBO. We’re talking favorites like Game of Thrones, Westworld, and more. The app is free to download, but requires an active subscription to watch content. Upon downloading, there’s usually a free trial that you can take advantage of before committing to a month to month subscription.
Google Home comes in at number fifteen on our countdown, and was previously just called “Chromecast.” This was a primary application for the Chromecast, because it’s used to setup the device. However, with it’s new Google Home title, it’s a whole lot more than that. Now within the app you can use things like contextual app recommendations. It’ll recommend Chromecast apps for you to try, based on trends and habits that Google has watched within your Google account. On top of that, you’ll find other neat functions like universal search and smart home features.
It’s actually able to connect up with your Google Assistant, whether by your Google Home device or Google Assistant on your phone. You can easily tell Google Assistant what to play or “cast” to your TV. It’s a great way to control your Chromecast, using only your voice. And the best part? Google Home is free to download.
With over 148 million active streaming subscriptions, it’s no surprise that Netflix is a fan favorite. It’s a go-to for cord cutters everywhere, offering them a lifetime’s worth of content at an affordable subscription rate. You’ll find hit TV series like Longmire, How I Met Your Mother, Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards, and endless other choices on Netflix.
There’s an endless amount of movies to choose from as well. You’ll be able to watch Netflix’s own original content on the platform, as well as standard movies and TV shows. Netflix even has a deal with Disney that allows you to watch all of the latest Disney and Marvel content on the streaming platform. Like HBO Go, the app is free to download, but will require a subscription afterwards. There’s a free trial you can take advantage of before committing.
Netflix is a nice streaming platform, and it will always have a place on everyone’s TV; however, cheap subscription prices aren’t always a good thing. One of the cons is that you won’t always get to see the latest and greatest TV shows and movies. That’s why we like Google Play Movies & TV Shows so much — you can buy and rent digital copies of the latest movies that are just rolling out of the theater. Not only that, but you’ll be able to purchase digital seasons of top rated TV shows, such as Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, and more. On top of that, we always love the free digital movie rental or 99-cent rental coupon that Google throws its Google Play Movies & TV users every so often.
With great Chromecast integration, any of the content we mentioned can easily be casted from your Google Play Movies & TV Shows app on your phone or tablet directly to your Chromecast.
Who wouldn’t want YouTube on their smartphone or tablet? There’s an insane amount of new videos being posted by users to the platform everyday. YouTube allows you to watch the topics that interest you, but also put you in touch with the latest trailers for movies and games. You can watch your favorite game commentators, and with new YouTube Gaming functionality, you can even cast eSports directly to your TV now. Or, you can watch livestreams that your favorite channels are running! A subscription to YouTube RED gives you access to exclusive RED subscriber content only as well.
There’s also a new branch of YouTube — YouTube TV. With YouTube TV, you can watch all of your favorite TV channels, but at a heavily discounted price that you would never see from your cable company. Catch up on all of the latest content from HBO, AMC, and your favorite sports channels. Keep in mind that channel availability does depends on what market you’re in, which can severely limit the content YouTube TV can stream, unfortunately.
Google Play Music is one of the best ways that those within the Google ecosystem are able to stream or “cast” music to the TV. Not only can you subscribe and stream a seemingly endless library of on-demand music, but you can also upload your own tunes and play them on demand as well, free of charge. Google Play Music is free to download, and most of its basic functions are free to use; however, the Google Play Music All Access pass for on-demand music starts at $10 per month.
Ready to kick that cable subscription that just seems to get more expensive every month? Then you’ll want to pick up the live TV streaming service PlayStation Vue. Subscribe at different subscription tiers, and get access to all sorts of live TV shows, movies, and even sports. For an added charge, you can even watch HBO content from PlayStation Vue. There are about 55+ channels that you’ll be able to stream live, and even “cast” to your TV with the Chromecast.
PlayStation Vue is a free download, but as implied, the subscription will cost you $30 or more per month, depending on your chosen tier.
Everybody loves the music streaming giant Spotify, and now, you can “cast” music from your Android or iOS device to a support Chromecast on your network. You’ll be able to cast playlists, on-demand music, and even run through Spotify’s music discovery section “Discover.”
As we mentioned earlier, one of the Chromecast’s more unique functions is that you can display and “cast” websites to your TV with the streaming device. Download Google Chrome on your smartphone, and you’ll be able to visit any Internet page on the ‘net, and then cast it to your TV. You’ll be able to show friends and family your favorite websites, images, memes, and even articles that you want them to see! It essentially allows your to mirror what’s on your smartphone,
Are you a big gamer? Then Twitch is a must have on your smartphone or tablet. You’ll be able to watch all of your favorite Twitch streamers play your favorite games live on the app. Not only that, but you’ll be able to discover other streamers by simple searches, as well as categorizing what you’d like to watch by the type of game. Twitch is also a great place to catch up on your favorite eSports tournaments, and watching players train! With Chromecast support, you’ll be able to “cast” those tense matches to the big screen!
Twitch is free to download.
One of the first things that most people hear about the BBC is all of the great content they produce. If you’re in the UK, or use a VPN, you can catch some of those awesome series — like Our Girl and The Thirteenth Doctor — right on the BBC iPlayer app. Download it to your smartphone, and you’ll have instant access to loads of great content, including newscasts. You don’t have to watch on your small, phone screen either. While you’re at home, “cast” the BBC iPlayer to the big screen!
Hulu is one of the best applications you can use to stream your favorite on-demand content. They have a massive library of shows that are old and new, including cartoons like She-Ra from way back in the day. Hulu also has a thriving kids section that’ll keep the children entertained in the morning. As a bonus, Hulu just recently launched a Hulu with Live TV service inside the app, allowing you to catch all of your favorite live TV channels, including sports!
Hulu is free to download, and they do have a free trial available; however, a subscription will cost you on a per month basis. The Live TV subscription specifically costs $39.99 per month.
Google Photos is another favorite for the Chromecast. Download it on your Android and iOS device, and you’ll be able to connect up to the Cloud to view and cast all of your favorite photos, memories, and videos to the big screen. It’s the perfect app to have handy for when family comes around and wants to relive old memories. Another neat feature is that you can create an album or collection of photos with Google Photos, and then have that be the screensaver on the Chromecast. It’ll flip through all of the media in that collection on a timed interval.
iHeartRadio has a special place in our hearts for the Chromecast! With iHeartRadio, you’ll be able to connect up to national radio stations all over the United States, as well as some international choices. You’ll be able to listen to your favorite talk radio, as well as any specific audio shows that are airing. There’s a handful of music stations that you’ll be able to stream as well. And as an added bonus, iHeartRadio is attempting to catch up with other music streaming services by offering a subscription-based tier that will give you access to an endless library of on-demand music.
Amazon Prime Video has been around for some time now, but now it’s really starting to take off as it starts competing with Netflix with original content. You’ll be able to find plenty of great TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video, but on top of that, you’ll have access to a bevy of original content, such as The Man In The High Castle, Patriot, The Grand Tour, and so much more.
Amazon Prime Video is free to download, but the content itself will have to be accessed with a Prime subscription, or a subscription to Prime Video directly.