The Chromecast is quickly becoming a staple in most home theater set ups. Even though it’s a small piece of hardware, it allows you to connect your TV to practically anything else in the house with a processor in it and that includes your Android phone. Here is a short list of the essential Chromecast apps that pretty much everyone should have.
Streams your local content (video, music, photos).
You can also stream to other devices like a Roku, Apple TV, or even another Android device.
The latest update now includes volume control in the app as well as Android L support.
Depending on your device, network speed, and pure luck, you may or may not have problems. We recommend using the free version until you're sure this works for you.
AllCast is a key app in any Chromecast library even if it is a tad expensive at $4.99. It is among the best solutions available when it comes to streaming your local media to the Chromecast and it comes with the added functionality of streaming it to other stuff (like a Roku, Apple TV, or another Android device) which is an added bonus.
Not only works with Chromecast but with anything that's DNLA compliant which is almost everything.
Casts pretty much any media, including videos, music, and photos.
Free version with ads lets you try it before you buy it.
Can also function as a standalone media player.
Along with ads, the free version also has some limitations.
A little more complex for those who aren't tech savvy.
BubbleUPnP is another option for those who want to stream their home media to their Chromecast. There is a free version and a paid version for $4.69. The paid version removes the limitations and ads from the free version. It’s a solid option and a good alternative to an app like AllCast.
It's a Google app which a lot of people will like.
It's also a very capable and desirable browser.
Doesn't have the versatility of the desktop version and that's a little disappointing.
Not all videos (not even on YouTube) are compatible.
It doesn’t have the versatility of the desktop version of Google Chrome, but the Chrome Browser can still cast some video from some sites. This is great news if you use Chrome Browser or you’re looking for a browser to switch to that allows at least some Chromecast support. We wish it had the same versatility of the desktop version, though.
You need to get this app anyway in order to set up the Chromecast.
Totally free to use.
On select devices, you can now use this application to mirror your Android device to your television. That's a big win.
You can also use this to manage your Chromecast settings if you need to do that (e.g. setting up a new WiFi network)
Mirroring functionality is limited to only a handful of devices.
Aside from mirroring and settings management, there is no tertiary use for this app.
Yes, this is the application you’ll already need to have in order to set up the Chromecast for the first time when you buy it. A month ago, this app probably wouldn’t have been on this list at all because back then it was useless aside from the initial set up. However, Google has added some new features and that makes this a must have Chromecast app even after the set up process.
The best streaming service for anime available on Android.
App and service can be used for free if you don't mind ads.
Premium subscription members can watch ad free and watch shows that have just aired.
Chromecast support is a little bit buggy for some people.
Some content can only be streamed in HD if you buy a subscription.
Known as the Hulu of anime, Crunchyroll allows you to stream 25,000 episodes of various anime shows using your Chromecast. You can watch for free (with ads) or you can get a premium subscription if you want to. The app works on your Chromecast either way and this is the app to get if you’re into anime at all.
Allows you to stream photos to your TV which is a fun way to liven up your living room when you're not using your TV.
If you don't have a lot of photos, you can always subscribe to other photo feeds and use theirs.
Compatible with Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, Dropbox, Flickr, Twitter, and others.
Free version does allow you to use the Chromecast support.
You can it to do things like shuffle mode where it'll randomly shuffle your photos if you buy the app.
You'll have to pay a premium to remove get rid of obnoxious reminders to buy it.
There are quite a few bugs that still need worked out so be sure to use the free version first to make sure it works for you.
Dayframe is an application that syncs up to your various social media accounts, syncs your photos, and then displays them on screen in a fun and versatile way. You can select from your own images or from images that others have posted if you choose to go that route. This is a fun way to use your TV as sort of a photo frame for when it’s not in use doing anything else. It’s free to use so there’s no harm in checking it out. Also check out our review which is linked just below.
Allows the streaming of some video content to the Chromecast.
Free to use.
Firefox is a very capable browser even if you subtract the Chromecast support.
Popular and well supported.
Doesn't cast everything which gives it the same limitations of Chrome Browser on mobile.
Another great browser for Chromecast users is Firefox Browser. In a recent update, Firefox allows users the ability to cast things to Chromecast. Much like Chrome Browser above, it’s only videos and it’s only some kinds of videos. Thankfully, it’s also a great browser on its own and a good alternative to Chrome Browser if it’s needed.
You can purchase movies and TV shows and then watch them over Chromecast.
Above average selection of movies and TV shows at competitive prices.
You can also rent movies and TV shows.
Comes pre-loaded on a lot of devices so many already have this app.
People have had trouble playing rented movies on Chromecast.
It's an endeavor that Google is still working on so there are bugs and flaky issues here and there depending on your device.
As you’ve likely guessed, most of Google’s services are compatible with Google’s Chromecast and that includes their Movies and TV app. It’s a highly functional app and you’ll be making your movie and TV purchases through the Google Play Store (which Google is using to do battle with iTunes). It’s a free app and it’s worth checking out the collection!
The All Access subscription service also lets you stream pretty much anything that Play Music has to offer.
A more stable Chromecast experience.
Also preloaded on a lot of Android devices so you may already have this anyway.
It also recognizes your locally stored content which is a plus.
Without the subscription service, all you've really got going is your music collection and playlists.
Uploading your music to Google Music can take a long, long time.
Google’s Music service is right along with their Movies & TV service as Google’s attempt to take over the media market. Unlike their Movies & TV app, Play Music has far fewer issues and a much more stable experience. You can upload 20,000 of your own songs and stream them anywhere as well as get their $9.99 subscription service which nets you a lot more awesome stuff.
You can use the service on some shows for free if you don't mind ads.
Chromecast is laggy for some depending on device.
Even if you pay for it, there are still advertisements.
Latest updates are a hassle to set up, including uninstalling and re-installing the app.
Hulu Plus normally wouldn’t have made this list because the Android app required a subscription to watch anything. However, they have recently updated their service and now Android owners can watch stuff for free as long as you don’t mind suffering through the advertisements. That makes it a great choice for Chromecast because Hulu does have a pretty decent selection of TV shows to watch.
Live radio, music playlists, and talk radio can all be streamed to the Chromecast.
Free as long as you don't mind ads.
Decent design, millions of songs, and thousands of stations are among its most touted features.
Also supports Android Wear and Android TV.
Not as complete of a music solution as dedicated music services like Spotify or Google Play Music.
iHeartRadio has always been in the mixed for the best in every category it fits into and being an excellent Chromecast app is no exception. It offers plenty of live streamed radio stations, talk radio, music radio, and music playlists for your enjoyment. It’s also totally free as long as you don’t mind some ads.
Free to use with ads and you can decide how much you want to pay to get rid of them.
Supports cloud storage including Google Drive and Dropbox.
Supports video streaming from other services.
Some of the features require a bit of a learning curve.
Some subtitles don't work yet.
Some bugs here and there.
LocalCast is an interesting option for those who want to stream home media. It supports movies, pictures, videos, and even PDFs for those who need that functionality. You can also stream from your cloud storage if you use a supported cloud storage provider. It’s free to use which is good news but does have more bugs than the rest.
Uses a dedicated server set up that streams to a bunch of other devices.
Good looking UI.
There's a free trial so you can see if you like it first.
You can choose your preferred media player to play files to avoid incompatibilities.
If you use Plex already, setting this up would be redundant.
There is a learning curve because you do need to set up your own server.
Mezzmo is kind of a competitor of Plex. It has its own server system that you can use to stream your home media over DLNA to various devices. One of those supported devices is a Chromecast. It also features a nice UI and a trial version so you can see if you like it before you buy it.
A whole bunch of content from a name everyone knows.
$8.99/month is not a bad price for what you get. A lot of the Netflix original series selections are fantastic.
Create multiple profiles so people in your house can create their own lists and recommendations.
Consistently redesigned and updated to fix bugs and improve the UI.
As with all apps, some people experience issues both with the app and with the Chromecast depending on your device.
TV shows and movies can appear and disappear as time goes. Also, new seasons of shows are added much later than you'd find on, say, Hulu.
Netflix was among the first to even have Chromecast support and it remains the streaming service of choice for many who love the Chromecast. Everyone knows what Netflix is, what it has, and what it costs so there really isn’t much new information here.
One of the most stable and solid music streaming experiences is available for Chromecast.
Frequent updates to fix bugs and add new features make the app wonderful to use.
Free to use (with ads).
Limited skips are annoying and they always will be.
Limited music selection. Other services have more.
Pandora is one of the most respected names in music streaming and it’s because they’re always on the forefront of technology. It’s playable on practically ever device ever and that includes the Chromecast. If you use Pandora then chances are it’s already on your smartphone and it’s ready to be streamed to your Chromecast right now.
Create a home server and stream anything on your hard drive including photos and videos.
Includes XBMC or Roku style 'channels' for things like Revision 3 and TWiT, and TED.
With Plex Pass, you can also stream from any cloud storage site like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Solid features and development means frequent updates.
Also now works for Android TV!
There is a learning curve with this one because you have to set up your own server. It's not overly difficult but more work than many are used to.
If you don't have a large private collection then you're probably better off with a streaming service like Netflix.
Doesn't appear to like VPNs that much. Your mileage may vary if you use one.
Plex has always been in the background of the Android video streaming scene but that doesn’t mean it lacks in features. With Plex you can create a home-based streaming server out of your computer and use Plex to stream to your Android device. With Chromecast support, you can stream anything you own to any TV in your house. If you pick up Plex Pass, you get even more features if you want them.
Easy to use interface, device syncing, and download for offline play are all good features.
Discover feature helps you find more podcasts like the ones you like.
Scrapes iTunes so most of the most popular podcasts are present.
Podcasts are becoming a niche medium so we understand if you have no interest in this app.
Umm, it doesn't cook breakfast?
If you like podcasts and want to watch or listen to them on your TV, then Pocket Casts is your best option. It only has a large selection of podcasts available for consumption and has video and audio podcasts available too. It has a good interface, device syncing, and the all-important Chromecast support!
Casts your local music on your device to your TV which is nice.
Has desirable music player features like an equalizer, gapless playback, themes, and ID3 tag editing.
Has a free version so you can see if you like it first.
Last.fm scrobbling for those that need that.
Chromecast support is in the paid version only.
If your preferred music player doesn't have Chromecast support and you use this one, you'll have two music players hanging around.
Shuttle+ is among the best options for streaming just your home music. Google Play Music is good as well but it really works better if your music is uploaded to Google Play Music or you’re using their All Access. Shuttle+ seems to work better with music stored on your device. There’s a free version but you’ll get the best experience with the pro version.
More League of Legends than you'll ever conceivably need.
Your favorite eSports and game streaming can now be casted to your TV!
Great place for gamers to go to see if games are good by watching others play them.
Free to use with no in app purchases.
Good, easy-to-use interface.
If you don't like video games, skip this.
Twitch is kind of a world all its own. If you enjoy watching people play video games or enjoy eSports then having Twitch is practically a prerequisite. Of course if you don’t like those things then you probably don’t need this one. It is free so you can at least give it a shot without paying anything.
Music, news, webcasts, video podcasts, funny videos, and all sorts of other stuff straight to your TV.
Create a playlist, cast it once, and it'll cast the whole list.
Free with ads.
Some people don't like the longer video ads.
Some videos cast in a resolution that is wrong on your TV and some parts of some videos may get cut off.
We originally didn’t put YouTube on this list because it seemed too obvious but thanks to reader requests, it will adorn the list. YouTube has plenty of videos for your consumption that include reviews, news, music, webcasts, video podcasts, and all sorts of other stuff. If you grab up YouTube, don’t forget to subscribe to Android Authority!
If there is a Chromecast app that we missed, please let us know in the comments! If you’d like to search for some awesome Chromecast apps on your own, you can also open the Google Play Store, tap the Apps section, then select Categories and click the Chromecast button at the top right. There you’ll see apps that have Chromecast support so you can discover on your own!