How to stream local content from Android to Chromecast – AllCast vs Castaway
The Chromecast SDK was finally made available to all developers recently, which also removed the restriction that needed the hardware to be whitelisted, and gave developers the opportunity to allow users to cast content to their TV. There are two applications, both of which are available from the Google Play Store, that lets you stream your local content to the big screen – AllCast, created by ClockworkMod, and Castaway, created by Primetime Coder. Let’s take a look at how both this applications fare in a head to head!
We’ll begin our quest to find the best way to cast local media on to your TV with AllCast, created by one of the most well-known Android developers on the scene, Koushik Dutta, aka ClockworkMod. There have been a lot of ups and downs with relation to Chromecast support with AllCast, but with the release of the SDK, the app now comes with full Chromecast support.
The app itself is very easy to use. All you need to do is to connect to your Chromecast, after which you will be taken to your gallery. The gallery divides your local media into three lists, including All, Photos, and Videos, as well as a separate section for Audio that is accessible from a side menu. Scroll to find what media you want to stream, and tapping it will result in it playing on your TV via Chromecast. Of course, AllCast is also compatible with other devices as well. You control the media from the app, or from the notification menu of your device.
The free version of the app allows for one minute of media streaming, with the premium version required for anything longer.
Next up is an application that has received little exposure as of now, called Castaway, developed by Primetime Coder. This app is also very easy to use. Once again, all you need to do is connect to your Chromecast, scroll through your images and videos, and tap on the selection you want to play. Unlike AllCast, Castaway only supports Chromecast, with streaming media content restricted to images and videos, although I did find that the app could play GIFs as well. The app uses the Google recommended Holo interface, and you can slide between your images and videos fluidly.
You get full functionality with the free version, albeit with ads, which can be removed by upgrading to the premium version.
When opening AllCast, it takes you to an option screen that lets you choose which device you want to stream your media to. As mentioned before, AllCast not only supports Chromecast, but other devices like Roku, Apple TV, the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and more. You can find a full list of supported devices in the app description in the Google Play Store.
You’ll notice a clean interface once you get into the gallery. Swiping between menus and flipping through your media is fast and easy. Apart from multiple device support, the added benefit of AllCast is the option the play audio, which can be found in a separate tab accessible from the side menu.
AllCast is still in its infant stages, so you do face some issues with the app crashing, or sometimes even being unable to play some media. The good news is that the developer actively updates the app, including a recent update that introduced the new user interface, and with it getting better with every revision, all the bugs should be ironed out quite quickly.
On the flip side, Castaway takes the route of specializing in only one thing, in this case its Chromecast support. It also allows streaming of only photos and videos, but if this restriction isn’t a problem, Castaway is one of the easiest apps to use. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, and videos play in just a few seconds. There is some sluggishness with larger videos, but after a few additional seconds of buffering, video playback is as smooth as expected.
With Castaway, you can also control the application and media from your device lock screen, with saves you from the additional step of unlocking your device if you need to do anything. This application was published very recently, and there are some bugs that need to be worked out. In some instances, videos cannot be played, but simply closing and restarting the app seems to fix this problem more often that not. That being said, this application does mostly work really well, and should continue to get even better with every update.
In many ways, you get a jack of all trades with the AllCast, which, as the name suggests, lets you stream all your media files including photos, videos, and audio, to a long list of compatible devices. On the other hand, the Castaway is meant only to be used with the Chromecast, with streaming of audio files not available as of now. But if this isn’t an issue, the free version of the Castaway app comes with full functionality with ads, while the free version of AllCast is quite limited.
Other Chromecast videos
What are your thoughts? Which, out of the two, do you think is the better application to stream your local content to your TV? Let us know in the comments section below!