Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or Android TV. You’ve probably purchased — or at least thought about purchasing — one of the many devices that make it easier to get your favorite movies and TV shows from the internet to your television. (A task for which you’ll also need to pick at least one of a dizzying array of streaming services.) But if you’ve settled on Google’s Chromecast, the hard decisions are over. Now comes the fun part: choosing which Chromecast apps to download and experiment with.
The Chromecast is able to stream Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, HBO Now, and thousands of other apps and games to your TV. But let’s start with the basics first. You’ll need to use your Android phone, Android tablet, iPhone, iPad, or PC to control the Chromecast. Once the device is plugged in and powered on, you’ll install the Chromecast app either from the Google Play Store on an Android phone or tablet or from Apple’s App Store on an iPhone or iPad. Then, you can stream an app to your TV via Chromecast in one of two ways. You can either open the app — let’s say Netflix — on your phone or tablet and tap the “cast” icon. Or, you can find TV shows and movies and launch the required apps right from Google’s new Chromecast app.
In either case, there are actually thousands of Chromecast apps to choose among — just take a look at the app store! If you want a little bit of guidance on which apps you should download first, the following list is for you. Each of the apps we’ve included is guaranteed to entertain.
Looking for a way to stream the media that you have stored on your smartphone or tablet to your television? Your Chromecast will be up to the task as soon as you install AllCast, an app that enables you to send photos and videos to your TV from either cloud or local storage. The AllCast app is available in the iOS, Android, and Amazon app stores.
2. Chrome Browser
Google Chrome was one of the first apps to gain Chromecast support, and still numbers among the most useful. With Chrome for either Android or iOS, you can cast whatever you’re seeing in the browser to your TV. Whether you’re watching a video online or scrolling through photos on your favorite blog, the ability to cast your browser to your TV is likely to become one of your favorite Chromecast features.
If you aren’t quite ready to pay for another streaming service subscription, consider Crackle, which is free and supported by ads. The Crackle app for Android or iOS enables you to stream a variety of TV shows and movies, and also gives you access to Crackle’s original content — all without adding another subscription fee to your monthly bills.
4. Google Play Movies and TV
Google Play Movies and TV is the app you’ll need to manage the movies and TV shows that you purchase or rent through Google Play. If you aren’t sure yet whether you really want to buy into the Google Play ecosystem, you can always give the streaming experience a trial run with one of Google’s frequent promotions.
5. Google Play Music
If you don’t mind buying into Google’s system of apps, Google Play Music should also make your list of Chromecast apps to download. If you still have an extensive music library stored locally on one or more of your devices, you can upload up to 50,000 songs to stream on any of your devices. You can stream your own music or your favorites from Google Play Music to your Chromecast, which makes the app (available on Android and iOS) a great all-around music player.
6. HBO Go and HBO Now
HBO is another standby when it comes to favorite sources of entertainment. If you already have an HBO subscription as part of your cable service, you can download HBO Go for Android or iOS and stream your favorites to your TV via the Chromecast. Or, if you don’t have an HBO subscription or are trying to ditch your cable provider, you can buy an HBO Now subscription and download the app for Android or iOS.
If you already have a Hulu Plus membership, the Hulu app will likely be one of the first Chromecast apps that you try out. Just download the Hulu app for Android or iOS, and you’ll be able to control what’s streaming on your TV right from your iPhone or Android smartphone.
8. iHeart Radio
Another big name in streaming entertainment is iHeart Radio. The app is a bit like Pandora, with stations created by iHeart Radio. But you can also listen to actual radio stations even when you don’t have an actual radio in the house, or use the app to stay up to date on your favorite podcasts. The app is available for both Android and iOS.
MegaCast should definitely top your list of must-have Chromecast apps if you have an Android phone. It’s the first Chromecast player with real-time transcoding support, which means that you can play any video without any restrictions — even files that Chromecast can’t support. You can play any video on your phone or tablet with a single tap.
Netflix probably needs no introduction if you’re already a fan of streaming movies and TV shows. If you’re really at a loss as to where to start with Chromecast apps, downloading Netflix is a safe bet. You can use Netflix on your Chromecast with the Netflix app on Android or iOS, or by visiting Netflix’s website in Google’s Chrome browser.
If you’ve built up years of favorites and data on Pandora, there’s no reason to quit using the app now. And if you haven’t ever used Pandora before, it’s easy to start. You can start stations with a favorite song, artist, genre, or composer to create your own personalized stations. Just download the Pandora app for Android or iOS, and you’ll be listening to great music through your living room sound system in no time.
Plex was one of the first apps to support Chromecast, so it’s fitting that it makes our shortlist of favorite Chromecast apps. Plex is the perfect app for organizing your videos, music, TV, and photos, and then streaming them to all of your devices. For instance, you can stream from your computer to your smartphone and then to your TV via the Chromecast. You can use the free Plex Media Server, or upgrade for more features. Plex is available on iOS and Android.
13. Pocket Casts
If you’re a big podcast enthusiast, then do yourself a favor and download Pocket Casts for Android or iOS. The app enables you to subscribe to podcasts, check out episode lists and summaries, and even create smart playlists. The app also supports video podcasts, which are an easy candidate for casting to your big-screen TV and your sound system.
Unlike some of the other apps on the list, Spotify wasn’t very fast in adding Chromecast support. But you can now use the Android or iOS app to stream all of your favorite songs, listen to curated playlists, or sync your personal library to your device.