It will come as no surprise to anyone who follows me on Techaeris when I say that I love the Google Chromecast. Earlier this year, I wrote an article as to whether the $35 dongle mattered and why; in short, I believe it matters because the proliferation of the device and an open SDK is helping Google create an industry standard for casting content to screens in a market where others have had either marginal success or failed.
As someone who uses his quite Chromecast regularly, I’ve found some awesome – and not so awesome – Chromecast apps since Google opened up the development kit for everyone to experiment with. I’ve compiled a list of the top 11 must-have apps for Chromecast, some of which will be familiar, and some of which may surprise you.
If you’re an Android user that wants to share the pictures and videos on their phone or tablet to the TV, you’re in luck. AllCast is by far the best way to do it, and one of the simplest. Top the Cast button, select the location of your content, and that’s it! Koush has even added new lock screen controls, cover art for music and videos, and volume control, among a host of other features. The free version allows 1 minute of viewing for each photo or video you cast and the premium version allows unfettered casting of your memories.
Available on the Google Play Store for FREE & 4.99.
If you’ve ever played Cards Against Humanity, you know how ludicrous, lewd, and downright fun the game is. Dehumanize Your Friends brings CAH to the TV, promising card submissions in a future update. You need at least two people and devices to play, but the real fun begins when you’ve got three or more players. One person acts as the card czar every turn and is assigned a random black card with a phrase that’s missing one or more words. Meanwhile, the other players select white cards to fill in the blank space or spaces on the black card, usually to a hilarious end. It’s great to see a version of CAH on the Chromecast, and this app delivers just as many laughs as the original card game.
Available on the Google Play Store for FREE.
Subscription service Netflix is widely touted as the king of the streaming entertainment industry, and that’s about all the explanation you need. Cast your favorite flicks and TV shows to your Chromecast with ease on both Android and iOS.
Another streaming service that comes as a no-brainer part of this list. What a lot of people don’t realize is that behind all of the cute cat videos, YouTube actually features a lot of high-quality content. CrashCourse, The Phillip DeFranco Show, CGP Grey, Machinima, and Marques Brownlee among others are all YouTube personalities and channels that produce excellent content in a wide variety of topics. Casting these shows to Chromecast and utilizing the TV queue playlist feature helps make YouTube feel like big-time TV.
TicTacToe for Chromecast is one of those deceptively simple games. Everyone loves playing TicTacToe, and this Android and iOS app is one of a very limited number of games that currently supports Chromecast. Simple is good, and having this hanging around on your tablet for when you’re bored is great.
Just because you’ve bought into one platform or another, that doesn’t mean you don’t know where to find a good deal. Google Play Movies & TV sometimes offers free first episodes of TV shows, discounted movie rentals, and reasonable purchase prices for TV series. If you’ve recently moved to an Apple product, but a majority of your purchased content is on Google Play Movies & TV, never fear! You can still watch and cast all of that purchased content on an iOS device.
After recently updating Pocket Casts to support Chromecast, this app absolutely makes this list. Now you can enjoy your favorite audio and video podcasts by casting them right to your TV with a simple tap. The app also features an Up Next playlist that functions similarly to YouTube’s TV queue.
Available on the Google Play Store for $3.99.
CastPad is a simple drawing app that allows you to cast what you’re drawing onto the big screen. I tried this out on my Nexus 7 tablet with great success – the app works perfectly for what it’s advertised as doing. The free version only comes with a handful of colors, but the premium version is available via in-app purchase for a low fee.
Available on the Google Play Store for FREE & $2.00.
Plex is easily one of the most powerful media systems ever created. If you have a Plex Media Server, you can now cast your content from that server to your TV through the Chromecast. Although you must pay for the app, the previously paid-only casting service is now free to all who own the Plex app.
CourseraCast by Kristin Peterson
Coursera is a free service that allows users to take online courses for free, aiding in making higher education and knowledge more widespread and available to all. Accomplished programmer Kristin Peterson created her first ever Android app, the amazing CourseraCast, on March 18 so that members of Coursera could cast their lecture videos to their Chromecast. The nice thing is that Peterson is planning to add further support to the app, including video lecture quiz and subtitle support soon. The app is very well done for a first time Android developer, and is a must-have you want to learn on the go!
Available on the Google Play Store for FREE.
There you have it, my top 10 apps for Chromecast. Make sure to rate and review your favorite Chromecast apps after you download them, especially the up-and-coming ones.
So how about you? Do you have any favorite Chromecast apps for Android of iOS? Let us know in the comments section down below, by email, or on social media.
Last Updated on April 2, 2014.