Google’s Chromecast is the perfect gadget to have if you’re looking for the simplest way to stream movies, TV shows, YouTube (and other web videos), and music from your mobile device to a TV. Just plug the Chromecast into one of your TV’s HDMI inputs, download the official app, and start streaming.
Whether you’re new to the Chromecast party, or the device is a permanent part of how you watch content, you should have this collection of apps in your library. You can find even more by searching the Google Play store for titles that support “Google Cast” (the official name of Google’s streaming technology).
Whatever you like to watch, you’re bound to find something that suits your taste. So consider our list a jumping-off point.
The king of streaming was one of the first to get on board with the Chromecast. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can browse through the available movies and TV shows faster with this app than you can with the software on smart TV or Blu-ray player. If you don’t have a subscription, you sign up for a free 30-day trial.
HBO Go offers an incredible amount of the TV network’s catalog of original movies and TV series, sporting events, Hollywood movies, and documentaries. It will become even better when HBO delivers on its plan to offer direct HBO Go subscriptions. Until then, you’ll need to pay for a cable- or satellite-TV service provider (or borrow another paying-customer’s login credentials).
If you have a large collection of movies and TV shows your hard drive. Plex is the best way to get it from your computer to your television. The $2 app pairs with the free Plex Media Server on your PC for a pretty seamless setup. The app can then pull content from your computer and stream it to the Chromecast, freeing you from the need to connect your computer to the TV.
Sometimes streaming isn’t for you, it’s to keep the little ones entertained. With PBS Kids you get a lot of educational content so you can feel good that you’re not just letting your kids’ brains rot. The app brings a “Weekly Pick” video that focuses on reading, science, math, or other learning topics. You can also add videos to a favorites list for later watching or to get suggestions of similar content.
Disney Movies Anywhere
If your children haven’t annoyed you enough with repeated viewings of Frozen, then Disney Movies Anywhere may help you find something else for them to watch from Mickey’s massive catalog.
Sign up for a free account and you can stream any Disney movies you’ve purchased through iTunes, Google Play, or DVDs and Blu-ray discs that include a digital-download code. It’s great for a trip because you can just grab your tablet or smartphone and a Chromecast instead of stuffing a bag full of DVDs.
This one’s for the cord cutters. Pluto TV is essentially a free TV service. While it doesn’t come with support from any of the major network channels, it does have some surprisingly good content, including CBS News, the Associated Press, and many different music video and comedy channel offerings. When you sign up, let the app know what types of video you’re interested in, and Pluto will build a custom guide tailored to your interests.
Google Play Music
Google Play Music may not be as popular as Spotify or Pandora, but it works extremely well with Chromecast. Cast the music from your account to the TV, or use your All Access paid subscription to listen to anything in Google’s catalog.
This is a great service for gatherings where you want to control the playlist, as all you need is your phone to cycle through the tracks. It’s even better with YouTube Music Key, as it alerts you to any music videos associated with the song you’re listening to.
Vevo has become the king of music videos, with most top artists hosting their new recordings on the site. Search for your favorite artist or browse through the suggestions, which typically highlight what’s popular. You get more options, such as bundling your preferred musicians or genres, if you sign up for an account.
The sports broadcasting behemoth turns your Android device into a virtual ESPN. Watch ESPN has Sportscenter videos, highlight reels, and live events.You do, however, need to have a cable or satellite subscription in order to watch content. So for it’s not for cord cutters now, but it adds some nice flexibility in being able to watch your sports programming on a TV that’s not connected to your pay-TV service.
Google Play Movies & TV
Google has put a lot of effort into its movie and TV platform, as you can find just about anything from the major studios or television networks. Google has also been known to give away movies; most recently, Gravity and The Lord of the Rings. Once a movie is in your account, you can watch it anywhere at any time.
And since Goolge Play Movies & TV is a cross-platform service, you can watch your purchased content on an Apple TV or any web browser. With the Chrome and Android apps, you can also save your videos for offline viewing.
That’s a wrap
We’ve named our 10 farvorite Chromecast apps here, but you’ll find plenty more in the Google Play Store. What do you think of our list? Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments section, below.
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Derek Walter is a freelance technology writer based in Northern California. He is the author of Learning MIT App Inventor, a hands-on guide to building your own Android apps.