Google’s Chromecast is a wonderful device, a £30 dongle that takes all the hassle out of TV content discovery. These are the best Chromecast-friendly apps available right now.
Once you’ve downloaded the mandatory Chromecast apps (here’s the iTunes and Google Play links), use this rundown of our favourite apps to get the most from your nifty telly dongle.
As we’re a UK-based publication, the Chromecast apps listed here are UK-centric and therefore may not work in your territory (unless you use a VPN). Sorry everyone else.
As well as our choices for best apps, we’ve also included a personal wishlist of services that aren’t yet Chromecast-compatible, as well as some decidedly naff apps to steer well clear of.
Best, essential, absolutely must-have Chromecast apps
The BBC’s beloved iPlayer is supported by literally hundreds of smart TV platforms and Chromecast is no exception. It works seamlessly, easily letting you ‘cast catch-up shows to your TV with the simple tap of the Cast icon – that little rectangle with the RSS-style waves bottom-left.
BBC iPlayer: iTunes, Google Play
After BBC iPlayer one of the first things we check for when we get a new smart TV device is whether or not you can get Netflix on it.
Netflix on Chromecast lets you use your phone or tablet as a second screen – you can search for the TV episodes or films you want to watch on Netflix and cast them to the screen.
You can even queue up the next episode or film to watch on your phone or screen while the current stream you’re watching on your TV continues to play. If your phone rings you can answer it without interrupting the flow.
Netflix: iTunes, Google Play
The Sky-owned streaming service Now TV now supports Chromecast, meaning you can get content including live Sky Sports, Sky Moviesand top entertainment from channels including Sky 1, Sky Living and Sky Atlantic on your TV without a Sky TV subscription or a Now TV box.
If you’ve got the Now TV app on your iOS or Android device you’ll be able to easily cast content to your TV via Chromecast with a tap of Google’s TV icon.
Now TV: iTunes, Google Play
The on-demand player formerly known as 4oD is now Chromecast friendly, meaning you can now search for the likes of Made In Chelsea, The Undateables, Hollyoaks and Deutschland 83 on your phone and cast them to your TV.
On top of catching up with recently aired content from all of the Channel 4 channels – that’s E4, More 4, 4Seven, Film4 and, er, Channel 4 – you can also rifle through the vaults and stream entire seasons of Spaced, Skins, Black Books, Brass Eye and more.
All 4: iTunes, Google Play
BT Broadband customers can get BT Sport for free, so it makes sense to use it on a big screen.
Now thanks to Chromecast support you can easily stream Premier League football action on your TV. Both the iOS and Android BT Sport apps have added Chromecast support, letting you stream live and catch-up content from BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN.
The Tesco-owned streaming service is now Chromecast-compatible, meaning Johnny-come-lately fans who are just waking up to the greatness of Mad Men, Game of Thrones, True Detective and others can dip into all of these shows at your convenience.
Unlike many streaming services there’s no monthly subscription with Blinkbox – you just pay for what you want when you want to watch it.
Blinkbox: iTunes, Google Play
The BBC Sport iOS and Android apps both feature Chromecast support, great news for footy fans now that teh Premier League season has kicked off again.
When you’re browsing through the app on your phone or tablet, BBC Sport will automatically detect when you’re viewing content that can be viewed on your TV – the familiar Chromecast icon will ghost into life in the top right corner of your screen.
BBC Sport: iTunes, Google Play
Turn your television into a streaming music speaker using Spotify. If you have the TV hooked up to a sound system then this app will help you take full advantage of that via the Chromecast.
Start listening just as you would normally within the iOS or Android app then select output device as Chromecast to begin streaming instantly to that speaker. Control everything from the phone anywhere within range of the Wi-Fi network, ideal for pumping it up to hear all over the house.
Spotify: iTunes, Google Play
The TED platform is one of the most respected in the world when it comes to educating people on real world issues. Now it’s moved beyond your phone and onto any screen using Chromecast.
The app features over 2000 talks which can be laid out in your own playlist, so while watching via Chromecast you can queue up your next video on your smartphone.
TED: iTunes, Google Play
Yup, Chromecast can even make your TV a gaming machine. This classic-style game can be flung to the big screen, using your phone or tablet as a controller.
You can battle with up to five other players, making Alien Invaders a living room adventure. If nothing else it helps break up a binge TV marathon with something a bit more engaging, right?
Alien Invaders: iTunes, Google Play
When you next get in from a mammoth session of Pokémon GO, you can continue living in the world of Pikachu and pals using the Pokémon TV app – now Chromecast friendly.
The free app is crammed full of Pokémon episodes which can be cast to a TV using Chromecast with the good old cast icon.
When it comes to leaving you can end the casting and save an episode for offline viewing while on the move too. Seamless.
Pokémon TV: iTunes, Google Play
If you’re a fan of the Revision3 tech round-up show then you’ll be pleased to learn that both the iOS and Android apps support Chromecast.
Whether you’re into Film Riot, Hak 5 or Tekzilla, you’ll be able to get your Revision 3 fix on Chromecast here.
The individual apps for Film Riot and the like haven’t been updated for Chromecast support just yet, but it’s really easy to scroll through the whole Revision 3 menu, find the Chromecast icon and ping whatever you want to your big screen.
Revision3: iTunes, Google Play
Pay per view-cum-subscription service Wuaki.tv reckons that the majority of its customers watch content through the many smart TVs apps – but what if you’ve not got a smart TV? Fear not, for Wuaki offers Chromecast support on its iOS and Android apps.
Content available on Wuaki now includes Game of Thrones, True Detective and True Blood, alongside other high-profile HBO shows.
Wuaki.tv: iTunes, Google Play
Red Bull TV
For fans of extreme sports as well as people who just want something cool to watch on Chromecast, Red Bull TV is an essential app download.
Red Bull TV serves up free HD clips of skateboarding, surfing, UCI Mountain Biking and trails as well as previews of sponsored events like the Red Bull Air Race and Red Bull Rampage. Enough to get anyone’s blood pumping.
Red Bull: iTunes, Google Play
Both the iOS and Android YouTube apps have supported Chromecast from the beginning, letting you quickly and easily ‘cast the latest viral video craze/annoying song to your TV.
To be honest if you don’t have Chromecast, you could already do this thanks to YouTube Leanback on YouTube-friendly smart TVs and TV boxes – a good feature to namedrop if you fancy trolling anyone who has just spent £30.
YouTube: iTunes, Google Play
Alongside YouTube and Red Bull TV, DailyMotion is another free video streaming app that’s been updated to support Chromecast.
DailyMotion is available now on iOS and Android. These apps allow anyone to record and upload videos to the platform right from within the app – one great way to access your content on the big screen via Chromecast.
Best Chromecast apps: Coming soon and what we’d like to see
Amazon Prime Video (formerly Lovefilm Instant)
Given Amazon’s reticence to launch Prime Video on any Android devices other than its own Kindle Fire tablets (until recently) combined with the fact that its hawking its own range of Fire TV devices (including the Chromecast-like Fire TV Stick) we’re not expecting Prime Video to support Chromecast anytime soon.
Then again, it’d be nice for owners of iPads and Kindle tablets to ‘cast episodes of Vikings, Extant, and eventually Clarkson, Hammon and May’s new show to the big screen.
With all that said and done, Amazon has yet to announce its Chromecast intentions (if it even has any), so watch this space.
ITV Player and Demand 5
As we revealed in our Chromecast review, you can already get ITV Hub and Demand 5 on Chromecast now, via the desktop browser extension.
While this workaround is perfect for watching old episodes of The IT Crowd, the browser extension is slightly clunky and isn’t as convenient as pinging a show from your phone or tablet would be.
Chromecast mirroring for Android means you can get ITV Hub and Demand 5 on your TV screen through the back door, but the quality is iffy.
We’ve yet to hear from ITV and Channel 5 about their Chromecast plans.