Google’s Chromecast is a wonder; this £30 dongle takes all the hassle out of TV content discovery. We review the best Chromecast-friendly apps going.
Aside from the mandatory Chromecast apps (here’s the iTunes and Google Play links) here’s our rundown of what you should immediately download if you’ve not done so already.
As we’re a UK-based publication, the 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 this, we’ve also included a personal wishlist of services that aren’t yet Chromecast-compatible and some decidedly naff ones to steer 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.
Any keen Chromecast fans who imported one from the US ahead of its official UK release will be pleased to learn that the BBC iPlayer works perfectly, so you won’t need to swap your imported Chromecast for one bought from Currys.
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 Movies and 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 recently earned its Chromecast wings, meaning you can now search for the likes of Made In Chelsea, The Undateables, Hollyoaks and new series 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 – but unless they’ve got a Sky or BT TV subscription, getting BT Sport content on your TV screen would have required you to connect a laptop to a spare HDMI port.
Now thanks to Chromecast support you can stream Premier League football action on your TV with a lot less hassle. Both the iOS and Android BT Sport apps added Chromecast support back in April, letting you stream live and catch-up content from BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN.
BT Sport: iTunes, Google Play
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.
Currently, the only Chromecast-friendly versions of Blinkbox are the iPad and Android tablet editions.
Blinkbox: iTunes, Google Play
Updated for in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the BBC Sport iOS and Android apps now feature Chromecast support.
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
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 recently added Chromecast support on its iOS and Android apps.
Content available on Wuaki now includes Game of Thrones, True Detectiveand True Blood, alongside other high-profile HBO shows.
Wuaki is also letting customers get a £20 discount off of Chromecast when they buy a new TV series to watch. Chromecast for just a tenner.
Wuaki.tv: iTunes, Google Play
Red Bull TV
Free video apps are few and far between on Chromecast at the moment but Red Bull TV is one you’ll be able to enjoy straight away.
For fans of extreme sports as well as people who just want something cool to watch on Chromecast, Red Bull TV serves up free HD clips of skateboarding, surfing, UCI Mountain Biking, trails as well as previews of sponsored events like the Red Bull Air Race and Red Bull Rampage.
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 toYouTube 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.
So far only the Android DailyMotion app has been updated, leaving iPhone and iPad owners out of the loop for the time being. At least there’s AirPlay support if you’re got an Apple TV.
DailyMotion: iTunes, Google Play
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-likeFire 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 Crowdand Desmonds, 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.