Let’s set aside TV dongle-comparisons and set-top-boxes alternatives. We can look at Google’s little guy and factually say: this is good stuff. We won’t be wrong.
Chromecast has taken the idiot out of the idiot box. Thanks to it, now we can even call our 10-year old set a “Smart TV,” since it’s connected to the Internet and capable of running apps. Isn’t that smart enough for you?
Chromecast-ready apps help upgrade our everyday TV by adding new functionality: from video content casting to gaming. The AppsZoom team has selected the best apps to make the most of your Chromecast. This is the result.
A Streaming Photo Frame: DAYFRAME
Dayframe isn’t a native Chromecast app: it was first developed to turn any Android device into a streaming photo frame. However, cloud.tv has done a great job adding Chromecast support. Now, you can stream photos stored in your smartphone or tablet to your TV seamlessly.
There’s more. Dayframe can also pull photos from Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google , Dropbox, Flickr, Twitter, 500px… based both on your tastes (“low-brow,” “foodie,” “amazing people,” “street art,” etc.) and specific folders/users that you select.
The stream gets going automatically whenever you’re not using your device. It’s a whole new dimension to the TV: instead of having a switched off screen, you can now enjoy having automatic and constantly changing art flowing through your living room.
AllCast makes it easier to share media located on your Android device with your TV. Right after pairing your tablet or smartphone with your Chromecast, you’ll realize just how easy AllCast is. Select the type of media you want to share: video, photos, or content from a media server. Navigate through your own directories, and select the media you want to cast. It will take just a few seconds to load.
You can play it as a slideshow, play from SD card, or from Dropbox/Google Drive accounts. A neat and seamless interface make it one of the best apps to cast content from your Android device to your Chromecast or capable TV.
Did you think gaming was going to stay out of this? Not at all. Eli Sherer’s GamingCast turns your Chromecast into a video game console and your Android device into a gamepad to control it. How does that sound?
GamingCast includes a selection of 6 classic games (more are coming), including Snake, Pong, Xonix, Tetrominoes (Tetris-like), Flapper (Angry Bird-like) and Breakout. The Gamepad controls feel comfortable and responsive. The games’ graphics are simple, yet neat and polished. Transition from one game to the next is smooth. The experience of playing these classics on your TV while relaxing on the couch is unbeatable.
StumbleUpon’s 5by serves you an endless stream of curated video content based on your mood, social interests and time of the day.
It tracks your behavior and watching history to generate a continuous stream of video, made up of both viral vids and hidden gems. Of course, since the next video is played automatically right after the previous ends, it’s a perfect format to be mirrored to your Chromecast. If you don’t know what to watch on TV, or you just want to stay in the loop of what’s trendy on the Internet, 5by provides an excellent way to enjoy video content.
Apart from the groundbreaking idea and its potential, the app’s design is top-notch. Fresh, neat and polished. Hands down, a cutting-edge video discoverer. A must-have app if you are a Chromecast owner.
Pocket Casts is a top-notch podcast parade. Find a huge catalogue of featured videos and worthy podcasts from a lot of reliable sources. Of course, although you can enjoy it to the fullest right from your Android device, its recently added Chromecast support has made it break into this list with flying colors. Enjoying Pocket Casts’ content from the TV seems the natural way to do so. It’s a blessing!
You can subscribe to channels and get notifications when a new resource comes up. That’s happening on a daily/weekly basis depending on the source. Download or stream content, sort episodes, mark as played/unplayed, share content, and add content filters. Pocket Casts is a full-featured, beautiful, and intuitive app. Do your television a favor and a mirror content from it.
Notice that Pocket Casts isn’t a free app (there isn’t a trial version, unfortunately). However, it’s worth every cent.
ostec’s PhotoCast provides what’s probably the most complete and beautiful experience to cast photos to your Chromecast device.
The main reason is that, unlike others, it doesn’t just allow you to cast photos individually, but it really looks and feel like a photo gallery. In fact, it features three different views: “Stack” (similar to Android built-in gallery), “Magazine” (check out the pic above), and “fullscreen”.
Some extra features like Geo View (photo thumbnails on a map where they were taken) and Autoplay (slideshow) complete the experience. It’s a pity that it doesn’t integrate cloud-storage services like Dropbox, GDrive and Box yet. However, when it comes to intuitiveness and beauty, PhotoCast beats other current options.
The way we watch TV News is going to change forever. Haystack is part of the change. It curates the most trending news videos and puts the together on its accessible and personalized news video channel. You can either watch news on your mobile device or on your TV through Chromecast.
Of course, Haystack TV News is personalized: you can select the categories of the news you want to receive and it will learn from you everyday, as you keep faving and consuming news. Cast any video from your mobile device to your TV via Chromecast and enjoy it from the couch. Yes, like you always have. It’s just that now you can decide what you watch.
Although it can still be enhanced regarding design and some missing features, Haystack TV News is definitely a worthy TV news feed to consider.
Q-it features multi-themed educational videos for kids reliably curated by educators. The premise is simple: backing your kids education with video content that can achieve a double goal: to invite them to learn and enjoy.
Thus, you can access “viewlists” right from “My Sandbox,” which is a video feed categorized by topics. First, there’s a “getting started with Q-it” lesson, and then you’ll find three samples. Sample 1 is about numbers, colors and letters. Sample 2 features feelings. Sample 3 is a compilation of video tales read by real educators. Each video includes an “engagement guide,” which is part of the learning: both parents and kids will understand the purpose of the video and bring it down to earth. The guides will help them.
Q-it’s main flaw is a short catalogue of videos (it’s growing gradually, though). Regardless, it’s an excellent tool to help kids learn basic stuff, especially thanks to its Chromecast support.