Wondershare Media Center is a brand new free Windows application that allows you to stream videos from your PC to Chromecast. It’s in the early release stage at the moment with version 1.0.0 having been released at 4:00 p.m. today (UTC?). So if you’re looking for a bug free experience you might want to wait a bit, but it’s available now after months of Chromecast purposefully locking out the ability to cast all the things.
One of the big problems and complaints with Chromecast is that once you’ve got it there’s not too much you can do other than watch Netflix, Hulu, HBO, or YouTube, or you can pay for a handful of apps that sort of work but are buggy, require your phone to be devoted to streaming, etc.
If you’ve wanted to watch a movie or video on your computer, you’ve been pretty much out of luck. With Wondershare Media Center, you might be a little less out of luck, if you’re lucky. It’s still a little bit buggy, but it’s free and doesn’t install adware or spyware and anything that you can play on your computer seems to play on the Chromecast with transcoding happening in real time on the PC when required.
There are not a lot of bells and whistles to the program yet, and with two Chromecasts in my house plugged in I’ve had to turn one off occasionally to get the selection to work on the other one, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that detects when the bandwidth or transcoding are not keeping up as you can end up with something running in super slow motion, but it’s just been released and it’s free so expect bugs.
For those a bit wary about running random free software found on the internets, the company’s got a digital certificate issued to Shenzhen Wondershare Information Technology and it’s coming from a company that’s been around for a few years making various video conversion and downloader products.
What I can find in various forums seem to indicate that it flat out works or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, forget it, it’s not going to. But it’s 30MB, takes about a minute to install, and can be operated within 20 seconds of startup. So it’s worth a minute or two if you’re attempting to play something you downloaded from the internet on the Chromecast you purchased to play something you downloaded from the internet.
It makes the claim that it works with all your PC movies and lists MP4, AVI, MP4 (again, they really want you to understand they support MP4), WMV, MP3, M4A and many more formats as supported. Yes, it will play and transcode at least some files with the container extension of MKV.
It’s a little frustrating when it doesn’t work, but it’s free for now at least and can get your Chromecast doing things you thought it could do when you bought it months ago.