When I first got a Chromecast, the idea came to me that I could stream videos from my computer to it, bypassing the constant problems I was having with the XBOX 360 and Media Center solutions that I had implemented.
My computer is more than powerful enough to transcode and play videos, that was never the issue – the random days when Windows Media Center or video shares couldn’t be found, the wanting to watch a movie and being forced to sit through the 360 updating, and many other issues were problems I thought were going to be things of the past.
Unfortunately, the Chromecast was released with very limited functionality, and then we waited… and waited… and to this date there’s no native way to push a video from a computer to the Chromecast, but Videostream comes as close to what I wanted my Chromecast to do in the first place: play any video my computer understands to my Chromecast, put subtitles in if I want them, and control fast forward, rewind, play and pause from my cell phone.
There are other programs now that also do this, but Videostream appears to be free for most of what I use it for. The developers do offer a$1.49 a month/$14.99 yearly/$34.99 lifetime premium upgrade that enables you to establish a playlist, bypass any advertising (I haven’t seen any), select what to play next from the Android application, customize the look of subtitles, and something called Videostream TV. You can skip that if you just want to play a movie however.
For most, you can play a single movie with no problem. I played a couple of MKVs with 5.1 audio with no issues, other than seeking from the Android app didn’t seem to correlate with actual times in the movie I was watching. The Videostream app on Android seemed convinced I was watching a 67 minute long movie when I was streaming a two and a half hour beast. Pause and play worked fine, so this didn’t bother me as I hadn’t spent a dime.
You will need to have a computer capable of playing and transcoding things in a reasonable timeframe in order for this to work. My seven year old home machine seems to work fine. If your system is barely chugging along and pauses for seconds every time a piece of AOL mail comes in, it’s not going to be fast enough.
Additionally, to broadcast 1080p perfectly and all that fun jazz, you’re going to need some WiFi bandwidth. A Chromecast that’s sitting wedged between a TV and a plaster wall filled with the chicken-wiring they use to keep asbestos insulation in might not get enough signal to display high quality video.
So give it a try if you’re wanting that functionality. The Chrome extension that runs Videostream is free to use (although there may be advertising at some point), and the web app doesn’t cost anything. If you like the product and want the extra features or just want to support the developers, sign up for premium.
I didn’t have anything particularly high action and crazy to test the video with, but what I saw and heard sounded like the original. Your experience may vary, but it’s free, so give it a shot.