Google’s Chromecast has seen increased sales, both from Android and iOS users who found the diminutive streamer to be of incredible value. It retails for $35 and if you’re lucky, you’ll find it on sale for less than $25. To further bolster holiday sales, they are offering a $20 Google Play credit for Google TV and Movies. By plugging directly into a spare HDMI port on your TV, it’s an incredibly easy way stream content. Instead of a traditional remote, Chromecast requires a tablet or smartphone. Casting is similar to AirPlay. You launch a compatible app (either on iOS or Android), tap the TV icon and you’re streaming content from your smartphone to your TV. When it comes to content, there is an incredible amount of crossover when you look at the Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google’s streaming stick. Mainstays like HBO Go*, Showtime Anytime, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN and YouTube all available. But lost in the growing list of supported apps are a few hidden gems. Here are 8 great Chromecast apps for iOS that you might not know about and most of them are free.
Who doesn’t like to stream their music, movies and photos to their TV? Cinch brings AirPlay-like capabilities to any iPhone or iPad. Having a party and want to stream an awesome playlist? Cinch supports full music playlists from start to finish. If you want to shuffle your library, that’s also easily accomplished. If you have local media, Cinch can also stream your photos and HD videos to any Chromecast. The app features a very minimalistic iOS 7/8 interface.
Just in time for your holiday party, fire up Cinch and let your Chromecast be the DJ for the evening. The cost of bringing AirPlay features to Chromecast? How about free?
In the sea of music subscription apps, there is one that is often overlooked and that’s Songza. For years, Songza has been my go-to service when listening to Sonos in our home. The service lets you pick music based on activity, mood and depending upon the calendar, holiday. You drill down until you find the proper list and you’d be amazed at the quality of the music curation. Cooking breakfast on a Sunday morning? Serve up some 60’s French pop. Whatever your mood, Songza can find the right playlist.
And when you do find those tunes, tap to cast to the big screen. If you’ve got a soundbar or audio system paired with your TV, then all the more reason to use Songza and cast away. The playback screen looks great with album art and information about the current track.
Photo Cast for Chromecast
There are plenty of apps that let you cast your photos and videos to your HDTV. Photo Cast lets you do so much more. You can manually select photos and videos that you’d like to display on your TV. Photo Cast will create a slide show and lets you add a soundtrack from your music library. Photos can be displayed in four different framing modes and you can unlock an option to watch your videos at 1080p resolution.
If you have a third party photo app, Photo Cast has built-in an iOS 8 extension, so you can cast from any photo app. Need more features. This has a party mode. Multiple people can send photos and videos to a single stream.
Download Photo Cast for Chromecast
With DailyBurn, you gain access to workouts for every level. Designed to be your personal fitness solution, you don’t have to leave your house to reach your goals. And when you’re done working out, you can use the Health app in iOS 8 to track your progress. You’ll find a wide range of workouts including cardio, high-intensity training, yoga, strength training, dance and beginner workouts.
If you are looking for a long-term program, their new LTF (Life to Fail) program is a 90-day program that combines high intensity and strength training. If it’s fast results you seek, their 21-day Inferno challenge might be right for you.
DailyBurn requires a $9.99 monthly fee to access all of the workouts. However, you can try the service for free for 30 days. That’s plenty of time to get started, get results and get ripped.
Big Web Quiz for Chromecast
Trivia buffs can leverage the power of Google Knowledge Graph for hours of entertainment with friends. Up to 5 friends can play. Bring your smartphone, select an avatar and see if you’ve got the smarts to answer fun and difficult questions. Big Web Quiz follows global search trends, so it’s always filled with fresh content. It uses standard multiple choice and in some cases, you have to select a number closest to the answer.
The design is simple, yet inviting and its soundtrack has a decided game show feel to it. So the next time you have friends over, leave the board games in the closet and let the Chromecast power your trivia gaming.
Download Big Web Quiz for Chromecast
Just Dance Now
Just Dance is the world’s number one dance game, but you don’t need a gaming console to cut the rug on the big screen. Using your iPhone or iPod touch, Just Dance Now captures all of your moves, animating them in real time on your TV. I’m not sure anyone needs to see my moves on a 60-inch TV, if not for comedic relief. Your friends can record your every move using the Dance Cam, either for prosperity or ransom.
You’ll find a list of current pop hits from Lady Gaga, Robin Thicke, LMFAO and more. The list is updated regularly. If you crave more dance hits, there are multiple subscription levels starting at $9.99 per month.
Do you have the moves like Jagger?
Download Just Dance Now
One of the more interesting apps on our list, Monopoly Dash requires a Chromecast. Not to be confused with the classic, Dash is a card based version of the game. It can be played solo or with up to four players, all of which need to download the free app. In what feels like a mix between high stakes real estate and Go Fish, players are asked to complete as many full deed title sets as possible by guessing if a player might have a specific deed. The player with the most points at the end wins.
There is no replacing the classic board game, but kudos to Hasbro for creating a fast, fun and family friendly exclusive for Chromecast.
Download Monopoly Dash
Video & TV Cast Browser for Chromecast
If your video streaming needs go beyond the camera roll, you need an app that meet your rigorous demands. Enter Video & TV Cast Browser, a full-featured app that lays claim to being able to stream “any video from the web.” A dedicated Chromecast app, advanced features like an Ad Blocker, User-Agent Change (for viewing desktop only content) and Bookmarks are available through in-app purchases. If you opt for the $0.99 enable Playbar option, it provides a useful controller that can be used to pause, rewind, fast-forward and stop videos, even those on the web.
When browsing a website with multiple videos, you can use the swipe gesture to quickly browse a list. While it’s not listed as a feature, one reviewer notes that it can even play videos stored on Google Drive. The app is free with ads and the whole enchilada will run you $6.99 for the premium version. Seems like a fair deal for what is the swiss-army knife of iOS video playback to your Chromecast.
Download Video & TV Cast Browser
If you own a Chromecast, received one as a gift or considering picking up the inexpensive streamer, there are no shortage of great apps beyond Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go. What’s your favorite app?
*HBO Go is currently not available on the Amazon Fire. Amazon has promised the app would be released by the end of 2014.