Chromecast mirroring for Android is great for showing off your holiday snaps and messing around with Google StreetView, but what else can you do with it?
As soon as the 1.7 update arrived we installed the Chromecast app on as many phones as we could lay our hands on.
Can we finally get ITV Player to work? What about 4oD? Will you be able to pair a phone with Chromecast and turn it into an ad hoc security camera? Here’s our top tips and tricks for messing about with Chromecast mirroring on Android phones.
TV services: Do ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5 work with Chromecast mirroring?
While we can get BBC iPlayer and Netflix, it’s always annoyed us that you’re not able to get things like ITV Player and Prime Instant Video. The first thing we did is go through our wish list of services we’d like to see supported on Chromecast and see if we couldn’t get any of them on our TV through the back door.
We were pleased to see that ITV Player works with Chromecast mirroring, after a fashion. Video quality was pretty terrible to be honest.
That’s partially down to the nature of mobile TV streams. Most mobile streams aren’t 1080p. Even if your phone has a high resolution screen, like the LG G3, unless you’ve got exceptionally good eyesight (or you’re a liar) you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the difference even if they were.
You have to remember that you’re streaming a mirrored version of a video stream that’s being streamed to your phone, on your TV. You’re sending the presumably lower resolution of your phone’s screen to your TV, which we’d hope is at least Full HD. It’s not unlike copying songs from your CD collection to a cassette. Quality is lost in translation.
The good news is, if you want to watch catch-up episodes of Coronation Street, The Only Way is Essex and Britain’s Poshest Nannies on Chromecast, you currently can. You might have to squint a bit though.
The same can’t be said for people who want to watch Made in Chelsea, Hollyoaks or Utopia. Not only is 4oD still not supported on Chromecast, Channel 4 has also seen fit to lock out 4oD from Chromecast mirroring.
If you try to do this, you’re greeted with a message telling you that 4oD is best watched on your phone. Thanks Channel 4!
Thankfully for those who still watch Big Brother, Demand 5 can be accessed via the back door thanks to Chromecast mirroring, but as with ITV Player, video quality is not brilliant for the same reasons we described above.
In a nutshell, if a video streaming service isn’t officially supported, it’s going to look pretty horrible.
Music services: Can I stream my music, Spotify and SoundCloud on my TV with Chromecast?
Streaming audio to your TV via Chromecast is far less hassle than streaming video. MP3s stored on the phone as well as Spotify playlists and SoundCloud uploads all sounded great when casted to our TV.
Unfortunately, as we don’t have a huge soundbar on our old LG TV, we weren’t able to really turn up the bass and hear what the sound quality is like at higher levels. In a pinch, if you want to throw some music on at a party, Chromecast mirroring will come in handy.
You can use Chromecast as a security camera
Chromecast mirroring can also be used as a makeshift security system. By connecting a spare Android phone to Chromecast and setting it up somewhere in your home, you can set up the world’s cheapest CCTV network.
While this is good for dog shamers or spying on lazy flatmates/spouses/colleagues, it’s not the most practical security set up.
Of, if you’re like us, you’ll just tit about with optical feedback for your own amusement (see below).
It’s also not possible to do this with every Android phone. We discovered that the LG G3 wouldn’t let you record video while connected to Chromecast, but the Nexus 5 would. It’s not quite the same as Manything for iOS, but it’s good fun all the same.
Take weird Being John Malkovich meets video for Bohemian Rhapsody-type hyper-selfies
You know that bit in Being John Malkovich where John Malkovich goes inside the head of John Malkovich and everyone looks like John Malkovich?
That’s kind of what pointing your phone at your TV while you’re Chromecast mirroring is like.
Thanks to the phenomenon of optical feedback, you can have fun taking infinitely repeating images of yourself with your phone’s front camera, a Chromecast and a TV. Selfies will never be the same again.
Launching a Chromecast-compatible app will cancel mirroring
If you cast a Chromecast-compatible app like YouTube or BBC iPlayer while you’re mirroring your phone’s screen, it’ll interrupt the screen mirroring. Meaning if you want to go back to mirroring your Android phone on your TV once you’re done watching YouTube videos, you’ll need to head back into the settings of the Chromecast app on your phone and select Cast Screen again.
I’ve got Chromecast 1.7 on my Android phone but I can’t mirror to my TV. What’s up?
Unless your phone is one of the few supported devices, you won’t be able to play around with Chromecast mirroring until Google supports your device. This is a beta feature right now and will be rolling out to other devices soon. Right now, the only supported devices are:
- Nexus 4
- Nexus 5
- Nexus 7 (2013)
- Nexus 10
- Samsung Galaxy S4 (inc. stock Android version)
- Samsung Galaxy S5
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10
- HTC One M7 (inc. stock Android version)
- LG G3
- LG G2
- LG G Pro 2
Chromecast mirroring Tips & Tricks: Is there anything else?
That’s all we’ve been able to unearth so far! We’ll test out new services and update this piece as we discover more new things.
Until then, check out the video. We pointed the camera of a Nexus 5 at a TV screen with screen mirroring enabled. Then we hit record.