Google’s Chromecast was one of the first streaming devices on the market, in the UK as well, while also being one of the cheapest. One of its major selling points is its wide flexibility – all you need is a smartphone (or desktop) app that supports “Casting” to the Chromecast – and you can stream it all directly to your telly.
Having been around since 2013 means there are lots and lots of apps that support Chromecast. However, unlike the Amazon Fire TV or the Roku (see our full comparison of streamers here), the Chromecast doesn’t have a centralised, curated “store” of supported apps.
Usually, the only way to find new Chromecast apps is to actually install them – and find out whether they have a casting option.
This, however, changed with the new Chromecast with Google TV that was released late last year, and finally includes a remote and a native app store. However, many mobile apps that support casting, still don’t have a “native” app for Android TV.
So we’re here to help – and in this article, we’ll look at the ultimate list of the best Chromecast apps for UK users – the ones you use to ‘cast’ from your phone. So whether you just bought a new Chromecast, or you’re looking to add some more content – this list is the answer.
Most of these apps are available for both Android and iOS (and you probably already have some of them on your phone).
Installing the apps for the Chromecast is easy – you first need to install them on your smartphone, and then look for the “Cast” button.
Most of these apps are free (though some belong to a paid service, like Netflix), and many are ad-supported.
Table of Contents
The Essential UK Chromecast Apps
Shortly after you unbox your Chromecast (and set it up with the Google Home app), these are the apps almost every user in the UK is likely to want – so start here.
Netflix needs no introductions, as it’s probably the number one streaming TV service, with a huge selection of films and original TV programmes. Some of the content is in Ultra HD (4K).
Although Netflix no longer offers free trials in the UK, the contracts are only for 30 days, and you cancel or re-subscribe whenever you want.
2. Amazon Prime Video
One of the main Netflix rivals, Amazon’s Prime Video service offers films, TV programmes and originals like Star Trek: Picard as part of its Prime membership. You can also purchase films and TV shows on-demand (but not directly on an iOS device).
3. NOW TV
NOW TV is a streaming subscription service from Sky, which offers separate paid “passes” for TV programmes, Movies, Kids and Sports.
Disney’s streaming service has movies and TV shows from the worlds of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, with a long list of blockbusters and classics.
It’s mostly aimed at those looking for family-friendly content, but if you like any of its categories – there’s a lot of content in there for you. And – it’s rather cheap, at £5.99/month. (Check our full Disney+ review)
5. BBC iPlayer
Although the BBC’s TV-streaming app isn’t quite a Netflix competitor – it does have a wealth of original (and ‘imported’) programming. You get catch-up shows from all the BBC channels, BBC News, and you can binge on a selection of box-sets from the BBC archives – if you love UK programming, this is the app to get.
Just remember that whether you’re watching on your phone, or on the telly via the Chromecast, you need a TV licence.
Since we’re so accustomed to using YouTube on our phones, it makes a lot of sense to control it from there – and “cast” videos directly to the TV via the Chromecast.
And if you have the Chromecast Ultra – you can even cast 4K YouTube videos from your phone to your TV.
7. ITV Hub
Catch-up on all the recent ITV programmes, from Love Island to Coronation Street and The Masked Singer, and cast them to your telly via the Chromecast.
As a free, commercial channels – you’ll have to sit through adverts (but there are ways to watch ITV without adverts).
8. All 4
Channel 4 also has its own on-demand app, with catch-up episodes of shows like The Great British Bake Off and Derry Girls, and classic box-sets. Just remember, you can’t skip the adverts here either…
9. My 5
Another major UK broadcaster, Channel 5’s app with its Chromecast support offers catch-up episodes of new programmes, as well as box-sets of the classics. From reality TV like Big Brother to popular Australian and American shows, the selection is decent, but with adverts.
10. UKTV Play
A collection of channels which are now all owned by the BBC – Dave, Yesterday and Drama – where you’ll get on-demand boxsets of entertainment, comedy and reality shows like Taskmaster and classic episodes of Eastenders.
11. Google Play Movies And TV
As expected, Google’s VOD store is compatible with Chromecast. It’s not a subscription service like Netflix, but instead, you get a large selection of films and TV shows available for purchase (or rent) on demand.
They often have good deals and discounts, and sometimes you can find whole seasons of TV shows for a few quid – so it’s worth a look. (You can only buy content on an Android phone or a PC – and not on an iOS device, where you can only download/watch stuff you purchased elsewhere).
The ultimate app for streaming your OWN video files. From personal videos you took with your camcorder years ago, to old VHS and DVD tapes that you converted to digital files (with a VHS to DVD converter).
If you have the video as a file on your computer – you can use the Plex app on your phone to stream it to your TV – via the Chromecast. (You also need their desktop app installed on your desktop).
Note: While the smartphone app is “free”, you’ll need to pay to unlock its full capabilities – see our in-depth Plex review.
Chromecast Streaming Video Apps (UK)
Once you’re done with the “essentials”, the party isn’t over – there are so many additional video streaming services available in the UK these days, we’re spoiled for choice. Here are some of the excellent ones:
13. BT Sport
Up until 2019, the only way to watch BT Sport was to get a contract with BT (or with one of the other cable companies). Now, thankfully, sports fans can get a BT Sports Month Pass, which gives you access to live BT Sports’ channels and weekly Premier League matches.
With the Chromecast, you’re not confined to your smartphone, and can watch it live on your telly.
14. BritBox UK
BritBox (the UK version – which is separate from the similar US version) is a subscription service that brings a variety of past and current British TV programmes from ITV, BBC, Channel 5 and – soon – Channel 4, as well as classic British films, and 600+ episodes of Classic Doctor Who.
BritBox normally costs £5.99/month (See my updated review of BritBox UK), and you can stream it to your TV from your phone to the Chromecast.
15. Pluto TV
Remember that ancient TV experience, where channels were “live” and you could flip between them? Pluto will scratch that itch.
You get 40+ free streaming “live channels”, which you can flip through with an on-screen TV guide. From movies, true crime shows, cooking and even poker – this is the ultimate screen saver, or something to watch when you really don’t know WHAT you want to watch.
The most common question I get, is how to watch Freeview without a TV aerial. TVPlayer is a partial solution, as it lets you watch some of the Freeview channels via broadband (though some important ones – like ITV – are missing)
TVPlayer lets you stream some of the channels for free, but if you want a longer list of live Freeview channels, and some on-demand programming, you’ll need to pay for the “Premium” tier.
The YouTube competitor that keeps on going, Vimeo is a video sharing service that’s ad-free (really!) and offers more granular control over who can watch your videos – so some creators prefer it over YouTube.
The idea of watching other people playing video games was strange up until a few years ago – but now it’s a whole industry, and an Esport, and Twitch is the place to go if you’re a fan.
Twitch lets you watch people who live-stream their games, as well as recorded shows – and you can even join in on the chat using your phone’s keyboard, while watching on the telly via the Chromecast.
A VOD service dedicated to horror fans, with a curated library of classic and new horror films and TV shows, such as Hellraiser, Halloween and several originals, such as the rebooted Creepshow series.
You can get a free trial, and then subscribe with a monthly subscription. Read our full Shudder review here.
20. Old Movies (Android only)
If you’re a film buff who likes the classics, “Old Movies” offers a great collection. These are all older films that are in the public domain, and they’re simply pulled from YouTube – but the app does a good job of collecting them for you and giving you easy access – and the ability to then cast them to your Chromecast.
The ultimate destination for anime fans – Crunchyroll is the official channel for the popular Anime VOD service, with the world’s largest collection of anime including Naruto Shippuden, Attack on Titan and Dragon Ball Super.
You can watch some of the content for free, but the Premium tier gives you a wider selection, including catch-up episodes shortly after their broadcast in Japan.
22. hayu – Reality TV
The ultimate destination for fans of American reality TV shows (the “guilty pleasure” type). hayu offers 200+ shows. From Keeping Up With The Kardashians to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. See our full hayu review here.
You can get the first month for free, but after that, there’s a monthly subscription fee.
23. Rakuten TV
Yet another video-on-demand streaming store with a funny name, where you can buy or rent Hollywood films and some TV shows. They sometimes have special deals and discounts, so it’s worth a look, even if you normally use Amazon Video or Google Play Movies.
If you’re not yet familiar with TED, the non-profit organisation that posts inspiring talks, or as they call them – “ideas worth spreading” – it’s about time you did.
With the app and its Chromecast casting option, you can stream hundreds of short talks on a wide variety of talks, and get inspired.
A streaming video-on-demand service dedicated to South Asian (mostly Indian) programming with thousands of films and TV shows in 14 languages. You need to sign up for a free account, and then you can watch some of the content – but the “Premium”, paid tier offers more content.
A unique streaming service dedicated to documentaries and non-fiction, with TV shows about nature, science, technology and more. It’s subscription-based, and you can pay either monthly or annually (the pricing depends on whether you want Full HD or 4K).
- Join CuriosityStream directly (it’s usually cheaper)
- CuriosityStream on Android
- CuriosityStream on iOS
Chromecast Utilities And Misc. Apps (UK)
There’s more to Google’s Chromecast than just video streaming – from music services and radio to casting files – there’s so much more you can do with your device.
If your TV has decent speakers (or better yet – connected to a good soundbar), you might want to stream music via the TV as well – which is where the Spotify Chromecast casting comes in handy.
Spotify is one of the leading music streaming services, where you can stream more than 50 million songs – either via the free, limited tier (with adverts), or with a monthly subscription. You pick the songs (or playlists) on your phone – and cast them to your telly.
28. YouTube Music
While Spotify is still my personal favourite, Google’s own streaming service is a big competitor. Once upon a time, it was called “Google Play Music”, but last year Google transferred everyone to YouTube Music, which is a similar service – but also includes the ability to listen to music from YouTube.
With a collection of more than 50 million songs, as well as almost every song you’ve ever head available on YouTube – the selection is impressive – but you do need to pay a monthly subscription for uninterrupted listening (there’s also a limited ad-supported version).
And of course, you can cast the songs to your TV, via the Chromecast.
29. TuneIn Radio
Listen to more than 100,000 live radio stations from all over the world – music, talk shows, sports and on-demand recordings. Of course, you can also use it to stream your favourite UK radio stations – but it’s a great way to discover new music from distant countries.
30. Pocket Casts
Although both Google and Apple have their own podcast apps, my favourite, for years, has been Pocket Casts – and it even lets you sync your podcasts and episodes between iPhones and Androids.
And to top it all, Pocket Casts supports Chromecast casting – so you can easily play both audio and video podcasts directly on your telly.
While it’s already easy to cast photos and videos you took on your phone to the Chromecast, other videos files are sometimes finicky. That’s where AllCast comes in, as it lest you cast almost any type to media from your phone to the Chromecast – and even from other online sources such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc’.
The free version shows adverts on your phone, which you can remove with the Premium version.
Games for the Chromecast
Without a remote control, the Chromecast isn’t exactly the ideal gaming device. And yet, if you want some casual fun, there are a few interesting games where you use your phone as the controller, with the game running on your telly. Here are some popular choices:
32. Tricky Titans
This game actually REQUIRES a Chromecast to play – so it was made for it. Tricky Titans is a local multiplayer game, so you play against up to four friends who are in the room with you, each one controlling the game from his/her personal phone.
It’s a humorous game where characters battle each other – and while it might not have the most sophisticated game mechanics, it’s a lot of fun when you play against your friends (or enemies).
33. Angry Birds Friends
The “Angry Birds” series is one biggest names in casual gaming – and with this version, you can play on your big screen – using your phone and your Chromecast. (However, that only works on certain phone models, unfortunately).
If you’ve ever played an Angry Birds game, you’ll be familiar with the mechanics – but in this version, you play against friends – either local, or all over the world.
34. Alien Invaders for Chromecast
Sometimes you want to go back to the classics – and Alien Invaders gives you just that. The classic game of defending Earth from invading aliens, with your trusted spaceship – and you can even play with your friends in this case, who control it on their own phones.