The highly in demand and currently sold out (3-4 week delay) Google Chromecast currently only supports a number of apps to steam from. YouTube, Netflix and Google Play.
While support for a whole bunch more streaming services, including Hulu, Vimeo, will be coming our way very soon. Many people have been asking out local media streaming from their PC.
It turns out that the Chomecast already supports local media streaming / playback! Without the need of any apps or software.
If you install the Google Chrome browser on your PC, there is an option to “Cast a Tab”. Essentially this is broadcasting / streaming the content on the tab open in the Chrome browser. You can of course cast (stream) a website and browse on your TV. But that’s not all you can do.
You can enter the local location of a directory on your PC containing videos, and simply click on a video to playback that video in Google Chrome browser and cast it to your Chromecast TV.
Your PC will transcode the video on the fly, so depending on how fast your computer and WiFi are might affect the performance. I had no problems playing back 720p videos on my dual core laptop.
You can also change the quality of the “Tab projection quality“, from “Extreme (720p high bitrate)“, “High (720p)” and “Standard (480p)“. You can use a lower setting if your video playback is choppy.
I don’t know what formats / codecs are supported, but it could playback everything I threw at it, including h.264 HD files.
Step 1: Load up Google Chrome Browser. Enter or paste the folder address of your videos you want to play back. Click the Chromecast button, then “Cast This Tab”, and select your Chromecast device.
Step 2: Playback the video you want by clicking on it. This will start the video playing, and will broadcast it to your Chromecast device / TV.
Step 3 (Optional): If your video isn’t playing back smoothly. You can lower the quality of the stream by clicking on Google Cast button -> Options. And then select a lower quality. Note: You will have to stop the current cast before you can change these options.
Google has an article on streaming quality and minimum computer specifications if you’re having problems streaming smoothly.