Google Chromecast is a streaming device that lets you cast and enjoy your favorite apps directly on your TV. Rather than applying a brand-specific interface like Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku, Chromecast employs your smartphone or tablet as your remote to control what’s on your TV’s screen. There’s no shortage of apps that you can use with Google Chromecast. Apps include gaming, music, live TV, video-on-demand, web browsers and more. There are plenty of free apps available as well, like Crackle, Pandora, Pluto TV and YouTube — just to name a few.
Google’s streaming devices work best if you want to control everything on your TV directly from your laptop, phone or tablet. Chromecast offers two streaming devices to choose from — Chromecast ($29) and Chromecast Ultra ($69). The Chromecast Ultra functions much like Chromecast but is more powerful, providing 4K streaming capabilities. Google gives you access to various channels with its Chromecast models and is always adding new streaming services.
There are more than a few features that you can enjoy with Google Chromecast’s streaming devices. To learn more, then we recommend our full review on Chromecast streaming devices.
The best paid Google Chromecast device channels
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video has award-winning original content along with thousands of classic and popular episodes and movies. There are also numerous 4K titles to choose from. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, then you already have access to Amazon Prime Video. An Amazon Prime membership costs $12.99/mo. or $119/yr. However, an Amazon Prime Video subscription on its own costs $8.99/mo. With Amazon Prime Video, you can stream on up to three screens simultaneously, which makes it great for sharing.
Disney+ opens the Disney vault, which is full of everything from classic movies to Marvel and Star Wars blockbusters. These include Artemis Fowl, Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, Frozen II, Onward, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and plenty more. Priced at $6.99/mo., Disney+ lets you create up to seven user-profiles and watch on four screens at the same time. Disney also offers its wildly popular Disney+ bundle, which also includes ESPN+ and Hulu subscriptions for $12.99/mo.
ESPN+ serves as an extension of ESPN Networks, so you won’t get everything you see on the cable network. However, there are tons of live and exclusive games as well as sports commentary programming. If you’re a fan of the UFC, you’ll need the ESPN+ app to watch. ESPN+ costs $12.99/mo.
HBO Max is not only HBO’s answer to Disney Plus and Netflix, but, unlike HBO Go, it’s completely standalone. It offers more content than HBO Now, extending more AT&T-owned content like Classic Looney Tunes, Friends, Rick & Morty and South Park. HBO Max is priced at $14.99/mo. You have the option to create five separate user profiles. This works well if you have kids and want to use parental controls. And with the ability to watch on three screens concurrently, you can share with two others.
Hulu offers a few plans to choose from that include on-demand and live TV subscriptions. There are multiple plans like Hulu ($5.99/mo.), Hulu No Ads ($11.99/mo.), Hulu + Live TV ($54.99/mo.) and Premium + Live TV ($60.99/mo.). Both Live TV plans provide Hulu’s full on-demand catalog. Even though you can only share on two screens, you can opt for unlimited screens for an extra $9.99/mo.
Netflix is the most used on-demand streaming service in the world. And it’s no surprise with its wealth of original movies and series. Netflix has three plans to choose from — Netflix Basic ($8.99/mo.), Netflix Standard ($12.99/mo.) and Netflix Premium ($15.99/mo.) Premium lets you stream on four screens and has plenty of titles available in 4K ultra high definition (UHD) and HDR.
The best free Google Chromecast channels
- Pluto TV
Pluto TV is a free cable-alternative app. Not only does it function like regular TV but many of its channels are made up of retro channels like Viacom classics (BET Her Pluto, MTV Dating, MTV Pluto and MTV Teen), news stations (Blaze Live, CBSN, CNN and NBC News Now), as well as older movies and other syndicated series.
Spotify offers both free and premium services, but we’ll focus on the best value. The free version of Spotify has the largest music subscriber base in the world. Sure, you’ll have to sit through a few ads now and then, but you’ll have access to one of the largest music libraries on the planet.
YouTube is the most used video streaming app in the world hands down. It’s a smorgasbord of amateur and professional content. You may have to sit through a few ads, but YouTube offers an extensive library of comedy, commentary, educational, how-tos, news clips and so much more. The YouTube app is not only easy to navigate but has one of the most solid interfaces of any app on the market.
Sports on Google Chromecast devices
You can catch pretty much all of your favorite sports leagues with a Google Chromecast device. You’ll just need to purchase a sports subscription service before you get started. Whether you’re hunting your favorite leagues (MLB, NBA, NCAA and NFL) or niche sports apps like NFL Network, you can stream it all using your Chromecast device.
Other than ESPN+, noted above, there are a few other sports apps like DAZN ($20/mo.) and FOX Sports GO (an extension of your cable service). But one of the best ways to get sports is via a live TV streaming app like fuboTV or Hulu + Live TV. But even apps like CBS All Access come with some sports like the NFL.
Local channels on Google Chromecast devices
Depending on certain paid services, like cable TV alternatives, you’ll have access to local channels, including news and sports. These could include local CBS, FOX and NBC channels. Services that offer local TV are fuboTV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. Although, access to regional sports networks (RSNs) may hinge on where you live. So, check with the service to see if your location is covered.
Our hot take
Whether you want to stream games, on-demand movies, live TV or music, Google Chromecast lets you enjoy it all on your TV. There are also plenty of apps compatible with Chromecast that deliver free, local and sports-centric content. Keep in mind, you can stream 4K content with Chromecast Ultra but not with the standard Chromecast model. So, if you want to watch the game in crystal-clear 4K, then Chromecast Ultra is right for you.