Got Chromecast? Google’s simple $35 streaming stick has been great for basic stuff since the start, but as more diverse third-party apps start to show up for the device, its capabilities are growing even greater.
Some apps have been around for a while — things like Netflix, Pandora, HBO Go, and Hulu Plus, for instance — but there are also some less obvious options you might not have yet noticed. And some of ‘em offer pretty interesting possibilities for making your Chromecast do more.
Here are five Chromecast apps for Android that are worth checking out:
Chromecast’s default home screen — you know, the rotating photographs with a clock in the corner — sure is attractive. But it isn’t terribly functional.
If you want to put a little more punch in your Chromecast display, MyCastScreen might be just the thing for you. The 99-cent app lets you cast cards with the time and date, local weather, local traffic, and current news headlines from a source of your choice onto your TV screen.
The app is pretty limited in terms of customization at the moment, but its developer promises much more is on the way soon — including additional cards along with options for custom background images and hiding or rearranging cards on the screen.
Wish your Chromecast could act as a custom slideshow and cycle through your favorite social media photos? Meet Dayframe. The app connects to a variety of online services — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, 500px, and even Dropbox — and mixes up all the content you want to create an ongoing personalized stream.
You can also set Dayframe to show a variety of random images related to specific topics, like space, architecture, or different types of art.
The main Dayframe app is free, though it does place a small logo on top of all content on your screen. You’ll need to upgrade to the Prime version in order to get rid of that; the upgrade is done via an in-app purchase and costs three bucks (but is occasionally on sale for 99 cents).
If you’ve been dying to stream local content from your phone to your TV, AllCast is just the program you’ve been waiting for. The app makes it easy to cast images, videos, and music from your phone’s internal storage to a Chromecast device, giving you a hassle-free way to get your non-cloud-connected material onto the big screen.
The app works with Dropbox and Google Drive, too, in case you ever want to cast specific images or multimedia files from either of those places.
AllCast is more focused on manual file-by-file casting as opposed to the ongoing slideshow type of thing Dayframe does, but if that’s what you’re looking to do, it’s certainly worth a look.
The main AllCast app is free but limits you to one minute for viewing any particular picture or video. In order to lift that restriction, you’ll have to pony up five bucks for a premium license.
4. Pocket Casts
One of the best podcast apps on Android now works with Chromecast. Get your favorite audio and/or video programs on your TV with the tap of a single button — what more could you want?
This one’s a bit silly but still fun: As its name suggests, the app lets you cast a simple binary clock onto your TV screen. You can customize the color as well.
Geek-filled gatherings may never be the same.