Up until a couple of days ago, I was still under the impression that the only way to stream content from my phone (an Android) was through the apps that already supported Chromecast. Which was fine because I have accounts for most of the original apps (Netflix, HBOGo, YouTube, Hulu+, Pandora, Google Play Store, MLB.tv) supported by Chromecast. Additional apps have recently added Chromecast support:
If I wanted to stream a video that was not on one of those apps on my phone, then I had to switch over to my laptop and cast the tab where the video was located.
I came across the new functionality when I was in the Chrome browser on my phone and clicked to watch a video. I noticed when the video player had the Chromecast icon. I was pleasantly surprised because when I purchased my Chromecast device last fall, there was not support for casting video from the Chrome for mobile web browser.
I was also surprised that I hadn't heard more about this new functionality when it seemed like everyone and their mother was reporting about Chromecast when it rolled out. In my mind this is a pretty big development because it opens up a whole host of additional content that can be casts from your phone to TV via Chromecast.
From my understanding, when you're casting from one of the apps with Chromecast functionality, the video selected goes from your phone to the cloud to the Chromecast device plugged in your TV. The video IS NOT reliant on your devices processor. Video cast from one of the supported apps has always played smooth with very good resolution on the TV.
However, when you cast from a tab in the Chrome browser on your laptop then your tab is mirrored from your laptop to the cloud to the Chromecast device. The video you are casting and is being mirrored IS reliant on your laptops processor. One of the biggest issues I've had when casting a video from a tab on the laptop is that the video is sometimes 'choppy' and the video doesn't always have good resolution. I've mitigated this by directly plugging the laptop into my router and not using wifi. This works sometimes, sometimes it doesn't.
So, I was excited to test out the new functionality on my phone with the Chrome mobile casting function. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
Here's What I Tested
This is a recent addition of apps that have built in Chromecast support. I works just as well as Netflix, Youtube, etc. Videos play smoothly with very good resolution on my TV.
A popular website that aggregates video sharing sites
I watched the movie Stage Fright last night using the mobile Chrome browser casting feature. The video played smoothly (not choppy like when using the laptop) and the resolution went between very good to good, with it being very good more often than not.
I watched a short video on this website using the mobile Chrome casting feature. Once again the video played smoothly, but the resolution wasn't as crisp like when I use one of the apps with built in Chromecast support.
I just watched a few short videos Vimeo casting from the mobile Chrome tab and they looked similar to when I cast directly from an app like Youtube. Crisp resolution and no 'choppiness'.
I'm happy with the new functionality for Chrome for mobile. I can live with not so great resolution BUT can't stand 'choppy' video which I was getting when casting a tab from my laptop. The tab casting feature is still in beta testing with more updates expected to be rolled out this year.
Also, if I'm reading a Kinja post with a longish video, like this one over on Science Made Easy, and want to cast it to my TV to watch, now I don't have to switch over to my Youtube app on my phone. So one less step is involved.
The new functionality of casting from the Chrome for mobile browser on your phone is limited to HTML5 video. I'm not a tech person, so I'm not sure how much video out there on the interwebs is excluded.
Frankly put, my cheap little Chromecast dongle is taking me one more step to cutting the cable cord.