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Three Android apps for streaming to Chromecast

Whether you already have a Chromecast, or you're just curious what you could do with one, these apps will help you unlock the potential of the tiny plug-in device.

Nicole Cozma/CNET

Whether you're watching a movie or looking through pictures, if the option to do so on a bigger screen is available, you'll probably use it. Google Chromecast offers a quick way to get content from your small screen to your big screen, and all you need is an app on your Android device to make that happen. Here's a collection of Chromecast apps that will share content on your device with a TV.

Before you start using third-party apps, you'll need to do an initial setup with your Chromecast. This can be done with your Web browser, or with the Chromecast app. For more information on the setup process, check out this guide from CNET's Donald Bell.



Cost: Free

This is the official Google app for Chromecast. Originally it was used only for setting up the Wi-Fi connection and naming your device. With a recent update, many Chromecast users can mirror their device's screen onto the TV, eliminating the need for a third-party app. There aren't any other bells and whistles, however, and this feature is not available on all devices.



Cost: Free to try; Premium version to play full videos: $4.99 or £3

If the official app is not working for videos, then it's time to try a third-party alternative. AllCast is one of the first Chromecast apps to hit Google Play, and is being actively updated. Aside from sharing local content, this app will let you connect your Dropbox, Google Drive, and even Google+ accounts. Before you buy, you can try the free version (5 minute viewing limit) to make sure it works on your particular device.



Cost: Free; In-app upgrade to remove ads: $3.72 (not available in UK)

If you still need access to more cloud services, then CloudCaster is your best bet for Chromecast apps. You can connect to services such as Bitcasa, Box, CloudMe, Copy, Cubby, Dropbox, Dump Truck, OneDrive, Sugarsync, and many others. Additionally, the app allows you to rotate video when it is not playing in the correct orientation -- a feature many users requested.

It's important to keep in mind that the Chromecast device only supports a specific list of file formats at this time. None of these apps will be able to transcode an unsupported format and play it on the Chromecast. And finally, make sure your Chromecast is connected to a stable wireless signal maintain the highest quality of streaming.