I get almost all of my video content digitally, whether through Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu+, YouTube, or, in the case of full length feature films, we’ll just say “other means.” I have a DVD player, but I couldn’t even tell you the last time I turned it on.
This post isn’t meant to tell you how to acquire movies – I assume you already know how to do that. Instead, we’ll start at the point where you have a video file on your Android phone and you’re ready to watch it on your TV. We’ll be using an app called LocalCast, which will stream to both Chromecast and Apple TV.
Step 1: Download LocalCast from the Play Store. It’s free.
Step 2: Ensure your Chromecast or Apple TV is setup on the same WiFi network as your phone.
Step 3: Open LocalCast and select the ‘Connect’ button, then choose the device you want to stream to.
Step 4: Once connected, browse to the video file you want to watch and tap it to start.
The LocalCast app sets up a media server on the phone, which is how the video is streamed by the Chromecast or Apple TV. The beauty of this is, once the video is playing, you’re free to go about using your phone for everything else you’d normally use it for without interrupting the video. Or, if you’re fully caught up in the movie, just turn your phone’s screen off, set it down, kick back, and relax. It doesn’t have to be on for the video to play since LocalCast isn’t relying on display mirroring to work.
Here’s a video I put together of LocalCast in action with both Chromecast and Apple TV.
Beyond that, another thing I like about using LocalCast to stream the video to my TV is that my phone acts as the remote, even from the lock screen. When I need to get up for a quick bathroom break (or to refill my bowl of ice cream), the ‘Pause’ button is on the lock screen so I don’t have to go digging around for it. You’ll still need to control the volume via the TV, though.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that you don’t have to have the full video file downloaded to your phone. I prefer to go that route when possible, but LocalCast also lets you cast movie streams. Just open the stream in your browser, press the ‘Share’ button and select LocalCast, and it’ll stream to the TV. Alternatively, if you have the URL for the stream, you can copy that and paste it in the LocalCast app to start the stream to your TV. The same also works if you have movies stored in your cloud drives like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Tips and Troubleshooting
- If you need technical information on what kind of videos will stream to Chromecast, reference the official Google documentation, here.
- If you need to convert a video file to another format, I recommend HandBrake. You’ll need to do that on a computer, though.
- I noticed pretty hefty battery drain on my phone while streaming. It wouldn’t hurt to have a charger handy.
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