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Tip: You Can Play Local Video Files Through Chromecast

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We’re still playing around with the Chromecast, and will have some thoughts on it later, but we wanted to point out a feature that you may not have been aware of after watching yesterday’s demo from Google. Chromecast can play local video files from your computer to a TV. That means you aren’t stuck with YouTube or Netflix or uploading your current collection to a cloud service – you can grab files already on your computer and then stream them to a TV. 

Outside of owning a Chromecast device (which is sold out everywhere), all you have to do is install the Chromecast extension on your PC, then find the file path of a local video file that you’d like to play, paste that path into the address bar in a Chrome browser, and then press the Chromecast button to cast it on over. It really is that simple.

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 8.44.55 AM

One of our readers said he noticed a slight frame rate drop, but it’s not all that noticeable. I tried it as well and thought video looked pretty damn good.

Again, we’re still familiarizing ourselves with Chromecast, but are hoping to have more later today.

Cheers Corey and Leo!

  • http://www.tech-compass.com/ Tech-Compass

    Here is our simple video tutorial explaining exactly what to do to make it work – we hope it helps anyone who wants to watch locally stored videos. http://youtu.be/kutb_5umG3c

  • MH11

    I did that and all i get is sound, no picture… All of my movie files are in MP4 format

  • whatfreedom?

    Spoiler Alert *Check out app called PLEX* allows you to stream any video format through chrome. Google is lame for not allowing this to begin with. Get it before the MafiAA finds out and blocks it. ~ <3 the chicagoaan

  • Kristie Robinson

    Thank you for this post!!!

  • Henrik Haaverstein

    You can remove the upper line by pressing F11(fullscreen).

  • Nick

    Bought it at BestBuy… Love it. Great for travel.
    Getting better and better

  • Adrien

    What am I doing wrong? I keep trying this with AVI files but it just downloads them.

    • Anuj Goyal

      .avi is a container format, anything can be in a container. Chromebooks have decent but not robust support for container contents, known as codecs (h.264 is the most popular you’ll hear about which Chromebooks do support). What this means to you is that some .avi files will play while others will not. I’d recommend trying to play the file and when it doesn’t work go into the menu and select “Report an issue” and tell Google about it so they can work on supporting whatever you’re trying to play.

      trying renaming the .avi as a .mp4. If that doesn’t work you could try uploading to Google Drive and playing it from there, but you require offline viewing so that’s not a good solution as you’d have to let the entire video buffer while you have a connection

  • david

    Can it play local video with subtitles?

  • Xanderalmighty

    I tried this and it keeps Re downloading the file instead

    • Suman Gandham

      Same here, what gives? :(

    • Dakender

      Same here on the continuous download ;(

  • Jesus

    Not happy with performance so far. Choppy video streaming, even when scaled back to 480p. Certainly not an Apple TV replacement. Hoping for a firmware update, fast.

    • Jueceman

      u need faster wifi

  • manilaboy1vic

    But will chromecast see a mediaserver?? like mediatomb? like how the ps3 sees mediaservers.. that needs to be implemented asap.. then this device would be awesome..

  • Greg Montaño

    Any idea if I could turn on WIFI tether on my phone and still send it to Chromecast from the phone or would I need a separate internet source? We canceled home internet long ago and still have unlimited data plans.

  • Downhome

    I am trying to do this but Chrome downloads the file instead of opening them in the browser. I have tried it using all methods – paste location in address bar, ctrl+o and open from there, or just drag and drop the file.

    However, every time I try to do that Chrome DOWNLOADS the file instead.

    Anyone have a clue on how to prevent that and for it to actually play the file?

    • Derek B

      I’m having the same issue on both of my computers.

      • Anuj Goyal

        hopefully the explanation will help… it is not device.. its chrome browser limitation…

        .avi is a container format, anything can be in a container. Chromebooks have decent but not robust support for container contents, known as codecs (h.264 is the most popular you’ll hear about which Chromebooks do support). What this means to you is that some .avi files will play while others will not. I’d recommend trying to play the file and when it doesn’t work go into the menu and select “Report an issue” and tell Google about it so they can work on supporting whatever you’re trying to play.

        trying renaming the .avi as a .mp4. If that doesn’t work you could try uploading to Google Drive and playing it from there, but you require offline viewing so that’s not a good solution as you’d have to let the entire video buffer while you have a connection

    • Anuj Goyal

      refer to my comment above… I am not able to post it again… :)

      .avi is a container format, anything can be in a container. Chromebooks have decent but not robust support for container contents, known as codecs (h.264 is the most popular you’ll hear about which Chromebooks do support). What this means to you is that some .avi files will play while others will not. I’d recommend trying to play the file and when it doesn’t work go into the menu and select “Report an issue” and tell Google about it so they can work on supporting whatever you’re trying to play.

      trying renaming the .avi as a .mp4. If that doesn’t work you could try uploading to Google Drive and playing it from there, but you require offline viewing so that’s not a good solution as you’d have to let the entire video buffer while you have a connection

  • comatose1978

    does the USB port support OTG?

  • confused

    Come on google why cant we do this on our androids?!?!?

  • Scott R. Frost

    If it’s 1080p video, I’m sure you’ll be wishing that the Chromecast had wired ethernet or at least 802.11ac

    • nathan118

      What bitrate do you think 1080p requires?

    • Robert Bohannon

      Most Blu-Rays have bit-rates under 50Mbps.

  • Ray Lehman

    If I’m camping and using my Verizon Hot spot to access the internet will viewing Netflix or uTube videos count against my data plan?

    • jclardy

      Yes.

    • AndySamberg

      derp

  • CrazyLIkeAPsyhicFox

    Very nice.

  • Jackie Chen

    It’s not playing on the browser for me, Chrome just downloads the video for some reason. Any way to fix this?

    • Jackie Chen

      Never mind, chrome doesn’t support AVI files.

    • Anuj Goyal

      wow.. so many people with same issue?

      .avi is a container format, anything can be in a container. Chromebooks have decent but not robust support for container contents, known as codecs (h.264 is the most popular you’ll hear about which Chromebooks do support). What this means to you is that some .avi files will play while others will not. I’d recommend trying to play the file and when it doesn’t work go into the menu and select “Report an issue” and tell Google about it so they can work on supporting whatever you’re trying to play.

      trying renaming the .avi as a .mp4. If that doesn’t work you could try uploading to Google Drive and playing it from there, but you require offline viewing so that’s not a good solution as you’d have to let the entire video buffer while you have a connection

  • http://www.jmlat.com/ James Latimer

    You can make a batch file and/or a small program to run a shell command and open movies in a new tab using chrome.exe — “filename”

  • ddevito

    But can we play local media on our android files off the gallery app via chromecast?

    • Steve Benson

      No.

    • u_fail

      I would say an app that can read local media and cast it will come very soon.

  • ddevito

    Just one more reason to NOT own a chromebook

  • Fresh360

    This thing keeps getting better and better.

  • huskerhog

    Amazon wants $60 for it.

  • beng8686

    Chromecast is retarded. Just give us a google-made Google-TV. Ive been happy with my Revue, aside from the lag. It’s a good idea, just poorly implemented in my opinion.

    • Phill_S

      Yeah, buying a new TV vs buying a $35 peripheral that plugs into the TV you have – you have successfully evaluated what the majority will decide :rolleyes:

      • Ajmcnicol

        what the f are you talking about. new tv?? google tv is a standalone box like apple tv. You can keep your tv..pay a bit more and for a 100 bucks get a full google tv box that can do chromecast stuff as was recently announced.

  • kirk

    Best Buy Just canceled my order

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/nemesis099 Nemesis099

    My question is will this work with HD MKV files creating using MakeMKV? I’m talking 1080P movies on a computer?