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Chrome OS Now Streams Movies from Drive to Chromecast


At the end of July we saw how close Chrome OS is getting to supporting native Chromecast support in its desktop video player.

Sadly this functionality is still not quite up and running (a firewall bug is to blame, I hear). But, in the latest dev channel releases, an alternative is. Say hello to streaming video content straight from Google Drive to your Cast-ready TV. 

Google Drive Cast

The paltry 16GB SSD that ship as standard on most Chromebooks don’t offer a lot of leeway for hoarding video content locally (and with super fast, large SD Cards and external hard drives the need is negated anyway).

Those of you running the latest Chrome OS Dev channel can stream videos stored in Google Drive through Chrome OS to a Chromecast. This requires the Google Cast extension to be present and enabled and a compatible video file fully uploaded to your cloud account.

Most of us have 100GB of Google Drive storage to make use of, so storing the odd video in the cloud is a great cloud-centric way around this.

Better Than Tab Casting

Unlike other alternatives, such as casting a tab, this implementation makes use of a Stream Receiver. When you tell Chromecast to play the video stored in your Google Drive account the HDMI dongle will connect directly to Google Drive to get the file – it bypasses your Chromebook entirely.

This means you’re not running two streams in tandem (Drive to Chromebook, Chromebook to Chromecast).

It works devilishly simple. Assuming you’re online and your Chromecast is turned on:

  • Open the File manager
  • Select Drive folder
  • Open the movie file
  • Click the Cast icon in the Video Player
  • Select option to play in Chromecast

That’s it; the video stream will now hand over to the Chromecast directly. You can use the video player app on your Chromebook to pause, play, stop, etc. You can even close the lid without interrupting playback on your TV — neat!

The feature is currently only available to Chrome OS Dev channel users but you can expect it to filter on down to beta in the coming weeks.

  • komrath

    Now they should work on playing more formats :-)

  • Timothy Anderson

    It would be cool if they added some Plex-like capabilities… so that when you uploaded the file, if it was a movie, it would link metadata in a standard format about the movie, such as title, cast, rating, year, description, image, background image, etc.

    • João Victor Schiavo

      Of course not. Why make piracy just more convenient? All that you said is available with Netflix and Google Play Movies.

      • Timothy Anderson

        It is not piracy if you own it and are backing it up.

      • mediumsizedrob

        so I have to buy movies from google play that I already own in order to get the metadata?

  • … and subtitles …

  • ukjb

    so if it bypasses the chrombook completely, as per how a chromecast works… why is this feature only available using ChromeOS and not a chrome browser?

    • Boothy

      Got to make some things unique to Chromebooks. Give them more selling points.
      As the maturity of ChromeOS continues, I can see more things becoming ChromeOS only, with other platforms taking “most” of your Google platform over.

      • ukjb

        yeah, I figured. i just didn’t know if there was a technical limitation i wasn’t seeing. and i have a chromebook, so i’ll get to use it. but it would be even MORE convenient to just pop out my N5 and start playing a movie than have to pick up my chromebook. or if i’m at a friends house with my chromecast and he has a windows machine w/ chrome.

        • Boothy

          Only the fact that they are implementing it through the filesnapp, and video player native to ChromeOS. Gives a more native feel to the OS.
          LocalCast on android has a cloud plugin that let’s you play videos from drive. Check that one out!

          • ukjb

            that looks promising. i’ll give that a look. thanks!

          • David Myers

            LocalCast doesn’t work any more on cloud. Apparently Google revoked drive access from his app. However Google+ still works

          • Boothy

            Well that was nice of them.
            Got their own solution they want to push?

  • Boothy

    This “firewall bug” seems to have been around since Chromecast launched. I would have thought that they could have addressed in my now, if the will was their.
    But similar to supporting pptp VPN, the will doesn’t seem to be their amongst the Chromium devs.

  • David Myers

    Odd. I put an avi file into google drive which plays back perfectly well through drive but if I try to chromecast it from the method suggested it tells me it’s an incorrect file. I’ve been impressed with streamnation as it doesn’t need a server like plex (I’ve only got a chromebook). No android app yet or chromecast support but it’s very promising

    • Leo Spicer-Phelps

      I have been having the same issue (although with an mp4). Frustrating.

  • Nu is er een app die makkelijk werkt: LocalChromecast Player. Films vanaf een externe hardisk (USB) te selecteren. Ondertiteling via

  • Chromer

    good concept but video is laggy, needs optimization or better buffering

  • Kendra

    Great article Joey! Good read. I just want to suggest that for those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your Chromecast by using UnoTelly or similar tools.

  • The KING

    Would anyone know why it is possible to stream an AVI file from Google Drive directly on my Android phone, but not an AVI from Google Drive to my Chromecast?