August 21, 2014

How To: Stream movies from Google Drive to Chromecast

cast_google_drive

Now that Google has dropped the price of storage even further, consumers are able to score tons of cloud-based storage at very reasonable prices.

For those unaware, Google now offers 15GB of Drive storage per account at no cost. Said storage can be used across Gmail and Google+ photos.

Moving up the chain, you can jump directly to 100GB of storage for a mere $1.99 per month. Cough up $10 a month and you’ll have a full terabyte of Drive space to host all of your files. And yes, there are more options beyond that.

Naturally, you’re wondering if you couldn’t maybe upload some legally obtained videos or files and stream them to your Chromecast. Of course you can! In fact, there are a number of ways you can do this.

plexpass

Option 1

One way to achieve this is via Plex’s service known as Plex Pass. Offered in monthly, yearly, and lifetime subscription options, you can purchase for as low as $3.99/month. Once you’ve got a Plex Pass you’ll be able to sync files across Box, Dropbox, Bitcasa, and Google Drive. Indeed, you can turn any of those cloud-based hosting options into a virtual media server. Plex is also offered as a standalone app which can stream your local media to Chromecast; no PlexPass required.

Option 2

Another option that’s certainly worth digging into is BubbleUpnP Server, a streaming media solution that supports cloud-based services. A recent update to the Android app gives users the ability to cast audio, video, and photos from a variety of sources.

Using BubbleUPnp you can also stream files not currently natively supported by Chromecast, including MOV, AVI, Xvid, MKV (DTS), WMA, FLAC, TS and more. To do so you’ll need to download and install the BubbleUPnP Server 0.8 (or later) on your computer.

Note that you’ll want as powerful of a device as possible to do the transcoding. Also, the free version of BubbleUPnP (Android) allows for 20 minutes of video streaming whereas the paid licensed version removes the restriction.

Option 3

One of the more popular Android apps with Chromecast support, AllCast, is also able to sync and stream files via Google Drive. To achieve this you’ll need to download and install the premium version of the app; the free one only allows for 1-minute playback of videos.

Option 4

As one of the first Android applications to support the Material Design principles set for by Google, LocalCast looks as good as it works. In addition to casting from Google Drive, you’ll also be able to stream files from your local device, Google+, Dropbox, and other sources. Plugins available for PDF support and cloud streaming; not necessarily required.

Other details

Going the second and third routes might take a bit of know-how, patience, and messing around with your router configuration. It’s not something we recommend you go into blindly and without doing homework. With that said, these also offer some of the best flexibility. If you’ve got a bunch of connected devices (Smart TVs, gaming consoles, SONOS, etc) in your house, then these could yield a lot of fun in the long run.

We should also point out that there are some restrictions in place for Google Drive. Sync and upload, for instance, is limited to 10GB per file and resolution is set with a maximum of 1920×1080. While we don’t imagine this to be a problem for most needs, it could prove tricky.  Also, there are file type restrictions in place. As of today, these are the formats allowed by Google Drive:

  • WebM files (Vp8 video codec; Vorbis Audio codec)
  • .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files – (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs; AAC audio codec)
  • .AVI (MJPEG video codec; PCM audio)
  • .MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec; MP2 audio)
  • .WMV
  • .FLV (Adobe – FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio)
  • .MTS

 

We will continue to keep our eyes open for other methods of casting from Google Drive. If you have a particular way that you like to do this, please do consider dropping us a line!

8 Comments

  1. Thomas
    Reply

    I am having trouble using allcast. Downloaded the app on my andriod and it wont connect with my google drive…My Google + shows up and local media. What am I doing wrong!? THanks!

    • Anne
      Reply

      I had trouble with Allcast too–the only cloud content it recognized was Google+, which for some reason doesn’t include Drive.

      “BubbleUpnP Server” worked great, though–I was able to stream a 1080p movie flawlessly (for whatever reason, the free version played the whole movie). It has way more downloads than any other app, and recognizes a lot of cloud companies (e.g. Dropbox, MS OneDrive), so I think it’s probably the better option. Allcast is relatively new, and probably still working out a lot of bugs.

  2. Chris
    Reply

    Kinda pisses me off that I can stream from my google drive directly to an Apple TV, no problem. But with the chromecast, you have to download some form of paid app for it. Lame

  3. esquared
    Reply

    What a kluge. Why doesn’t Google just chromecast-enable the drive app for iOS and android? Or at least the video player in drive?

  4. Neilmc
    Reply

    I can’t get Plex to sync to Google drive, which is a shame since the cost for storage is great for Google. I’ve got the configuration right and it goes through the motions.
    The video selected to sync transcodes and then begins to upload. It keeps getting stuck in a loop uploading resulting in zero byte files written to my google drive.

    Looking in the Plex forums, it’s a common and long running complaint with no comments from Plex developers. I’ve also tried it with Box with a bit more success, but almost useless (low quality transcode of a 20min sitcom completed ok, but only a 84mb file and woeful quality).

    I’ll give up and try again in a few months.

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