Amazon Prime Video now has full Chromecast support on mobile, so if you still can’t see the option to cast within your Prime Video app, head to the Apple App Store or Google Play store and grab the latest version. You’ll also need to be using at least Android 5.0 or iOS 10.1 to get the update.
Using the official app is the best way to stream Amazon Prime Video on your TV, but it’s not the only way. There may be times when you need to cast Amazon Prime from a browser window, particularly when you’re trying to preserve phone battery life or you simply prefer browsing Amazon’s catalog on a PC. Here’s how to watch Amazon’s best video content on your TV using your Chromecast, along with each method’s pros and cons.
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What you’ll need
This guide assumes you already use a Chromecast or Android TV device and have it connected to your television and local network. You’ll also need a computer connected to the same network. Both MacOS or Windows will work just fine, but you’ll need to use Google’s Chrome browser to get Chromecast to work. If you have a Chromebook or another device powered by Chrome OS, that also works. Your computer can be wired while everything else is wireless, just make sure they’re all on the same local network.
Learn to cast
Turn on your computer and open Chrome. Click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the browser, and select the Cast option. If your Chromecast or Android TV device is already set up — which is a delightfully easy process — there are no extra steps to take. The extension will automatically detect any Cast-capable devices connected to your local network, and you can select which device to cast to.
Now you’re ready to Cast. Navigate to Amazon Prime Video and select a movie or television show in your library — or if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, pick a video that’s included in Prime. Make sure your television is on and your Chromecast or Android TV device is connected. Click the Cast icon in the corner of your browser, then click on a Chromecast or Android TV device. The Chrome tab’s video and audio will appear on your television. Click Play, and you’ll be enjoying your video on the big screen.
The Cast button has a few options you might want to consider. Streaming quality is capped at 1080p, but your will be determined by the quality of your internet connection and speed of your Chromecast or Android TV device. You can mute or unmute the audio with the volume button, but there is no option to change the volume level — you’ll have to adjust it with your TV remote.
The Google Cast extension can cast any tab with any content, so almost any web video will work, not just the ones on Amazon. When you’re finished, simply close the tab or click the Cast icon and then Stop Casting to end your session.
Disadvantages of browser casting
This solution will work to get Amazon Prime Video on your Chromecast or Android TV, but it’s less ideal than the dedicated app. For starters, as mentioned, the video quality tops out at 1080p, which is unfortunate since a lot of Amazon videos are available in 4K if your internet connection, TV, or streaming box supports it. And even at the lower resolution, the bitrate is considerably lower than you might be used to, resulting in more video artifacts, extra pixelation, lower-quality audio, and occasionally complete signal drops.
Worse yet, inconsistent browser and HDCP requirements may limit your feeds even further to 720p. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to ensure you’re on the latest version of Google Chrome, and that all components in your computer setup are HDCP-compliant, including the monitor, video card, and HDMI cable.
Casting can also take a severe toll on a laptop battery. When using the feature, you might want to keep your charging cable handy. On a desktop, this isn’t a problem, of course. But we wholeheartedly recommend using a laptop over your non-mobile PC. Using your desktop means you need to get up and move to the computer when you want to use remote functions. Pause, playback, and section seeking won’t work via TV remote — you need to click the Chrome buttons.
One way to get around this is by using Chrome Remote Desktop from your phone or tablet. With this tool, you can use your smartphone as a makeshift remote (and never get up to pause your show).
Finally, wireless network performance also impacts your casting abilities. Network performance is a non-issue if you’re using Chromecast Ultra with its Ethernet port, of course. For all other Chromecasts, streaming performance can suffer from network congestion. You might also notice interference if your household has lots of wireless devices. Suppose you’re seeing a lot of buffering, stutters, or otherwise flat-out brokenness. In that case, there is another solution. Consider buying a dual-band router with roomy bandwidth, high-gain antennas, and a fast processor for the best results.
Learning to cast Amazon Prime Video via Chromecast is handy for a range of scenarios. It can take some trial and error to dial in, though — plus a bit of patience.
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