Amazon Prime Video is home to a wonderful catalog of content, so it’s a shame Amazon’s ongoing feud with Google means there’s no official app for the video-streaming service on the Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra.
But that doesn’t mean you have to buy a Fire Cube or Fire TV Stick to stream Amazon Instant Video on your TV. Here’s how to watch Amazon’s best video content onto your TV using your Chromecast — without paying an extra dime.
What you’ll need
This guide assumes that 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 Microsoft Windows or MacOS 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.
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, 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 Instant 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 up to 1080p, but will be determined by the quality of your internet connection and speed of your Chromecast or Android TV device. You 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 Instant Video on your Chromecast or Android TV, but it’s less ideal than a 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 bit rate is considerably lower than you might be used to, resulting in more video artifacts, extra pixelation, lower-quality audio, and occasionally complete signal drops.
Casting can also take a severe toll on a laptop battery, so you might want to keep your charging cable handy. If you’re using a desktop, this isn’t a problem, but it makes the video annoying to control if it’s in another room since you can’t pause playback or seek out a specific section with your TV remote — everything must be done in Chrome itself. (In this case, you might consider using Chrome Remote Desktop from your phone or tablet as a makeshift remote.)
Hopefully, Amazon will add official casting capabilities to its Android Instant Video app, and provide a real solution for Android TV as well — but that doesn’t seem likely right now. In the meantime, without an Amazon-compatible device like a Fire TV, Roku Streaming Stick+, TiVo Bolt, Smart TV, Blu-ray player, or game console, streaming tabs in Chrome is your best bet.
- Chromecast vs. Roku Streaming Stick Plus vs. Fire TV Stick 4K
- Here’s how to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV
- Comcast launches Xfinity Flex, a $5-a-month service aimed at cord cutters
- How to record the screen on an Android device
- Amazon and Google agree to more support for each other’s streaming services