Since its long-awaited Australian launch at the end of 2016, Amazon Prime Video has been one of the best-value streaming options out there. Its library of movies, TV shows, documentaries and more has been steadily growing into one of the largest collections. Whether you’re streaming one of its acclaimed original shows – such as Good Omens, the award-winning Marvelous Mrs Maisel or The Grand Tour – or digging deep into classic movies and TV, at less than five bucks a month for a Prime membership it’s an absolute bargain.
Everything you need to know for streaming Amazon Prime on Chromecast
But there’s been one thing that’s annoyed Prime Video users for years. While the service was available on all kinds of platforms, from smart TVs to streaming devices (including Amazon’s own Fire TV Stick), if you wanted to stream on your trusty Google Chromecast you were out of luck – there was no support. That was thanks to a long-running argument between the two giant companies (also the reason that the Fire TV Stick hasn’t had a proper YouTube app until this month!).
But the two giants have made friends with each other again, and it’s the customers that are the winners – because Chromecast support has finally come to Amazon Prime Video’s iOS and Android apps. That means that the millions of people who make use of one of the most affordable and versatile streaming devices on the market can now add Prime Video to their streaming menu.
But for those new to Chromecast and Prime Video, getting it all set up to stream can be a little bit confusing. Chromecast is easy to use, but it’s not like a regular streaming device – it has no controls, no on-screen menus and no remote control? So how do you get it all set up to watch Prime Video? Read on!
How to choose a Chromecast
The first thing to think about is what kind of Chromecast you want. There are two types, with one key difference aside from price. The standard Chromecast, now in its third-generation model and selling for $59 or less, will stream at up to 1080p high definition. The Chromecast Ultra, meanwhile, costs $99 and can handle 4K and HDR streams, and comes bundled with an Ethernet adapter to make streaming more reliable. Prime Video does stream most of its original shows and movies at 4K at no extra cost – there’s no special 4K plan, unlike Netflix and Stan – but HD will look just fine if you’d rather get the cheaper Chromecast.
How to connect a Chromecast
Setting up a Chromecast is simple and fast. Just find a spare HDMI port on your TV (or AV receiver if you prefer) and plug the Chromecast into it. Connect it to its supplied AC adapter, plug that in and turn it on. Then switch to the input the Chromecast is plugged into, and it will walk you through the easy steps to get it set up and connected to your Wi-Fi network. It may ask you to let it update itself at this point, but once that’s done, you’re ready to go.
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How to download the Amazon Prime Video App
To stream Amazon Prime Video to your newly-set-up Chromecast, you’ll need the latest version of the free app for iOS and Android tablets and mobile phones. Chromecast support is brand new to the app, so be sure you have the latest version. At the moment, you’ll need to stream from one of those apps – the Prime Video web site doesn’t support connecting to a Chromecast just yet.
How to use the Amazon Prime Video App
As soon as you load the app, it will scan your home network to see if there’s a Chromecast on it, and if it finds one, a small Chromecast menu button will be added to the app screen. Note that unlike most apps with Chromecast support, this icon – the familiar rectangular “cast” shape – is not in a top corner of the screen. Instead, it’s overlaid near the bottom right in a grey circle, so it’s easy to miss if you’re not expecting to find it there.
Tap the icon, and a “Cast to Device” menu will pop up. You should see the name you gave your Chromecast listed there, so go ahead and tap it. On your TV screen, the Prime Video app will load, and you’ll see “Ready to Cast” appear (along with a promise that “it’s going to be awesome!”)
And just like that, you’re ready to stream! Play anything you like from the app as you usually would, and it will load and play on your TV via Chromecast. If you’re using a Chromecast Ultra, you’ll also be able to stream in HDR (High Dynamic Range) for shows that support it, as many of Prime Video’s own productions do (obviously, you’ll also need a TV with HDR support; most 4K TVs do).
You don’t need to stay on the app screen while watching – you can switch to other apps any time you like – but Amazon’s cleverly added a handy feature in their app which makes it worth keeping on screen.
Amazon’s hidden feature
One great thing about Amazon Prime Video is its “X-Ray” feature on many shows and movies, which gives you real-time information and trivia about what you’re watching – like the names of actors in a scene, or the song that’s playing. It’s great, but a little inconvenient on your phone where you have to pause the video to read it. But with Chromecast streaming, you can access all that “X-Ray” data while you watch just by tapping the icon on your phone screen – so you’ve effectively got a “second screen” in your hands that can tell you at a glance all the relevant info about any scene throughout the show or movie. It’s a great feature that’s even better with Chromecast!
What to do When You’re Done Watching
When you’ve finished your streaming and want control of the app (and the TV) back, just tap the Chromecast icon on the app screen and select “Stop Casting”. Your Chromecast will drop into its “ambient” mode (showing pictures, the time and the weather) and anything you play on the app will play on the phone or tablet screen again.
It’s been a long time coming, but Prime Video supporting Chromecast is yet another great reason to buy what is perhaps the most versatile low-cost streaming device on the market. It’s also a great reason to try Amazon Prime Video if you haven’t already – and remember, there’s a 30-day free trial available!