How to Stream From VLC to Your Chromecast

 

VLC’s developers have been working on Chromecast support for some time, and it’s finally available…sort of. It still hasn’t made it to the stable release of VLC yet, but if you run the bleeding edge nightly builds on Windows, you can stream video and audio files from VLC media player on your PC to your Chromecast.

Warning: this feature is unstable. Some people report it works perfectly for them, while others report it doesn’t and has problems with certain types of media files. Your experience may vary, but this feature is definitely in the early stages. Even so, it’s worth trying to see if it works for you–and it should only get better over time.

What You’ll Need

This feature is currently only available in the latest unstable “nightly” builds of VLC 3.0. At the time this article was written, the latest stable version of VLC was VLC 2.2.4.

At the moment, this feature is also only available in the Windows builds of VLC. You can’t use the Mac, Linux, or Android versions of VLC for this. You’ll need a Windows PC for now.

To get started, download and install the latest nightly build of VLC for 64-bit Windows or VLC for 32-bit Windows, depending on whether your Windows operating system is 64-bit or 32-bit. Download the .exe file from the pages linked here and run it to install that version of VLC.

How to Cast Video From VLC

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the appropriate version of VLC, you can get started. First, ensure your Chromecast is on. If you’ve connected it to the USB port on your TV for power, this means you’ll need to turn your TV on.

You won’t find a “Cast” icon in VLC–at least, not at the moment. To find your Chromecast, you’ll need to click Video > Render > Scan.

VLC will scan for nearby devices. You’ll then need to click Video > Renderer > Your Chromecast. VLC will connect to your Chromecast.

Open a video file in VLC and click the “Play” button. Use the Media > Open File menu or just drag and drop a video file from your file manager onto the VLC window.

After you try to play the video, you’ll see an “Insecure site” prompt. Click “View certificate” to view your Chromecast’s security certificate.

Click “Accept Permanently” to accept your Chromecast’s certificate.

The video file should immediately begin playing on your Chromecast after you agree, with your Chromecast streaming the file from the VLC player on your computer.

Use the controls in the VLC window to pause, fast forward, rewind, and otherwise control playback.

When you try streaming in the future, you’ll just need to use the Video > Render menu to scan and connect. Afterwards, you can play video files without accepting the certificate prompt again.

Help, It Didn’t Work!

Having problems? This feature may just need some more time in the oven.  If this VLC feature doesn’t work well for you at the moment, try another way to watch local video files on your Chromecast.

Specifically, there’s an easy way to stream your computer’s desktop video to a Chromecast using Google Chrome’s built-in casting tool. To start it, open Chrome to any website, then click the Chromecast icon, or click the Menu button and click “cast.”

Select the drop-down menu next to “Cast to,” then change the source from the Chrome tab to “Cast Desktop.” Then select your Chromecast or Android TV device.

Once Chromecast is broadcasting the whole screen, just open VLC and play your video in fullscreen. Note that, because Chromecast’s video streaming protocol is focused on speed rather than quality, the video quality will be much lower than in the steps above.

If you’d like to downgrade back to a stable version of VLC, visit VLC’s homepage, download the current stable build, and install it.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Twitter.