How to Setup Kodi on Chromecast – Use Kodi with Google Chromecast

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Want to use your big living room TV to watch Kodi instead of your small smartphone or laptop computer screen?  If you’ve got Google’s latest media streaming device, you can.  Read on to find out how to setup Kodi on Chromecast.

Before you proceed

We highly recommend using a VPN anytime you use Kodi.  Kodi streamers have been known to receive copyright infringement notices for watching movies, sports, and TV shows through various addons.  If you would like to keep your streaming habits private, our recommendation is IPVanish – a complete privacy solution for Kodi users.

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What is Chromecast?

Chromecast is an inexpensive, easy-to-use media streaming device from Google.

What does it do?  How does it work?  

Chromecast grabs the video that’s playing on your iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Windows or Chromebook and beams it directly into your TV wirelessly via WiFi.

3 reasons to use Chromecast with Kodi

  • Turns your computer or smartphone into a Kodi box
  • Improves your Kodi experience
  • Saves money

The biggest reason to use Chromecast with Kodi is that it allows you to take full advantage of all your media hardware.   With Chromecast, all your media players can “talk” to each other and exchange video stream information.

There are many other streaming devices, but Chromecast is the cheapest and easiest to use.  If all you want to do is connect your computer or smartphone to your TV, Chromecast is the best option out there.  Its competitors Roku and Apple TV have more features, but the extra cost isn’t worth it if all you want to do is watch Kodi on your TV.

Should I get Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra?

The difference between Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra boils down to price and video resolution.

Chromecast vs Chromecast Ultra

  • A basic Chromecast casts 1080p HD streams
  • A Chromecast Ultra can handle 4k HDR enhanced movies and shows
  • Chromecast basic costs around $30
  • Chromecast Ultra costs about twice as much

If you have a TV that can handle ultra high res 4K streams and HDR enhanced color, it makes sense to pay a bit more to get Chromecast Ultra.  But if you have an older TV that maxes out at 1080p, there’s no reason to get the premium version of Chromecast.

Aside from the picture quality differences, all the other features of Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra are identical.

Before you begin…

Before you can use Chromecast to broadcast Kodi streams, you need to make sure that you have all of the following hardware:

  • A Chromecast dongle.  The Chromecast dongle is the Chromecast hardware itself. Because Google’s popular puck-shaped streamer gadget can connect to a WiFi network, it falls into the “USB dongle” gadget category. USB dongles are basically USB sticks with advanced features.
  • An HDMI compatible HDTV.  If your TV lacks an HDMI port, you won’t be able to plug in your Chromecast.  So, be sure to verify that your TV is HDMI compatible before you buy.
  • A stable WiFi connection.  If you have a slow internet connection, Chromecast will still work, but the video will be choppy and hard to watch.  Google says that Chromecast works best on WiFi networks that are 25 mbps or faster.
  • A computer and/or smartphone.  You need some kind of smartphone to run the Chromecast software.  As mentioned above, Chromecast is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Windows and Chromebook.
  • An USB cable or a wall adapter.  Chromecast comes with a USB adapter, but you can use any standard USB cord with the device.  Alternatively, you can also use the wall charger that comes with the Chromecast for power.

Can I connect to Chromecast from within Kodi?

No.  Currently, Kodi lacks native support for Chromecast.  But that doesn’t mean that Chromecast and Kodi are incompatible.  It just means that if you want to use Kodi with Chromecast, you can’t do so from within the Kodi program itself.

All of the following apps do feature native support for Chromecast:

  • BBC iPlayer
  • CBS Sports
  • Comedy Central
  • Crackle
  • Daily Motion
  • Flixster
  • FOX NOW
  • HBO Go
  • Hulu Plus
  • Netflix
  • NPR One
  • Pandora
  • Popcorn Time
  • Sling TV
  • Spotify
  • Twitch
  • Vevo
  • YouTube

Check out the full list of apps that feature native support Chromecast devices.

Smartphone or PC/Mac?

If you have a newer smartphone, you won’t have any trouble broadcasting Kodi streams to your HDTV via Chromecast.  But if you have an older smartphone that struggles to run modern apps, you may be better off using your laptop or desktop computer to broadcast Kodi.

Android or iPhone?

It is possible to install Kodi on iPhone devices.  But because Apple has refused to host the Kodi app in its Mac store, you have to either sideload Kodi or jailbreak your phone and load Kodi via Cydia to get it to work.

If you’re willing to do the work to get Kodi on your iPhone, you should be able to get Chromecast to work by adapting one of the workarounds listed below.  However, if you have an Android phone, a laptop or a desktop you’ll have a much easier time broadcasting your Kodi streams to your television via Chromecast.

How to stream Kodi to your TV via your Android smartphone

If you have a smartphone, there are two ways to beam your Kodi stream to your television screen.  The first way is complicated, but it’s much easier on your battery compared to the second method.  The second way is a lot simpler, but it requires you to broadcast your entire screen.

Method #1: The “battery saver” method

  • Good: This method consumes much less system resources compared to method #2
  • Bad: It’s also a little bit more complicated and somewhat difficult to configure

We think that “method #1” is the best way to stream Kodi’s content to Chromecast.  Setup is a little bit tricky.  But if you follow the steps below, you’ll be able to play Kodi streams on your Chromecast even when your phone is in “locked” mode– and you’ll also be able to multitask and use other apps on your phone without having to pause your movie.

In addition to saving battery power, method #1 also results in smoother streams.  If your phone tends to get bogged down when you’re watching videos or browsing the web, you’ll probably run into glitches and long buffer times if you opt to use method #2.

1.  Install these 3 apps on your smartphone

  • Kodi.  Apple is currently refusing to host Kodi in its iOS App Store, so it’s very hard to install Kodi on an iPhone.  However, Android smartphone owners can easily download the Kodi Android app via Google Play.
  • LocalCast.  You can use pretty much any caster app you want to use, but we recommend LocalCast.  LocalCast consumes less system resources compared to other smartphone casting apps.
  • ES File Explorer.  Any file manager that allows you to add and remove hidden files will suffice, but we recommend ES File Explorer because it’s free and super easy to use.

2.  Download the PlayerFactoryCore .XML file to your Android

The PlayerFactoryCore is a Kodi file that allows Kodi to connect to external video players.  You can either download PlayerFactoryCore here or from the official Kodi Wiki.

3.  Copy the .XML file to Kodi’s “userdata” folder

  • Open up ES File Explorer.
  • Click the 3 vertical lines in the top left corner of the screen, then select settings.
  • Under display settings, select show hidden files.
  • Go to the downloads folder and copy the file you downloaded in step 2– PlayerFactoryCore.xml.
  • Using ES File Explorer, navigate to android → data → org.xbmc.kodi → files → .kodi → userdata
  • Click paste

4.  Open Kodi and play a video

After you have pasted the file, open the Kodi app and play any video.  LocalCast should automatically pop up.

Note: If you already have a casting app installed, Android will ask you to choose which one you want to use here.  If this happens, select LocalCast from the menu and proceed to step 5.

5.  Select your TV in LocalCast 

Once you’ve got Chromecast open, just select your HDTV from the list of available devices and press play to cast your Kodi to your HDTV.

6.  Minimize the Chromecast app and enjoy your movie

With this configuration your movie will continue to play all the way to the end– even if your phone locks itself.   If you want to flip to a different stream or turn the volume up or down, just unlock your phone and make your adjustments.

Method #2: The “screen mirror” method

  • Good: This method is quick and easy
  • Bad: Screen mirror mode will quickly deplete your Android’s battery

The easiest way to stream Kodi to Chromecast involves using Google Cast’s “screen mirror” mode to cast your entire screen.  Here’s how to do it:

1.  Install Kodi and Google Cast

Both Kodi and Google Cast are available via Google Play.

2.  Open up Google Cast and select “Cast screen/audio”

  • Poke the three horizontal lines in the top left corner of the screen.
  • Select cast screen/audio
  • Click OK to acknowledge the “Screen casting is not optimized for this device; your experience may vary” warning message.

3.  Select your TV

Wait for Chromecast to find your HDTV, then select it.  Chromecast will automatically adjust your HDTV display so that it accommodates your smartphone screen.

4. Open up Kodi and play a video 

At this point, Kodi will begin to play your video on both your Android device and on your HDTV.

Note: If your phone locks itself or if you get a phone call, your movie will stop playing.  So for best results, turn off your phone’s security and switch to airplane mode if you decide to cast Kodi using this method.  

How to stream Kodi to your TV via your Mac or PC

If you run into jerky video performance when you cast Kodi via your smartphone, you may want to try using your PC or Mac instead.  All you software you need to get this method to work is:

  • Kodi
  • Google Chrome
  • The Google Cast Chrome extension

1.  Setup your software

  • Install Kodi.  If you don’t already have Kodi, go through the standard Kodi installation process.
  • Install Google Chrome.  Google’s flagship browser has native support for Chromecast, so download and install Chrome if you don’t already have it.
  • Install the Google Cast Chrome extension.  Just open up Chrome and then hop over to the Google webstore to get the Chromecast extension.  Google Cast gives you the ability to cast your computer screen to your HDTV.

Note: If you’re running Windows, you may need to install a few extra files to get the Cast Chrome extension working on Windows.  Fortunately, Google has a Chromecast Windows installer that has all the files you need to get started.

2.  Open the Google Cast extension

 

  • After you’ve installed the Google Cast extension, click the button on the top right side of your screen that reads cast this tab to…
  • Then, select cast screen/window (experimental) 

3.  Choose to cast your entire screen

The Chrome Cast extension will prompt you to choose what you want to cast.  Select entire screen.

4.  Play a video on Kodi and enjoy your movie

With screen sharing on, your HDTV will mirror whatever is on your computer screen.  Just pull up Kodi and play a video to watch it on your TV screen.

Note: For best results with this method, disable your computer’s screensaver.  If your screensaver switches on, it’ll interrupt your movie.  If you run into performance issues try closing out all your programs except Kodi to save memory.

Which casting method works the best?

We recommend that you use your Android to cast Kodi to your HDTV.

In terms of performance, the “battery saver” Android smartphone casting strategy is the most effective of the three casting methods mentioned above.  It’s also the only Kodi casting workaround that allows you to multitask on your device as you watch a movie or TV show on Kodi.

The second best way to cast Kodi is the PC/Mac screen sharing method.  It won’t work so well if your computer is slow.  But if your desktop or laptop computer is fast enough to support intensive CPU usage, performance won’t be an issue.