The Google Home Hub’s smart display might only have a 7-inch screen, but it makes a nice little companion in the kitchen or bedroom. Like a tiny smart TV you can talk to.
One of the coolest features is the ability to stream videos and more from your favorite streaming apps just like you would on a Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV or speaker. Kind of. Here’s how to get started, what’s working right now, and what we hope will happen soon.
It’s really as easy as casting to Chromecast and we’ll just say here that you can cast to any third-party smart display, not just Google Home Hub.
Simply open the app on your Android phone or iPhone and the Cast button – a screen with a Wi-Fi symbol – should appear in the top right corner of the screen.
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On most apps, you can either stream from the home screen / search page and then decide what to watch or select what you want to watch first, then hit Cast and then play .
You will then see a list of compatible devices from which you can choose the Google Home Hub – you may have renamed yours, in which case that name, for example “kitchen screen” will appear instead. Hit that and the video, track or podcast will start playing on the screen.
In the Spotify app it’s a little different – click on Available devices and the Home Hub will appear in that list, labeled as Google Cast. And for music, don’t forget that you can bundle the Home Hub with a better sound assistant and built-in Chromecast speakers for multi-room audio.
You can now use your phone as a controller in the app or through the convenient Cast media control notifications or the on-screen play / pause, rewind and 30-second buttons.
Or you can use voice commands like “Hey Google, stop” or swipe up from the left side of the screen to return to Home. FYI, everything you’ve watched will then appear as its own map on the home hub UI with the option to tap to resume playback.
What applications are distributed on Home Hub?
The bottom line here is that not all apps streamed to Chromecast will be streaming yet.
So YouTube, Spotify, Google Play / YouTube Music and podcast apps like Podcast Addict work for us, as does Mubi and 4OD movie streaming app in UK. Some, like 4OD, require you to first pair the service and sign in through the Google Home app.
What apps do we want to see next?
Netflix’s support for streaming on Home Hub isn’t over-the-air – a big deal – so we’re hoping compatibility will arrive sooner rather than later as it’s Chromecast compatible. Rishi Chanda, vice president of Nest and Home products, told The Verge that Google is in talks with Netflix and the streaming service is “conservative” to see how smart screens are being used.
There’s no Prime Video support, but that’s not surprising given Amazon’s plans for the Echo Show 2018 and no options for Cast Hulu in the US.
Another feature that is not available for the Home Hub is the ability to cast tabs from Chrome and mirror what’s on your phone or laptop. It also does not appear for us in Cast for Google Photos devices. All of this could be really useful in the future.
Are you posting on Google Home Hub? Which apps work for you?