Any Good Chromecast Alternatives?

Hi everyone,

One of our TVs is not smart, and I found a Chromecast a family member had from a few years ago.

Have set up the Chromecast, so I can cast Spark Sport/Netflix on it, and it works fine. But I'm a little disappointed I need to find the content on my phone and cast from there.

Are there any alternatives that have built-in apps? Would be also interested in options that allow me to install apps on it too, so I can maybe use a VPN to get overseas apps/channels (although not sure if you can install a VPN on these devices?).



  • I'm no expert when it comes to this space but a media box might be a decent option for you? I have an old minix neo u9-h running CoreELEC. I get NZ TV, AU TV, Netlflix, Youtube, Sky Go, NBA League Pass etc. Running NordVPN on it so that I can access Channel7 in Australia which is region locked.

    How much are you wanting to spend?

    • Thanks, that sounds pretty good! Maybe 100-200. Glad to hear VPNs work on them

  • fire tv

    • Thanks,

    • Can you get a VPN working on it?

  • Plex with PlexShares.

    Basically, Plex is self-hosted Netflix in a way. PlexShares is where you pay a fee to access other people's Plex servers, i.e they provide the content and you pay for the membership. It's usually a lot cheaper compared to paying for Netflix and some memberships are lifetime, i.e you pay $50 and access to all the media content on their servers. You can also request the hoster to add new content and some will do this very quickly for you. There are certain shows that aren't available on Netflix, some that have to be pirated for example and so the hoster can sort all this out for you.

    There are also Android TV boxes like UBOX that provide "free" content. You pay a one time fee of around $300 and you get to watch pretty much anything on there. Discovery channels, BBC, all the latest movies and TV shows, even ones from other countries like China, Japan, South Korea, etc. Speed is good, no VPN required. Quality is also very good and definitely worth the price imo.

    Lastly, there are sites like that provide contents for "free". You can also use apps like Popcorn Time to stream movies directly from torrent files. All you literally do is launch the app, pick a movie and start watching. Plenty of apps and free services like those out there, just Google.

    There are also plenty of posts on Reddit. Suggest you ask your question there.

    • Thanks, amazing info :)

    • I remember plex shares. Seemed good at the time but was always at the mercy of how many other people used their server at the same time.

  • nvidia shield

    • Thanks, hadn't heard of this one

  • i got a mibox. makes it an android tv so can do netflix youtube etc

    • Will look them up, thanks. Could you add a new app, like Spark Sport, if you wanted to?

  • +1

    I would recommend a Google TV much like a chromecast you can cast stuff from your phone, but the Google TV come with a TV remote and it’s own onboard TV OS called android TV it’s very easy to use and comes with google assistance built in so you just ask it a command like, “play such and such on Netflix” and boom your watching it, so you don’t have to navigate though tons of menus. 😊

    • I didn't know about Google TV! Seems perfect. Do you know if it can have Spark Sport by any chance?

      • +1

        It has play store, so you can install most of the apps.

      • +1

        Chromecast with Google TV supports Spark Sport!

  • You can cast from Google chrome off a computer for instance. And that includes movies or photos you have on the computer…..just drag and drop em into a chrome page and clik the three dots at the top right - then cast….easy.

    Theres apps which enable casting also.

    • Great tip!

  • Chromecast with google tv. Comes with a remote and android operating system. 1-day sells them frequently

    • +1

      Agree chrome cast with google tv works amazing

    • It does sound great. Do you know if you can make it work with a VPN? Looking to get the Hotstar app from India on it too

  • +2

    the xiaomi mi box tv seems to work well.

    for most of these boxes youll need to sideload the nz sports apps because spark and sky are putting out their own set top boxes (i think sky are going to release the uk sky boxes here).…

    APKDownload one file manager (Randomly pick one) from google play
    Second, search spark sports APK on google. Link to: download to the hard drive
    Or sky sports via
    Neon via…
    Third, use hard drive trans to the mi box.
    Forth, run the APK on mi box via file manager

    • Thanks, that's extremely useful.

      Is it a similar process to get a VPN running on the mi box?

  • Anything that connects to rumble or odysee so I can watch them on my non-smart TV?
    Or a way that mirrors whatever website on your phone to work on a TV?

    • Any Chromecast should be able to mirror your phone to your TV (if it has at least an HDMI input, and if you have an Android from the last ten years or so).

    • If you have an Android phone and a ChromeCast you can mirror ANY screen you like to the Tv. Just goto the Google Home app and you will see it lists the CC, (you'll need the phone to be connected to your wifi). It will show your CC then you tap that and it'll give you options one of which is to mirror the screen.

      And, as I stated earlier, you can also use a computer to Cast from Chrome Browser easily, VERY easily. And there are plenty of apps that'll allow you to cast from the computer also.

      • Oh I have an iPhone and have tried this app called Replica but it doesn’t connect for long and I have to get the sound from a portable speaker through my phone, as far as I know.
        I’m still looking for other alternatives…

        • I don't think Apple allows you to do that.

          They require that you pay for an Apple TV I suspect.


  • +1

    Basically what you want and what most of the answers suggest is a TV box, and most commonly running os is Android, so an "Android TV box".

    Lots of options, I didn't see Roku mentioned but that would also be a good option along side Nvidia shield TV, Google TV, Xiaomi TV box, etc.

    VPN can be setup on some devices directly or alternatively could be setup on the router if you have a router that supports that.

    Personally I'm happy to just use a chromecast ultra (controlled via my phone) which plays media directly from my own plex server.

  • +8

    There are several options. I use a couple of them, depending on what I want to stream. I've made a bit of a table below with the usual options (though there might be more). Some devices, like Amazon Fire Sticks and Roku, aren't common in NZ. The Chromecast with Google TV is available as a grey import, though runs exactly the same software as Sony, TCL & Phillips TVs here.

    I generally recommend either the Chromecast with Google TV (for price and support), or the Apple TV 4K (for ease of use and support) for most people.

    Device Operating system Voice Assistant Price Can cast? Pros Cons Video formats Audio formats Native VPN support
    Nvidia Shield Google TV Google Assistant $250-$450 Yes (Google Cast) By far the most powerful, compatible with most services No HDR10+ Dolby Vision Dolby Atmos, DTS:X (passthrough) Yes
    Chromecast with Google TV Google TV Google Assistant $140 Yes (Google Cast) Affordable, all apps work well, well supported. Official Google, so regularly updated. No ethernet or USB port (but works with adapters) Dolby Vision, HDR10+ Dolby Atmos, DTS (passthrough) Yes
    Xiaomi Mi Box S Android TV (now Google TV) Google Assistant $100 Yes (Google Cast) More affordable, compatible with most apps. USB port, supports file playback. Older, slower technology. Will need to sideload some apps, including Spark Sport and Neon. Doesn't have an ethernet port, but works with an adapter. No Dolby Vision or HDR10+ support. Dolby Surround & DTS Yes
    Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (/Max) Fire OS Amazon Alexa $100-$150 Yes (Google Cast or Apple AirPlay) Powerful enough, compatible with most apps. Well supported. No ethernet or USB, though compatible with adapters. Dolby Vision, HDR10+ Dolby Atmos Yes
    Apple TV 4K tvOS Siri $250-$300 Yes (Apple AirPlay) Very powerful, compatible with most streaming services, great remote. The device "just works". Ethernet port. You don't need other Apple devices to use it, but augments iPhone. No DTS audio support, no USB support, even with adapters. Doesn't support HDR10+. Dolby Vision Dolby Atmos No
    Other Android boxes Android Depends - usually compatible with Google Assistant $100-$500 Yes, using third party apps Endlessly customisable, essentially a tablet for the TV Generally feature an interface not designed for TV, so are difficult to use. Yes
    • +1

      Holy, this is incredible. Thanks a lot for putting it together. Will no doubt refer back to it in the future. I can see clearly now that Chromecast with Google TV is my best option

    • Chromecast w/tv is $120 on 1day/the market

  • Suprised no one has mentioned the Tivo Stream 4k. (Runs full Android TV with Android TV launcher, Tivo aspects are limited only to an app).…

    Powerful device with offical widevine DRM support, been using it for a year and very pleased. Used button remapping, and even has enough CPU/GPU to emulate SNES games (can pair other bluetooth devices like a PS4 controller to it).

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