Amazon vs Google, Prime vs Chromecast
January 10, 2017 7:32 PM   Subscribe

I have a new Chromecast. It works with several services that I've tried. However, when I tried to cast Amazon Prime (Mozart in the Jungle), it gave me picture but no sound. Is this a local thing, or a skirmish between two tech Giants.

I did find a post that suggested that if you can stream Prime to your browser, you can make it work, which seems reasonable and I was successful in streaming the browser, but I don't know how to view the Prime content except with the Amazon Video app. I'm using a Nexus tablet as the control.

Am I SOL, or is there a workaround?
posted by SemiSalt to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Amazon has limited availability of apps to play back videos from Amazon Prime video.

They have an iOS app. They have an Android app but only through their app store - they don't make it available through the Google Play Store. And the app does not have Chromecast support. (This is because cast support comes via Google Play Services, which is not on Amazon's android devices, for non-technical reasons).

As you note, yes, you can use screen mirroring from either an Android device or from Chrome to send the video that way but the quality is poorer as the sending device is re-encoding the video in real time which is pretty CPU-intensive. And, as you also note, for whatever reason Chrome can't mirror system audio on my Mac. Not sure why this is. According to the Google Cast support forums they fixed this on Windows.

And it looks like you can't play back their videos in Chrome on Android (although this is technically possible).

The short answer is you're mostly out of luck unless you use screen/tab mirroring from Chrome on Windows.
posted by GuyZero at 7:45 PM on January 10, 2017

We stream Amazon prime from our laptop to our Chromecast via Google chrome cast tab. There may have been a toggle the first time where we had to choose to also cast audio.
posted by czytm at 7:48 PM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is Amazon's way of trying to drive people to the Fire TV offerings instead of going with Chromecast.

My feeble act of protest was to buy a Roku TV (which is kind of crappy, compared to most Chromecast apps, but at least it has Amazon)
posted by sparklemotion at 8:42 PM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Annoying, but just cast prime from a browser tab. A really dumb and annoying solution is to cast your entire mobile device.
posted by My Dad at 9:05 PM on January 10, 2017

Nthing browser tab. We weren't happy with this solution, and weren't happy with paying for something we couldn't use, so we bought a Fire Stick on Prime Day.

That being said, using a Fire Stick is much better than Chromecast for some situations... Sometimes it's nice to just use a remote rather than have to keep controlling everything via phone.
posted by getawaysticks at 3:46 AM on January 11, 2017

Yeah, that exact thing is why I got a Roku stick. Amazon has a negative incentive to make your Chromecast experience better at this point.
posted by Etrigan at 4:00 AM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you happen to have a Wii, there's a Prime app for that. That's how I watch, since I have a Chromecast too.
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:20 AM on January 11, 2017

I'll try not to whine.

This has been one of those computer experiences where what the instructions say will happen is not what happens on the device. (I think this is often because either the device is old, or the instructions are out of date.) When I tried to implement the Prime-to-Chrome, Chrome-to-Chromecast solution mentioned by cztym, My Dad, and getawaysticks, I followed instructions that I found via Google to down load the Cast extension to the browser. It seemed to run, but the Chromecast icon did not appear. The install also said it was added to the desktop, not the browser, and I don't find an icon for it. So, frustration.

What I tried and described above was the Cast-device option which apparently just doesn't do sound, as reported by GuyZero. So, at least my result there was normal.

When I first clicked on "watch now" in Prime, it send me to download the Amazon App (which I don't want) and the Amazon Video Viewer. (Also Underground, which I know nothing about, and which isn't visible on the desktop). As I noted in my original question, I don't see an option for streaming to the browser on my Nexus (Android) tablet, though there may be one. So I'm thinking maybe Prime just won't do that.

I'm going to try using my Windows 10 laptop as the control device. It's not as convenient for reasons too personal and picayune to describe here, but frankly, if I'm going to use the laptop, I might as well just watch on the laptop.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:57 AM on January 11, 2017

You have my permission to whine. This is a lame anti-consumer decision on Amazon's part.
posted by GuyZero at 8:46 AM on January 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Amazon is the tech equivalent of an abusive and jealous lover who spies on you and constantly tries to control you. I would dump them. Any 'exclusives' they have that you must watch, steal. (Srsly, their apps make my phone get actually hot from all the spyware...even the books app. There's no excuse for that)
posted by sexyrobot at 10:04 AM on January 11, 2017

Amazon really, really does not like Chromecast. Have you noticed you can't buy one on Amazon?

Casting a tab from Chrome on a PC/Mac/Chromebook is probably the best way to get Amazon on a Chromecast. If you've updated Chrome in the last few months, the Cast extension is no longer needed; just right-click on a web page and select "Cast..." from the menu. For Amazon you'll need to start casting before you start the video, because their video player hijacks the right-click menu. You can get to Amazon Prime Video through this link.

You should, in theory, be able to do something similar on a lot of Android devices using the "Google Home" app. It's supposed to be supported (including sound) on the Nexus 10 and 2nd gen Nexus 7, but not the 1st gen (2012) version. Prime Video doesn't work through a browser on Android; you have to use their app, which may be actively interfering with your attempts to cast it.
posted by shponglespore at 2:41 PM on January 12, 2017

Thank you, thank you, shponglespore! You've solved two mysteries. 1) Installation of the Cast Extension doesn't work because Cast is now built in (on the right-click menu where you might not think to look). 2) Cast of the Android device with sound is enabled by the Google Home app.

I just demonstrated for myself that I can use the PC and cast from browser, or I can use the tablet, cast from Google Home and run in the Amazon Video app.

Ironically, I think my takeaway is that I'm just going to watch on the laptop and not use the Chromecast. All things considered, the viewing is as good or better, and the hassles of cords and battery life are manageable.

My thanks to everyone who took the time to chime in.
posted by SemiSalt at 7:32 AM on January 13, 2017

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