As regular readers of this blog will know by now, we absolutely love the free and open source ‘Netflix for pirates’ app Popcorn Time. We are also fans of Google’s super-cheap Chromecast streaming device, so the two should be a marriage made in heaven!
The popular (and slightly controversial) Popcorn Time fork Time4Popcorn already has Chromecast support built in (although in our experience this can be somewhat unstable), but the ‘mainstream’ Popcorn Time.io version has yet to add this feature.
There is however a handy workaround which allows users to Chromecast their Popcorn Time movies from their desktop computers (we tested this on Windows, but it should work with OSX and Linux) using a service which Chromecast owners may also find more generally useful.
Dabble.me offers a free ‘VidCast: Video to Chromecast’ service. Simply cut and paste almost any video link (Vimeo, TED and many other websites are supported, as well as a wide range of video formats) into the website’s URL bar, and a Chromecast button will appear at the bottom right of the video.
Dabble.me does not specify a required browser, but perhaps because many of ours are tricked-out with various privacy extensions etc., the service only worked using a fairly ‘vanilla’ version of Google Chrome. It work very well, however, when using this browser.
Chromecasting Popcorn Time using VidCast
1. Make sure your VPN is running (if you don’t want the copyright bullies after you)!
2. Start your show in Popcorn Time and wait for the video to load
3. Hit ‘u’ on your keyboard (this copies the URL of the torrent to your clipboard)
4. Go to Dabble.me and Paste the URL into the URL bar
5. Replace ‘127.0.0.1’ with your computer’s IP address (search online how to do this for your OS). It should now look something like ‘http://192.168.1.119.1:1744/’. Be sure to use your ‘real’ IP, not that of your VPN server. We have checked, and this works just fine
5. Hit ‘Go’
6. The video should start playing in your browser. Hit the Dabble.me Chromecast icon at the bottom right of the video to enjoy the show on your big TV screen!
Note that Popcorn Time must remain running while Chromecasting in this way.
Our thanks to redditer HarryButts for this excellent hack.
Update 21 August 2014: No sooner had we published this article than ollym posted that, bored of waiting for Chromecast support, he has built it himself. Links to the new build are available here (Windows & OSX).
We tested the new Chromecast functionality and it works well, but with one big caveat – it does not seem to work when using VPN! We have contacted the developer about this, and hopefully the issue will soon be fixed.. Until it is, however, we recommend using the workaround outlined above.