Playcast brings Chromecast and AirPlay streaming to Windows 10 phones and PCs

Back in the day, Windows Phone users had an app called Play to from Nokia. The app let you stream media from your phone to any DLNA device, including the Xbox One. Like many things with Windows 10, however, Play to has been sidelined.

Thankfully, developer Webrox (creators of Tubecast has a new app out that will do all of that and more! Playcast is now available for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 for PCs and tablets.

We've been using Playcast for the last 24 hours and are impressed. Check out our hands-on video to see how it works!

Playcast for Windows 10

  • Reads multimedia files including video, audio, and photo to cast to external devices
  • Support for Chromecast, Chromecast Audio, Airplay and DLNA protocols (e.g. Xbox One)
  • Runs as a background task including controlling it with background audio player
  • OneDrive integration (Google Drive and Dropbox coming in next update)
  • Playlist support (local only)
  • Slideshow mode and shuffle

How it works

The app both for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 is a little busy due to some options, but its operation is very straightforward. Browse your local camera roll, music files, videos or movies and begin to play them on your phone through the app.

To cast you just hit the cast button in the lower right-hand area and assuming you are on the same network as your Xbox One or Chomecast device, you can pick it from the list of available options. Choose your desired device to cast to and within moments, it will begin streaming.

It runs in the background

The real big deal here, however, is the background task feature. Let me give you a real-world example that we tried and that works remarkably well: Streaming an HD movie stored on OneDrive through our phone to the TV via a connected Xbox One.

Not only can it do the above streaming task, but you can minimize the app on your phone and continue to use the phone as you normally would without any drawbacks. It didn't even hit battery life too hard. Even better, you can turn your phone's display off and just watch the movie streaming from OneDrive to your phone to your TV. Additionally, you can hit the volume key on your phone and play, pause or skip — just like a traditional remote.

Of course, you can also do just the photos, music, or videos you recorded on your phone too. We had no issues streaming any media. Frankly, we're impressed.

In this sense, Playcast feels more like a native app than some third party workaround. Your device becomes merely a means of transport for media, but like in Continuum, continues to operate as a phone. Speaking of Continuum, Playcast supports that feature as well.

Free trial and price

Playcast comes with a free 7-day unlimited trial where you can try all the features. After that, you can continue to use the app, but streaming is disabled. The app costs $3.99, but that one-time fee unlocks it for Windows 10 (PCs and tablets) and Windows 10 Mobile making it a great value for the functionality it provides.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Go and download the app and you have one week to trial it yourself to see if it meets your needs!

Also, as a side note for those using Tubecast will be going to Windows 10 as a re-written native app in the coming months as more people get the update to their phones. We'll let you know when that happens.

Download Playcast for Windows 10 and Mobile (opens in new tab)

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Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

118 Comments
  • airplay is such a cool feature. Too bad it's not a standard on Windows (phone). Miracast and dlna is just not that great
  • Why would you think an Apple standard is a standard on a Microsoft device though, and what world are you in that DLNA is not that great?
  • had airplay, don't like it rather use Chromecast and now Windows wireless display
  • Don't Windows 10 already have "Connect" option in notification tiles. It does the same thing without an app. On newer devices it enables Continuum and on older devices you just see the exact duplicate of your phone screen.
  • Sounds like you don't know how to use a computer. DLNA is far from dead, and the only times I've ever had an issue, it was a network issue (which would also kill airplay)
  • Read and cry. I know, the verge is not realy a Microsoft fan, but i think this is a true story http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/25/4753264/is-the-airplay-killer-already-...  
  • Really dude? Did YOU read the article, or what I said? The article tries to put down DLNA once, it's about Miracast, not DLNA, and they don't even support their argument. Not only that, in order for airplay to become more mainstream it would require a much larger apple adoption rate, which is not going to happen.
  • It is not a true story, it's another moronic hatchet job courtesy of the verge. The truth is basically every tv supports miracast, and virtually none support airplay - despite what the article claims. The truth is that most new phones (except apple phones) support miracast - despite what the article claims. Basically nothing in the verge article is true, at all.  
  • The entire world to Axmantim:  DLNA is not that great.  In fact, that's being generous; most of the time it's bloody awful.  A bad spec that's been poorly and inconsistantly implemented by many (most?) devices that "support" it.
  • I think you need to look up proper usage of the colon, as well as the definition of hyperbole.
  • Really?  In what way was the colon improperly used?  
  • http://m.grammarbook.com/punctuation-rules/colons.aspx there you go. It follows none of the rules. Regardless, come to the argument with either something other than your opinion, or why airplay is going to overtake dlna.
  • Looks to me like it kinda falls into rule 9 and partially rule 7. (in the sense that it's the target of what someone is saying) .  I suppose I could have put quotation marks around the "DLNA is not that great" clause...?  Would that have offended you less?  Wait a minute, you didn't mistake my semicolon in the 2nd sentence for a colon did you??  Be honest now! But back on topic, I think everyone here is giving their opinion aren't they?  You're the first person I've ever heard of that has had good experiences with DLNA.  My experience (which based on people I've talked to, podcasts I've listened to, and support forums I've read through is pretty consistant) is that DLNA is pretty lousy.  Granted, I've not used every single device that implements DLNA.  But on devices I have used it with (particularly the PS3), it's been subpar to say the least.  In my opinion, it's a clumsy way to navigate files/media, and it's often unreliable.  By way of comparison, Airplay is vastly superior.  As is Chromecast.  I've never used Miracast because I've never owned a device that supports it, but my impression is that it works well also.  I would love for there to be a common, non-proprietary standard for this sort of thing - be it Miracast, Airplay, whatever - that actually works well.  But part of the problem with an "open standard" is that it can often lead to wildly different experiences.  
  • Miracast is that standard. Chromecast and airplay are restrictive, spying , proprietary nonsense. It's a sad commentary that they have the support of so many.
  • I need some evidence that Airplay "spies" on people, because I don't believe you!  (chromecast sure - it's google right?)  Also, while the video part of airplay IS proprietary, the audio part is not.  (it's licensed) As for the "sad commentary" bit, I guess I don't know what you mean.  Have you ever used airplay?  Because it's pretty great. It's ubuiquitous (at least as much as any of those services are), it works, and it's been around for years.  (unlike miracast and chromecast)  It's available on any Apple product, as well as most AV recievers, and quite a number of standalone speakers.  It's simple enough that my parents can use it. (and they are most definitely NOT technical people!)  We use it at work for screen mirroring in conference rooms (both at my current job and mylast job).  So where exactly is the sad commentary thing?  Should we all feel bad for using a good service when there was no alternative?   edit: also should have mentioned, Airplay doesn't require me to "configure crap" to get it to work.  Can Miracast say that?  (honest question here, I've never used it)
  • Miracast worked out of the box for me. No setup. Cool that on my surface at least you can have the remote screen behave as clone or extension as per normal dual monitors. Not sure if airplay or chromecast do that. Only hassle was audio got out of sync using continuum on phone when casting a movie. (Perry sure continuum uses the miracast protoco)
  • Grammar ****. You hurt him well OP Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on my Frost Nexus 6P
  • It's actually a pretty good app. I wish I could cast Netflix from my phone.
  • kushki - Can already cast Netflix using Miracast without this app, if you haven't tried it. Recent results have been great for me, from my L1520, but it seems like I've had issues with audio lagging behind in the past.
    Still love having additional compatibility options
  • How?
  • Can you be more specific like the minor detail of what phone you have?
  • Intel WiDi is the future already integrated into laptops/tablets with 4th gen and on intel processors...Extended display on 'Panos Phone"?
  • Great!
  • Great app from the developer that bring tubecast to us. Will try it. Tubecast is one of the best youtube app i ever use.
  • How comes there is no link to download the app. On windows 8.1 it was fine, but since I went to win 10 there are no links to download the app
  • Ditto question. This app is half finished.
  • This app is made for 8.1.
  • You mean you are Half Baked...
  • They're working on a new app.
  • For late 2016 lol!
  • Oh dear, some more contestants for the Crypton Factor... click the link...
  • The link doesn't work in the mobile version; like he says, they haven't been since 8.1. Bone2yard, switch to browser version.
  • I use Microsoft wireless display to streaming movies and live sports (via Flash Sports) but I cannot minimize the app nor use the phone for others stuff. So being able to close and app and continuing using the phone sounds great like continuum sort of
  • For Lumia devices there is Lumia Play To, which also works on Windows 10. I have it on my 950 XL.
    And in Windows 10 you can also simply play to DLNA devices from Groove and the default video app.
  • Play TOO has been sidelined. Looks a really neat app, will check it out. Thanks.
  • nah, app is called 'Play to'
  • Can I cast from apps? Like Netflix for example
  • Of course not. That's a media rights issue.
  • Also, what problem would that solve? If you're casting Netflix to a TV, that means the TV has an internet connection, which means it most likely has a Netflix app. Same thing if you're casting to an Xbox, there is a native Xbox Netflix app.
  • The ability to well... Cast anything like my girlfriend's galaxy s6 can. It doesn't solve a problem, rather it adds functionality where there wasn't
  • You say of course not. And follow up by citing that it's a media rights issue. But this app is basically tapping into googles Chromecast which im pretty sure wasn't sanctioned by google to begin with :) Figure if they can find a way around that, they can enable casting from any app on the phone altogether. Not out the realm of possibility. Any who this isn't the droid im looking for. Miracast/continuum will work just fine for my uses
  • Errr I can either project Netflix from my phone to my TV using Chromecast or via the screen mirroring function Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I do it with my Android Phone. Chromecast is Google and Android is Google, No wonder you can not do the same with a Windows Phone. Hope windows comes with a similar devices,
  • Attitude again... Why would that be a rights issue? You're a paying customer, and simply consuming your paid for products on a display device of your own choosing. Like hooking up your phone to an external speaker to listen to music...
  • Precisely.i was a bit confused at the back lash from me asking a question lol
  • I don't get it. Whatever I'm playing on my 930 with win 10, I can send to my TV by swiping down and selecting connect. How is this any better, except for the background play?  
  • How? I have a 950 and a smart TV. How do I do this
  • If your tv supports miracast, which most modern ones do, you just do what the person above said.
  • from the ACTION CENTRE click on CONNECT and then choose your device.
  • I personally don't own a tv, but have different devices (Windows, Windows Mobile, Android, iOS). It would have been great if there were only a single standard which worked, but sadly there isn't and neither is the case with cabled video btw (hdmi, dp, thunderbolt, etc). Right now I have a PC and a Chromecast connected to my projector. I would prefer to be able to drop the Chromecast and only use the PC. That way I'd never have to switch away and could run everything thr