AirScreen turns your Fire TV into a Chromecast with support for Google Cast and Apple AirPlay

A new app called AirScreen has just arrived in the Amazon Appstore for Fire TV devices that adds support for all the major casting protocols. It is compatible with all Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition television models and makes it possible to cast videos and your entire screen to your Fire TV from an Android device, iOS device, Mac, or Windows PC. It supports Google Cast so it works exactly like a Chromecast and supports Apple AirPlay, so it works like an Apple TV for iPhone casting. It also supports Miracast, which is what Windows PCs use for screen mirroring, as well as DLNA.

There are numerous casting apps available for Fire TV devices, but this is the first I’ve seen that works with such a wide array of protocols. AirScreen’s support for Google Cast is unique because all past Fire TV apps that replicated Chromecast functionality have eventually been removed from the appstore. AirScreen has been available in the Google Play Store for over 2 years with over 100,000 users, so perhaps it will last in the Amazon Appstore as well.

AirScreen’s Google Cast functionality worked surprisingly well during my limited testing. I was able to use several Google Cast enabled apps, as well as play movies from Google Play Movies, which is something most casting apps I’ve tried in the past have failed to do because of DRM restrictions. I suspect the app will also work for casting YouTube TV (the paid cable subscription service, not the video sharing site), making it the only real way to watch YouTube TV on a Fire TV.

Casting the entire screen of an Android phone to the Fire TV worked with AirScreen using Android’s built-in casting feature under the operating system’s advanced display settings. What also worked fine was casting a Chrome browser tab using its built-in casting capabilities.

On the Apple side of the casting spectrum, I was able to mirror the screen of an iPhone onto the Fire TV using AirPlay. The Fire TV also showed up as an AirPlay device on a Mac in macOS’s display settings which allowed me to mirror the Mac’s screen.

I did not test it myself, but the app also says it supports Miracast. This is the casting protocol that Windows PCs use so you should be able to cast your entire Windows screen to the Fire TV with this app. The last protocol that AirScreen supports is DLNA, which is another one I did not test myself but I have no doubt that it will work based on my Android and iOS experience with the app.

As if supporting all of these casting protocols wasn’t enough, the app is also able to locally record what you cast to the Fire TV. The quality of the recording is a bit poor, resulting in a very soft video image, but it seems to work pretty well.

The app has a fairly extensive set of options. I did notice that casting a Google Play Movie from an Android phone to AirScreen resulted in a slightly poorer video than was being played on the phone. Changing the hardware acceleration and rendering settings did improve the image slightly, so you’ll probably want to mess with things if you try the app yourself.

The only issue that I suspect many of you will have with AirScreen is its pricing model. The app is free with limited functionality and you have to pay for unlimited use. That is perfectly acceptable and expected considering how much the app can do. What is unexpected is that it doesn’t use a one-time in-app purchase to unlock the app, but instead uses a subscription model that requires you to continuously pay monthly or annually if you want to keep using the non-free capabilities.

All of the app’s features are available without paying, but some of them are limited with specific quotas. For example, the free version limits users to only 30 minutes of Google Cast video screen mirroring a day and 15 instances of AirPlay video a day. There are also ads in the free version which, during my testing, were full-screen ads that appeared every time I stopped casting something. There was also an “AirScreen” logo placed in the lower right corner of all screen recordings, but I’m not sure if that gets removed if you pay for the app.

If you pay $1.49 per month or $11.99 per year for the “Basic” version of the app, some of the limits will be removed but other quotas will simply be increased. For unlimited use of all features, you’ll have to pay $2.49 per month or $19.99 per year for the “Pro” version. Non-recurring access to Basic and Pro features for 30-days at a time is also available for $1.99 and $3.49 respectively.

If it weren’t for the subscription based payment model, AirScreen would probably become my go-to recommendation for casting apps on Fire TV devices. While the app certainly can do a lot and is worth paying for, I suspect many will hesitate paying continuously for it. If you think it’s worth the price, I’d recommend paying monthly at first before committing to the annual payment option since apps with Google Cast support have a tendency to be removed by Google from the Amazon Appstore.

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27 comments
  1. Keith says:

    Wow! A monthly fee for an app the functions like a Chromecast?
    Amazon should pony up the cash to the Devs. Fire TV still doesn’t have a decent casting protocol after 4 years. I feel like this should be standard by now.

    • jimberkas says:

      Agreed. don’t understand why its so difficult for amazon to have this functionality built right in. I’d be willing to pay a bit more for the hardware if this was included.

      All the apps i’ve tried are glitchy, I actually have a couple old chromecasts that I dig out of the drawer just for this purpose, don’t use them for anything else.

      • King Nothing says:

        Actually Fire OS includes a “casting” functionality. Amazon calls it Fling. But only very few apps support it. Even Amazon doesn’t support their own “Chromecast fork”. For example the Amazon Music app on Android now supports casting to a Chromecast device although Amazon doesn’t even sell them. But you cannot cast music to the Fire TV, because they don’t added support for their very own Fling protocol. It’s kind of ridiculous. I know there’s is a dedicated Music app on Fire TV but it’s not very comfortable to browse around with it.

        You can read more about Fling here:

        https://developer.amazon.com/de/docs/fling/understanding-the-amazon-fling-service.html#what-is-amazon-fling

        And here is one of the few apps which also support Fling, so you can “cast” things to your Fire TV without the need of a receiver or companion app installed on the device:

        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=at.xtools.castcontroller.android

      • AFTVnews says:

        Amazon cannot add support for Google Cast (Chromecast) to the Fire TV because Google does not allow it. The Fire TV supports DIAL, which is the original open standard that turned into Google Cast, but most apps don’t support it.

        You can read more about DIAl and other casting protocals here: http://www.aftvnews.com/miracast-google-cast-chromecast-airplay-amazon-fling-and-dial-explained-and-how-they-relate-to-fire-tv-devices/

      • Leo says:

        Google Cast isn’t available on any forked version of Android. Amazon and any other device manufacturer implementing a forked version of Android make this trade-off.

        – PRO benefit from years of investment put into Android (especially the app library), at low cost
        – PRO control revenues and data from activity in the forked Android ecosystem (vs. sharing with Google)
        – CON lose access to Google proprietary apps / standards (e.g. Play services, Play store, Google Cast)

        Basically Amazon wants to control revenues and data generated by AFTV customers. To accomplish that, they’re willing to forgo Google Cast and Google-specific apps. Both companies are taking reasonable strategic positions, at the cost of consumers not being able to get the absolutely perfect device from anyone.

        (I have an AFTV and Chromecast hooked up to the same TV.)

      • Bryan Johnson says:

        Same here man. Tried several but Allcast works better for me.

  2. Donkeyfumbler says:

    Didn’t work for me in any of the chromecast apps I tried – BBC iPlayer, BT Sport or Youtube from my iPad. It connected OK but it failed to actually play anything, either coming up with a black screen or saying an error occurred. The ipad screen mirroring worked, but any video played through it was stuttery and the audio crackled. Maybe it has better luck with Android devices.

    • AFTVnews says:

      It might be an Android thing because I didn’t test any Google Cast apps on iOS. I definitely should have.

    • King Nothing says:

      Try to change the Cast rendering engine from “Auto” to “Integration” in the app’s settings. With set to “Auto” or “System” none of the apps worked for me too (on a FTV3 casting from an Android tablet).

      • Donkeyfumbler says:

        Thanks. I might give that a go at some point but I’ve already uninstalled it for now. I have a Chromecast anyway and I was more interested to see whether it worked than with any thought of keeping it – for a one off cost, it might have been worth having it all on the Fire TV but at that price I’ll just keep them both going at the same time.

  3. Tech3475 says:

    The only protocol of note seems to be cast, otherwise there are alternatives I’ve successfully used before which doesn’t require a subscription.

    Even an actual chromecast can be purchased on offer for what the pro subscription costs.

    Granted an AIO solution may be preferable, if it was a one off payment I might have even considered it.

  4. Scott says:

    Can you recommend a good airplay app? I just need to connect my mbp to ftv. I currently have a 15 ft hdmi cable strung across the floor. But I refuse to pay for a apple tv. Their price is ridiculous.

  5. JxPx says:

    Airplay&UPnP also known as Air Receiver has always worked in my house with all my apple devices casting to any of my Fire TVs ranging from generation 2 boxes to the new pendant.

  6. Fred says:

    Will it work with YouTube tv?

  7. Fred says:

    I’m always skeptical of apps where the developer’s name is in Chinese characters. Call me paranoid, but I’m not comfortable. Needless to say, as excited as I was to try it, I didn’t install the app.

  8. Tango says:

    I have both AllCast/Mirror and Airplay-UPNP working on my Fire TV Stick G2 with Android, Fire 8 HD and iPad tablets. I suspect Google will take this app down.

  9. Juan says:

    Tested casting my Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet to an amazon fire stick and it worked, but today it won’t detect the stick. Is so frustrating.

  10. JOEB says:

    Subscription = pffft

  11. David says:

    noticed today Air Screen is not available on the App Store for firetv anymore m. Tit is only available for android devices now so you can’t directly get it anymore.

  12. Ken Irwin says:

    I know it’s kind of an old thread, but ran across it and well anyway, question I have is exactly how does that subscription work? is it like buying an app on the play store? Once you purchase it it’s yours? or is this per device? I have multiple AFTVs and maybe if it was one sub for all it might not be so bad, but if it’s each, no way. And in the image there is 2 different subscription plans, but no real indication of what the difference is. There is a $11.99/yr Pro subscription and a $19.99/yr Pro subscription, and their corresponding 30 day pass and um monthly subscription, which I assume means the 30 day is non-renewing. The app itself doesn’t seem to explain this either.

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