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.