Android App Review: Avia Media Player (Chromecast)

Google released 10 new apps that are Chromecast compatible. The additional apps bring the total number of Chromecast enabled apps to 14. Sundar Pichai also hints to more apps.

However, Avia Media Player (Chromecast) (free+) is at least one app not on the list. Avia is now on the list.

Avia Avia MainAvia

Avia boasts that the app “lets you play, manage and share all your personal media. You get seamless access to photos, videos and music from social media sites, your home network, and your device’s local storage.”

That sounds great!

Avia is fairly easy to use and works decent as a method for sending pictures, music, and videos from your Android device.

During my tests, I was able to broadcast some pictures from Oklahoma’s “Snowmageddon 2013,” and even showed off my first auto awesome movie to The Droid Tots. Admittedly, I loved seeing some of my photos streaming our big screen.

Avia Photo Sharing
Click the photo to see a larger version.

The good, the bad, and some of the ugly

Avia is very — that might be stretching it — good at getting most folks to the point of media sharing. Plex is a similar app that’s now offering streaming personal media, but Avia doesn’t require a media server (free) to play media. Of course, without the streaming server you’re limited to playing only the media on your device.

Avia does offer the ability to sync your device with Dropbox, Picasa, and Facebook, in addition to any local folders.

Avia Add Media

In my opinion, Facebook and Picasa are worthless, but the connection to Dropbox is very useful. I’d like to see the developers add support for Drive and Google+ Photos (where I backup my videos and images) — note: if you’re going to stream from Dropbox, I’d download the media to your device to play.

Download to local

Streaming over the internet and then playing to the device will affect overall playback.

During streaming and local playback I noticed a lot of annoying pauses, or sometimes the app would just close. I’d probably never use Avia to show a video to a jury or other group, but it works find for in-home use. I also think my poor performance was related to technical issues like the file format — Avia/Chromecast recommends 720p streaming; I was sending out 1080p — and not so much the Avia app.

Avia’s easy enough to use, and features a file viewer system similar to ASTRO. I noticed that sometimes as I clicked on a box, I couldn’t move forward. I found the trick is to click the actual typed portion.

You might also find an issue where media doesn’t appear in the available file list. Simply click “refresh” from the menu to pull the files in.

Finally, and perhaps the most annoying aspect, was the seemingly difficult way to find files. Sometimes, when I clicked a particular folder I had to search through all of my pictures, rather than just the ones I was worried about. In this case, I found the best solution was to limit the date rather than leaving the experience unrestricted.

So what’s the result?

Overall, I’m excited about Avia and similar apps, because these apps fill in a necessary hole in Chromecast. Hopefully, we’ll see  more Chromecast-ready apps, and eventually, the ability to mirror the tablet.

I’m giving Avia 3.5 stars. Check out this post for purchasing Chromecast.

Get this app on Google Play

40 Responses to Android App Review: Avia Media Player (Chromecast)

  1. Thank you for your review of Avia, Jeffrey. I am very pleased that you are happy with your Avia experience. I wanted to let you know that by enabling access to your Picasa account you will in fact have access to your Google + photos and videos. I hope this helps.

  2. I have a number of mp4 videos on sd card in my tablet. I’m disappointed that only a couple will play fully. With some I only get audio, others nothing at all. All of them play fully on the tablet. Why won’t they cast?

  3. For some reason my files (video, pictures, music) keep downloading and never start playing. … eventually I get the mesage ” sorry the Chromecast does not currently support this file type” … for every type of file. ….mp4 etc Any thoughts?

  4. I just finished converting a movie to H.264, which still comes up as mp4 , and got a beautiful picture but no audio. I’m confused. It still plays the videos that it played before and and doesn’t te one it didn’t. I guess I’ll have to try Plex. Wish I could do a trial before I buy it.

  5. This has been my experience over the last few days since paying for the Avia Android app. I started to show a slideshow of family photos; The slideshow began, but with lengthy buffering between each photo. After 10 photos the slideshow stopped working and the only way to view them was to hit the advance button. Tried to wow them by casting MP4 home videos through the Chromecast only to be informed that the file format was not supported. Currently feel ripped off.

    • Terry, I’m sorry to hear that. I haven’t had that big of a problem, though I’m less and less enamored by Avia. Avia gets us close, but not fully, to actually media casting from Android to Chromecast. It still needs work.

      First, I have no problem shuttling photos and casting a slideshow. Perhaps you can clear the cache, then uninstall and reinstall the app. Also, make sure the app’s up-to-date (I don’t doubt you’ve tried these). I’m also finding that Avia works better on some devices than others. For instance, I have very few problems with my Moto X, but my HTC Droid DNA had a number of issues. I also run into the stop issue, but I find you can press pause and play to make the slideshow restart.

      Second, only Dropbox and local media ever work for me. I can’t get Google+ photos to work, so there must be something with the API.

      Finally, I’m finding shorter videos work best. High bitrate videos don’t play well — constant buffering — and sometimes I find that some MP4 videos won’t play. My guess is there’s some sort of optimum cache rate embedded into the video to recognize it. I’m making it a point to record all of my videos with Android 4.3 camera rather than the device camera. Moto X camera doesn’t allow me to set an optimum recording amount (720p versus 1080p), so I just have to guess. That’s painful at best. I suggest you make all recordings in 720p that you wish to send to Chromecast. This will prevent buffering and improve performance.

      Also, some video types aren’t supported — this doesn’t sound like your problem — so watch out.

      Finally, remember that even though Avia’s being pushed as a final product, I still believe it’s very much beta. There are a couple of fixes required (such as Google+ photos) and that might take some time.

      • First of all, let me thank you for your thorough reply. I should have mentioned that the source of my media is a NAS. Which I also use to stream music with Sonos. It works reliably for that purpose. I know video uses more bandwidth, but I do see this as a problem with the app. I was trying to cast from a Nexus 7 and a Nexus 5. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a hardware issue, but I’m not sure all or how many video formats are supported by either the Avia app or Chromecast. My disappointment is that I finally thought I had found an all-around streaming solution. The search continues.

        • When I saw “Avia” with chromecast, I was really excited. But my disappointment is that I have an issue playing media from my NAS. I use “File Manager” app to access my media from my NAS and I select any video streaming app to play the video based on the file format. Strangely if I select Avia app to play the NAS video on my mobile it works perfectly fine but when I select to cast on my chromecast, I get “Sorry, Chromecast does not currently support this file type.” I tried different formats but no luck. I am using Nexus 4 device.

          Is there any way to play NAS media on chromecast?

      • I recently received an email from avia support that directed me to http://handbrake.fr which is a decoding/encoding program that works with chromecast. I recoded my videos with handbrake, which is free, and all my videos work great.

      • Avia is certainly not giving consistent performance.sometimes it is able to cast, sometimes just audio and at times just buffering. This is inspite of good broadband connection. Not worth it and avia needs to refine and test product before asking for money from chromecast users like us.

  6. Yes Terry I am watching them on my chromecast. I cast from my rooted ASUS TF 101 running Jellybean 4.2 Did you use the HandBrake converter? The other thing I did was to do the “Add Media” refresh on the Avia app. This located all my videos and It worked fine after that.

  7. I can get my Facebook pictures and videos to cast, that’s it. None of my local pictures or videos will cast, don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

    • Your problem is opposite of mine; I’ve never been able to get Facebook to work.

      I suggest uninstalling the program, restarting the device, then installing new. I’ve seen success with this at times.

      I also find that, despite the fact there’s a checkbox, you actually click “data” to pull up your local files. Even then, I’ve only really had success with media in my DCIM folder, and occasionally my DOWNLOAD folder.

      Avia certainly isn’t perfect by any means, but at least it’s a decent app . . . when it works.

  8. I just thought I would add obviously great to hear a door has opened for casting your own videos. I tried it using my Galaxy Note 2 which all the videos play fine on the device but everything buffers during Chromecast which makes it useless for that purpose. Certainly is not related to my broadband.

    I’m hoping the developers will get an update for this problem soon.

    • I’m finding the buffer issue is related to the size of the video. Namely, videos that are great than 720p will continuously buffer. I’m thinking this is a Chromecast issue, not an app issue.

    • The latest update caused some more problems. The app opens fine, but I’m having difficulty even casting 720p videos.

      Also, I find a lot of the performance is related to the speed of your wireless router. I have a Netgear router — it sucks — so I’m looking at a Belkin gigabit router.

  9. After hours of playing with settings in Hand Brake I think I found a solution to the only video, only audio stream to Chromecast problem.
    If you select MP4 format option and then select audio and change the settings to mp3 lame option keep the bitrate at 160 and should work.
    Work for all my files at least.

    Hope it helps you all too.

  10. I have installed Avia. I can see “exSdCard” option in “Add media” section but I can’t tick it and if I tap “exSdCard” it shows empty page. I have a number of videos on my SD card but I can’t access them. Please let?!
    I am using Samsung Galaxy S4.
    Many thanks.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.