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How To Cast Your GNOME Shell Desktop To A Chromecast (With Audio, Wayland / X11 Support) Using Cast to TV

Cast to TV, a GNOME Shell extension to cast files and more to Chromecast devices (and more), was updated recently with support for casting your desktop, with sound, which works with both Wayland and X11. This is done with the help of a helper add-on called Cast to TV - Desktop Stream Add-on, which recently had its first release on the GNOME extensions website.

For desktop streaming to work, you need Cast to TV version 14 or newer, which only supports GNOME Shell 3.36 and 3.34 (Ubuntu 20.04 and 19.10, and Fedora 31 and 32 for example). This means that this isn't available for older Linux distributions that use older GNOME Shell versions, like Ubuntu 18.04 or Fedora 30.

Stream GNOME Shell desktop to Chromecast

This article explains how to use Cast to TV (and its helper add-on) to cast your GNOME Shell desktop to a Chromecast device, with sound, which works with both X11 and Wayland. The step-by-step instructions are for Debian / Ubuntu / Pop!_OS, Fedora and Arch Linux / Manjaro (the steps should be the same on any GNOME Shell based Linux distribution, but the packages might have different names).

Officially, you can stream your Linux desktop to a Chromecast by using Google Chrome. Cast to TV has some advantages over Google Chrome for Chromecast desktop streaming though:

  • it's not tied to Google's browser
  • it streams your desktop with working audio, which doesn't work on Linux with Google Chrome
  • it supports Wayland, this probably being the only way to cast your desktop to a Chromecast device from Wayland
  • it has customizable video bitrate and fps
  • it has hardware acceleration (VAAPI for Intel/AMD and NVENC for Nvidia graphics)
  • and you also get the option of showing or hiding your mouse cursor.

Google Chrome has a couple of advantages over Cast to TV too: it has a lower stream delay (Cast to TV currently has a delay of about 3 seconds), and it works with desktop environments other than GNOME Shell. So use whichever solution suits your needs best.

Cast to TV can do a lot more than cast your desktop to a Chromecast. It can also cast local pictures, video and audio files with optional transcoding, GPU-accelerated video encoding for low CPU usage, subtitles, and more. Check out its project page for details.

You might also like: Chromecast Extension For Firefox fx_cast 0.0.5 Adds Support For YouTube, Subtitles For Local Media.

Setting up Cast to TV for casting your desktop to a Chromecast, in Debian / Ubuntu / Pop!_OS, Fedora or Arch Linux / Manjaro

To use Cast to TV to stream your GNOME Shell desktop (version 3.34 or 3.36 only!) to a Chromecast, you'll need to install Cast to TV version 14 (or newer) and Cast to TV Desktop Add-on, install some GStreamer plugins, and tweak some PulseAudio settings. This is what you need to do in detail, on Debian / Ubuntu, Fedora or Arch Linux / Manjaro.

Using these steps, the whole Cast to TV functionality will be enabled, so you won't have just the ability to cast your desktop, but also cast video, music and pictures from your GNOME Shell desktop.

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