We recently showed you how to download classic, out-of-copyright films from the Internet Archive (see Build your collection of old films). It currently contains more than 5,000 classic films in its library (Feature Films) and that’s aside from the nearly 5 million video and TV clips it stores (Moving Image Archive).
If you thought your only option was to watch these on your smartphone, tablet or PC, think again. When you have a Chromecast you can experience them exactly as they were meant to be enjoyed: on the big screen.
1/ Visit Get getvideostream.com to download the Videostream app. The site will detect your operating system. If it’s got it right, click the big download button (see screenshot); otherwise, scroll down to Choose Your Weapon and choose the correct alternative. While it’s downloading, install the companion app for iOS (Videostream Mobile for Chromecast) or Android (Videostream Chromecast: Mobile), which will work as your remote control. You’ll also need the Chrome browser (www.google.com/chrome) installed on your PC.
2/ Make sure your phone/tablet and your PC are connected to the same wireless network, then launch the Videostream app on both. The mobile app will detect the version running on your computer and you’ll be prompted to share the two (see screenshot). We had difficulty getting the app to detect our PC, so we applied Videostream’s suggested remedy. Go to https://getvideostream.com/fix on your desktop browser, then run the the that was downloaded (VldeoStreamNetworkRepair.exe), which tweaked our PC’s firewall settings.
3/ Videostream will now open Media Library settings on your PC. Click ‘Select a folder’, then choose the folder to which you’ve saved your downloaded classic movies. To keep things simple, we’ve created a folder called ‘Classics’ inside the standard Videos folder in Windows. If you do the same, you’ll find it by navigating to C:\Users \[your usernamel\Videos\Classics in the Videostream window (see screenshot). Click Select when you’ve found it, then Close on the next screen.
4/ Now switch to your phone or tablet, which will have detected that you selected a folder on your PC and will show you its contents. Tap the movie you want to watch and select the device you want to send it to. If you only have one Chromecast, there will only be one entry in the list. It will take a few seconds for your device to connect to your Chromecast, after which the video will play. Once it’s started, you can control playback using the buttons on your device’s screen (see screenshot).
Download the right format
The Fire TV Stick and Videostream (via Chromecast) can play a wide range of video formats, while the Internet Archive offers several download options. However, we’d recommend using the versatile MP4.
To download your chosen film, open its page in the archive’s Index, then right-click ‘512KB MPEG4’ in the grey box below the playback window and choose to ‘save target, ‘save link’ or similar (this depends on your browser).
The download icon that appears to the right of this is somewhat deceptive, because when we clicked it on our PC the film starts playing, rather than downloading.