How to play .avi files in the Chrome web browser

I wanted to follow up on my prior post about Chromecast changing my home media player setup for the better. It turns out there are a few drawbacks I hadn’t yet found, but luckily there are solutions. While the basic setup with the Chromecast and a laptop is great for YouTube and Netflix, you’ll start to run into problems if you want to play .avi or .flv files directly in the browser.

Certain video formats like .mp4, will play fine if you just drag and drop them into the browser, but others won’t play at all or won’t play with the sound. The Chromecast browser extension has an “experimental mode” that will try to share your entire screen, but this mode doesn’t do very well with audio. The easiest solution, would be to have all video content in .mp4 format, but that’s not the most realistic option. For the rest of the formats, there some options which make it easier which are outlined below.

Options to play .avi files in Chrome:
-Plex (my recommendation)
-RealPlayer Cloud (works, but I don’t like it)
-Divx Plus plugin (works for some, but not all files)
-MediaTomb (costs money, so I declined to try it)
-Avia Media Player (also costs money)

It took me quite a bit of time to figure out what options were out there and what I wanted to use, hopefully this quick post saves someone the hassle I went through and points them in the right direction.