The Rivian R1S and R1T were unveiled half a decade ago as a pair of upscale, go-anywhere adventure electric vehicles. And while the performance promise was fulfilled once the two made-in-America EVs came to market in 2021 and 2022 respectively, Rivian’s flagships lacked native video in-car entertainment.

While Tesla made watching YouTube videos and playing games while waiting for the car to recharge a normal thing in its EVs, Rivian owners were stuck with music streaming from Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn and Amazon Music, but no video options were on the table, except a DIY solution that made use of a USB memory stick. Not anymore, though.

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Rivian's clever solution for in-car video streaming

The Google Chromecast has been available as a straightforward, pretty inexpensive solution to transform an aging TV into an internet-connected one for a good number of years. Now, the same tech that powers the small device will be integrated into the Rivian R1T and R1S, allowing owners to watch pretty much anything they want on the car's infotainment screen while parked.

“Soon,” as Rivian puts it, R1S and R1T customers will get a software update that will add a native YouTube app on the car’s infotainment system and the ability to cast pretty much any content from a compatible smartphone app to the EV’s 15-inch touchscreen. In other words, the two flagships will become rolling Chromecasts–those small dongles that you can attach to a regular, non-smart TV to transform into an internet-connected device in a matter of minutes.

Both the native YouTube app–which can be used independently from the owner’s smartphone–and the Google Cast functionality will be available “in the coming months,” according to the California-based EV startup.

To cast content from a smartphone or tablet, the handheld device must be connected to the car’s Wi-Fi hotspot. Then, open any Google Cast-compatible app and select “Rivian” from the list of devices to send video and audio to the car’s infotainment system. The smartphone or tablet can then be used as a remote for the content that’s funneled from the internet directly to the car’s screen.

The native YouTube app on the Rivian R1S and R1T

Casting and watching YouTube videos can only be done when the car is parked. If the EV is shifted into Drive, video playback will pause automatically for safety. 

Video streaming apps that offer Google Cast functionality include Netflix, Amazon Prime,  Disney+ and Max, among others. However, as a Google representative pointed out in an email to InsideEVs, the Netflix app will not be available at the beginning on cars with Android Automotive OS, which includes Rivian EV.

Nevertheless, this neat workaround will finally make video streaming platforms available to Rivian owners.

Update: Google got in touch with us to clarify that casting the Netflix app to Android Automotive OS-equipped vehicles like the Rivian R1S and R1T is not available at the moment. The article has been updated to reflect this change.

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