Not happy with the limitations of Google’s Chromecast device?
Good news: There’s a powerful new custom ROM available for Google’s $35 media streamer which you can use to watch videos from unsupported sites, access your device via SSH or Telnet, and much more.
Bad news: There’s a good chance you won’t be able to use it.
The Google Chromecast is a tiny, inexpensive device that you plug into the HDMI port on your TV and connect to your WiFi network. Then you can use a phone, tablet, or PC to stream media from select sites (including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube) to your TV.
But that’s about all the Chromecast does so far. Google plans to offer developer tools and hold a hackathon to build new apps. Some folks haven’t bothered to wait though — and they’ve been rooting Chromecast devices and adding new features since about the time the device started shipping.
Now developer ddggttff3 has released custom firmware for the Chromecast called PwnedCast ROM. You can find details, download links and installation instructions at the xda-developers forum.
PwnedCast includes root access, features KyoCast built-in, allowing you to stream videos from some officially unsupported sites, and even has its own over-the-air update engine, allowing you to download updates straight from the developer rather than from Google.
There’s a catch though: it was easy to root the Chromecast and unlock the bootloader when it first shipped. But Google quickly released software updates that made it impossible to use the same root methods.
So if you have a newer Chromecast, or one that’s connected to the internet and automatically downloaded and installed more recent firmware, you won’t be able to install PwnedCast ROM or any other custom firmware — and unless you’ve already unlocked your Chromecast and blocked updates the odds of you being able to do so now are pretty low.
In other words, if you’ve already got a hacked Chromecast, PwnedROM is a new custom ROM that gives you more control over it. If you don’t, PwnedROM probably isn’t much use to you… at least until someone finds another way to root a Chromecast.