Google’s Chromecast is a $35 media streaming device designed to let you stream content from YouTube, Netflix, and other online video sites to a TV. But independent developers have been spending the past few weeks teaching the Chromecast new tricks, such as streaming videos from your Android phone’s gallery or from your PC hard drive straight to you TV.
This weekend Google put and end to that with a software update that prevented all of those apps from working properly.
But Google says in the future there may be official support for streaming local content.
Developers like Koushik Dutta and Leon Nicholls had created tools to let users stream local content to a Chromecast over a WiFi network. But they did this without using Google’s official SDK for the Chromecast — so it’s not surprising that a software update from Google could have interfered with the way those apps worked.
While it seemed like the move was entirely intentional — and possibly designed to placate copyright holders who might have been nervous about a device that streamed video not just from approved apps, but potentially from any Android app, Google released a statement to The Verge suggesting that this may be more a case of an SDK that’s still just very much under development.
Google officials say they’re “excited to being more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content.”
All told, the Chromecast platform still isn’t free or open source software, and therefore it may not be as easy to develop apps for as Android or Chromium. But it looks like Google may not be planning to crack down on apps that stream local content — but it also doesn’t officially support them just yet.
Koush’s take on the whole thing seemed like an overreaction. Why did he jump to the conclusion that Google was out to get him right off the bat?
I don’t see the streaming of local content as important – if local means from your handheld device. On the other hand I find the ability to stream from my media servers quite useful. Does the Chromecast do that as things stand without hacks? I think I missed that point in all of the other things I care less about.
Local in this case means without any connection(s) to the internet.
So is that a yes or a no? Can Chromecast stream media from my Twonky server? PlayOn server? Or is this just “whee, I can watch a video from the SD card in my tablet on TV?”
The only thing this shows is that there is a need for a company other than Google to release an open source device LIKE Chromecast but without all the big brother neutering. I hope a Chinese company knocks this off and strips out all the BS. It would hopefully smarten Google up a bit.
But could that sell for as low as $35? I had the impression that Google are handing these out at production cost or lower as a means to strengthen its usual streams of revenue (ads).
I don’t know if it could be done for so cheap, but I’m at the point where I’d pay more to have more personal control. If this doesn’t fly for Google, they’ll not hesitate to pull the plug on the project and bin the whole thing. They have a track history of doing this with their apps (granted they’re free). I hope that doesn’t spread to hardware related items.
I’m not going to paste a link here, but the MK808 Android HDMI stick, which is dual-core and significantly more powerful than the Chromecast, is currently 42 bucks on Amazon. There are numerous single-core (like Chromecast) models under 30 bucks, and Chromecast emulation software is already out there for Android. Some of them already bundle XBMC or other couch interfaces (mine claims to be Google TV-enabled, though I’m not sure what that means since I’m running JB on it and using it for games more than video).
If someone gets a simplified, Chromecast-compatible Android ROM out there, or Chromecast compatibility gets integrated into XBMC or something similar, the Chinese manufacturers will use it to make a $25 Clonecast. We might even see them by Black Friday, maybe using repurposed MK802 overstock, if Chromecast shows signs of taking off.
What is the advantage of using the Chromecast ROM over the vanilla Android roms that are already available (and come with less work)? Even if what your hypothetical Chromecast rom existed today, I wouldn’t put Chromecast on an Android stick when the stock and 3rd-party ROMS are more flexible (google play apps, ability to use other remotes/BT mice, etc…)
I liked the out-of-the-box experience of the Chromecast. But I don’t see why you would want to use that OS over pure Android if you’re buying an Android stick.
Well, I said “Chromecast-compatible”, meaning a vanilla Android ROM running something like Cheapcast.
There’s lot of Android sticks out there. There’s a couple that, with some work, seems to do Netflix well. The nice thing about Chromecast is that it does Netflix perfectly out of the box.
I like the things that an Android stick can do, but I’m holding off on buying one until they mature a bit more and do Netflix and 1080p hardware accelerated graphics smoothly.
I think you’re taking the right approach. I’m waiting too, most likely until after Christmas and the next product refresh. See how Google reacts here…see how the sticks mature.
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