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.

via xda-developers

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7 replies on “PwndCast ROM teaches a Chromecast new tricks (but you probably can’t use it)”

  1. did people never learn how to connect a laptop to a tv with hdmi cables? lmao come on

  2. so the chromecast i got on BF probably has the root patch already? i haven’t actually opened it yet

  3. I’m waiting to see honest journalism catch up with the Chromecast hype. How many consumers are going to be gulled into buying this very limited device, just to have to toss it in a junk drawer and buy something more capable that they should have been directed to instead in the first place? Google risks one heck of a black eye from this once the fanboyism dies down. It’s quite the dancing bear rather than a practical product for the general public.

    1. So, if it is advertised as being able to stream “movies, TV shows, music, and more from Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Google Play Movies and Music, and Chrome”, and that is what most general consumers tend to do anyway, then where is the big deception? If you aren’t already fully vested in iTunes videos (Apple users), or have a large collection of questionably – or perhaps legally – obtained video files (nerds who probably already have other toys), what more do you really need?

      I’ve bought (no joke) 30 Chromecasts for friends, family, and coworkers (with their money) since it is not available in Canada and I frequently am in the US on business. Not a single one of those Chromecasts is sitting in a junk drawer, and those users range wildly from uber-Google geeks, to Apple die hards, and nearly complete Luddites. Heck, in Canada the only services that work are Google Play Movies/Music, Netflix, and YouTube!

      Does it have limitations? Yes. Is it one third the cost of competitors that can do a little more? Yes. Is that a big deal? Depends who you are, but for many, I’m guessing no based on a fairly large sample of personal experience.

      1. Agreed. I’m fully aware of, and very annoyed by the limitations imposed by Google. I was equally pissed off when Google Play on my Android device, which used to be able to play any local media (better/faster/smoother on higher bitrate files than *any* other Android based HD video player), suddenly did away with that capability. I used to be able to play 1080p@60fps files straight from my GoPro Hero3. Not any more. Not coincidentally it occurred at almost exactly the same time ChromeCast was released. Clearly the intent to was to prevent streaming of any local media (including my own video productions) to a TV. Grrr..

        That said, I use ChromeCast quite often to cast content from YouTube, HBOGo, and all manner of random unsanctioned content through the Chrome browser including Pandora, Vimeo, Am I annoyed at it’s limitations? Yes. Have I gotten my $35 out of it? Absolutely.

        1. Bit late, but a good workaround is to open the video file in Chrome. All web browsers can access local content. Chrome will push anything to ChromeCast as long as it is in web page form.

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