3 Signs More Chromecast Apps Are On the Way

Mari Silbey —  December 8, 2013 — 15 Comments

Google Chromecast apps

Given how stupidly easy it is to use the Chromecast device with supported apps, it should come as no surprise that Google wants to encourage further integration with third-party software. While the company locked down its streaming stick a while back, there are several signs that the restraints are about to be lifted.

1. Official Chromecast Hackathon – Google hosted a hackathon this weekend in Mountain View, letting developers in to try out the Cast SDK and consult with company engineers. There’s no official list of attendees, but a few folks have mentioned receiving invitations including Koushik Dutta, creator of the AirCast app for streaming local content, and various other developers posting on industry forums. (Remember- you can already cast locally-stored photos to the Chromecast, but only if you go through a Chrome browser.)

I was hoping to hear that someone from ESPN would be in attendance, but when I talked to a spokesperson with the company, she had no knowledge of anyone at ESPN planning to go. I’d also like to see a videoconferencing app supported through Chromecast. Personally I use Tango, but Chromecast support might nudge me to spend time with Google Hangouts.

2. New Chromecast Promotion on Google Play – Engadget pointed out that there’s now a new Chromecast page in the Google Play Store, and indeed there is… at least on my phone if not in my laptop browser. The pickings are slim at the moment, but the fact that Google is actively highlighting Chromecast on its app store suggest more apps are coming. Perhaps we’ll see a refresh around CES?

3. A Clue from Plex – Last but not least, AndroidGuys has reported that a Reddit user has posted images of a file called Chromecast.xml found within the Plex Media Server software. The finding isn’t conclusive, but a link between Plex and Chromecast would certainly make sense. We may soon have several Chromecast apps that play your personal media on the big screen.

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15 responses to 3 Signs More Chromecast Apps Are On the Way

  1. I picked up a Chromecast last week because it was on sale and Google was offering a free rental on Google play. I later found out that Google Play on Chromecast can only be initiated on Android devices. That basically left a handful of apps, all of which are on Roku (which also doesn’t get hot enough to melt plastic).

    I played with the Chromecast a bit, but a can’t see any real reason to use it over what I already have. It does do HBO Go on Comcast, unlike Roku (for unknown reasons), but HBO Go is stereo only. All in all, I’m not sure why I got the Chromecast other than it was on sale.

  2. I’m not sure why I have one either. But I’d take more apps and mirroring. The audio output is a problem in my family room as the TV speakers are off and nothing is run between it and my 5.1 solution. I could use it in the bedroom and not be bothered by the lack of surround. Yet, at the moment, it does less than my Apple TV and Roku. A friend offered to buy it, guess I’m keeping it around for future blog purposes?

  3. My use case is largely travel. Its much easier taking a hdmi stick + usb cable on the road, rather than Roku + hdmi cable + power brick. If Sling implements Chromecast, like the DIAL like approach on Roku, I’d be happy.

  4. “I’m not sure why I have one either.”

    The thing is, if they shipped it with a cheap ‘n’ simple Apple-esque remote, (or even offered the remote as a separate SKU), it’d kinda be a cool device.

    In the absence of that, it’s the Roku for the nescient.

    (And when does the MHL revolution really happen? Are almost all new teevees MHL compatible?)

  5. Michael Burstin December 9, 2013 at 8:48 am

    The reasons I bought it were mostly it was cheap/portable and wanted to see how casting video from Chrome browser on Windows was – for example, casting NFL and NHL on-line games to the device – which ends up being pretty terrible.

    So the cheap/portable remains the reason. It will be something useful for travel, etc. I would find it far more useful If NFL/NHL added casting from their iOS apps.

  6. Well I know exactly why I bought. To play Youtube and Netflix on my not so smart TV with a remote I always have with me (my phone). I think the strength of the device is the simplicity. My kids know how to use it and my mother also uses it all the time and I only had to explain it to her once. For me this means Google nailed the user interface.

    At this moment the apps are limited, but I see a lot of opportunities, like the mirroring, but also gaming.
    And how much I’d like to see mirroring, I’d rather have more dedicated apps, because the fact the Chromecast uses it’s on internet connection rather than streaming from a device makes it really powerful.

  7. Even if there is no Plex support, I can still stream all of my plex videos using cast this tab. Sure, its not crazy high definition but I can stream anything in my movie library, even a 20GB MKV flawlessly. One of my favorite features, the kids ask to watch a movie, I pull out my phone, open netflix, chose the chromecast in the back room and viola its turns on my tv, surround sound system, changes the input and starts playing the movie. Kids run in the backroom and are happy, at least until its over.

  8. I picked one up for the potential vs. cost. Sure, I have a PS3, which covers all the non-Play apps that the Chromecast does, and has a lot more to boot (hello, Vudu – my portal to UltraViolet). But as was mentioned earlier, its not terribly portable (obviously – makes tho Roku look about the size of a paperclip). So, $35 (aka, dinner for two at at a bar and grill) got me a tiny streaming device that has the potential to equal or improve on something like the Roku.

    And it doesn’t add another remote control on top of the pile I already have (or, all of the device profiles I have in my Logitech Harmony, but still…).

    Additionally, in my case, the Tabcasting from Chrome worked tremendously well.We had a power outage during the recording of Marvel’s Agent of Shield (week 2, I think), so it wasn’t in the DVR. Tabcasting let me pull it (for free) from the ABC website, all in glorious HD. I think I’m running into the same problem that a lot of other people are with the audio, however. I don’t see 5.1 – I think its because the Chromecast delivers Dolby+, and my receiver is not able to decode Dolby+ (only Dolby Digital standard – it can’t even manage DTS).

  9. I’m taking my Chromecast on the road this week and trying it out in the hotel room to stream Netflix/Hulu+/Amazon.

  10. I had thought about getting one of these, but it didn’t really offer me anything over the two dozen plus other streaming devices I have. Plus the fact that you have to initiate streaming from you tablet or phone is an extra step that really doesn’t make it worth it to me. That fact alone seems to make it more complex than other devices.

  11. Just a note, ESPN has played with device to device streaming. Using their SportsCenter, formerly known as ScoreCenter app, they very briefly implemented a button which allowed me to stream to my tv! Fingers crossed for that to return!

  12. I don’t see how this works in hotels since you halve to get past the authentication screen. That’s assuming you even have the bandwidth for streaming video which you often (usually?) don’t. At least between 7:00 and 10:00pm.

  13. I got one for myself out of curiosity, though, like many here, I have other options too. I use it mostly for youtube since that’s a bit more efficient than my other options

    I did get one for a friend with a “dumb” TV who ends up pulling out cables to connect his laptop for Youtube or uses his Wii for Netflix (an SD device on HDTV just bothered me :)

  14. Good guess Mari, looks like Plex and a number of other (uninteresting mostly) was added in an update.

  15. I have 3 of them. They are awesome. download mkv’s and cast anywhere using Avia App. You can take it to any hotel with a tv that has hdmi input, plug it in, select the input, hit play on your phone and cast to chromecast…easy.

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