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Google Media Television Hardware

Chromecast Now Open To Developers With the Google Cast SDK 104

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-streaming-begin dept.
sfcrazy writes "Google has finally released the SDK for Chromecast which will allow 3rd party developers to stream content to the living room via Chromecast. When Google broke Koushik Dutta's (CyanogenMOD fame) app, it was met with criticism. However it was assumed that Google was positioning Chromecast as a streaming device and was focusing on getting content providers for it before it engaged developers to add support for their apps. Now that Google has succeeded in getting a long list of content providers to bring their content on Chromecast, the company is opening the device to developers."
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Chromecast Now Open To Developers With the Google Cast SDK

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  • by the_scoots (1595597) on Monday February 03, 2014 @05:15PM (#46144395)
    We've been playing with a number of yet to be announced similar pieces of HDMI hardware at work, as well as Chromecast. The #1 feature I wish was available is to make multiple dongles stackable on one HDMI port.
    • by Shadowmist (57488)

      We've been playing with a number of yet to be announced similar pieces of HDMI hardware at work, as well as Chromecast. The #1 feature I wish was available is to make multiple dongles stackable on one HDMI port.

      That's why we have HDMI switchers.... they even have some with remote controls.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        HDMI switchers are a device of last resort.
        • by Immerman (2627577)

          So instead you want... auto-HDMI switches built into the devices themselves? I'm seeing *ferocious* downsides to that, not least of which is the added cost per devices, and the complete inability to switch between sources in any sort of consistent manner. I could totally see the value of a high-speed, efficiently daisy-chainable A/V data bus, but that's a spec that would need to be developed unto itself to have any chance of not leading to complete insanity, not something to be tacked on completely incons

          • Agreed that building in that HDMI switch functionality into end devices sounds horrid. For the existing discrete HDMI switches... are these things reliable? They certainly cost a lot, presently. Any chance we'll see HDMI switches that will dual switch paired HDMI/Ethernet lines? That would be compelling... especially since the industry seems slow to adopt HDMI 1.4+ functionality in this area.
          • by Belial6 (794905)
            The answer is to have a lot of HDMI ports on the TV itself.
    • Different devices on a hotel guest wifi network are not supposed to see each other (and a hotel room wifi login on a ChromeCast dongle seems difficult - to say the least).
      ChromeCast in a hotel would be my critical application. Plug it into the Hotel TV, tie it my tablet to it and play local movies or HBO Go.

      The best way to solve that would be a direct connection between the dongle and the tablet, not going through the router.
      Unless this is fixed by now, I have need to hold out as I have other (better?) mean

      • I'd recommend a Zuni connect zr301.

        That plus my chromecast were the best $80 I've ever spent for work travel.

        It works with ethernet or will connect to the hotels WiFi, and give you a separate private network and NAT you onto the hotels for internet.

      • by darkNeko (1238104)
        Maybe this [airtame.com] will help.
      • Plug it into the Hotel TV

        except the hotel screen is probably worse than your tablet, despite being larger.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        The best way to solve that would be a direct connection between the dongle and the tablet, not going through the router.

        Except Chromecast doesn't work by streaming from your tablet. The tablet just sends URLs (and control for trick play, etc) to the Chromecast receiver, which then streams from the content provider's server directly.

        The best solution would be to have your own travel AP, and connect the devices to that. Also solves the annoyance that connecting Chromecast to a new WiFi network is kind of a pain. Of course, that solution might also depend on whether the hotel makes you login and how they authenticate.

      • Set your tablet as a WiFi hotspot.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        You can buy a tiny portable router and either wire it in or set up a wireless bridge to the hotel's wifi.

      • by Kaitiff (167826)

        Actually, the chromecast can cast it's own wifi. It's not all the powerful but for sitting in the hotel it would work fine. When I set mine up, I had to choose between my existing wireless network(s) or the chromecast one. So you could plug it into the hotel tv, get it up and connect to it and not have to use any other wireless. You would still need some sort of uplink to GET your content on your laptop or your phone but that's on a different network connection.

      • by Albanach (527650)

        Take an extra wifi dongle and set up network sharing using whatever OS your laptop runs. Problem solved.

    • by nblender (741424)

      Any indication how well Chromecast works with Plex? I'm in Canada and could probably get a grey-market chromecast but it would only be useful to me if it ran Plex (which I'm told you can get for ChromeCast)

      • by Githaron (2462596)
        Plex already supports Chromecast in their premium version. They claim that the feature will eventually released to everyone.
        • by nblender (741424)

          Yeah; I'd seen that it was available in the play store. I'm afraid that it will work as poorly as RaspPlex... If it works well then it would be terrific.

      • by Shemmie (909181)

        I used Plex and Chromecast all over Christmas. It streamed very well indeed. It'd occasionally crash (as in the movie would stop playing suddenly), but it'd usually remember where the movie got to, and pick up where it left off - and I never needed to restart the media server.

        All in all, very impressed with how Plex and Chromecast play together - mixture of file formats / quality were attempted, and all played at first time of asking.

        As a by the by, I'm British, and got mine via the grey-market; if you're c

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      This is exactly the problem in my living room. While I've got multiple HDMI inputs, only my XBox One works in series with another device -- and since the XBox One doesn't act as a Media Center Extender (you bastards!), right now that device is my TV input.

      The Chromecast is on another HDMI input, and is mostly relegated to the world of "this odd toy I bought."

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        I just got am email from Roku. Apparently they have partnered with a couple of different TV manufacturers, and that models will be releases this year with Roku as the TV's UI. Part of that is making the different inputs act as Roku channels.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Just bought one of these "Roku Ready" TV's (An Insignia 39" 1080p). The Roku-readiness comes in the form of a sticker on the box, and the back of the TV next to the MHL-compatible HDMI input. You plug in a Roku streaming stick, and use the TV's remote, which includes play/pause/rewind etc. buttons, to drive it.

          • Just bought one of these "Roku Ready" TV's (An Insignia 39" 1080p). The Roku-readiness comes in the form of a sticker on the box, and the back of the TV next to the MHL-compatible HDMI input. You plug in a Roku streaming stick, and use the TV's remote, which includes play/pause/rewind etc. buttons, to drive it.

            That's the current model. The ones coming out this fall (from TCL and HiSense) won't require the stick, they'll actually have the Roku software built in.

            http://blog.roku.com/blog/2014... [roku.com]

          • by sh00z (206503)
            Which would be great, but the Insignia I tried with that feature*also* refused to HDMI handshake with my Panasonic Blu Ray player (which, if you know VieraCast, you know why the add-on media stick is needed). Back to the store it went. There's no way I'll ever drop the Panny, because it has my critical feature of 5.1 analog audio outputs.
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        The Chromecast is on another HDMI input, and is mostly relegated to the world of "this odd toy I bought."

        Well, there really isn't that much point to Chromecast if you already have a full-featured streaming device connected to your TV. It's advantage is in locations you *don't* have a permanent device setup, it's a cheap and portable solution as long as you have a phone/tablet/pc to control it.

        In your living room you'll probably have a much better experience with a real device like an Xbox, Playstation, or Roku.

  • I bought 2 of this with a project in mind and have been stuck waiting...
  • by psergiu (67614) on Monday February 03, 2014 @05:49PM (#46144741)

    Hope Google releases a better ChromeCast device - with an Ethernet port and support for accepting HDMI-CEC events from the TV so you can use the TV remote to Play/Pause/FF/RW.
    The current one is sucky.
    And if you are on a metered internet connection, beware: While plugged in, the current ChromeCast pulls lots of large photos to display as the screensaver slideshow. It would be nice if it could be pointed to a local network share to display a slideshow with your own photos.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      . And if you are on a metered internet connection, beware: While plugged in, the current ChromeCast pulls lots of large photos to display as the screensaver slideshow. It would be nice if it could be pointed to a local network share to display a slideshow with your own photos.

      I think you have your first app idea....

    • Support for HDMI-CEC events would actually solve the problem of the display updating; it would know when the tv is powered off or it ceased to be the active source and could disable updating the background until it becomes the active source again.

    • No Ethernet port means no sale to me. Not going to stream HD video over a flaky WiFi. Thankfully, Apple TV and Roku did it right, even if they cost significantly more. And, by the way, a dongle is kind of a silly form factor when there's a power brick hanging off it.
      • by symbolset (646467) *
        Works great here.
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        It's not meant for Ethernet setups (where by definition you have a cable, so it's a semi-permanent location). They went for dirt-cheap and simple.

        If you want a $35 streaming device that requires a second screen to control, it's not bad. If you want a much more powerful device with Ethernet that you can plug into a TV in a fixed location, you are much better off getting a $100 Roku.

        I agree the power situation is kind of annoying - though doesn't require a "brick", just a USB connection which almost all TVs

        • That's a more reasonable use case you outline, one that sounds great for frequent travelers perhaps. Pretending for a moment that WiFi is tolerable... the biggest issue remaining is the lack of a "quick pause button". I do not like fumbling with a touchscreen phone for 10-20 seconds (swipe, pass code, etc) just trying to pause a movie or TV show. For other controls I don't mind, I guess. Does Android/iPhone have a solution for this?
          • by Dahamma (304068)

            Newer versions of Android let you control the app from the main player controls. On the iPhone you have to control it from an app (Apple isn't going to integrate Chromecast integration into their Airplay controls, of course ;)

            We have been able to stream and decode 1080p video @ 9Mbps over the WiFi. It's definitely not the greatest WiFi quality but if you have a good signal it works...

      • What power brick? I have an 18" USB cord plugged into my TV.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      And if you are on a metered internet connection, beware: While plugged in, the current ChromeCast pulls lots of large photos to display as the screensaver slideshow.

      That's a pretty insignificant amount of bandwidth considering this is an HD-capable *streaming* device. You do realize streaming video is effectively 24-30 highly compressed images downloaded per second, right? Watching one streamed movie is going to use almost 2GB (and that's in standard def - HD is going to be 2-4x that). That would be a shit-ton of screensaver photos...

      • by non0score (890022)
        I-frames may cost that much. However, most of the frames are P-frames (using VP8 parlance), which cost a lot less. There is even more room for compression when you consider temporal coherence in additional to adjacent block coherence. (There are Golden frames and alt-reference frames, but those are details of the algorithm/implementation.)
  • by fang0654 (1805224) on Monday February 03, 2014 @05:50PM (#46144745)
    It was written as if someone pushed it through Google translate, deleted some random characters, printed it out, ate it, and crapped it onto a keyboard. I do hope we get some badass apps for the Chromecast though. It has a lot of potential.
  • Can someone tell me what Koushik Dutta has to do with this and maybe what app they are referring to?
    • by mcl630 (1839996) on Monday February 03, 2014 @06:03PM (#46144911)

      Koushik Dutta wrote an app called AllCast to cast videos stored locally on an Android device to Chromecast by reverse-engineering the (then closed) APIs. Google then changed the APIs to break his app. Koushnik then changed AllCast to cast to anything but Chromecast (Roku, AppleTV, Google TV, Samsung TVs, etc). Now that the Chromecast APIs are available to everyone, he will update AllCast to support Chromecast again.

    • by fang0654 (1805224)
      I may be a little fuzzy on the exact details, but Koush made an app for local file streaming, using the SDK. Some time after, the ChromeCast itself started requiring apps to be signed to run, so you could only run the dozen in the Google Play Store. Then for awhile the CC was nothing more than a Netflix streaming device.
    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Between Android and iOS a developer has 94% of mobile devices covered. Mobile developers have never had it this good.
  • So, what is the deal with Chromecast anyway? Does it track what you do and what you watch? What am I thinking? Of course it does. And if it doesn't now, it will. Bah.
  • From day 1 roku had a powerful enough SDK that I could make a "channel" to front-end my locally served content with a picture based menu so my kids could use it...

    Roku has some problems (lack of DNLA support) that bug me, but has other problems that bug the wife (Hulu plus sucks on every platform, including roku, but she really believes it is possible to have a device where it works as good as hulu on a computer, I think this is a unicorn)

    We are basically willing to try any streaming device that is un
    • by tepples (727027)

      Hulu plus sucks on every platform, including roku, but [my wife] really believes it is possible to have a device where it works as good as hulu on a computer, I think this is a unicorn

      A Unicorn computer [unicorn-computer.com.tw]? I didn't know about that brand. :p But seriously, Hulu works as well on a PC in the living room as it does on a PC on a desk.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Roku did not have a powerful enough SDK from day 1. On day one, Roku was exclusively a Netflix streaming device. It was quite some time before other channels were added.

      While, I don't have a ChromeCast, so cannot comment on it's quality, I do know enough about it to say that a laptop plugged into the TV is most definitly not equivalent. A ChromeCast is a fraction of the cost of a laptop, a fraction of the size of a laptop, and uses a fraction of the power of a laptop.
    • We are basically willing to try any streaming device that is under 100 dollars, and chromecast was no better than just HDMI-ing my laptop to the TV, since the only sensible/exclusive feature it included was the ability to make a browser window appear on screen, but if it requires a PC in order for chromecast to be worth a damn, well then it is a 50 dollar hdmi cable with added network latency.

      I like it during parties; anyone with an Android or Apple phone can enqueue music or Youtube videos. You don't have to search for a remote; any phone or PC in the house will work as one. I like using my phone or tablet for an interface more than I like using an IR remote. Chromecast does a lot of things that I like without running an HDMI cable across the room to my laptop.

      That's all pretty subjective, of course. Some things are a result of my own preferences, and some things are a result of how my living

  • Recently found an indiegogo project that seems to be better than anything chromecast has been able to pull so far. Here [indiegogo.com] for the campaign (already ended) There [airtame.com] for the site. I'm not affiliated in any way with them, just seems a cooler idea, and open source to boot.
    • Seriously?

      1) You can do pretty much all that with a Chromecast out of the box already. It's perfectly happy to display a tab from your web browser, or the whole desktop. For the stuff it can't do (act like a second monitor, multi-target), this API should allow somebody to write that pretty quickly. And in any case, they're pretty bad ideas. - any second screen closer/further from the first by more than a few inches is a waste of time as your eyes will have to refocus to look at it, and if you're at a desk a

  • How is any of this shit any better than simply using an HDMI cable?

    The tiny benefit of it being wireless pales in comparison to the compatibility issues and added cost. With an HDMI cable I can display whateverthefuck on whateverthefuck, With an HDMI cable I can get proper surround sound, a full quality stream, having my remote work through CEC, having ethernet piped down the HDMI, etc. etc. etc.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      It doesn't stream from your device. You can use a phone or tablet to control it - the phone just sends a URL and the Chromecast streams directly.

      And I'm pretty sure no one wants to run a 10'+ cable from their phone across their living room to their TV. If that were true we might as well all be using wired remote controls.

      And as far as your other points, most aren't actually issues with the Chromecast anyway. It's only $35, supports multichannel sound and 1080p video (it IS an HDMI device), and it support

    • by wile_e8 (958263)

      Off the top of my head:

      • As you mentioned, it's wireless.
      • Since it's wireless, it can display even more whateverthefuck on whateverthefuck, as it can receive from all sorts of phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops that don't have HDMI ports. Just need WiFi and an app or program that use this API.
      • Since it's wireless, it can display from multiple devices without having to physically connect and disconnect each device
      • Since it's wireless, multiple devices can control the display at the same time (YouTube allows
      • Off the top of my head:

        • As you mentioned, it's wireless.
        • Since it's wireless, it can display even more whateverthefuck on whateverthefuck, as it can receive from all sorts of phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops that don't have HDMI ports. Just need WiFi and an app or program that use this API.
        • Since it's wireless, it can display from multiple devices without having to physically connect and disconnect each device
        • Since it's wireless, multiple devices can control the display at the same time (YouTube allows multiple devices to queue up videos, for instance).
        • In fact, it's not even required that the device that started the video stay in contact. For some streaming, if you start the video with your phone and then need to leave, the video will keep streaming for others even if you take your phone with you.

        Basically it's perfect for cord-cutters looking to stream content to their TV, as almost anything you can stream over the web can be redirected to the Chromecast as long as the developers implement the API. And it's pretty cheap too.

        Literally the only benefit I see to these things is that they're wireless. I get that some people like that, but I myself prefer to use a cable between my source and display so I don't have to deal with video quality / latency issues or limited compatibility. As far as I know, these dongles don't actually do anything beyond acting as a virtual cable. With all the buzz about Chromecast, I thought there was something key feature I was just missing.

    • It sounds like you're missing the part where you have to plug your vaunted HDMI cable into something. Perhaps you have a HTPC or a Plex Server. Who knows? But the Chromecast costs $35 (and was on sale for $25) so you can stream without having to set up a HTPC.

      • It sounds like you're missing the part where you have to plug your vaunted HDMI cable into something. Perhaps you have a HTPC or a Plex Server. Who knows? But the Chromecast costs $35 (and was on sale for $25) so you can stream without having to set up a HTPC.

        You have to connect the WiDi/Miracast/Chromecast dongles to something too. Whether it's a PC or a phone, it's no different than using a cable. There has to be a source.

  • I think that another use for Chromecast is for dashboard displays. Usually you put a computer + monitor for each station where you want to display dashboards showing the current status of production line/sales/promotions/news/donations/etc. With chromecast you can point it to the website that will display the info and you are set.

    Chromecast is a Wifi device with a chrome browser/js engine so this use case can be cheap and interesting because you don't need a computer, just a monitor and a working wifi si

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