Aug 26 AT 1:39 PM Dima Aryeh 47 Comments

Chromecast update kills AirCast, other third-party streaming methods

Google Chromecast

It looks like Google’s intentions for the Chromecast aren’t quite as open as they are for Android. As you know, Koush recently started releasing beta versions of his AirCast app, which allowed you to stream local content and content stored in your Dropbox and Google Drive to your Chromecast. However, the latest update for the device has killed off third-party streaming, including AirCast.

Koush, developer of AirCast, talked about this issue on Reddit and Google+. He says that Google has been disabling third-party streaming intentionally to keep a tight reign on Chromecast, just like they do with Google TV.

Heads up. Google's latest Chromecast update intentionally breaks AllCast. They disabled 'video_playback' support from the ChromeCast application.

Given that this is the second time they've purposefully removed/disabled the ability to play media from external sources, it confirms some of my suspicions that I've had about the Chromecast developer program. The policy seems to be a heavy-handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device. The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly. The Google TV team will likely only whitelist media companies.

I'd strongly suggest holding off on buying a Chromecast until we can see how Google chooses to move forward on third party applications.Koushik Dutta

He also discusses how Google has responded that they want to release the public SDK soon, but until then, streaming apps will have to be whitelisted. These apps will probably be from big companies, and until Google releases the public SDK, the device will stay locked down. This will make a lot of people upset, especially those who bought it to mess around with it.

It’s too bad to see Google taking such a stance, but it’s most likely to win the favor of big companies that are letting Google license their media. Not that this kind of thing is a rarity, but it still sucks. So until then, don’t buy a Chromecast with the intention of hacking it. We’ll inform you if Google changes their policies. Owners of the Chromecast, does this make you regret your purchase?

Source: Reddit, +Koushik Dutta
Via: Android Police

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things tech. He does photography, is an avid phone modder (who uses an AT&T Galaxy Note II), a heavy gamer (both PC and 360), and an aspiring home mechanic. He is also an avid fan of music, especially power metal.

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  • Vitti

    I own one. Can still play Netflix from any device. Can still use Play Store content and Google Music. Can still use Chrome from my PC (including playing local media files via Chrome).

    Worth $35 still. Especially since I got the Netflix deal too.

    Yeah this stinks for certain things, but saying don’t buy is a little harsh.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      I agree with you, it’s totally worth it.

      Also, I wrote “don’t buy a Chromecast with the intention of hacking it.” I think it’s an awesome device and definitely worth a buy, but if someone is specifically looking to modify it, they should not buy one at this point.

      • Vitti

        Yeah. I wasn’t specifically calling you out on that but rather Koush saying he’d “strongly suggest holding off”.

        For $35 it’s not much of an investment anyway :)

    • Mike C.

      It’s not the money. It’s the fact that a device that held so much promise turns out to be just another Apple TV clone (=a front for some internet store).

      In any case HDMI slots are a precious commodity in most homes, so this one will have to compete with loads of other devices for slots. If I could get one that was open at $100 then that would be my choice.

    • Jyann

      Kinda worth it. $35.- is a throw away price, but my hope was that apps would be build to allow local content to be played easily. Guess the answer is no, because that would not allow Google to advertise on whats on the screen. Too bad, will use for YouTube and forget about the rest.

  • h0ruza

    This was bound to happen in fact the chrome cast being open to such an exploit in the first place is more odd than them killing the option in an update.

    Its still the easiest way to get media on a TV so you bet your ass I’ll be buying it when it comes to the UK :-)

  • Justin

    “Strongly suggest holding off” on buying something for $35 which allows me to stream movies, music, and videos? give me a break. it was the best $35 I ever spent.

  • MrMrMan

    Unfortunately it seems Google is becoming evil.

  • shadhussain

    I think it’s fair game and good strategy for Google to cater to big content providers/licensees *in the short term* in an attempt to start the mass shift from traditional cable/TV model to a more accessible online/on-demand content model. Google has tried radical shifts before through the original carrier-unlocked Nexus One, personal streaming through Google Music, web-streaming from cable sites using Google TV but the barriers have been the same. In most cases these services repeatedly got shot down and/or are throttled/limited.

    The $35 Chromecast presents a fairly smart case where Google is probably hoping for quick mass adoption while keeping content providers happy. Once it hits critical mass, the potential is obviously limitless and hopefully Google can take the reigns. Until then, the Chromecast is still one cool nifty gadget that does things at a price and ease that hasn’t been done before .

  • NickFes

    We need to be fair here. All these apps that have surfaced were not using the official SDK, but they reverse-engineered the communication protocols. The new update does not change one bit of what Chromecast was told it would allow to do, namely the official apps and local streaming through the Chrome extension. All this rage is unjustified. The SDK will be opened in the future and when it will people will be able to enjoy more creative apps. I mean, c’mon, it’s not that Google tampered with the device making it useless beyond what it promised.

  • kelinden

    I bought this and I also use apple tv. its $35 bucks and it does more than apple tv. I have tons of data on google play and netflix vs a few movies and podcasts on apple tv. It really depends on where you have your source material in the end. This however is a no brainer. For business, if you have to use mirror display and like me, you use a mac and dont carry an HDMI cable with you then it is nice to have apple tv. If you want separate audio feed, no mandatory mirror display and access to local media then chromecast is the way to go. just my dos centavos

  • Anybody get Chrome browser to work with Chromecast?

    The docs say you can stream any web page from the Chrome browser running on a laptop. But I’ve had not luck getting this to work. That little tab just isn’t there. Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong? Thanks

    • felix

      https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search-extensions/chromecast — choose the one from Google. (Google Cast)

      • McLovin

        Thanks! I didn’t realize you had to get an extension to make it work. No wonder the native Chrome on my laptop wasn’t working so well.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      It streams the Chrome browser from your computer, not Android. You can download the Chrome extension which allows you to stream anything that’s in your browser tab to your TV. plain and simple.

  • RooseRoll

    I was so siked to get the Chromcast. My buddy finally got his and it was awsome. After the update, only worked with Google Play and now I’m glad my Nexus 7 32G and chromecast order was backordered and then cancled. I wont be breaking my neck to get one. I really dont even feel the need for the Nexus now too. My old 16G nexus is still doing the job and i don’t like Google’s bullshit.

    Currently cannot play my private content on my old nexus, and looks like I wont be able to play it on the new nexus so fuck Google.

    • steb0ne

      People need to stop whining about everything! It works as advertised, lol!

    • Floorman63

      Roosevelt, get a life!

  • frmorrison

    Buy a device for what it does today, not what it may do. I think it is worth 35 for its advertised features.

  • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

    People need to realize that Google has not broken any promises. Chromecast has already received a few updated since launch and will probably get a handful more before the official SDK is released for developers.

    Google may be limiting direct content streaming to Chromecast now, but that doesn’t main it will not be an option at some time in the future. Give it time. Personally, I use my Chromecast at least a half dozen times as week. It does exactly what Google promised and has changed the way to listen to music in our house. Our $300 Big Jam Box is feeling a bit lonely.

    By far, the best $35 I’ve spent this year.

  • JQuest81

    It’s not really that big of a deal. It sucks that I lost access to AirCast, but I didn’t use it as much as throwing Netflix/YouTube from Android to my TV. It’s so much more convenient than booting up another device or Gaming System.

    The killer function for me is playing Google Play Music from my device. It’s my go to music streaming app and it’s wonderful I can control all my music from another room on my home theater system. It’s well worth the $35 spent whether or not you intend to hack it.

    • magnum80

      I hope chromecast makes its way to Europe soon. Google Play Music would be my main use case as well.

      Does anybody know, if it is possible to cast the same content in-sync to multiple chromecasts?
      Or different content to multiple chromecasts?

      (a la Airplay, Sonos zones)

      Would be terrific. If the chromecast would have a line-out jack, it would be a nice replacement for my airports.

      Cheers

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      As funny as it sounds, I wish I had an application for a Chromecast. I simply can’t use it, because my monitor has only one HDMI port for my computer. But I want it.

      • magnum80

        That’s why I wish it had an audio out so it could work as an airport replacement.

  • cj100570

    Google made it perfectly clear to developers that they shouldn’t create distributable apps based on the SDK because it’s in beta and any apps made with it could be disabled at any time due to changes with the SDK and would definitely not work once the SDK was final. Koush taking to G+ to bitch and moan shows just what an asshat he is. Chromecast was never advertised as an open platform and he was well aware that his app might cease to function per the terms of the SDK.

  • donger

    Google is doing the right thing. They didn’t have to say anything about anything.

  • willy

    Google is becoming just as evil as Microsoft and Apple. Probably spying for the NSA too. Fuck ‘em. Don’t give these Nazis your money.

  • Paul Atreides

    Lol don’t eff with Google, their army will not have it! I’m disappointed the Chromecast has been locked down of course. I’m still curious to see what direction Google will take with this little device that holds so much potential. I won’t purchase said device until I’m more comfortable Google will do the right thing. Hoping Google will be able to secure a deal like they did with Play Music for movies/tv. We shall see in the coming months.

  • John

    That sucks but its still a very nice device. I was just using it yesterday to stream Slingplayer to my TV.

  • nonchalant

    I don’t think this article says not to buy chtomecast. It just says of u r planning to buy one for hacking then hold off. I don’t know why some random idiots have trouble understanding that.

  • Khary

    I make music and am unable to stream my created works to chromecast as google play doesn’t support side loaded content. I feel like returning it just because of that.

  • Mjd

    This is not necessarily some dark conspiracy. Google could be waiting to get the API stabilized before releasing the SDK and doing away with the whitelist. Otherwise applications would always be breaking due to changes in the API.

  • Dave Hazelwood

    It remains to be seen whether this is a dastardly stab in the back or as Mjd says Google just being cautious until they release the SDK.

    If they intend to handicap this device I will abandon it and abandon Google and all that is Google related like Android phones, etc because that would be the last proverbial straw. However, if they embrace it as an open device with the SDK I will applaud Google and give them another chance.

    I say another chance because I am already this close to dumping them for their kissing NSA’s arse and pulling other stunts that I consider to be multiple and serious invasions of my privacy.

    I think a lot of people are like me and consider Google on the edge and once they fall over it they are going to have a hard or impossible time of ever getting their once avid followers back.

    Kinda like Obama. I voted for him in 2008 and he lied and let me down and now everyday all day I work against him no matter what. I hate his f….ing guts !

  • Suckorama

    If you use Hulu or Netflix , etc. a lot then this obviously still is a good buy for you. I don’t use those things. I wanted to be able to stream the content I own. This seems like a no-brainer for families with children or people that take movies of their vacations, etc. If I want to show off my recent trip to the moon to my friends and family who are over for dinner, casting from my laptop would be so convenient.

    So, for my needs, I won’t be getting it unless it can stream local files.

    Also, people need to calm down. Sheesh. Its a $35 device. Its not the death star.

    • Keddar

      You CAN stream local content to the ChromeCast…it just has to be from your PC, not your much-more-convenient mobile device.

  • Michael Albert Jones Jr.

    I love mine!!! It’s worth the money!!! (if this device was white and had an bitten apple on in it, it would have been three times the amount of the Dream-… I meant Chromecast!)

  • sheldon kendall

    I think it’s a great device, but im a little mad just because I had the option between the chromecast or HTC media link and the clerk helped me pick one out and kept pushing my decision towards the chromecast. And put in mind he said there was absolutely no difference, besides price, but he was wrong. I had intentions of playing my movies on my sd card, games, and other apps. But it’s okay I just wish I would of got the media link.

  • Dude

    i bought it to play my movies and now i can’t. If you have a smart tv you can already stream hulu and everything else so there’s no reason to buy this.

  • N97LT

    Would be great if this device worked with slingbox, so I would not have to hook an HDMI cable to my TV….guess I can’t throw the cable away yet.

  • Megan

    I recently bought a Chromecast because I wanted to watch a video from my computer that could not be found from other companies such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. I spent the better part of a day trying to figure out how to get this all to work. Of course it doesn’t, and so therefore I regret buying a Chromecast. I will be returning it next week. This really bums me out because that is the main reason for getting one. I already have a PS3 for streaming netflix, etc.

    However, what I find more discerning is Google’s ability to ignore the “10 things we know to be true” manifesto that they supposedly hold so dear. Essentially crippling the one unique feature of Chromecast shows that they would rather make money than stick by their principles. And that makes me disappointed and sad.

  • HW

    “Owners of the Chromecast, does this make you regret your purchase?”
    You bet it does.
    It never even occurred to me that they would market a device that by design can not stream self-generated content. I fully expected that I’d be able to stream video directly from my phone or tablet. The marketing materials do not mentions that anywhere I can see.

    To me is seems like false advertising or bait and switch.
    “No more huddling around small screens and tiny speakers”
    Errors of omission are just as bad as lies.

    Only $35, but I still regret it.
    Google, Android, and Chrome-Anything are looking less attractive every day.

    Anxiously waiting the Ubuntu phones and Tablets.

  • Robert

    Well, let’s me know which route I should go then – I think I’ll go with a slim media PC – I really don’t care for the ‘control’ they try to put on this crap. DLNA is ok – but doesn’t offer all I want either.

  • Daniel Haro

    I was a loyal googler for so many years. This piece of shit is truly a huge blow in my confidence in Google. Of course I bought this device to stream my pirate collection of movies to my T.V. What the fuck was the point of making this piece of shit. Google really fucked this one up big time. They are turning into Apple which to me means it’s a dying company.

  • Dave

    I have a couple thousand movies and TV shows in my library and got this to stream them to my TV… I was disappointed at first until they added Plex as a native app… if you want to stream local movies from your PC (not android or mobile) get Plex and use your Chromecast.. It’s a match made in heaven. I take my Chromecast to my hotels when I’m staying out of town and plug it into the TV.. link up and watch moves via the Plex app from my private collection. It’s worth it for twice the price.. For 35 bucks it’s a no brainer..

  • paul

    Feel I was ripped off. Y can’t I play my photo albums on chromecast or my kids home vids. Ya utube cool and movie rental r great but that’s it. Should have kept my apple TV.

  • brian ypperciel

    assholes