The Chromecast has identity issues. It may be based on Android, but it updates like Chrome. The device ships on the stable channel, but it's possible to switch it beta and dev channels. These options are progressively bleeding edge, but this comes at the obvious sacrifice of stability, and there's a strong risk of bricking your device. Granted, it's only $35, far cheaper than breaking a smartphone or tablet.


Disclaimer: Android Police isn't responsible for any harm to your device - proceed at your own risk.

You need root first, then manually push the zips to update, at which point you'll be switched to the respective channel. It's not clear what's new right now, but this is definitely risky business. Here are the steps, fresh from developer Jay Lee.

1. Get root on your Chromecast. Follow the steps at: http://goo.gl/C2qKmS
2. telnet into your Chromecast and to get beta-channel run:
   cd /cache
   /system/bin/busybox wget -O ota.zip http://goo.gl/53l5sA
or for dev-channel:
    cd /cache
   /system/bin/busybox wget -O ota.zip http://goo.gl/JVkHhl
stable-channel would be:
  cd /cache
  /system/bin/busybox wget -O ota.zip http://goo.gl/3yy01K
3. From another Linux system run:
curl -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{"params": "ota"}' -v

Remember to replace with your actual Chromecast IP address. After your Chromecast automatically reboots, you will be on the newer build and channel. You will lose root every time you switch channels, just like you do for Android OTAs.

Here are the files contained within the OTA:

And here's what's in the updater script.

$35 is still $35, so if you aren't willing to throw that money away, you might want to leave your Chromecast alone. For an in-depth look of what it can do out of the box, here's our review.

Via: Liliputing 

Source: Google+

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    I bet eventually they will enable an easy switch via an official setting and personally, I'll wait for that, and so will most people.

    The important takeaway here for me is not how to do it in a hacky and convoluted way without an obvious way to get back to stable, but it's that these channels exist and work like they do in Chrome. Splendid.

    • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

      I figure because of the ChromeOS foundation, the process will eventually be the same, or similar, to switching to beta/dev channels on a Chromebook.

  • Nick Saulino

    Quit hogging all Roslyn's WiFi, Jay.

  • Mario

    FYI: Chromecast OTA 12840 update rolling out now.

  • http://www.maverickcreative.ca/ Joshua Richards

    Is there any information of the differences between channels? Is it worth the effort?

    • EdLessard

      "It's not clear what's new right now, nor how to switch to stable, so this is definitely risky business."

      • http://www.maverickcreative.ca/ Joshua Richards

        Thank you for quoting the post.

        Has anyone found any differences?

  • soap

    The beta channel may have the extended hidden settings working, as someone on reddit claiming to be an actual beta tester a while back said they were activated and taken out for stable.

  • http://dabuxian.com/ Dabu

    Off topic, but... I wish there was beta channel for Android. :P

    • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

      In a sense, owning a Nexus device is the equivalent of being on the beta channel, since they get updates months before OEM vendors push them out to their various phones.

      • Daniel DS

        But they're not running a test version of android, therefore it's not "beta"

        • Floss

          You haven't used a Nexus device right after a new release have you :D

  • StankyChikin

    Think this is one device I will just leave stock.

  • Michael

    "It's not clear what's new right now, nor how to switch to stable" Either you just copied and pasted straight from his post without reading or you're illiterate but right in the code block is the commands to get back to the Stable channel.

    "stable-channel would be: cd /cache
    /system/bin/busybox wget -O ota.zip http://goo.gl/3yy01K"

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Bah. It wasn't there when I added it to our tracker which inI explicitly stated, and it looks like it confused Bertel. We'll fix it right up.

      • Michael

        That would be an acceptable answer, but the code block I'm referring to isn't a Gist block, it's wordpress' built in Quote Block, and was in the post last night before you even asked on G+.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Well, even http://www.chromestory.com/2013/07/how-to-switch-to-dev-or-beta-channel-on-chromecast which Liliputing vias doesn't have the stable ota.zip blurb I'm talking about that the G+ post does now. When I looked at the instructions, they didn't have the stable ota zip. I looked yesterday, right when I asked my question, we just didn't have the time to write it up until today.

          If you're referring to the part where it says you may be able to restore to stock by using the gtvroot method, even the author said he hasn't tested it, and it was possible it would brick the Chromecast, so that part was disregarded.

  • Grimmjow

    So this basically quashes the whole idea that it was using Android instead of Chrome. I didn't think Google was going to lie about the OS used anyway.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii
      • Grimmjow

        But Android does not have that feature.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          So what? It's just a methodology. Like alpha/beta/stable - there's a simple config that tells the updater the corresponding url to download, the rest happens automatically. It's no different than an app that has a beta checkbox in the settings.

          This is Android, there's no doubt about it.

      • Mental_Moose

        Any theories as to why Google would claim that it's (kind of) Chrome OS?

        • Mike Reid

          Google doesn't want us messing with them ?

        • mlj11


          • Mental_Moose

            On the one hand; that makes sense, considering the point and market of this product.
            On the other hand; it's incorrect information. I get branding, but lying about something so banal as this seems a bit stupid, does it not?

  • yankeesusa

    Best buy now has it available for shipping in 1-2 weeks. Alot better than googles 4-6 weeks