26
Aug
Crr

Update: The Verge has a response straight from the horse's mouth. It doesn't completely dismiss the idea of local content playback, but it doesn't exactly justify Google's disabling of the feature, either. Basically it's a "hurry up and wait" situation - we won't know exactly how Google intends to go forward until the developer preview for the SDK ends.

We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content. It's still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available.

Yesterday a Chromecast software update was sent out for all standard units. The update broke all of the varied hacks and workarounds that have been release so far, closing off some early methods for streaming local and cloud content beyond the scope of the Play Store and Netflix. While software updates often confound the efforts of modders, this was no coincidence, according to well-known developer Koushik "Koush" Dutta.

CR5

In a Reddit thread on the subject, Koush explained that he believes Google is intentionally closing off access to third-party apps in order to build a walled garden for content. According to Dutta, this would mirror Google's partnership strategy for Google TV. He inquired about the updated software that blocks AirCast/AllCast and others, and received a tepid response that indicated the Google Cast SDK would not be coming to the wider development community until after they get current partner apps working.

From the Reddit thread:

Google TV (yes, Chromecast is from the GoogleTV team) has a storied history of releasing closed off products, only allowing access to select partners and media companies. I was fairly certain that Chromecast would be no different. My suspicions were confirmed today.

...Chromecast shipped with no default media player app, or any way to play your own content. As I demonstrated, this is actually very easy to implement. The fact that it did not ship with this by default was likely calculated. They don't want you playing your own content.

Chromecast had a "GoogleCastSample" app that could be leveraged as a default media player. Many developers started using this. One week after release, GoogleCastSample was disabled.

...What this all points to: The Chromecast is just a Google TV in a smaller form factor. Yet another box from your TV that delivers the same old tired array of big media apps that you can find on any other cable/tv box. I already have 5 of such boxes (2 Xbox, 2 Apple TV, 1 Roku).

I don't need another box to do this. I want a mainstream, open platform, that I can connect to my TV. That would be new. That would be different.

While we can't comment on the nature of Google's motivations, it certainly looks like steps are being taken to prevent local media playback on Chromecast (outside of the Google Play suite, anyway). It's disheartening to see Google take such a closed approach to the Chromecast - as Koush notes, the hardware has a lot of potential for cheap and easy streaming to televisions. It will be interesting to see how Google reacts to the inevitable community backlash, or if they react at all.

Koush and others will try to work around the changes, but there's nothing stopping Google from plugging any holes in its apparent content wall.

Source: Reddit, Google+

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Sergio

    Don't be evil Google, don't begin to close things. That won't be good for your health...

    • Lexster

      They never once said that Chromecast would be open source. I don't see why people are up in arms about this. It's not like they suddenly closed Chromium or Android. The Chromecast is a completely different animal.

      • ergu

        "Open Source" is not equal to "Open Platform"

        Open source means the source code for a program is openly available. Openness in a platform describes how much different software you're allowed to install on the platform. The distinction between the two is important. With closed source, a company might be protecting patents, or possibly international trade secrets. This is acceptable within the confines of US law. If a platform is closed, however, the reason is most likely (under the guise of protecting against piracy or protecting against an uncontrolled, poor user experience) to PREVENT COMPETITION. Preventing competition often violates the Sherman Antitrust Act (and even more often violates the spirit of the act), which is illegal, and punishable by law. It is bad for the economy. It is not patriotic. It's also yucky.

        So stop defending them. They're either doing something shady for their own reasons, or, more likely, they're being forced to by the MPAAFIA in order to get licenses to their content at reasonable rates.

        • squiddy20

          "If a platform is closed, however, the reason is most likely... to PREVENT COMPETITION." Utter bullshit. Competition comes from some other entity (company or person) and some other product. You wouldn't expect Apple to produce products that compete with their own existing products, would you?
          And if they're being forced to close it down because of the MPAAFIA, it's Google's fault and we should "stop defending them"? Okay. :rollesyes

          • ergu

            Yeah but you're missing the point. It's not competition with google. It's compentition with legacy content providers. I love how the elephant in the room is so easily able to hide from you. Shame on you.

      • mydroidhaswood

        Please shut your damn trap and stop commenting the same thing over and over again. Shut up.

        Everyone wants Google to make it an open platform, and some developers of course will want it to be opensource.

    • GraveUypo

      sorry to tell you this but... their right foot is long gone buried past the mud pits of the evil line. nowadays google's motto is "do things to the very edge of the socially acceptable"

  • Mark

    It all makes sense now. The ridiculously low price, that is. It is just a loss leader. They're selling it, probably at or below cost, so they can push their content. If you use it to watch your own content then it is worthless to Google. The smash-hit tech gadget of the year just became a bust.

    • Cerberus_tm

      Except that the Chromecast is not so very cheap compared to similar, existing devices that can do the same thing, like the Android Mini TV MK808B:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFwxd3xO1ZY (review)
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ALSZNLW/

    • Lexster

      How is it a bust? Does it not work the way Google said it would?

      • UniBroW

        Let me first start out by saying that I have THREE chromecasts, that being said it's easy to see why someone would be quite pissed about Google actively blocking it (though I'm not surprised that they are because of Google's tight restrictions for releasing apps for Chromecast).

        Having a Chromecast and NOT being able to cast things that are on your phone is plain old STUPID. I love my chromecast(s) but I'm not going to be a Google apologist here. This is the same reason I don't buy Apple products. Google needs to get this right

        • Adam Truelove

          Just because they didn't design a product the way you think they should have doesn't mean they did something wrong. It just means that product isn't for you.

          • ergu

            Well, if they created features, and wrote sample programs that made use of those features, clearly they did design the product that way. Then they took it back. You can't honestly defend that action.

          • antifud

            while there are times expectations are unreasonable I don't think expecting to stream anything you want on a device designed to have things pushed to it is anything other than the absolute bare minimum the device *should* do. Otherwise it's not even worth the $11 it costs (after netflix savings)

          • ergu

            THIS. The idea of chromecast is that it's supposed to be like a wireless hdmi cable. Imagine if you bought an HDMI cable and found out that it didn't work with anything but netflix and youtube.

          • antifud

            that actually happens with HDCP courtesy of apple. People don't pay attention to it because they don't want to acknowledge those magic handshake issues that happened previously.

          • ergu

            yeah and you CAN get burned when that handshake fails. it has not happened to me yet, but i will be PISSED if it does. can't you buy an adapter that scrubs the hdcp bits from the stream?

          • Mark

            Just because they designed a product they way they wanted doesn't mean it is either consumer friendly or desirable to them. Nor does it mean it is successful.

            There are dozens of content delivery systems. This is neither needed or innovative. I can use one of many options available to me at no cost to do this, some with the inherent restrictions we've all come to love. The ability to stream your content WAS innovative, and it was the exciting selling feature that had the blogosphere buzzing.

            I will not be buying one now, and many others will follow suit. Then again, I couldn't buy it anyway. It was utterly blocked from distribution in Canada, which stands to reason since it is all about content. And we all know that content must be tightly embargoed to prevent malicious cross border enjoyment.

          • Itchy_Robot

            The problem is that Google is keeping so tight lipped about it all. Google has made no mention about allowing or disallowing local data. But their current actions lean towards not allowing it through simple direct streams. It seems they are more interested in forcing users to upload their data to their servers first, then streaming it to the tv. For local photos/home videos this is very unnecessary They only reason for it is to siphon off the user data for resale through targeted advertisements. How much you want to bet the next G+ update allows Chromecast photo/video streaming? This will force users to store the data on Google servers just to view images ... but mainly allow them to collect your data.

        • jnt

          It's ironic - because Apple TV lets you stream/view ANYthing from your Apple device...

        • squiddy20

          I'm no "Google apologist", but show me where Google ever stated or even implied the Chromecast would be able to stream local media. Fact: They didn't. That was all from the users/developers getting their hopes up and over-hyping the capabilities of a given device (Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, or Moto X anyone?).
          Now, Android Central has a very good article on this same subject in which they go one step further and speculate that this disabling of local streaming content is due to any agreements with the archaic major media companies who want total control of everything. Which unfortunately makes sense.

          • ergu

            By selling a device that was capable of streaming local media, albeit though a slight degree of end-user customization, google implicitly stated this. Then they intentionally disabled that functionality. This WILL be viewed as a bait and switch. Disabling features is easy. If they did not want users to see that functionality, they could have hidden it before the first device wound up in customer hands.

          • Robert deJuana-Matthews

            You're saying that Google implied that the device can locally stream by making a device that is capable of streaming? I have to respectfully disagree there. My car's engine is capable of doing 200mph from the factory, that doesn't mean that Nissan/Infiniti is implying that the car can go 200mph. To wit, I can't be the least bit upset when I hit the electronic limiter. The same can be said for Google. We can't expect a device/product to have functionality that they didn't explicitly state on the spec sheet unless we are willing to get in there and hack around a bit.

            That said, this is EXACTLY what Koush was doing. He was hacking in order to add functionality. The problem is, fell victim to the same thing that some of us developers struggle with; hubris. He thought that he was going to blaze ahead of Google, (who explicitly stated that the SDK was not complete and would be limited until the rest of the content partners finished their apps.) He reverse engineered their SDK (which, if Chromecast were a Microsoft or Apple product, would have earned him a nice Cease & Desist letter), and released a beta of a product. He then got pissed when Google shut him down and took to G+ and Reddit with a bit of "How dare they frustrate my efforts with updates" grousing.

            The truth of the matter is, Google never stated that Chromecast was going to be open like Android, but in good faith, (as other devs have discovered) there are references for local streaming content (which will probably be activated after they work out the deals with their content providers). We have to remember that the content providers are the most important part of the equation because they are the ones that make the product attractive to the average person.

            Let's be honest here, at $35, Chromecast really isn't targeted at developers and hardcore tech nerds who like to hack, it's targeted at the average consumer who has an Android device. Google is, first and foremost, trying to get people to invest in their ecosystem. Chromecast is yet another nice offering that does that. Will Google evenutally reach back and extend an olive branch to the development community? Of course. They've always done that. Do they know that they have to deal with the content providers in order to have a viable business model that allows them to continue to develop things like Gmail, Google Drive, Android, and Google Glass? Yes. We just have to become more patient, and a bit more realistic about our expectations of a brand new product that's technically still being developed.

          • ergu

            "You're saying that Google implied that the device can locally stream by making a device that is capable of streaming?"

            No, I'm saying that they made a device that was demonstrably capable of local streaming, and then they intentionally killed local streaming.

            "My car's engine is capable of doing 200mph from the factory, that doesn't mean that Nissan/Infiniti is implying that the car can go 200mph. To wit, I can't be the least bit upset when I hit the electronic limiter. The same can be said for Google."

            The problem with your car analogy is that going 200mph will likely damage other parts of the car, so governing the speed would be something that prevents catastrophic failure. This is not something we have to worry about with streaming of local content. Streaming home movies on chromecast will not cause the device to burst into flames, so the same cannot be said for google.

            "The truth of the matter is, Google never stated..."

            Honestly I don't care what they stated. I knew ahead of time from some article I read that this would not be open, so I lost interest, regardless of the low price tag. But the buzz around chromecast was that it was a $35 device that you could use to stream all kinds of content from. And the "all kinds" part is shrinking already. I think that a lot of the people who were excited about chromecast are going to feel let down by this. I already felt let down when I first started looking into this, but I think there will be waves of people who didn't initially realize the implications of how chromecast was designed. This is a nail in the coffin because I really don't think the android-using public at large cares much about this. You can already get all the canned content that is on your phone, on your smart tv, or your xbox, or whatever POS set top device you have. Chromecast is an also ran, as I see it. Also-ran for $35, but you are meant to use it with your phone. It's on very shakey ground at best.

            "Let's be honest here, at $35, Chromecast really isn't targeted at developers and hardcore tech nerds who like to hack"

            I think that you and I would disagree about what woos "developers and hardcore tech nerds". They might buy high-end devices, but at the end of the day, devs and tech nerds love some low-cost, hackable kit. Cases in point: Raspberry Pi, HP Touchpad once it got android on it and went on a fire sale, etc.

            "targeted at the average consumer who has an Android device."

            Again, I really don't see them getting that much traction with the average crowd, given the fact that people likely already have options to do what chromecast will do (and that is, display content from a select few approved content providers. every 'smart' device out there does this, they would have to be marketing to people who are currently missing this from their devices). We'll see though...

          • CasperTFG

            Boom. Thank you.

        • Lastb0isct

          You guys are way to quick to jump the gun on this. The SDK isn't official and that's why this app was disabled! Once the SDK is completely out developers shouldn't have issues with making an app like this, but whitelisting your chromecast isn't what Google wanted at this point

    • Danny Holyoake

      How is it a bust, when most of my media consumption is through Google, and other content distributors, already?

      Sensationalist headline by AndroidPolice, and this is all just a load of noise over nothing in particular.

    • Adam Truelove

      It's only a bust for nerds. Nerds who can use other super cheap methods to get their content to their TVs. The Chromecast is not for tech enthusiasts.

      • ergu

        Yeah but nerds were probably going to be the people to drive this thing. Without the features that tech enthusiasts want, it does nothing more than what my cheap smart tv does. Chromecast == every other mainstream media 'set top' functionality. Nothing to see here.

    • Cerberus_tm

      Except that the Chromecast is not cheap. You can do the same thing with most Androids-on-a-stick + the application Cheapcast, for about the same price, $35. See the Youtube links I have posted in this thread and that I am afraid to post again for fear of being perceived as a spammer. Or go to Youtube and watch the video by Armando Ferreira about the Android mini TV.

    • Itchy_Robot

      Actually, I think it is more about acquiring user data for targeted advertising than it is about selling content.Though obviously, selling content is also a plus for them. I have a feeling they will implememnt a G+ photo app soon. That, along with forcing users to upload their home videos to YouTube before viewing them on the TV would allow for tons of new user/consumer data that they can siphon down and resale through targeted advertising.

  • Mark

    Oh please, give it a rest. This is HOLLYWOOD controlling the shots here.

    In the grown up world, something writers and commentators here seem to not inhabit, grownups have legal contracts, copyright, rights holders and other grown up things.

    Google would love, i'm sure to make a techy product without limits, but in this real grown up world, there would be no legal content to play on it. Sure the pirates would be happy, but that's all.

    Google has contractual obligations to to content providers to prevent local streaming of content (local streaming is usually pirated content).

    • z0phi3l

      Beat me to it, Google is not being "evil" like some asshats will claim, they are stuck doing Hollywood and the recording industry whims just to be able to get the product out the door, maybe later, but for now even the mighty Google is stuck dealing with those crooks

    • Stephen

      I can see where you're coming from, but I can guarantee the most common use of streaming local content from phones and tablets are personal photos and videos (sharing with family, for example)

      • Sam Hollis

        Most people who bought this are techies.

        • Shitiz Garg

          So now techies don't have personal videos and photos?

          • Mark

            You upload them to YouTube and Picasa you idiot.

          • ergu

            i don't like your logic. "why did the chicken go to outer space? to get across the street". if you can't see that this is what they are requiring of users, then you must be fortunate enough to have very fast, very reliable internet connectivity. not everybody has this. chromecast is CHEAP. it is the kind of thing that would appeal to people who aren't trying to spend loads of money on a technological solution. highly reliable internet is still quite expensive in america.

      • impulse101

        The minority would use it for personal photos and videos. The majority is pirated movies and TV shows with an easier way for simpletons to stream it to the their TV

        • jnt

          That's a big assumption on your part. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but one of Apple TV's biggest advantages over other streaming content providers is it's super easy ability to have photos / videos airplay'd to it. Obviously Apple lives in a much more controlled environment, which probably helps content providers be ok with the setup.

        • ergu

          the huge flaw in the 'piracy' angle is that pirated content remains the EASIEST content to use. legitimate content always gets crippled, while software and other content infringers are able to do what they want, whenever they want. infringed content can already be extremely easily accessed on lots of devices because its drm has been stripped and it's totally free and open. paid content is what is still being hindered from playing on any device, any time.

        • Stephen

          I don't agree. I think we are nearing the point when everyone will have a smartphone or tablet. I don't believe that everyone with a smartphone has the technical ability or the desire to circumvent paid content.

          On the other hand, I suspect that anyone who has taken pictures or videos with their phone has wanted to view those on a larger screen. This seems like a universal need, one that Apple has handled well with the AppleTV but Android does not (requiring either a miniHDMI or MHL wired connection, or not supported at all).

      • ergu

        clearly google thinks it is: http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromecast

        the second use case they offer is home videos. "Chromecast. Everything you love, now on your TV." with a picture of a little girl and a dog. My guess is they are marketing this very heavily at people who want to watch home videos. Home videos that you have to be connected to the internet to enjoy. That kind of pisses me off.

  • Angmancy

    The bad thing is that Google is fighting this so it is likely it will never give up instead of just ignoring the hacks. But maybe it is most peoples fault, including me, who thought that local streaming on first. Well back to utilising my Raspberry Pi then.

  • David

    You are forgetting that in the case of Chromecast we are dealing with preview API and SDK, so changes and modifications are to be expected. The only evidence Kouch seems to offer is that this happened twice now, it's not enough to support these conclusions.

    • http://kennydude.me/ Joe Simpson

      Why would a change include purposely disabling things in a way where it seems management enforced this -- https://plus.google.com/110558071969009568835/posts/HbrpBbVGWvS

      • David

        I don't know what makes something look like it was 'enforced by management' or not, but that is exactly may point: we are dealing with conjecture and guesswork, nothing solid.

        And the fact remains that updates often break undocumented functionality.

        • ergu

          "updates often break undocumented functionality"

          Yes, but when updates intentionally disable useful functionality, it takes some of the guesswork out of realizing that they are trying to wall their users in.

          • David

            I don't know how this will evolve or the intentions behind it, and neither does anyone who is not involved in the development of it.

          • ergu

            yeah, we don't know, but there is a point at which the writing on the wall gets pretty easy to read.

          • David

            https://developers.google.com/cast/release-notes

            "Warning: The current Google Cast SDK is a preview SDK intended for development and testing purposes only, not for production apps. Google may change this SDK significantly prior to the official release of the Google Cast SDK. We strongly recommend that you do not publicly distribute any application using this preview SDK, as this preview SDK will no longer be supported after the official SDK is released (which will cause applications based only on the preview SDK to break)."

  • http://matheuseduardo.com/blog Matheus Eduardo

    I think the best solution would be another manufacturer build a new device with the same capacity: receive video stream over Wi-Fi connected to the HDMI.

  • unni123456

    I just ordered two Chromecast adapters. I am going to cancel them...

    • Lexster

      Why? Does it do anything different than what Google announced they would do? Are there features missing? Or did you buy them with the explicit purpose of hacking them? If that's the case, fine. If not, then you're just going along with the sheep mentality.

      • Tatsuya

        He realised how bad it is.

        Quite the contrary of being a sheep... you're free to jail yourself under corporate control (it was said on the packaging, so it's OK!).

        • ScottColbert

          And when did Google EVER say Chromecast was open source? The sense of entitlement is appalling.

          • ergu

            open source != open platform

          • squiddy20

            The show us where Google stated it would be an "open platform". We're waiting.

          • ergu

            It's a closed platform. I haven't really been paying attention to chromecast because I seem to recall finding out how closed it was early on, and I stopped listening. The fact that it is closed means it is going to stifle innovation, and because its feature set is highly similar to dozens of other products out there already, means that chromecast is prooooobbably dead in the water. there is not much benefit to what it offers. if they opened it up, the people who initially got so excited about it might be able to add some value, but that seems like it will not be possible now. At this point, i'd say its only hope is to somehow add buzz around the product. then they can sell tons at the low cost and make ad or partnership dollars off of the content consumption, or whatever their strategy is. i don't know though, it seems kind of unlikely.

          • squiddy20

            And again, show me where Google stated it would be an open platform. Pretty sure they never did. It was the wishful users/hackers who basically thought almost every product put out by Google would be "open".
            As for "stifling innovation": who says this won't bring an "aha" moment to someone else? Who says some other company won't bring about the exact product everyone on these types of articles is "needing". And who says Google won't add this feature back in in the future?
            Also, they've already sold tons of Chromecasts. That's why it's been sold out for days at a time and/or several weeks of shipping time.

          • ergu

            why do you keep demanding that people show you some statement about openness? the only thing i think they have been open about is that the device will be closed. relax man, you and i agree on that.

            again though, I really don't think you understand the innovation issue. this is (YET ANOTHER) case of a tech company falling in line with legacy media, and crippling hardware. this is bad. bad for everyone, even legacy media.

            the point is there are lots of 'aha' moments. and they are shot down by occlusion. legacy media are very powerful and they are making a tool of you. seriously, do your homework about how much the technology you 'own' is very much owned and controlled by very powerful cartels. you owe it to yourself.

          • Robert deJuana-Matthews

            Respectfully, your "dead in the water" statement is extremely far off course. While you may not like the idea of Chromecast as it is currently implemented, it is one of Google's most successful consumer products to date. As of 2 minutes ago, it is still sold out on Amazon, Out of stock online at Best Buy, and ships in 2-3 weeks on Google Play. That's pretty far from dead in the water IMHO.

          • ergu

            well i don't know how many have sold so far, probably too early to tell right? but 'sold out' by itself only means they sold all the stock they had. if they only made ten devices, that's only ten sales. again, i don't know anything about the numbers on it, so i can't comment intelligently purely on sales.

            but more importantly than number of devices sold, particularly for a device like chromecast, which is clearly sold at a loss with the intention of driving revenue from some other product or service, is number of products USED, and even more importantly, number of products used the way they want you to use them. that is what determines if this is a success for google, or something that they will kill, like latitutde, and google reader, and igoogle, and wave, and google desktop, etc etc etc. For those of you who like chromecast, it's particularly important to consider the fact that google has a tendency to nuke products from orbit so that you can never use them again when they find they're not lucrative.

      • unni123456

        I am from India, currently in US for a short time. Once I go back, I don't have Netflix. Even watching YouTube is a luxury in my 512 kbps connection. The major reason I ordered Chromecast was for streaming from my phone/tablet. I am already a heavy Miracast user with my Nexus 7. The tablet screen remains always on when I play the content, and it doesnt show perfect full screen (without borders) in my TV. I thought Chromecast would be a perfect alternative.

        • Lexster

          Okay, then that's a good reason to cancel, but it's been known for awhile that the Chromecast doesn't stream from your phone, but that it gets a stream from the internet.

          • ergu

            Tell that to google's marketing people, as they are stating the following: "Get started in 3 easy steps: plug Chromecast into any HDTV, connect it to WiFi, then send videos and more from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your TV with the press of a button". They make no mention of the Internet in that statement. It is deceptive marketing. A lie of omission is still a lie.

          • Lexster

            *shrug* I've not taken what a company says at face value for years now. I always check multiple sources before buying things for this very reason. I'm not saying it's right, but every company embellishes what their product can do.

          • ergu

            agreed. so now, the question is, what value does chromecast add? we can watch netflix on our tvs already. same with youtube, for the most part. my tv, which is not all that great, has the youtube app that makes use of the youtube.com/pair functionality where i can control youtube on my tv from my phone. so what is the POINT of chromecast. they need to figure that out pronto or they will be ignored.

          • Lexster

            First of all, not everyone has a smart TV. I don't. My TV is just a regular TV. And, if you have that? Then you don't need a Chromecast. This seems like a relatively recent development that if a product isn't for absolutely everyone, that people think it's a stupid idea. Apparently people like you hate having choices.

          • ergu

            Yeah lots of people don't have smart tvs, but the point is that people will in fact keep buying new tvs each year, and it's getting to the point that smart tvs are the only tvs you can buy. Most bluray players will turn a 'dumb' tv smart too. On top of that are all the other devices out there that DO MORE than chromecast. That's my only point. If you get chromecast and like it, that's great. I'm saying that I would love a device that would basically act like an invisible HDMI cable. ChromeCast CAN be that, but google is tampering with it to cripple what it can do.

            I'm not saying chromecast is a 'stupid idea' or that i 'hate having choices'. I'm saying that those choices are already there.

            The key here, is that Chromecast was viewed as a game changer. It was viewed as (and is kind of advertised as) something that should give people options they didn't have before. But it's not true! They have crippled the device, and are closing the ecosystem, so that it's shaping up to be the SAME DAMN THING as every other 'set top' option that aims to add a little smartness to an otherwise dumb tv. You can do more with other devices. At the same price!

            Google can fix this, but they're apparently going to take a different approach. I would say that approach is going to threaten the viability of the device. And it threatens anybody who owns one, because google has a pretty horrible track record for killing services that don't prove lucrative, and chromecast, at least right now, is BOUND to services.

          • Lexster

            Look, the thing has been out for a total of two months. Give it time! You're acting like if the thing can't do everything NOW that it's useless forever. As you said, lots of people don't have smart TVs NOW. There's plenty of time to see what Google has planned for the Chromecast. They obviously have a plan. They wouldn't develop a product, sell it for $35 bucks and make it so it only does Netflix and YouTube.

          • ergu

            what YOU'RE failing to understand is that if google is willing to KILL functionality on it (and that's precisely what the subject of this article is) in the beginning, before they get their agreements in place, then even if they do eventually deign to give it back to you, you should be afraid that they will kill it later on when it stops making them, or their keepers money. This device give you a raw deal, as I see it.

          • Lexster

            You're making it seem like this was some feature they touted and then suddenly took away. It was a beta-level hack by a third party whose app wasn't even in the Play Store. I think you're making too big a deal out of this.

          • ergu

            No, as we've already established, google's marketing describes chromecast as a technology that enables sharing of content local to your phone, over wifi, with the push of a button. This is an outright lie, as it is required that the content must be uploaded to youtube, or some other cloud service. Chromecast does not allow you to share your content with your TV. It allows you to push your content into the cloud and then get your content from the cloud and put it on your TV. This is a dealbreaker for anybody who lacks a reliable internet connection.

          • Lexster

            Again, nowhere do they specifically state anything about local media. That's just something that you assumed. I agree that it's misleading since it doesn't mention internet, but that doesn't mean they had a feature and took it away. At this point, we're just talking in circles. Unless you have something else to add, we might as well agree to disagree at this point. I'm honestly tired of arguing it. I think people are making a mountain out of a molehill.

          • ergu

            "send videos and more from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your TV"

            What do you think local means? If it comes 'from your smartphone, tablet or laptop' then it is local to one of those devices respectively. You seem to have a compulsive need to find some flaw in statements to the effect of 'google is stamping out any chance of local streaming, which is bad'. Either it's not true or they never said you could or it's no big deal that they are lying blatantly to their customers. Look, if you like it, great, but i get the impression from comments in this thread that there are a lot of people who are legitimately put out by google's practices, as well as their shitty marketing message.

          • Lexster

            It's misleading, but that doesn't inherently mean "local" anything. You CAN send videos from those devices, it just doesn't come from the device itself when it streams. It's bad wording. That doesn't mean they intentionally wanted people to think they could send videos via local media. You can get whatever impression you like, but I feel you people are overreacting. You have your opinions, I have mine.

          • ergu

            "You CAN send videos from those devices, it just doesn't come from the device itself"

            Are you listening to yourself? You send it from the device, but it doesn't come from the device? That is a contradiction. Clearly you are mad.

          • Lexster

            Oh, I'm sorry I had to be so careful with my words. Fine. You can control the video via your phone, tablet, or PC. Better? The COMMANDS come from the device, not the video. Not sure how that's so hard to understand. I already admitted the wording was misleading.

          • ergu

            I don't understand why you're falling all over yourself defending their lies. Why?? They lie on their marketing site. Then they are clearly lying in their official response. They claimed that they 'would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content'. This statement gives the false impression that they are somehow facing some kind of technical challenges. We already know that's not true though. It's pretty good marketing spin, AKA, bald-faced lies. The thing about marketing spin, is that when you are faced with it, you're not supposed to defend it adamantly, all day, to every single person who is criticizing it. You're supposed to smartly dismiss it for what it is. I don't understand why you can't do that.

          • Lexster

            I'm not defending it at all. Have you not seen the multiple times I agreed with you that it was misleading? I DID dismiss it, as I've also said, because I didn't buy it before I checked with other sites to see how it actually worked. You are the one getting all bent out of shape because Google is doing what every single other company does in their marketing. Do you get pissed off at a restaurant that has misleading marketing? Or do you not even take a second glance? I'm not saying it's right that they have done it, but unless you are this angry at every single other company in the country, I don't see why you are so affected by Google doing it.

      • ergu

        Okay, I'm going to have to take back what I said. Google ABSOLUTELY gives the impression that you're going to be able to stream content from your phone. I hadn't actually looked at the chromecast product site until just now. Taken directly from their marketing speak: "Get started in 3 easy steps: plug Chromecast into any HDTV, connect it to WiFi, then send videos and more from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your TV with the press of a button" They are of course skipping the part where your content actually has to go out to youtube, and then come back to your house. This means you have to have an internet connection in order to watch your own home videos. There are more than three steps. They are lying. Also from their marketing page: "Everything you love, now on your TV." That is not true. If you love something that is stored locally on your phone, then you may NOT use chromecast to put it on your tv. Internet down? Then so is chromecast, sorry, suckers.

        • Lexster

          Hm, yeah...that's certainly suspect. I guess I didn't mind because I read how the thing works from other sites before I bought it. But, someone buying simply form the product page would be mislead, definitely.

  • Itchy_Robot

    I just want Google to answer one question... Why can I not view my phones photos and home family videos on my TV? I am sure everyone out there wants to do this, and it seems like such a logical use for the Chromecast.

    The only way I can view a videos on my Chromecast now is to upload them to YouTube first, and leave them public for the world go see. These are private family videos, I do not want to share them with the world... note should I have to take the extra step to upload them first.... I list want to view them on my big TV, which the Chromecast is really able to do, but Google had made the decision to block it.

    • Lexster

      Wow, people are impatient. The thing has only been out for a month or two. They said more features were coming just...have patience.

      • Cerberus_tm

        The feature was there; they disabled it.

        • Lexster

          No, that was a hacked feature. I'm talking official features, obviously.

          • Cerberus_tm

            Have you read Koush's post on Google+?

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

            If you disable video_playback, just cold hard disable it, then that has nothing to do with features or impatience: it is intentionally disabling something that works fine.

            Note also that Koush mentions that they have disabled another way to play videos as well, one for which they had even written a sample application.

          • jnt

            True, but Koush's application was a blatant workaround from the official sdk, was it not? I think what @Lexster is saying is that Google could very well allow this through more "official" channels in the near future... that's my hope anyway. The ability to pop photos/videos from my device to the TV is one of the biggest advantages of Apple TV with i-devices, and hopefully Google knows this.

          • RTWright

            If you have the HDMI cable and connection, almost all Android phones have the ability to play videos and pictures on the TV without Chromecast or even hacks/workarounds.

          • shonangreg

            Yeah, and you just have to carry an HDMI cable around with you to do that -- and while using it have it lying on the floor coming back to your phone on the couch, where you have to stay. This is all a good way to break the port on your phone too.

            Wireless for photo albums is obviously the way to go.

            Aren't the HDMI mini-PC's like the MK802 version IV a workaround for all this? The newest version is about $100 bucks, but it is a full, rooted android PC. The only drawback I see is that it isn't hulu approved.

          • RTWright

            Look, you can come up with all kinds of negatives you want. Chromcast also needs to be hooked up to the internet one way or another it's not anything amazing. Point is, what the person at the start of this response was wanting can be done WITHOUT Chromecast all together. That cable doesn't cost no $100 either, unless you're an idiot and buy what the OEM's tell you to. It's roughly at best around $30. Also don't make such lame excuses about moving around, other devices for a very long time have been doing this very same thing. Camcorders, Cameras and many other portable media devices. Chromecast to me is nothing special at least at this time.

          • Cerberus_tm

            I don't know, why disable something that you plan to re-enable later? I mean, only people actively wanting to use this feature were using it: you have to use a special, 3rd-party application for it (Koush's), after all. It is not trying to "protect" the average user against "confusion".

          • qu4ttro

            Koush is also a crybaby who didnt follow the rules and got his hack shut down. Once the platform is stable and the sdk works I cannot imagine google not opening it back up. Lets be honest here and think with out the knee jerk reaction, Google would WANT us to use their device, especially in conjunction with their phones, their laptops, their services... Its really just a matter of tying them together.

            What should have happened is that they shouldnt have rushed it out the door before defining all of its functionality and building out the support structure for it.

            That being said Im still using mine and have no real problem with waiting a month or so to see the platform opened back up.

          • Cerberus_tm

            I'm sorry, but why would Google actively disable this function twice, if they planned to re-enable it later? I do not believe that at all. They actively and intentionally want to disable it, possibly under pressure from the MAFIAA &co. And how is Koush a "crybaby" for explaining exactly what Google did? And what "rules"? Nobody agreed to any rules. Luckily, there are other devices that can do the same as the Chromecast and more, for the same price.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFwxd3xO1ZY&t=272

          • ergu

            well the rumblings i'm hearing are along the lines of, slowly open the streaming capabilities up, giving first dibs to content partners for some blackout period, then gradually open up the device. hey, maybe that's how it's so cheap? subsidized by content providers?

          • Cerberus_tm

            Except that the Android thing I posted above is the same price as the Chromecast, except it's cheaper after shipping, and it can do more. So this is not a matter of pricing. But I do think you're right that Hollwood e.a. are behind this, pressuring Google. Luckily, Android is so open that they don't stand a chance.

          • EH101

            Wow, that thing is amazing. I was pretty skeptical until I saw the entire video and the Cheapcast thing at the end... Unless Google blocks out cheap cast (which we'd likely just have to sideload), I can see this being a very useful alternative to Chromecast. Combining this with apps like VLC streamer gets around all the issues with Chromecast imo.

          • Cerberus_tm

            Exactly! And there are probably other Androids-on-a-stick that can do it too. And prices for this model will no doubt drop as new models come out—faster than the price of the Chromecast will drop, no doubt. And more freedom and stuff.

          • EH101

            I've been researching since I first replied to you and there are actually nice quad-core models that have anything you could possibly need from such a device. AP needs to look into this as an alternative. At no more than $40 or so dollars, I think it'd be worth it for a review.

            I also see there's some custom ROMs out there that seem to fix limitations and that changing the build prop lets these devices use almost all apps from the Play Store. I might try and see if I can catch one of these for cheap. If nothing else, it will be fun to play around with.

          • Cerberus_tm

            Quad-core, even! I suppose the lack of a screen and the larger size make it a lot cheaper, and they probably have lower profit margins than even Google on its Nexus and other devices.

            I would be very interesting to see how well these devices perform. At least the one Armando tested in my video seemed to work very well. You should do a test yourself and have AP publish it as a guest post!

          • EH101

            Hmm, I might be open to such an undertaking but only if AP agreed to edit whatever I come up with, as I'm certainly no writer.

            I also would likely review a dual core model as the quad core goes for about double the dual core model.

          • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

            I rather get a GoogleTV... Navigating the UI is more true to the way you should using it on a TV... Also, after GTV gets the update to JB, it will have more of a advantage...

      • mgamerz

        Yeah they said that about the thunderbolt too.

        • Lexster

          I have no idea what that is.

    • impulse101

      Download and install BubbleUPnP and you have everything you need.

      • Gautam

        BubbleUPnP works only with a smart tv (upnp enabled). If that is the case you would never need a chromecast

        • shonangreg

          BubbleUPnP also works between any two android devices. So, match the phone or tablet in your hand with the tablet or HDMI android mini-PC attached to your big screen (or stereo system).

          With CheapCast, you'll basically duplicate everything ChromeCast does, and have all the other feastures of a full android PC there.

          The only two disadvantages other than price are:
          - hulu is not compatible with any of the HDMI android mini-PC's (that I know of). Many tablets don't suffer from this problem.
          - I'm left wondering if google is going to cut off the functionality of the ChromeCast feature from working with CheapCast eventually as well. Aren't they going to try to control ChromeCast on both the client and host?

    • Mark

      Erm, it's called YouTube and Picasa (or Google Plus).

      Once you have them in either of these services, it's not only safely backed up in the cloud, it's easily shareable with friends and a doddle to stream to any PC or TV.

      Some people's stupidity really astounds me sometimes.

      • ergu

        what if you're in the witness protection program and you don't want your content in the cloud for fear of death? what if you filmed something that violates youtube's terms of service? what if your internet goes down/is crappy. streaming your own content from within a SINGLE ROOM is not an application for the cloud. inserting the cloud into that use case is forcing the customer's hand. i won't stand for it. if you have any values, you won't either.

        • Mark

          Whatever crackpot.

          • ergu

            Yes, clearly one must be a crackpot to describe scenarios that preclude the use of youtube.

          • Mark

            The reality is that it's only pirates that could be genuinely upset about this. For everyone else there are perfectly acceptable ways forward

          • ergu

            No, google is actively marketing this at people who want to share home videos. It is one of the three use cases they advertise on their marketing page. "For everyone else..." Yes, for everyone else WITH RELIABLE INTERNET. You need to pull your head out of your ass and understand that reliable internet is very expensive. You either have to live in an expensive area in order to get cheap reliable internet, or if you live in a cheap area, you need to fork over a lot of money for reliable internet, with few exceptions. Chromecast is $35. That means they are marketing it at people who want to save money. Many of those people do not have "ways forward"

      • Itchy_Robot

        I have a feeling it may be more about Google coercing users into sharing their meta data for targeted advertising by forcing users to upload their images to G+ and their videos to YouTube just to watch them on their TV.

    • Alex Murphy

      ...just use Google+ Auto-Upload for your photos and videos, and use a Chrome browser to mirror the tab and bingo! Pictures and videos of your family on your TV. It's dead simple and I do it all the time with my Chromecast.

    • myxklptk

      Am I missing something? You could mark your videos as Private in You Tube. You could also use a cable (gasp) to connect the computer to the TV set. If Google wants to play hardball with its gadget, then just don't use it.

  • Mike C.

    Now we just need someone to make a complete software stack for raspberry pi (one that is open). Once the quality is ok, then the market will be flooded with cheap HW that runs the alternate stack. And because the official chromecast stick is so simple, there is nothing google can do about it (aside from switching HW platform).

  • EH101

    Don't expect any communication at all, especially if they handle this in the same terrible manner they've handled the N7 FHD issues. (Hint: JSS15Q doesn't fix the multitouch problem for quite a few people including myself, and we haven't been able to get any response on Google's product forum since they confirmed JSS15Q was rolling out. Time to do an exchange!)

    Also, I'm definitely canceling my Chromecast order unless someone finds a workaround... Again.

  • io53

    Get a RaspberryPi, you can send youtube links like chromecast but also stream locally from your phone or computer. Top of that it also works with airplay, supports boblight (ambiligt), and so on. It's linux so you can do anything with it, you could even put it on a quadcopter had have it hover in front of the TV while playing 1080p movies :)

    • Cerberus_tm

      That is exactly my usage scenario! Streaming from my quadcopter is essential in my daily workflow.

  • duse

    I don't understand how Koush is reasoning that GTV is also "closed." You can install any app at all you want on GTV, including Plex and others that will stream local media. How does it make any sense to liken this situation to GTV?

    • ergu

      well, what he said is that google tv has a history of only allowing access to select partners. i don't know my google tv, but perhaps the apps that you say you can install to stream local media are released by the partners to which he is referring? are plex and playon influential enough to be allowed to stream local content on google tv but perhaps joe developer is not? I don't know my google tv so i can only guess.

  • jnt

    Can someone clarify something for me - this doesn't necessarily mean Google is shutting off local streaming from your device does it? Because the way I read it, they're not saying that can't happen *ever*, but they're saying they want to control how it happens and what apps it allows to do that... i.e. if they enabled the feature in the new Google Plus Photos "app" to cast those photos to your TV? Maybe I'm just being too idealistic in my interpretation...

  • Scott Breitbach

    What's that Amazon dongle plugged in to HDMI 3?

    • atlouiedog

      Amazon has a line of products branded Amazon Basics that include things like rechargeable batteries and HDMI cables. I believe it's the latter with the cable obscured.

  • tim

    back to my hdmi cable plugged into my laptop..

  • atlouiedog

    A cheap Android on a stick is looking even more appealing now. Install XBMC on it and Yatse remote on your phone/tablet. You can send YouTube, direct links to video formats (local and online), etc. Hopefully Cheapcast supports Netflix and it'll be a pretty good alternative.

  • Hot_Pockets_Ding

    This device had potential. Now I'm thinking its not worth it. Now I know why it only cost 35$. I'm glad I decided to wait now.

  • Mario

    Let Google know exactly how you feel about this issue. If you're not happy downgrade and comment on their official Chromecast app.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.chromecast.app&hl=en

  • DJ SPY

    I think people confuse Android with Google. Android is open source, that doesn't necessarily mean that EVERYTHING Google releases has to be open source and not closed right? Unless I'm mistaken and Chromecast is built with Android.

  • GraveUypo

    like i said on another website: from a little nifty device, to worthless heap of shit in one command.

  • Jose Torres

    "They don't want you playing your own content."

    Had I known this nonsense then I would not have bought one. I was looking for a method to stream MY videos from my PC to TV but it looks like this will not happen any time soon.

    • spydie

      You still can. drag the videos on your computer/hard drive in a tab in your chrome browser. They play on your Chromecast

      • Jose Torres

        I tried that but the browser tries to save them instead :(

  • TristanPR77

    Well, then I have no use for Chrome cast anymore. I will proceed to cancel my pre order on Amazon.

  • Matthew Fry

    Wow. Quite the fervor from the AP audience. I'm just pissed that they have a *chrome* extension to send *chrome* tabs to your TV and the only *chrome*book you can use is the Pixel. It has nothing to do with CPU (the HP Chromebook has an Intel processor) and it has nothing to do with processing power as Netbooks can do it. No matter what Google does, it can't manage to keep the unification vision going.

  • Captain Spaulding

    I was planning on ordering one in a couple of days, but not now. Very disappointing, Google, very disappointing, indeed.

  • Generic User

    Or in other words: he relied on private APIs, and then feigned outrage when those APIs changed, providing clickbait for many blogs. The Chromecast preview SDK even says it's subject to change. There is no story here.

    • ergu

      if an api were private, you wouldn't be able to use it. as he said in the google+ post, they're using whitelisting to keep partners in and anybody else out. that's a story, as far as i'm concerned.

    • GryphKid44

      He didn't express outrage at all. He was simply stating that his prior suspicions were confirmed and he is disappointed. Letting anyone who cares know that it will not be easy to use chromecast outside the scope that Google wants it to be used. It is not open like Android is. It also serves to lower expectations for those who use his Mods. If you aren't interested then don't stop to read it.

  • http://www.daewootech.net Daewootech

    why dont the focus on adding content and features instead of pulling an apple move and crippling it? the more people can mod and hack it the more popular it will be.

  • Mocke

    A bit disapointed.
    was planning to buy chromecast (or something like that) hoping that it would be possible to play local content. (via an xbmc app app in my phone or computer and then having them as a remote to play MY files.
    netflix nice, but a bit limited and so is youtube. google sure wants to be in control of everything we watch.

  • http://www.ronakg.com/ Ronak Gandhi

    @Jeremiah Rice, Google has responded to Verge clarifying their stand on the issue -

    "We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content. It's still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available."

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/25/4657202/google-blocks-chromecast-app-that-let-you-stream-own-videos

  • Stiggy

    The biggest problem I have with this is the ability to update without my permission. If only there was a way to disable auto updating. Then I could sleep easy knowing that it won't lose functionality overnight. If google keeps locking the chromecast out from your own content it'll be a loss in my book. Till then I give them the benefit of the doubt that they are just working on it and that capability will be back in a more robust way. Hopefully.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    See I disagree, what Koush wrote on Google+ when he was developing the app - was that he had reverse engineered the protocol, wasn't using the SDK and had found a way to bypass the whitelist restrictions. These all sound like major security issues. As the app source code would have found it's way into open source, anybody could use the code to bypass the whitelist - the whitelist is a security feature - I am not surprised at all that Google wanted to patch this.

  • spydie

    For all you guys complaining about not being able to play your home videos on the Chromecast, you still can. I'm doing it right now. drag the videos on your computer/hard drive in a tab in your chrome browser. They play on your Chromecast

  • Guest

    Most people forgets that Google is a corporation and not a nonprofit organization.

    Is okay that Google is supporting open source and other user-friendly causes, but that doesn't mean that they will stop looking for ways to make money, is just their bussiness model. When you remember this, things like this new shouldn't shock anybody.

  • ginobili

    Most people forgets that Google is a corporation and not a nonprofit organization.

    Is okay that Google is supporting open source and other user-friendly causes, but that doesn't mean that they will stop looking for ways to make money, is just their bussiness model. When you remember this, a move like the one exposed shouldn't shock anybody.

  • miri

    I thought no one was supposed to be releasing Chromecast apps at all until the SDK leaves beta. If that's the case, then why would anyone be surprised that their attempts to reverse-engineer the system and release apps anyway are blocked? Chromecast, the sole purpose of which is to be a simple and painless experience, could get very messy very quickly if let loose on the development community without strict guidelines. Regardless of whether Google wants you to be able to stream local content, I'm sure they just want developers to play by the rules.

  • Paul

    We just need custom ROM for the Chromecast device.

  • J&J

    just ordered chromecast from amazon and canceled the order, after reading that I cannot see my phone/tablet photos/videos on my TV. I am better off buying Android stick TV with air remote etc.

  • this guy

    It does not work with kindle, it will not let me steam from the handy laptop (windows97 for all to use) for whatever reason, it kicks itself off the internet... and bupkiss compatibility with blackberry q10 as well. SO... it works with nothing in my house. seems the 'world of wireless, has instead created the world of wire adapters, and hacked software to get stuff to play together. highly disappointing.

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