There's little doubt that the Chromecast is one of the best tech products released last year, and with the recent availability of the Google Cast SDK, it's on its way to getting even better. While the majority of users probably send content to Chromecast from their mobile devices, let's not forget that there's also a Chrome extension that allows things like Netflix, Play Music, YouTube, and even specific tabs to be beamed over to the TV.


If you'd like to be privy to what Google has in the pipeline for the Cast Chrome extension, there's now a public beta version of the product available. It doesn't seem to be all that appealing at this very moment, but that's likely going to change in the future – this extension will definitely get new features long before the "stable" version (that is the point of a beta, after all – to test new features).

To get in on the action, simply grab this extension and you're good to go. You'll want to disable the stable release, however, to avoid any potential issues between the two. If you're a developer and want more info on what's going on behind the scenes, here are the release notes for the new Cast beta.

[via Shawn Shen]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://davidcastellani.com/ David Castellani

    Thanks for this tip. I still wonder if the v1 chromecast will ever be able to do fullframe 720p like the AppleTV can. I understand they are vastly different devices, but... GOOGLE! Google can do anything! ;)

    • Sorian

      I must be missing something....
      (From stable build from months ago)

      • http://davidcastellani.com/ David Castellani

        In my experience it was only useful for reading static content. Anything in full motion especially w/ audio would de sync making it unusable.

        Alternatively, an Apple TV can do 720p and 1080p and handle the same content very well. Again, I realize they are vastly different technologies, but feature to feature, the AppleTV does better.

        I own a Chromecast, and enjoy it.

        • Fatty Bunter

          I own a chromecast and stream at 720p 3-4 times per week. Works way better than my Roku.

          • http://davidcastellani.com/ David Castellani

            I just tried some HTML5 video content, and it was MUCH better than the last time I tried. I stand corrected on that aspect.

            However, anything flash based is unwatchable, and I don't have a DVD to test with at the moment, but I doubt I could watch that either. That was my intention with my original comment.

            To take anything on my computer screen, no matter the video medium, and watch it on my TV via Chromecast. I still stand by what I originally said. This is based on my experience.

            I have multiple 3rd generations deployed at work for our TVs, and they do video flawlessly.

          • http://shanked.me/ Shank

            I'm sorry mate, but this entirely depends on your network. I've streamed 1080p TwitchTV at Source quality to Chromecast and had 0 issues over 10/100 Ethernet. It depends entirely on your network.

          • sweenish

            Without discussing the PC you're casting from, and the quality of your Wi-FI, everything you say is moot. The assumption being that your equipment and set-up must blow.

            It's been stated multiple times that tab-casting is very resource heavy (live encode and transmit)and that you would require a fairly beastly rig (i7) to get the same amount of quality as a native app cast.

      • http://www.edgard.org/ Edgard Castro

        I have absolutely no problems casting 720p, even if it's flash based. I do it everyday watching twitch. Maybe your Wi-Fi or computer needs a look.

  • Deeco

    You what? I had this for time now.

    • itlnstln

      What isn't clear in the article is this is referring to the beta channel for the extension. The stable channel has been out for some time.

      I initially read this as this was a pre-release for a final product that did not currently exist. When I visited the extension's site, it was much more clear.

      • http://davidcastellani.com/ David Castellani

        How is this not clear? its in the post title and in the body...

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          I think it's not clear because Google made it clear from day one that this entire feature was in beta. So describing it that way now hardly separates it.

          • itlnstln

            I think this adds a little clarity to what I'm getting at. Since the Chromecast ecosystem, as a whole, was in a quasi-beta state, it wasn't entirely clear that the existing extension was "final" to some extent.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Yep. I had to check the old extension to see whether or not it said "beta." If/when it exited beta, I have no idea, because I don't believe it was announced. But from the press conference on, they really made a fuss out of that feature being beta.

        • itlnstln

          It's only because there is no mention of a stable version until near the end of the post. After I re-read it, I was good. Initially, the post made it sound like the beta version was a precursor to an upcoming stable release. I think that's what confused Deeco and I, and since we were confused right away, we didn't make it to the end of the post. That and the title doesn't mention a stable release.

          Starting the post with something along the lines of, "While the stable channel of Google Cast has been available since the launch of Chromecast, Google is now allowing users a sneak-peak into new features with the release of the beta channel for Google Cast..." would have set the stage a little better, IMO. I'm just a reader, though, you guys get paid to write.

        • stewartsoda

          Because reading is hard.

  • archercc

    For me this is the biggest feature since so few apps support it right now. ESPN3.com and a casted tab, brilliant!

  • Jon

    Discussion question: what, if anything, is missing from Chromecast, hardware-wise? Or to put it another way: should there be a Chromecast 2.0, and if so, what new features should it have?

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Personally I'd like to see support for more video codecs. With some of the casting apps now available, this thing COULD replace my RaspBMC box if it weren't for the lack of support for half (or more) of my videos.

      • Matthew Fura

        I've been converting everything (mostly mkv's) to mp4s, playing it in Chrome, and then casting to my TV's since day one. It's the only codec I've found that works reliably with Chrome. Works great though! I also use TeamViewer to control my PC from downstairs.

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          Yeah, I have too many 1080p MKVs to convert them all. Plus I'd lose quality in the process. So that's why I'm so hopeful I can get the real support. That said, RaspBMC kicks ass, so it's not a massive priority. Another $35 device that does wonders.

          • Joseph Lee

            transcode with plex

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Why would I have 1080p MKVs in 5.1 surround sound if I was willing to settle for transcoded quality and the inability to fast forward properly?

          • Joseph Lee

            In that case I'm glad my ocular and auditory palette isn't as refined as yours lol

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            It's a curse. ;)

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            As I stated above, more than likely you won't need to convert them, just remux them. It's as simple as downloading ffmpeg (a 20MB file) and typing in 'ffmpeg -i "nameoffile.mkv" -c copy "nameoffile.mp4'

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            I'm quite familiar with ffmpeg. MP4 containers don't have all of the same capabilities as MKV, including lacking the multi-channel support, some audio formats, etc. In many/most cases, it's not as a simple as a mere remux, as I would have to actively choose what data I'm willing to lose, and possibly full re-encode the audio.

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            Just because you tried remuxing to .mp4 already and got 2.0 audio doesn't mean .mp4 doesn't support multi-channel. It probably just means the Chromecast doesn't support multi-channel audio on whatever method you're trying to cast with.

            I have remuxed quite a number of my .mkvs to .mp4 and the multi-channel audio stays intact, no need to re-encode it. It could also be the audio codec you're using. Are we talking FLAC here? The files I've remuxed successfully have had AC-3 audio.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            I'm not talking about Chromecast at all. And I'm not talking about what I "tried" and failed to do because I'm an inept fool. I'm talking about years of experience with video files on the Internet, copious amounts of research, and a base understanding of why people use MKV over MP4. It's a more limited container format. I'm going to leave my MKVs exactly as they are, with the formats they contains, the multiple streams they contain, the muxed-in subtitles they contain, and more, and continue to enjoy my RaspBMC box that doesn't force me to change all of that.

        • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

          .mkv and .mp4 are not codecs, they are containers: they contain your video stream and audio stream, each of which are encoded using codecs.

          You should be able to just remux your videos from .mkv to .mp4 without actually having to convert/re-encode your video at all.

          Actually, try this if you don't mind: Rename one of your .mkv files to .mp4 and see if it plays them; that works with my PS3, provided that I use files that were encoded using codecs the PS3 could read.

  • TheUndertaker21

    you'll not believe how badly I wanted this feature! now I can cast any tabs I want on my tv, thanks so much AP guys!

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      The feature's been available since day one, actually. This is JUST a beta version of the same Chrome add-on, allowing you to gain access to new features sooner.

      • TheUndertaker21

        buy why I wasn't able to use it since day one ?

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          I have no idea. Did the Chrome extension they released at the same time never work for you?

          • TheUndertaker21

            I was not able to cast any tabs till this very day. that feature was a real weakness in chromecast, I knew that after SDK release, we'll see these nice stuffs, hopefully we see more awesome features in next few months.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            What problem did you have with the old extension? Error messages? Never got through? Mine always worked, but I rarely had use for it.

          • TheUndertaker21

            I was just not able to cast the tabs, the cast icon was becoming RED with an x sign on it meaning I can't cast that tab, but today I installed this beta and I could do it.

          • Matthew Fura

            I've never had a problem. Before HBO Go added Chromecast support, I was opening Game of Thrones on my PC and casting to my TV with no issue.

          • TheUndertaker21

            thanks guys for the info, I really wonder why I was facing that problem, my chromecast was updated to the latest firmware,too. but no worries, since this beta I can do it. thanks for all the info.

  • Matthew Fura

    I think this is where the confusion lies. If you were running the Stable version of Chrome, and installed the Google Cast extension, you got the stable build of the extension. If you were running Chrome Beta (as I do) and installed the Google Cast extension, you got the Beta build of the extension that allows you to cast tabs. That's where the difference was.

    DL posted about it when it was released, but I don't think a lot of people picked up on it.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psychomaniac189 psychomaniac189

    I thought you could only cast via wifi? I'm hard wired to my router on my pc and I am able to cast to the chromcast

    • Anid Monsur

      Yeah it has nothing to do with wifi. You can cast to any chromecasts on your network.