08
Jul
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Very few things are as pleasing to a developer than deleting large blocks of code that aren't needed anymore. That's exactly what many developers of apps targeting the Chromecast are going to be doing this week after an update to the Google Cast SDK. The changelog (dated July 8th) is pretty long, but it mostly boils down to a few new classes that add built-in support for closed captioning (subtitles), improvements to the Media Player Library, and a few other bug fixes.

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While this update packs relatively few noteworthy new features, its most significant addition is built-in support for subtitles. Previously, developers were left up to their own devices to add closed captioning if they chose to. This usually meant manually adding a track element for subtitles to the video track. This won't have much of an effect for end users, but it will cut out a fair amount of code for developers. The DemoCastPlayer sample application has been updated to reflect the addition of closed captioning support.

Also receiving some attention is the Media Player Library. New in v0.8.0, support has been added for supplementary HLS audio streams to allow for multiple concurrent sound tracks. The update also brings improvements to available bit rate (ABR) calculations and the CEA-608 closed captions decoder, along with other bug fixes.

One interesting addition will show up for users in the route selector, which now shows the name of the receiver app that is currently running on the Cast device.

These updates have been quietly rolling out over the last week via Google Play Services (GMS). To take advantage of the latest changes, be sure to update to the latest Google Play services library (v18), and for iOS developers, download the latest API libraries. Hit the link below to check out the full changelog.

Source: Google Cast Release Notes via Leon Nicholls

Thanks, Koush

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • gspida

    Nice! Do you think they will ever expand the formats that they allow?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I'm pretty sure Google will slowly add more formats as time goes by, it's only natural as demand and opportunity increase. I looked at the supported media list and I think there was a tweak or two, but I don't have the old list, so I'm not quite sure.

      https://developers.google.com/cast/docs/media

      • esper256

        No I don't think so. The chromecast is too underpowered to play new formats through software updates. If the hardware decoder on the device doesn't support it, it ain't gonna happen.

  • Andrew Sumowski

    I'm still waiting for chromecast to support Dolby Digital. I can't think of any reason why this wouldn't be possible.

    • Chris

      Licensing

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

        There as been an ongoing debate about this - apparently all Netflix is doing is passing the AC3 audio directly to the receiver (TV, Home Theatre, etc) and not doing any of it's own decoding, this means they don't have to pay licensing. As Google have flat out rejected supporting AC3 and DTS, the request has now changed to at least allowing pass-thru.

        • https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5oCUR11M24mekZubnc4ZUFCUU0/edit?usp=sharing Metsie

          netflix operates outside the Google Chrome Sandbox and can do a lot of things the Sandbox doesn't allow you to do.
          Most other things are played inside what is nothing more than a browser page and unless Google buys the licensing I wouldn't expect to see them support full dolby anytime soon.

          • http://www.techreviewshop.com/ JP

            Is plex outside the sandbox?

          • lindajvera

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          • max

            I don't think so ...

          • https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5oCUR11M24mekZubnc4ZUFCUU0/edit?usp=sharing Metsie

            Nope the only thing that is is the Netflix app...

      • Bunklung

        Everyone who wants AC3 pass through should STAR this request!

        https://code.google.com/p/google-cast-sdk/issues/detail?id=192

        IMO, I don't think audio pass through requires licensing.

  • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

    Closed captions != subtitles.

    Closed captions are used for those hard of hearing, and have a very specific format. Subtitles aren't necessarily used for this purpose, and are supported through a variety of formats. Generally closed captions are same-language audio to text, while subtitles are translated or informative text about speech (usually speech in a foreign language).

    • jordanjay29

      While factually correct, the subtleties of this distinction is lost on the general population. As far as the technical requirements go, they are indistinguishable, both features have the same needs as far as space, display and options, to the developers the nature of the content is irrelevant.

  • Amarus Kh

    "Very few things are as pleasing to a developer than deleting large blocks of code that aren't needed anymore."

    I'm not so sure about that. Depending on how much effort was spent on those large blocks of code, this has the potential of causing some table flipping.

    • Koushik Dutta

      I love deleting code. Less code = less bugs.

  • Christian Östman

    When will mirroring to chromecast be available?