When Comedy Central launched an official Android app a couple of months ago, people called for Chromecast support. Today, it's here, and it's not alone. TuneIn Radio has been around long before Google's little dongle, but its support is only now trickling in. These apps are just two in a wave of apps that have just learned how to play nicely with Chromecast.
Last year, Google released Chromecast, a $35 media stick that appealed to consumers due to its remarkable value. Earlier this year, Amazon rolled out Fire TV, a set-top box with more power than the competition and a $99 price tag. Now Google has shown off a $99 set-top box of its own, and Amazon is hitting the market with a media-streaming HDMI dongle: the Fire TV Stick.
Like the Fire TV before it, Amazon wants us to know that the Fire TV Stick is more powerful than the competition.
The cool kids like the quality of their music turned up all the way to 320 kbps (the coolest ones prefer lossless), but that's a luxury that often goes away with streaming music over the Internet. Rdio says it's had enough with that lower quality crap (I can't really tell the difference, but the cool kids tell me that stuff's awful), so it is bringing in the ability to stream and download songs at 320 kbps over both Wi-Fi and a cellular connection.
TiVo customers are accustomed to convenience. That's the fundamental premise behind recording TV shows for later, after all. Sure, it sucks to miss a show because it came on during a time when you were busy, but that's more of an annoyance than a problem. The latest version of the Android app addresses a similar annoyance--being restricted to whichever room the big screen is in. After quite a wait, customers are now free to stream TiVo content and live TV directly to their mobile devices.
The folks over at Comedy Central have hit up Google Play with an official Android app, and it's looking pretty good. The company's promising full episodes available the day after they air, stand-up specials, and access to some older content - such as every episode of Chappelle's Show. The app can toss up a TV schedule if you just want to know what's coming up next.
A TV subscription is required for most of the content, though the Play Store page says a login isn't required to view the latest episodes.
NBC Universal has launched Sprout Now into the Play Store, giving parents all over the country the option to let their kids stream a full episode of their favorite series and get a couple moments' rest. The app comes with a full program guide, plenty of shows, and enough content to occupy children for up to four, five minutes tops.
Of course, there are caveats. Parents need to have a TV subscription of some kind in order to get access to the shows.
Android's screen casting feature lets people cast all the things, but it doesn't let them cast to all the things. No, Google will officially send media out to a Chromecast, but for other things, that's where third-party apps come in. One of the better options, LocalCast, has jumped up to a new version that brings the app up-to-date with the next release of Android (since L isn't actually out yet, would that make this before-to-date...up-to-early...ahead-of-date?).
Just like traditional radio, listening to internet radio without paying money requires putting up with ads. Well, usually. Radical.fm tosses this entire concept out the window by letting users stream music for free. If listeners would like to donate to the company to help out, it would be nice, but such generosity is not required. There's a catch, though. The Android app, despite just launching, already looks like it hasn't received an update in three years.
If you've ever wanted cloud storage that you don't have to pay for each month, well, you have had no shortage of options for years. But here's another one. Lenovo has launched an Android app that taps into its new Beacon storage device. This way it can serve files to your Android phone or tablet alongside your TV and other electronics.
Android devices actually get a better deal than TVs, which must be physically tethered to the Beacon using an HDMI cable.
The Chromecast has made its way to Brazil, bringing with it the ability to stream YouTube, Netflix, Play Movies, Rdio, and others. Sure, not all of the Chromecast compatible apps are able to make the leap - there's no Hulu, Pandora, or HBO Go - but that's to be expected. This is still the same device we've been following for nearly a year now, and it's gaining support from new apps by the day.