Casting audio, video, pictures, and more from your smartphone or tablet to the TV is one of the easiest ways to get content from the little screen to the big screen, but it requires an app that supports the feature in the first place. For example, try using Adobe Reader or Google Docs to cast a PDF to the TV. You're out of luck.
Thankfully, enterprising developers like Stefan Pledl—the creator of LocalCast—have been able to whip up some really nice looking solutions that allow users to cast almost any consumable content to the big screen.
Roku announced some new features for its streaming players the other day, and now those features are filtering down to the Android remote app. In the latest iteration, you get voice search and a new "Movies Coming Soon" feed.
Roku started making cheap, effective streaming set-top boxes long before Google TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Android TV, and Amazon's "I can't believe it's not Chromecast." But before today, users who were smack dab in the middle of Google's universe found a notable hole in Roku's otherwise wide array of content partners: the Play Store's selection of movies and TV shows. In a surprising move on Google's part, a new Play Movies channel has been added to the Roku lineup. You can check it out on any Roku device right now.
This seems kind of odd, since Google is in the middle of launching Android TV, not to mention the ongoing success of Chromecast, both of which directly compete with Roku's various set-top boxes.
A couple of weeks back the Slingplayer app for phones was updated to include the long-overdue Chromecast streaming feature. And because Sling Media still seems loathe to make a single app that works across both phones and tablets (hang on a second... yup, it's still 2014), the tablet app is getting that feature today. Slingbox owners with compatible hardware can download it now for the hefty additional price of $15.
The only other notable addition to this version of the tablet app is Roku compatibility. Technically the stand-alone Roku set top boxes don't even need an Android app to handle Slingbox streaming, but later editions of the phone app have been able to "hand off" the current streaming video from your home TV to a remote Roku so long as it's associated with the same Sling account.
Roku already gave users the ability to stream content from their Android devices to their set top boxes, but now the company is taking things a bit further. Instead of select files, the company will give people to capability to stream whatever is on their screen. We've seen this from Miracast devices, we've seen it from Chromecast, and now we're seeing it from Roku. Update: In fact, Roku is using Miracast to deliver this functionality.
This feature, which is still in beta, will be available to people who own a Roku 3 or a Roku Streaming Stick. It is rolling out to folks starting today, and it should become available to everyone within a matter of weeks.
Seagate has a dedicated Android app for accessing music, photos, videos, and other files stored on one of its wireless drives. The latest version of said app adds the ability to stream things to Chromecast, LG TV, and Roku devices. This way you can get files from one thing onto a different thing using another thing entirely. Welcome to the future. Again.
Since the future is starting to look familiar now, you already know what to expect here. A Chromecast icon will appear when viewing media that is cast-able.
There are some caveats. LG TV and Roku support requires "newer devices," presumably meaning that older LG and Roku models aren't supported.
There's no doubt that Chromecast is cool. You know what else is cool? Casting stuff from your phone or tablet to AppleTV, FireTV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox 360, Xbox One, WDTV, a SmartTV, or other DLNA-certified devices. And that's exactly what Koush's AllCast app does – makes streaming locally-stored and some cloud-stored (Dropbox, Drive, G+, or even a server) media simple and easy.
Along with beta support for streaming from Google Drive and to FireTV, Koush also recently added another new feature to AllCast: redemption codes to enable premium features. The code is attached to a Google account, so once it's activated the app can be installed on other devices and redeemed for the full version, as well.
I know this is Chromecast country, but Roku was here first. The humble little WiFi streaming devices are competent and powerful, and they work with at least some online media sources that Chromecast doesn't. (Lookin' at you, Amazon.) If you're a happy Roku customer like me, then the Android remote app is probably a big part of your entertainment center. The new and improved version overhauls the user interface and adds one much-needed change.
New above, old below.
First of all, the UI has been given a big facelift. There wasn't anything wrong with the app's previous look, but the new interface is definitely an improvement, with bigger and more obvious icons and listed items.
The Roku app is great for controlling a Roku set-top box, but that's what you have a remote for, right? The app previously included audio and picture streaming from Android devices, but now it goes one step further. The new update allows Android devices to stream video directly to the player over WiFi.
The 'Play on Roku' tab in the interface has a new entry for videos, which should pull up all the compatible videos on your device organized by folder. Keep in mind the videos have to be in a format your Android device can decode. Just pick the video you want and hit play.