I love the Chromecast. I'd easily call it the best $35 I ever spent, ranking just above those tanks of gas that got me to job interviews on time and that one Thai restaurant I really like. All I need is the addition of Hulu Plus support, and then I would have little need to turn to anything else for projecting content onto my TV. But here's the thing, Google's neat little dongle sold out roughly as fast as tickets to a Green Bay Packers home game, and while the Google Play store has Chromecasts in stock now, many of you still haven't gotten your hands on one.
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.
Update: It turns out you can get a Samsung HomeSync in the US... if you live in the greater Chicago area. AT&T is selling the devices at its flagship store on Michigan Avenue, and only at this store. We called up the location for information about pricing and availability, here's what we were told: the HomeSync is $299 (no contracts or anything), is currently in stock at that location, and you do not have to be an AT&T customer to purchase one.
The Chromecast add-ons just keep coming, don't they? The latest tool to take advantage of Google's dirt-cheap media streamer is called Fling, from Plano, Texas developer Leon Nicholls. Unlike most of the tools from Koushik Dutta and others, this one expands Chromecast's desktop streaming powers. The Fling Java tool streams local video and audio files directly to Chromecast, and uses the popular VLC media player to transcode the ones that Chromecast doesn't support.
I really like the Sonos system of wireless music servers and speakers. I also can't afford it due to a wretched and unshakeable habit of collecting novelty egg cups. But my job does give me a paper-thin excuse for buying tons of Android devices, and it just so happens that a new app will let me cobble those together to make a vague approximation of a connected music system.
SoundSeeder is more or less a straight-up copy of Samsung's Group Play, with the obvious addition that you don't need Samsung hardware at either end to use it.
The Chromecast is already a pretty cheap device, but what if you don't have one handy? Developer Sebastian Mauer is working on an emulator for Android called CheapCast. It would allow you to treat any Android device like a Chromecast, and it looks to be working just fine in his proof of concept video.
The video shows a phone sending video to a tablet, but it could be any device, even an Android HDMI stick.
The Chromecast is a nice and easy way to send videos to a local TV, and you can't argue with the price. But right now it's limited to just a few apps streaming directly from existing video and music services. Bubblesoft, makers of the BubbleUPnP media server, are showing off features of an upcoming version that would make Chromecast a lot more useful: streaming nearly any file on your smartphone or cloud drive.
Netflix profiles have been showing up intermittently on some streaming devices, but now the feature is officially launching. Profiles will start hitting some platforms in the coming days, with more to follow soon. Sadly, our beloved Android is not in this first batch.
When you create profiles on Netflix, each one acts like a sub-account with its own recommendations, history, and streaming queue. Although, Netflix didn't even mention the individual queues this time – they seem more interested in personalized recommendations and Facebook integration.
Attention, people of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland: you can now buy television shows from Google Play, both on the web and via your Android devices. Google threw the switch on the content earlier today, making the UK the first country to get access to TV shows on Google Play outside the United States. Content appears to be a decent mix of US and UK shows at the moment, though it's probably a bit anemic when compared to the US store due to good old-fashioned licensing issues.