When the Chromecast launched it had only one non-Google content source from Android devices: Netflix. Now that service's primary opponent, Hulu, also has the ability to "cast" video directly to Google's streaming dongle. Of course, like everything else concerning Hulu, you'll have to shell out $8 a month for access to the Hulu Plus service and corresponding Android app to take advantage of it.
To start using this feature, just press the Chromecast button from any window in the Hulu Plus app.
Netflix customers now all have the option to stream their favorite television shows and movies in the highest quality bit rate that the company offers. HD? No, Super HD. It's 1080p, but with less compression. Netflix first rolled out this higher quality offering way back in January, but they only worked with ISPs with whom they have a direct connection. Now they're ready to stream Super HD to everyone. They're also hoping more ISPs will adopt Netflix Open Connect, their video content delivery network that tries to reduce internet congestion by storing content on servers as close to users as possible.
I know, Chromecast and Google TV are obviously two different products. They don't share the same features or functionality, and one can be wildly more expensive than the other. But they're also attempting to solve the same problem, albeit with competing philosophies. That problem? Making your TV smarter.
The Chromecast chooses to do this as a sort of 'bridge,' making your smartphone, tablet, or computer the control center for your TV, while the Chromecast itself just acts as a sort of facilitator for this process.
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.
Update: The Verge has a response straight from the horse's mouth. It doesn't completely dismiss the idea of local content playback, but it doesn't exactly justify Google's disabling of the feature, either. Basically it's a "hurry up and wait" situation - we won't know exactly how Google intends to go forward until the developer preview for the SDK ends.
We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content.
The Chrome team is pushing out an update to all the good little Chromecasts of the world. This one doesn't come with any changes to the UI or new features, but it does promise to improve the stability for Google Play Movies playback, and should make Chromecast devices discoverable on more networks. You won't need to do anything to get this installed on your end, the OTA will automatically download and install when it's your turn.
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.
A week or two after Chromecast hit the streets, we started to see all kinds of unofficial applications for Google's HDMI streamer, many of which came from CyanogenMod Team member and ClockworkMod creator Koushik "Koush" Dutta. Now he's worked around the developer whitelist for Chromecast, allowing his app to be used on any Android device and with any Chromecast. He's calling it AirCast, and it's available for a test download now.
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.