The Google Cast Receiver app is necessary if you want to cast to your Android TV as if it were a Chromecast. Unfortunately, it's had pretty poor reviews since its release and it's about time Google did something about it. In a bid to improve the experience for developers working with the Google Cast SDK, and in turn make the app less buggy, the company is opening up a beta program that will offer early access to the latest features.
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.
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.
Google announced the final version of the Google Cast SDK and Play Services 4.2 early this month, but it wasn't quite ready for the public. Developers were asked by Google to hold off until the new services framework was finalized, and today is the big day – it's open season on the Chromecast.
There are two slightly separate, but possibly connected issues. The first and most obvious is a doubling of every Chromecast on the network. This appears to be limited to audio-only apps like Play Music, not video streaming apps like YouTube or Play Movies.
AllCast pushes locally stored videos and photos to various AirPlay/DLNA connected devices such as Smart TVs, the Xbox 360 (and the Xbox One), Roku boxes, and, originally, the Chromecast. Ultimately, Google released an update that broke AllCast's Chromecast support. But the company finally released the Google Cast SDK yesterday, and then, after getting prodded by a member of the Google Chomecast team to re-add support for Chromecast, Koushik Dutta returned the functionality to his app in supposedly under 20 minutes of work.
Chromecast support! (Requires new Google Play Services 4.2.34)
Better song info when playing music on DLNA or Roku
Power/wake leak fixes
Better photo support for DLNA
Fix for duplicate device entries in list
Fix crash on start
Fix AllCast running and eating battery when YouTube or Netflix are in use
The Chromecast is cheap, affordable, and easy-to-use. Great. That's almost all you need to have a stellar product. Unfortunately, it's been held up by a lack of content. If you want to cast something that hasn't been made by a handful of providers, you've been largely out of luck. But this situation is hopefully about to change. Today Google has released the Google Cast SDK. This way additional developers can finally build Chromecast support into their apps and websites.
With this release, the Google Cast Android API has been incorporated with Google Play Services. It requires version 4.2, which Google has scheduled to roll out starting today.
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.
If you happen to be developing an app with the Google Cast Preview SDK, you will want to check out the latest update to v1.0.1.