Chromecast ability to cast local content via AirCast/AllCast “intentionally” broken?

August 25, 2013
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Chromecast

A recent Chromecast update has apparently broken the functionality of an Android app that lets users cast local content from the Gallery, Google Drive or Dropbox, with its developer saying the company may have “intentionally” done so.

Developer Koushik Dutta, who has worked on getting the Chromecast to cast content from various sources before actually releasing several beta versions of AirCast (also known as AllCast) once he was able to reverse engineer the process, posted on Google+ that the app will no longer function.

Dutta speculates that Google may be interested in having only certain content run on the Chromecast, as the company appears to have disabled a feature of the Chromecast intentionally:

Heads up. Google's latest Chromecast update intentionally breaks AllCast. They disabled 'video_playback' support from the ChromeCast application.

Given that this is the second time they've purposefully removed/disabled(1) the ability to play media from external sources, it confirms some of my suspicions that I have had about the Chromecast developer program: The policy seems to be a heavy handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device. The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly. The Google TV team will likely only whitelist media companies.

Does this mean that the Chromecast won’t be as open as Android users expect it to be? It’s too early to say, but what’s clear is that so far developers have not been allowed to publish any apps that would let Chromecast users stream content from local sources – Dutta was able to release his app because he bypassed the restrictions in place with developers by reverse engineering the Chromecast.

It’s also pretty clear that Google wants users to get their content from certain sources including Google Play – Netflix support is included, and other companies including HBO and Hulu are actively working on bringing their content to Chromecast users. But that does not necessarily mean that local content will be off limits for Chromecast users.

At the same time we’ll remind you that Chromecast users are able to cast Chrome tabs from their computers to the TV, which gives them sort-of an alternative of enjoying content that’s not officially supported.

Dutta went on to advise potential Chromecast buyers to stay away of the device for the time being, until Google’s intentions regarding the device are clearer.

What are your thoughts on this particular matter? Does streaming local content from your devices matter, or are you happy with the Chromecast streaming only Google-approved media?

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