It’s unlikely the Chromecast will ever support local or networked music and video

google approved image

The Chromecast was announced with a heavy amount of fanfare. Obviously the price played a major role in that, but it was also because many of us envisioned unlimited possibilities. However, it might not be the device we were all hoping for. As of right now, all Chromecast development is at a standstill since the Google Cast SDK is only for whitelisted devices. But Koushik Dutta was able to break that and release his own app called AllCast, which can play video from your Gallery, Dropbox, and Drive. Unfortunately, Google’s latest update to the Chromcast disabled the ‘video_playback’ support from his application so it won’t work.

Now it’s possible that Google is only doing this for the short term since the Google Cast SDK is only Preview, but Koush and myself are thinking that Google might never allow playback from external sources. If this is true, it’s likely to appease the MPAA, RIAA and services like Netflix and Hulu. Companies like Netflix want to sell subscriptions, and if local or network playback is disabled, they have more of a chance.

This is really distressing since it’s unlikely Netflix, Hulu, or any other provider would lose all that many subscriptions if local or networked playback were allowed. If it’s pirating everyone is worried about, it continues to be a small segment of the population. Seriously folks, how many people have their own media server? Let’s also not forget that many people would like to play legitimate videos on their TVs such as their the first steps their child takes or that first basket they scored. Then there is the people who legitimately rip their purchased DVDs and would like to play them, but unfortunately it’s illegal to play any owned content on anything other than what it was intended for.

I suspect that Google may never officially move the SDK out of preview mode, which would mean they would have to approve all apps before they are released. As far as the amount of apps goes, I feel confident that the majority of important stuff will eventually get released since they are “legitimate” in the eyes of Google. You can expect to see apps from Pandora, Hulu, Slacker Radio, Spotify some day, but apps that play your own local or networked content will most likely never get approved. I know you can play local video through the Chromecast extension in the Chrome Browser, but the experience is nothing to brag about.

You’re probably thinking that developers will always a workaround, but even Koushik Dutta himself is concerned. He said on Google+, “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. I’d strongly suggest holding off on buying a Chromecast until we can see how Google chooses to move forward on third party applications.” 

Hopefully both Koush and myself are wrong, but my dream of being able to open the Plex app on my phone or tablet and cast videos is slightly shattered. Unfortunately, I am not a developer so I can’t help break any code, but I will continue to dream.

source: +Koushik Dutta

» See more articles by Robert Nazarian


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  • GraveUypo

    and a neat device becomes utterly worthless. why would i buy this shit if it won’t play my videos?

  • Silly

    I own it and am sorely disappointed. I can’t play my bands videos or mp3s. Which for me was the whole point. Google gets worse every day. Just like Microsoft or Apple now. Last time I buy direct from Google.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Pretty much the only use I could think of for a Chromecast would be to display content on my phone on a TV such as in a hotel room or at a friends house, so I’m not sure what I’d ever do with one as it stands now.

  • someone

    Freaking clueless journalist…

  • Santiago Draco

    Annnnnnnd this story is debunked as it should have been before it ever hit the web page.

  • btstump

    Might want to revisit this article with an “update” article…