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Google Blocks Local Content Streaming on Chromecast

By - Source: Koushik Dutta | B 25 comments

So much for streaming your own content with third-party apps.

Google has reportedly launched an update to its Chromecast media streamer that signals the company's intention to heavily police what users can do with the device. As it stands now, Chromecast users can no longer stream local content to their HDTVs from a third-party app, a move believed to be no accidental side effect from the recent firmware update.

Cyanogenmod developer Koushik Dutta was reportedly working on his AirCast app for streaming local content – such as movies and TV shows stored on a hard drive – and discovered that it no longer functions after the latest Chromecast update. More specifically, Google reportedly disabled "video_playback" support from the Chromecast application.

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"Given that this is the second time they've purposefully removed/disabled 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," Dutta reports on Google Plus. "The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly. The Google TV team will likely only whitelist media companies."

The news isn't surprising given the restrictions Google has placed on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets. Both units feature USB OTG connectivity, but they only allow a mouse or a keyboard attachment – external storage devices are not supported. Because of this restriction, users cannot stream music, movies, TV shows and other video on these two tablets directly from an external hard drive or USB drive.

According to Google, the sender "may be a phone or tablet running on Android or iOS, or it may be a laptop computer running Chrome OS, Mac OS, or Windows. A sender application running on the sender device uses the Google Cast API appropriate to its operating system to discover and transmit to the receiver application running on the receiver device."

Dutta says that Google first intentionally banned playing local media from external sources in a sample app that provided similar functionality. "I'd strongly suggest holding off on buying a Chromecast until we can see how Google chooses to move forward on third party applications. There are also other (open) platforms and stacks that one could buy/support as well," he adds, noting LeapCast, NodeCast, and others.

Chromecast retails for a mere $35, and can be purchased at Best Buy (online, offline), Amazon and Google Play.

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    rantoc , August 26, 2013 12:14 PM
    Seems Google is quick study of all other companies who are great at shooting themselves in the foot by not allowing people to use their bought devices as they want and generating negative PR by doing so.
  • 10 Hide
    santiagoanders , August 26, 2013 12:27 PM
    Glad I didn't buy into that hype. The cheap Chinese android sticks seems like a better alternative now.
  • 10 Hide
    robochump , August 26, 2013 12:19 PM
    This is one way to kill a good product. Wow!
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    rantoc , August 26, 2013 12:14 PM
    Seems Google is quick study of all other companies who are great at shooting themselves in the foot by not allowing people to use their bought devices as they want and generating negative PR by doing so.
  • 10 Hide
    robochump , August 26, 2013 12:19 PM
    This is one way to kill a good product. Wow!
  • 10 Hide
    santiagoanders , August 26, 2013 12:27 PM
    Glad I didn't buy into that hype. The cheap Chinese android sticks seems like a better alternative now.
  • 8 Hide
    mouse24 , August 26, 2013 12:32 PM
    Maybe its just me but for a person with a family, the ONLY use for this device was to watch videos from their PC. Home movies, youtube, etc. I am positive that a busy family is not going to be happy with you capitalizing the TV just to read webpages. Kids want to watch cartoons and such not to mention you have a monitor for doing that.

    I can't see any other use for this device now that you can't stream things locally. AFAIK Xbox and PS3 have netflix.

    Maybe I'm just exhausted and not seeing the picture but... I don't understand this move except maybe google trying to sell content in an already saturated market
  • 8 Hide
    Jimmy Beats , August 26, 2013 1:02 PM
    Good job Google!!! I'm not buying now......
  • -3 Hide
    icemunk , August 26, 2013 1:14 PM
    $35 seemed like a good deal at first. Not anymore, If you want something similar, but that will do a whole lot more... http://dx.com/p/mk809-android-4-1-1-dual-core-1-6ghz-google-tv-player-w-wi-fi-1gb-ram-8gb-nand-flash-black-182532
  • 3 Hide
    HEXiT , August 26, 2013 1:15 PM
    simple solution dont buy it...
  • 3 Hide
    DanAnd10 , August 26, 2013 1:57 PM
    Much better than Chromecast is Miracast TV -- which doesn't limit the content you display like Chromecast does, and a new Miracast HD Wireless adapter ($39) became available this week, which offers a lot more features and works much more like Apple's $100+ Airplay Wireless display technology --

    One of the first U.S. sites to carry this new device is Tablet Sprint – worth checking out for this alone... and for a few new Android tablets to launch this month.
  • 5 Hide
    LordConrad , August 26, 2013 2:15 PM
    I'm glad I didn't buy one. I already have two Roku boxes and a PS3, but I was curious to see how this compares. So glad I didn't take the plunge.
  • -2 Hide
    rwinches , August 26, 2013 2:40 PM
    I believe you can point a chrome browser to a local file or to a NAS device and play a movie at 720p to view a video.
  • 3 Hide
    tolham , August 26, 2013 3:04 PM
    I'm really disappointed in google. what a shame they would make a good device and then gimp it.
  • 1 Hide
    southernshark , August 26, 2013 3:10 PM
    Well I won't buy that. Fortunately there are plenty of tv streamers out there...... Google just lost me as a customer for this product.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2013 5:01 PM
    See google this is why I don't trust you. My device is now useless, Can I get a refund or do I have to start a class action lawsuit?
  • 2 Hide
    otacon72 , August 26, 2013 5:30 PM
    There goes the only reason to buy the piece of crap..lol
  • 1 Hide
    okibrian , August 26, 2013 5:46 PM
    Oh, so now it is Google that is restricting users and after they already bought the device too. What about that don't be evil crap?
  • 1 Hide
    MumblinBerk , August 26, 2013 10:42 PM
    OMG. Google... are you crazy? A big chunk of the VALUE of the device is (was) it's local streaming ability. Taking PR lessons from Micro$oft now, are we? Heck, why not put a proprietary cable on there, while you're at it. Way to alienate your customers.
  • 1 Hide
    iamadev , August 27, 2013 1:13 AM
    I think you mean PR lessons from Sony, they are the ones that remove features after using them as a sales pitch and then sueing people that try to reinstate these features.

    MS is the one that listened to customer complaints and attempted to fix them and got derided further for attempting to appease the masses.

    But, ya know, I guess it is the cool thing to hate on MS these days.
  • 2 Hide
    saendo86 , August 27, 2013 4:07 AM
    Well there goes the usefulness. Cancels order.
  • 0 Hide
    kinggraves , August 27, 2013 7:49 AM
    Google never claimed to support the feature so don't expect a pat on the shoulder if you bought it. It was a modded in ability that was obviously going to be patched. Google wants to use it to sell pay services and it's own Google play content, just like Nexus. Bottom line, it's 35$, you get 35$ worth, which is about nothing. That's why better devices cost more kids.
  • 1 Hide
    the_crippler , August 27, 2013 9:48 AM
    LordConrad - I also have two Rokus. Coupled with the Plex app, I've seen little reason to switch away from them as I can stream local as well as NetFlix/Hulu/Amazon.

    This gizmo seemed cool at first, but not now. Roku forever, baby.
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