Google Bolsters Chromecast With New Media Apps

Google adds 10 new media services to its £22 Chromecast television dongle, giving users more choice

Google Chromecast has been updated in order to give users a wider selection of video, music and other services.

Google revealed that 10 more services will be supported by the Chromecast device.

New Apps

“Just in time for the holidays, 10 new apps have been added to the Chromecast family,” Jennifer Wasson, Chromecast’s business development manager, wrote in a 10 December post on the Google Chrome Blog. “Beginning today, you can enjoy action sports, news, music videos, and more with the addition of VEVO, Red Bull.TV, Songza, PostTV, Viki, Revision 3 and BeyondPod.”

Google ChromecastAlso available now are apps from Plex, Avia and RealPlayer Cloud, which will let users cast their personal media content straight to their televisions, wrote Wasson. “There’s no need to huddle around small screens when you can share your own photos and videos using your phone, tablet, or laptop.”

More information about the new apps, which are rolling out to users over the next few days, can be found at the Chromecast home page, wrote Wasson. “To start casting from these apps, make sure you have the latest versions for Android or iOS, or use Chrome to cast from your laptop,” she added.

VEVO lets viewers watch music videos and VEVO original content, while Red Bull.TV delivers content from sports to music to lifestyle entertainment, according to Google. Songza  delivers music content to users, while Plex organises a user’s media content so they can watch or listen to it anywhere, according to Google.

PostTV is a service of The Washington Post newspaper, delivering video about news, entertainment and more, while Viki provides foreign language content that ranges from Korean dramas to Japanese anime and movies, as well as telenovelas and more, according to Google.

The RealPlayer Cloud gives users the capability of watching their personal video collections via their televisions, sans wires.

Chromecast Updates

In October, Chromecast added support for Hulu Pro service to its expanding array of included services for users. That move meant that Hulu Plus subscribers can now use the Chromecast dongle to tune in to their favourite TV shows on their mobile or other devices. Chromecast users have to subscribe to Hulu Plus at $7.99 (£4.88) per month to receive the content, as they have to do with other subscription-based services that are supported by Chromecast. The $35 (£22) TV dongle went on sale 25 July.

Chromecast is a phone- and tablet-controlled dongle that puts new convenience, and Google, into the television-viewing experience. Chromecast plugs into the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) slot on an HDTV, enabling users to direct video content to the TV via a smartphone, tablet or PC, whether it’s running an operating system from Google, Apple or Microsoft. Plus, while the phone is busy “casting,” it can still be used for other things, like emailing.

Chromecast works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music and, soon, more apps, like Pandora. Content is cast from the cloud to the TV – a user’s smartphone or tablet essentially becomes the remote control making this happen.

Chromecast devices are sold through Google Play, Amazon and, as well as in Best Buy stores.

The debut of Chromecast was marred somewhat shortly after its release when a 90-day free Netflix promotion that was included in the purchase of the dongles was quickly ended after overwhelming demand by consumers. The free promotion for three months of Netflix for new and existing users of the service only had a set number of vouchers for use. The quick demise of the special Netflix freebie led to some disappointed consumers who placed online orders for the devices after the free subscriptions were gone.

The Chromecast device is the company’s first offering in a fast-growing, increasingly complex market in which Amazon and Netflix are now developing original “television” content. Apple currently offers the $99 (£60) Apple TV, which enables users to watch content on their television from iOS devices, as well as from iTunes and content sources such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Vimeo.

The Chromecast devices have been receiving monthly software updates from Google to improve performance, reliability and security as part of the company’s regular release cycles.

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Originally published on eWeek.