Google is giving out a free movie rental to celebrate 2 years of its hit Chromecast streaming device! To claim the free movie rental, all you need to do is open your Chromecast app from your device and navigate to the settings page. From there, click on the menu and you will see the ‘Check for Offers’ option. It will ask if you authorize Google to check your serial number for offers. Your TV should display how many offers are available for your device. On your device, you should be redirected back to the Google Play store to save your offer. The offer can be saved and used by the end of this year. Enjoy!
Interesting development in the world of the Emmys. Traditionally, the Emmys have produced film, VHS, and DVDs for viewers to cast their vote by watching movies delivered via Chromecast! Previously, they had to ship the movie to its members homes or office so they can watch and post their vote. Instead, now they will have the benefit of a Chromecast which is likely to have the nominated movies preloaded for them. I don’t know what this will mean in terms of piracy as there has been instance in the past where a member uploaded the movie and the DVD signature to out the people involved. Streaming via Chromecast digitally will also allow the movies to be shown the way it was intended by the directors.
Emmy has over 18,500 members and this will be a significant savings in that front. Google will also be putting together a voting platform built into the Chromecast app for Emmys and will be able to kill two birds with one stone.
Google secretly made available an Ethernet adapter for Chromecast on their Play Store recently. The Ethernet adapter was sold on their website without much fanfare with no noticeable link from the devices page on their Play store. This is a great accessory for people who have access to a router but have dodgy or poor WiFi wireless capabilities. This adapter will essentially enable you to plug in an Ethernet cable for your Chromecast. The cost is $15 which is not that bad but considering the Chromecast itself is $35 then it is a bit steep. The Ethernet cable plugs into the power adopter which in turn will relay your network connection through the USB port. Cool!
If you order now, there is a 2-3 week wait until it ships.
Google recently had their annual I/O Conference in San Francisco, CA where they discussed upcoming features to be launched to the Chromecast. Google’s I/O Conference is a gathering of developers to hear from Google execs on support for the next generation devices, apps, and software. I/O stands for input and output and also “Innovation in the Open” which attests to Google’s philosophy of having open web technologies like Android, Chrome, Google API, Web Toolkit, App Engine, and others. Google’s I/O conference first started in 2008 and was held between May 28-29 this year 2015.
At the Google I/O conference, two major announcements were made on the Chromecast front which would improve the functionality and experience for users like us.
Queuing between apps
One major frustration as a user is the inability to smoothly transition between different apps. As great as the support has been for Chromecast, your experience is limited to a single app and any queue you have saved will be lost once you stop casting and open another app to cast. Google plans to change this by the creation of a auto-queueing functionality to allow you to line up videos in a playlist from different apps. You will be able to manage the sequence, remove, and initiate a cast at will regardless of which app you have opened.
Chromecast Game Manager API
The second announcement is for the casual gamer who wants to play multi player games using Chromecast. Google announced the launch of Game Manager Application programming interface (API) which will allow more than one device connected to a single Chromecast. Previously, developers had to code this themselves but Google’ has made this much easier to do.
Google’s also launched Remote Display API which allows gamers to control their TV using their handset. This can allow you to use your phone as a motion sensor similar to Nintendo’s WiiMote.
Google secretly launched a new feature which allows you to control your Chromecast using your TV remote. This is a bit unsuspecting but a neat feature that only works on TV with HDMI-CEC. You may be confused as the Chromecast does not have a IR receiver. The way it works is this. The Chromecast receives your TV remote signal via the HDMI-CEC enabled connector. Your remote must also have buttons dedicated to play, stop, pause, fast forward, and rewind. I just tried this on my 2009 Samsung HDTV and it did not work. If you are not sure if you have HDMI-CEC enabled TV, try to look at your manual or simply give the feature a trial!
If you have been having problems watching the famous TV show Community using the Yahoo Screen app, you are not alone. Yahoo acknowledged issues including random restarts and freezing. They have updated their app which is now available from April 2nd. Go get the updated app and see if this fixes your issue.
Google Chromecast continues to add support for apps to cast to your TV! First off, TED talks is now available for Chromecast support bringing an array of free and insightful talks to your TV screen. From its website, TED is a non-profit organization dedicated to spread ideas with short talks which is 18 min. or less. It started in 1984 when TED stood for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Now, it boasts of TED talks in over 100 languages.
Next, the PAC-12 network is available on Chromecast. PAC-12 is the collegiate Division I athletic conference which includes Oregon State, University of Oregon, Cal Berkely, UCLA, USC, Arizona State, University of Arizona, Colorado State, Stanford, utah, Washington, Washington State, and more. It covers almost all sports but is the most popular during football season and basketball season. It is a must have for alumnis. If your premiere TV provider such as DirecTV, Charter, U-vers have Pac-12 network available, you should be able to sign in using your TV login.
For music lovers, you can now cast from MTV apps and Qello. MTV app offers TV shows such as Finding Carter, Catfish, and other reality TV shows available on MTV. With Qullo, you can get free all access to full length concerts and music documentaries!
Chromecast has proven to be a big hit for Android, iOS, and computer users but Windows Phone has been a bit left out. There is limited Chromecast support for Windows Phone meanwhile support for Android and iOS devices have been growing.
That may now change. Windows mobile phone users can keep their hopes up with one app. Tube Cast is an app that allows mobile phone users with Windows OS to cast Youtube to their HDMI screen. The functions are limited as in you cannot pause, go back, or go foward but it is enough for you to select a video and play.
So far it is getting between 4-5 stars in the windows phone app store and the latest reviews are very positive. Give it a spin!
Rejoice VLC fans! One of the most popular video players will release Chromecast support with the next update. If you recall, playing video files was a huge hassle a few years ago as you had to have the right media player for the type of file you were playing. Even so, you may need to install the particular codec or even purchase it to get the picture and sound correctly. When VLC was launched, it provided simplicity. It seemingly played any type of videos or media files at will. It had a easy to use interface allowing you to control your video and also to manage libraries. another huge benefit is that it was extremely light and took very little resources. Great for people who had HTPC (home theater personal computers). VLC for Chromecast will likely launch in version 3.0. Once it is available, we will post a guide on how to use it.
If you own a Chromecast, Google is giving away $6 in Play Store credit for movies, music, or apps. All you need to do is go to this url in your Chrome browser: https://cast.google.com/chromecast/offers/
You do need to agree to allow Google to check your device ID with them to search for available offers. I was able to find other offers from DramaFever, epix, 90 days of unlimited play music streaming, and the X-Men movie also!