Calling All Developers: Google Opens Chromecast SDK
Believe it or not, Apple does not rule the T.V. space just yet. Its Apple T.V. is a huge hit amongst Apple fanboys, but other gadgets, like Roku and Google's Chromecast, do exist. It's just that, until now, features have been sparse on the latter - until now. It's time for developers to start developing for the Chromecast. That's right. Google has opened up development for its version of home entertainment.
Until now, if you wanted to watch Hulu, or Netflix, or YouTube, or even listen to Pandora, you were SOL. Now, Facebook, Twitter, and even Spotify could include apps that would be supported by the device.
All developers have to do is download the Google Cast Software Development Kit and then build Chromecast support into their apps. The company claims that integration is simple, and developers only have to cover a $5 registration fee.
Media apps can use the default Chomecast media player to play back HTML5 media content. They can also customize the player with their own branding if they wish.
For other apps, the developers can create their own custom receiver apps to support standard streaming protocols like MPEG-DASH, HLS, and even Microsoft Smooth Streaming.
Google even provides sample apps to help developers get a feel for the technology and process. This is huge. With a product like this, usually, development is done in-house. But, in an open-source feel, Google has allowed developers to essentially customize the device.
This is something users are sure to love, and it's something that no other competitor offers right now. Far from being limited, it's almost like the wild west of home entertainment development. It is also becoming popular among Vuze users, who share their media with friends and family, provided doing so does not infringe upon copyright. Now they can cast the media onto their devices with ease.
Developers Love It
Word on the street is that developers love the idea. Koushik Dutta's AllCast was one of the first independent apps built for the Chromecast. It allowed Android users to cast stored video, music, and images to the T.V. dongle. That is, until a Google update blocked the feature. Now, with development opened up, Dutta has rereleased it again.
OnPlay CEO, Jeff Lawrence is also excited, though also frustrated at the slow pace of the development of the project. A lot has changed since the first developer preview, and the company needs to see what's required to make OnPlay compatible with Chromecast. Once it's ready though, it will make the device capable of streaming more than 60 web channels from Hulu to CBS to NBC and more.
This is excellent news for users. It means that they will be free from Apple and Roku, but it also means that they'll be able to cut the cord with their cable company. Think about it. This could be the beginning of a revolution in television. It's no secret that Google is working on a fiber optic Internet service.
Where it's installed, it's working awesomely well. Now, with Chromecast, the chess pieces are in place. All that needs to happen is a directed marketing effort and the funds to build out the network. This could well be the beginning of the end of the establishment and the rise of consumer-driven T.V.
Ben Woods enjoys his career as a computer programmer. He especially loves blogging about news and unfolding trends for web programming.