Amazon's Fire TV set-top box has been out for over a month now, and the hacks are starting to come together. Sure you can play your Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and Netflix content without any issue, but what about your personal media, like movies and music?
Android TV devices have had those beautiful Chromecast background images as their screensaver for quite a while now. Envious of this feature, Apple copied the idea for a similarly-styled screensaver in their newest Apple TV, but with one big twist—they used videos instead of still photos.
Google Chromecast is only 35 dollars. That's about 2 and a half drinks at a decent bar in Los Angeles. So, my roommates and I looked to make the investment. The small box arrived in the mail and the setup couldn't be easier. Simply, plug the Chromecast into the HDMI port on your TV and pair the two devices. Done and Done. Having the ability to stream anything on our computers or cellphones right to the TV was the main reason for getting Chromecast. Now, for streaming through the Chrome browse...
Chromecast is so small and portable that it would seem to be a perfect device for making PowerPoint presentations. But even now that you can mirror your Android device's display, there are still a few issues.
You can't always have your media on the same network as your Chromecast. Say you're at a friend's house or even out of town—it sure would be nice to cast your videos when you're out and about, wouldn't it?
With the development kit fully open, the functionality of our Chromecasts seem to expand with each passing day. From a portable gaming system to your own personalized news station, our little gadgets have a lot going for them.
Much like the Chromecast, Android TV devices such as the Nexus Player and Nvidia Shield TV have always had those beautiful background images as their default screensaver. However, unlike the Chromecast, these "Backdrop" images, as they're called, weren't always customizable on Android TV.
Arguably Chromecast's biggest feature since its launch, screen mirroring functionality started rolling out to select devices earlier this week, and in a word, it's awesome.
I loved the original Star Wars trilogy when I was a kid, but loathe all of the current DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming versions available today. Ever since 1997, every version of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi has had horrendous CGI effects added in that George Lucas deemed necessary to bring his "ideal" version to life.
It's no secret that we love the Chromecast. From watching movies to playing games to giving presentations, this little $35 dongle definitely packs a punch. But unless you have a strong, solid Wi-Fi connection in the 2.4 GHz range, this little device has been out of reach to you. Well, until now.
Amazon thinks that by simply removing an app from their Appstore, that they will stop users from accessing it. But with Android OS powering their Fire TV Stick and Fire TV, there really isn't anything they can do to prevent us from sideloading an APK onto the streaming media devices.
This tutorial is for everyone who has been waiting for a solution to stream web videos to a Chromecast by using an iPhone or iPad. It is easy as a cakewalk.
Screen mirroring was a long-awaited feature for the Chromecast, now available for select devices (and even more with root). While great news for those who couldn't wait to play games, watch movies, and browse pictures on a big screen, it did mean that you had to keep your device's screen on the entire time it was being mirrored.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2015: The root process has changed for the Nexus Player now that the device is running Android 6.0 Marhsmallow. I've updated this article with detailed instructions on the new root process, but the video below still depicts the old process for Android Lollipop.
Netflix was my proverbial gateway drug to cord-cutting, as I'm sure it was for many others. Yet as much as I truly love Netflix and its service, there are some annoyances I have with the interface of the desktop web version.
The older I get, the more my Friday nights involve watching Netflix at home with a bottle of Maker's Mark and a box of Oreos. Netflix is a big part of my life, and I'm not alone. YouTube and Netflix make up over 50% of all activity on the Internet, so it might be worth your time to understand why Netflix seems to cause so many headaches and what can be done about it.
Televisions used to be great for just one thing—watching TV. But a more connected world brought with it Smart TVs, devices that can access the web, stream Netflix, and even mirror your smartphone's display. And with this level of connectivity, OEMs like Samsung saw it fit to place targeted and interactive ads on your screen.
You suck at karaoke. Most of us do, but that doesn't stop any of us from hitting up the karaoke bar. It's not about who sounds best; there's American Idol for that. It's about having a great time without incurring negative judgement; the worse you are the better time I'm having.
The Fire TV Stick, as well as the Fire TV, may be limited by Amazon's fight on piracy, but after a quick sideloading of Kodi, the floodgates are back open with the freedom to stream just about any video or song you want.
As the Chromecast becomes more and more popular (it's even available overseas now), the market has seen an avalanche of Chromecast-compatible apps. We can play games, cast TV stations, and even mirror our screens, but today I'm going to show you a multifaceted tool that'll do everything from broadcasting your camera to displaying your documents.
Amazon just signed a deal with HBO to host the cable channel's original content on its Instant Video service. For those of us with Amazon Prime accounts, this is great news—but there aren't any readily apparent options for playing it on Chromecast.
Apple likes to make their products simple. However, sometimes that simplicity leads to a confusing user-experience. Take the Apple TV, for example. How do you turn it off? Just press the power button, right? Sorry, there is no power button. Okay, so it's like an iPhone and has a nondescript button designated as a power button, right? Nope.
At last month's I/O event, Google demonstrated a set of cool new features that were said to be coming to the Chromecast soon. While we may not be able to set custom backgrounds or cast content without being on the same WiFi network just yet, the biggest feature of them all has started rolling out to devices today: Screen mirroring.
Considering that the average movie ticket these days is $8.38, it's not much of a surprise that Netflix is kicking ass. The same amount will get you a full month of unlimited streaming, and you don't even have to leave your couch. While no one's arguing that it isn't a great deal, the biggest issue most users have with the service is the limited amount of available content. Anything?
When it comes to playing music at parties, the whole process can be a bit like a dictatorship. One person, usually the host, chooses all of the music and controls playback, essentially forcing everyone else to listen to the songs that they like.
Even though the 88th Academy Awards have come and gone, there's a good chance you still haven't seen all the films that were nominated—or even those that won big.
Cord cutters are changing everything about TV—the more of us that sever ties with cable, the more changes we start to see. In fact, viewing habits have already changed so drastically that waiting a week to see the next episode in a series is no longer acceptable, as binge watching has completely eclipsed this old-fashioned format.
Adding to the growing list of Chromecast capable apps, today two entertainment streamers for both Android and iOS join the list; Crackle for videos, and Rdio for music.
Although lots of the bigger hotel chains are lessening the restrictions they put on their room TVs, some smaller ones are still taking measures to prevent you from plugging in computers or streaming devices into an HDMI port. However, there are a few steps you can take to bypass these restrictions and watch your own media in a hotel that has restricted TVs.
One of the best things I love most about any new gaming console are the apps—I can switch from playing Assassin's Creed III to re-watching the fifth season of Breaking Bad on Netflix without ever getting off the couch. Beat that Atari.
At its core, the Chromecast is essentially a web browser on a stick. When you cast content from your computer or smartphone, all you're really doing is telling the Chromecast which website to load.
The Google Cast feature that serves as the primary interface for the Chromecast and comes bundled with Android TV devices like the Nexus Player is a marvel of modern technology. But as these things go, troubleshooting issues can be difficult with something so groundbreaking, especially when you consider that there are two parts to the equation—the casting device (your phone, tablet, or computer) and the receiver.
Recently, Google unleashed the Chromecast development kit, which lets developers add Chromecast streaming functionality to their own apps. However, there aren't many apps with Chromecast capabilities yet, and big companies and devs are still working on polishing their final products.
When the Chromecast first came out about a year ago, developers were quick to find a way to root the streaming device. Google was almost as fast, however, in updating the Chromecast's firmware to close the loophole that this method used.
The Nexus Player is one of the most robust set-top streaming devices on the market. This is mainly due to the fact that the base software it runs is a direct fork of Android, which is a very powerful operating system itself.
The biggest problem with Netflix (which is hardly a real problem) is the overwhelming amount of content available for streaming. Browsing through profile-specific categories might help narrow down your search on something to watch, but some of those categories come and go without warning, and it's impossible to find them again—but not anymore.
With its growing popularity, it's clear that the Chromecast isn't going away anytime soon, with options for casting games, cloud files, music, and much more. But not all content providers are in a hurry to add support for the device, and SoundCloud is one of them. While My Cloud Player is by no means an official SoundCloud app, it comes pretty darn close.
Podcasts have been around and popular for close to a decade now. For the uninitiated, podcasts are like radio shows that can be downloaded directly from the web and listened to on any device. Up until now, only paid apps allowed podcasts to be casted via Chromecast, but with the latest update to Xavier Guillemane's Podcast Addict, you can now do the same thing for free!
Using a combination of my phone, laptop, and an arsenal of apps and plugins, I can send pretty much anything to my Chromecast. However, nothing is ever perfect, and the file type that was still giving me headaches were torrent and magnet files.
The idle screen for the Chromecast is certainly beautiful. Full of many high-definition pictures taken of various parts of the world, it's almost a shame that we have to dismiss this screen in order to cast content.