At the end of July we saw how close Chrome OS is getting to supporting native Chromecast support in its desktop video player.
Sadly this functionality is still not quite up and running (a firewall bug is to blame, I hear). But, in the latest dev channel releases, an alternative is. Say hello to streaming video content straight from Google Drive to your Cast-ready TV.
Google Drive Cast
The paltry 16GB SSD that ship as standard on most Chromebooks don’t offer a lot of leeway for hoarding video content locally (and with super fast, large SD Cards and external hard drives the need is negated anyway).
Those of you running the latest Chrome OS Dev channel can stream videos stored in Google Drive through Chrome OS to a Chromecast. This requires the Google Cast extension to be present and enabled and a compatible video file fully uploaded to your cloud account.
Most of us have 100GB of Google Drive storage to make use of, so storing the odd video in the cloud is a great cloud-centric way around this.
Better Than Tab Casting
Unlike other alternatives, such as casting a tab, this implementation makes use of a Stream Receiver. When you tell Chromecast to play the video stored in your Google Drive account the HDMI dongle will connect directly to Google Drive to get the file – it bypasses your Chromebook entirely.
This means you’re not running two streams in tandem (Drive to Chromebook, Chromebook to Chromecast).
It works devilishly simple. Assuming you’re online and your Chromecast is turned on:
- Open the File manager
- Select Drive folder
- Open the movie file
- Click the Cast icon in the Video Player
- Select option to play in Chromecast
That’s it; the video stream will now hand over to the Chromecast directly. You can use the video player app on your Chromebook to pause, play, stop, etc. You can even close the lid without interrupting playback on your TV — neat!
The feature is currently only available to Chrome OS Dev channel users but you can expect it to filter on down to beta in the coming weeks.