Google’s Chromecast is now more than a year old, but the pace of development and support shows no signs of abating.
The past few weeks have seen a number of new apps, updates and experimental features introduced. Rather than waffle, let’s head on to recap the most notable of these.
New Chromecast Update
A new update to Chromecast is now rolling out, Google has said. Version 19084, which will be downloaded and installed automatically by the device when connected to a network, includes TV queue support when casting from the YouTube website, a bunch of stability improvements, and bug fixes for casting content from Chrome.
Google say the best tab casting performance from this Chromecast update will be from those running Chrome 37 or later.
Extension Adds 1080p Casting
Beta builds of the official Chromecast Chrome extension gained some new features earlier this month.
The bulk of these focus on giving more control to advanced users. A wider range of ‘enhanced tab casting’ options are now accessible, including control over min/max bit rate, capture frame rate and resolution size.
The latter is notable as it marks the first time Google has allowed users to specifically cast at 60fps and 1920×1080 resolution.
For more information on the changes in the beta add-on see this support forum thread.
Firefox Beta Arrives With Cast Support
The latest beta release of Firefox for Android comes bundled with native Chromecast streaming support, just weeks after the feature debuted in nightly development builds.
Although experimental, the feature allows fans of Firefox to cast supported video content from their mobile handset or tablet to a nearby Chromecast-enabled TV. Keep an eye out for the ‘send to’ indicator (see image to right) in the Firefox URL bar to know when in-tab content can be punted to a larger screen.
New Game: UnoCast
Chromecast games tend to be simple, pick-up-and-go affairs. Newcomer UnoCast, a free game for Android, is no exception. It’s deliciously easy to understand if you’ve ever played the regular version of Uno.
Uniquely, unlike other cast-enabled games, this one makes full use of multiple screens. Each player sees their own playing cards on their mobile/tablet screen, and the game board is shown on the TV.
New App: MunchCast
Boardgame geeks playing humorous dungeon-traipsing card game Munchkin can keep track of their scores on the TV thanks to a new free Android app called MunchCast.
“Shows leaderboard stats for a game of Munchkin on your TV…you can conveniently get an overview of everyone’s player stats on a big screen in the living room.”
Simplicity is what makes this app so great. Just turn on the telly, open the app, split the deck and start levelling up!
Notable App Updates
A bunch of mobile apps for Android and iOS have added support for Chromecast. Among them:
NOW TV — Sky’s subscription service now lets paying customers shunt content that’s part of their pay-as-you-go subscription to the big screen, negating the need to buy a £10 NOW TV box.
NPR One — The popular American public radio service has updated its Android and iOS apps with cast support. It shows a slideshow of high-quality images while streaming programming.
WatchABC — American TV network ABC now allows viewers to cast on-demand content from the WatchABC app on a big screen. Both the app and the functionality is only accessible in America, and requires a participating TV provider account to work.
GrooveShark — The popular music streaming service now allows listeners to stream content to their TVs, joining competing services Rdio, Google Play Music All Acccess and Pandora in supporting the $35 dongle.