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Google Disables Chromecast App That Plays Content From Phone

Submitted by on August 26, 2013 – 2:16 pm2 Comments

When Google unveiled their Chromecast dongle for HDMI TVs recently, it seemed like the perfect device: basically, an Apple TV for a third of the cost. But this week, Google showed that their device, which streams internet content like Netflix, YouTube, and even a Chrome browser, will only stream the content that Google approves.

Indie Android developer Koushik Dutta came up with AllCast, an app that would allow users to play content from their phones on their TVs through Chromecast. But in its latest update, Chromecast specifically disabled this functionality. Dutta explains on Google+ that this probably isn’t a coincidence:

Heads up. Google’s latest Chromecast update intentionally breaks AllCast. They disabled ‘video_playback’ support from the ChromeCast application.

Given that this is the second time they’ve purposefully removed/disabled[1] the ability to play media from external sources, it confirms some of my suspicions that I have had about the Chromecast developer program:
The policy seems to be a heavy handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device. The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly. The Google TV team will likely only whitelist media companies.

I guess the concern is that an app like Dutta’s would allow users to play previously downloaded content, even movies and TV shows from rivals like Apple’s iTunes or Amazon. The app could even make it easier to play pirated content. And all of these possibilities would anger the streaming media companies working with Google, which are depending on getting more viewers for their own content and ads. The unapproved content would also dis-incentive users to buy things from Google’s Play store.

Dutta goes as far as to urge users not to buy Chromecast until this issue is resolved.

What do you think? Would third party apps affect your opinion of Chromecast?

[via TechCrunch]

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