Google has announced an update for the Chromecast stick that unlocks streaming direct from Android devices, making this £30 streamer more attractive than ever before.
Until now you had to use a workaround app to stream content directly from your phone to Chromecast, but the 1.7 update lets you do it natively.
The update has not been widely released yet, but it is currently in testing and is expected to be released “over the next few days”, according to a post on the Chrome blog by Ambarish Kenghe, Chromecast Product Manager.
The term Google likes to use for this sort of Android interaction is ‘casting’ – you cast your screen over to Chromecast, which then pops it into your TV screen.
You’ll access the function from within the Chromecast app on most phones, or can do so directly from the quick settings menus on Nexus phones and tablets. It seems likely that HTC, Samsung and co. may embed this Chromecast feature too once they get around to it.
Kenghe says that the update will be available for “popular Android phones or tablets from Samsung, HTC, LG, and others”, suggesting you’ll merely need to be running a reasonably up-to-date version of Android to enjoy the update.
Screen casting should prove a great way to watch video in apps that don’t have Chromecast support baked-in, but action-packed games may still be a little too much to expect. As there will be some lag between what’s on your phone screen and what appears on your TV, it’s not going to be the perfect fit for a racing game like Real Racing 3.
It remains an exciting development, though.
Chromecast is probably now the most capable streaming stick you can get at the price. Top rival Roku costs around £50, while Apple TV is £79.
Chromecast costs just £30, and is available widely on the high street from shops like PC World.
The little dongle was released in March 2014 in the UK, and while UK sales figures haven’t yet been released, Chromecast reportedly outsold Apple TV in 2013.