Google's Chromecast television dongle is now expected to get a lot of attention from app developers with the release of a Google Cast Software Development Kit (SDK), which will allow a range of innovative software creations to be inspired for the devices.
The release of the new Cast SDK was unveiled by Ambarish Kenghe, the Chromecast product manager, in a Feb. 3 post on the Google Chrome Blog.
"Chromecast makes it easy to enjoy all of your favorite online content on a TV screen with the simple press of a button on your phone, tablet or laptop," wrote Kenghe. "We want to make it easier for that content to get to your TV, so today we're releasing the Google Cast Software Development Kit (SDK) for developers who want to build Chromecast support into their apps and Websites. For the rest of us, that means even more of our favorite movies, TV shows and music will become available on Chromecast as developers work with the SDK."
As more content is created for the dongle, users will be able to watch for the "Cast" button in more apps so they can find new things to run using the devices, he wrote.
For Chromecast developers who wish to dive deeper into apps creation, they can go to the Google Developers Blog for more information about creating their apps, he wrote.
A current list of all apps that work with Chromecast can be found at chromecast.com/apps.
The SDK includes the final documentation and terms of service for the Google Cast SDK, a Google spokesperson told eWEEK in an email reply to an inquiry about the announcement. "Developers can start building Google Cast into their apps and prepare for release. There's a Google Cast developer portal for developers to manage and publish their apps. They can also register Chromecast devices to test their apps prior to publishing to the public."
In a related blog post Feb. 3, John Affaki, engineering manager of the client software and the services teams for Google Cast, wrote that by using the new SDK, developers can more easily move their existing mobile and Web apps to bring their content to the TV using Chromecast. "You are in control of how and when you develop and publish your cast-ready apps through the Google Cast developer console," he wrote.
The SDK is available on Android and iOS as well as on Chrome through the Google Cast browser extension, he added.
Developers can choose to display their content on Chromecast through the default media player that can play back HTML5 media content, or they can build their own custom receiver applications using standard Web technologies, wrote Affaki. "With a custom receiver, you can build virtually any application while including support for many streaming protocols, including MPEG-DASH, HLS, and Microsoft Smooth Streaming, all of which are available in the Media Player Library."
A wide range of sample apps for Android, iOS and Chrome are also available to developers so they can gain experience with the SDK, he wrote. "For Android, you'll find a Cast Companion library to make your integration of Google Cast even easier."
Support for the new SDK within all Chromecast devices has already been completed, while the Google Cast extension for Chrome supporting the latest SDK began rolling out on Feb. 3, according to Affaki. "The Google Cast SDK for Android will be available in a few days as part of the Google Play services 4.2 update, which is currently rolling out to Android devices."
The Google Cast SDK for iOS is available immediately.
In December 2013, Google announced the addition of 10 more entertainment services that are supported by Chromecast, including action sports, news, music videos, and more through VEVO, Red Bull.TV, Songza, PostTV, Viki, Revision 3 and BeyondPod.
In October 2013, Chromecast added support for Hulu Pro service to its expanding array of included services for users. That move meant that Hulu Plus subscribers can now use the Chromecast dongle to tune in to their favorite TV shows on their mobile or other devices. Chromecast users have to subscribe to Hulu Plus at $7.99 per month to receive the content, as they have to do with other subscription-based services that are supported by Chromecast. The $35 TV dongle went on sale July 25.
Chromecast is a phone- and tablet-controlled dongle that puts new convenience, and Google, into the television-viewing experience. Chromecast plugs into the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) slot on an HDTV, enabling users to direct video content to the TV via a smartphone, tablet or PC, whether it's running an operating system from Google, Apple or Microsoft. Plus, while the phone is busy "casting," it can still be used for other things, like emailing.
Chromecast works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music and, soon, more apps, like Pandora. Content is cast from the cloud to the TV—a user's smartphone or tablet essentially becomes the remote control making this happen.