Google Cast

Google Cast

Google Cast logo
Developer Google
Type Media streaming
Release date July 24, 2013 (2013-07-24)
Operating system Android 4.1+, iOS 7.0+, Microsoft Windows 7+, macOS 10.7+, and Chrome OS

Google Cast, often branded as Chromecast built-in,[1] is a proprietary protocol developed by Google that enables mobile devices and personal computers to initiate and control playback of Internet-streamed audio/video content on a compatible device, such as a digital media player connected to a high-definition television or home audio system. The protocol was first launched on July 24, 2013, to support Google's first-generation Chromecast player. The Google Cast SDK was released on February 3, 2014, allowing third parties to modify their software to support the protocol. According to Google, over 20,000 Google Cast-ready apps were available as of May 2015. Google Cast would later be built into the Nexus Player and other Android TV devices, such as televisions, as well as soundbars, speakers, and subsequent Chromecast players.


Google Cast receivers can stream content via two methods: the first employs mobile and web apps that support the Google Cast technology; the second allows mirroring of content from the web browser Google Chrome running on a personal computer, as well as content displayed on some Android devices.[2] In both cases, playback is initiated through the "cast" button on the sender device.[3]

Sender devices previously needed to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as a Google Cast receiver device to cast content,[12][13] until the addition of a "guest mode" feature on December 10, 2014;[14] When enabled, the feature allows sender devices to discover a nearby player by detecting ultrasonic audio emitted by the television or speaker system to which the player is connected;[15][16] alternatively, the sender device can be paired with the receiver device using a four-digit PIN code.[16][17] Guest mode is only available for Chromecasts; the Nexus Player and Android TV devices do not support the feature.[18]

SDK and compatible apps

Icon for the "cast button", which is used to connect, control and disconnect from Google Cast receivers. The button can also represent compatible non-Cast receivers, such as Bluetooth audio players.[19]

Release and distribution

At the time of Chromecast's launch, four Google Cast-compatible apps were available: YouTube and Netflix were supported as Android, iOS, and Chrome web apps; Google Play Music and Google Play Movies & TV were also supported, but originally only as Android apps.[20][21] Additional apps supporting casting would require access to the Google Cast software development kit (SDK). The SDK was first released as a preview version on July 24, 2013. Google advised interested developers to use the SDK to create and test apps, but not distribute them.[22] While that admonition remained in force, Google Cast-enabled applications for Hulu Plus and Pandora Radio were released in October 2013, and HBO GO in November.[23][24] Google invited developers to a two-day hackathon on December 7 at Googleplex, its Mountain View headquarters, offering the opportunity to test drive the SDK's "upcoming release".[25] The session attracted 40 developers from 30 companies and was followed by 10 additional apps, including Plex, Avia, and Realplayer Cloud.[26]

Google opened the SDK to all developers on February 3, 2014.[27] In its introductory documentation and video presentation, Google said the SDK worked with both Chromecast devices and other unnamed "cast receiver devices". Chromecast product manager Rish Chandra said that Google used the intervening time to improve the SDK's reliability and accommodate those developers who sought a quick and easy way to cast a photo to a television without a lot of coding. Google also made the SDK a part of the Google Play Services framework, thereby giving users access to new apps without having to update Android itself.[28][29] Over time, many more applications have been updated to support Google Cast. At Google I/O 2014, the company announced that 6,000 registered developers were working on 10,000 Google Cast–ready apps;[30] by the following year's conference, the number of compatible apps had doubled.[31] Google's official list of compatible apps and platforms is available on the Chromecast website. Google has published case studies documenting Google Cast integration by Comedy Central, Just Dance Now, Haystack TV and Fitnet.[32]


The development framework has two components: a sender app and a receiver app, both of which make use of APIs provided by the SDK.

Supported media

Chromecast supports the image formats BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, and WEBP, with a display size limitation of 720p (1280 × 720 pixels). Supported audio codecs are HE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), and FLAC; AC-3 (Dolby Digital) and E-AC-3 (EC-3, Dolby Digital Plus) are available for audio passthrough. The supported video codecs are H.264 High Profile Level 4.1 (decoding up to 720/60 or 1080/30) and VP8.[33]

Additional functionality and APIs

At International CES 2015, Google announced an expansion to Google Cast called "Google Cast for audio", which allows apps that support the Google Cast SDK to play audio through compatible Wi-Fi–connected speakers, soundbars, and receivers.[34] Manufacturers supporting Google Cast as a built-in function in their speakers include LG and Sony.[35]

In May 2015, Google introduced new sets of APIs to Google Cast. The Cast Remote Display APIs allow developers to create second-screen experiences for apps such as games without needing to mirror displays. The Game Manager APIs offer developers more options for creating multiplayer games.[36] Lastly, additional APIs were provided to control autoplaying and queuing of content.[37]

In September 2015, Google announced "Fast Play" and accompanying developer tools, which are aimed at reducing the delays between loading content. In a typical scenario, if a user viewed the first three episodes of a television series, the fourth episode might load in the background.[38] The feature's release has since been delayed.[39]

Compatible devices


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  16. 1 2 "Set up guest mode for Chromecast Audio". Google. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  17. Roettgers, Janko (June 26, 2014). "Chromecast will use ultrasonic sounds to pair your TV with your friend's phones". GigaOM. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  18. "Guest Mode". Google Developers. Google. July 26, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  19. "Google Cast Design Checklist". Google Developers. Google. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  20. "This Week in Tech 416". Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  21. Pressman, Aaron (August 1, 2013). "Chromecast vs. Roku vs. Apple TV: What's the Best Streaming Device? | Daily Ticker". Yahoo! Finance. Yahoo!. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  22. "Google Cast Release Notes: 1.0". Google Developers. Google. July 24, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  23. Nischol, Karan. "Cast Away: Hulu Plus on Chromecast". Blog. Hulu. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
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  28. 1 2 Affaki, John (February 3, 2014). "Ready to cast: Chromecast now open to developers with the Google Cast SDK". Google Developers Blog. Google.
  29. Roettgers, Janko (February 3, 2014). "Get ready for tons of new Chromecast apps: Google releases Cast SDK". Gigaom.
  30. Molina, Brett (June 25, 2014). "Live: Google unveils Android experiences for home, car". Gannett Company. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
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  32. "Cast: Case Studies". Google Developers. Google. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  33. "Supported Media for Google Cast". Google Developers. Google. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  34. Singleton, Micah (January 5, 2015). "Google takes on AirPlay with Google Cast for audio". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  35. "Google Cast for audio". Google Cast. Google. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  36. Tim-o-tato (May 29, 2015). "Google Launches 'Cast Remote Display' APIs, 'Game Manager' APIs". Droid Life. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  37. Ruddock, David (May 29, 2015). "Google Cast Gets New APIs, Allowing For Second-Screen Functionality, Autoplay, Queuing, And More". Android Police. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  38. Olanoff, Drew (September 29, 2015). "Google Announces Chromecast 2 And Chromecast Audio To Bring Intelligence To Your Living Room". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  39. Ruddock, David (July 27, 2016). "Chromecast's Fast Play Content Prediction feature has been delayed, still being worked on". Android Police. Retrieved November 21, 2016.

External links

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