Monday, December 16, 2013

Chromecast - Continuing to Add Value

In a recent app approval group launch by Google, allowing apps to officially connect with the Chromecast, one key app was approved that I believe is extremely powerful: Avia Media Player.

After a generous $2.99 in-app fee to "Unlock Extras" on top of the free install, Avia makes available two key functions that I had previously not been able to accomplish with any great success, 1. Cast media stored on your Android device to your Chromecast, and 2. Cast media stored on select Cloud Services to your Chromecast.

Casting Local media has been possible, for the most part, through many weird and creative workarounds. Avia does this in two quick clicks, which is great, because it was crazy to have to setup my Android tablet as an FTP or DLNA server, then use the tablet to remote into a computer and have the computer play the content off the tablet, through a browser, which then gets cast to the Chromecast. Urrrgh.

Casting Cloud content is a huge deal! Let's talk about my setup, I have gone ahead and purchased into the Pogoplug ecosystem, where I've chosen to use the cloud offering to store my video media collection. Which is primarily just backups of old tv shows for which I've retired the actual dvd disks,
along with the music cds, to a box somewhere in the basement. When I invested in this, I knew there was no quick and easy method to get the content to tv, resigning to watch off a computer, knowing that one day a digital savior would come and free my media for consumption off the tv.

Just like local media, it is a few quick and easy clicks to get my media onto the Chromecast. I open the Pogoplug app, find my desired content and in the 'Open With...' app selection menu, choose Avia. Click and choose your cast device and you are done, Pogoplug content on the TV.

Sadly, this was the only cloud solution that I could get to work, aside from the solutions built in to the Avia app. This is too bad, since I also have ES File Explorer tied to my Box, Dropbox, Skydrive, Ubuntu One and Google Drive accounts. You may have more luck than I using another cloud file explorer or the respective cloud apps. Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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