Google’s latest nifty gadget, the Chromecast, allows users to stream YouTube videos as well as other online TV services such as Netflix from their smartphones, laptops and even PCs wirelessly to an HDTV with the Chromecast plugged in. As it stands, we’ve been pretty impressed with Google’s latest attempt at producing a proper media streaming device for the living room, but a recent find by Droid Life makes it the $35 Chromecast a lot more desirable.
From the Google event, it was revealed that the Chromecast not only streams media from various sources, but is also able to mirror individual tabs from the Chrome browser, regardless of what device the user is using. At the Google event, the feature was shown mirroring tabs containing images and presentation slides. But what about video?
Turns out, you can stream your locally-stored videos using Chromecast. The Chrome browser actually can play various media formats, including AVI, MP4, and MKV on the browser tabs. By opening a new Chrome tab and pressing Ctrl+O (Command+O for Mac), users can play their locally-stored videos from the browser, and then stream it to Chromecast via the Google Cast browser extension. A neat workaround, and adds incredible value for a $35 device.
Of course, there are some limitations. First off, Chromecast’s browser tab mirroring is in beta mode which may lead to a less-than-stellar experience, but more importantly, the Chrome browser only supports up to 720p
high bitrate playback, so those 1080p Blu-Ray rips will not work f0r now. Also, FLV files did not seem to work, as the browser begins “downloading” the file again. In addition, CNET notes that streamed videos may be choppy due to a user’s router not having enough transmission speed for effective streaming, and recommends 802.11n routers at the very least.