The app floodgate promised by Chromecast’s recent release of its SD kit to developers slid open another inch today, as the popular dongle added Vudu and Crackle to its slowly-but-steadily-growing family of apps.
Super fans of the Seinfeld brand are no doubt quite familiar with Crackle, which streams the latest show starring the world’s most famous observational comedian, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” along with reruns of “Seinfeld,” and a host of other shows including “Jeopardy”, “Damages,” “The Shield,” and movies like Taladega Nights, and The Rum Diaries.
In contrast, Vudu has a wide variety of movies and programming in its stable, including spanking new releases like The Wolf of Wall Street, and American Hustle as well as popular shows like Showtime’s “Veep,” available for purchase or rental for a fee that starts at a dollar, and moves up to around $8 per title. The service also offers access to redeem Ultra Violet content from the cloud by entering codes found in Ultra Violet-equipped Blu-rays or DVDs.
Chromecast has been on the move lately, trying to keep up with its competitors in the streaming field such as Apple TV and Roku, both of which have a big head start on Google’s dongle when it comes to apps, having cultivated their platforms for several years before the Chromecast premiered last summer.
Google has made aggressive strides to add partners in recent months, hoping to make its $35 streaming stick both the cheapest and most ubiquitous in the field. The tech giant held a “hackathon” conference in December last year to spark more development, later releasing Chromecast’s full software development kit to programmers at large in hopes of spawning exponential growth. However, with less than two dozen or so mainstream apps, Chromecast has a long way to go to match up with Apple TV and Roku, the latter of which boasts a troop of apps numbering upwards of 1,200, including virtually every choice on the open market.
Adding another wrench in Google’s quest for streaming domination is a forthcoming streaming device from Amazon, which is predicted to be revealed April 2nd at an invite-only event in NYC.
Still, Chromecast spread like wildfire when it hit Amazon’s own shopping site last June, and its simple and intuitive “casting” method from mobile devices and computers has helped it become a major player in the streaming marketplace, and at a remarkable pace. The addition of Vudu is an especially big coupe for the dongle, providing a serious collection of available on-demand content for the Chromecast faithful.
As apps continue to flow from an ocean of developers, the Chromecast seems to become more useful with each passing week. And every time it gets better, its competitors must prepare new and innovative ways to make a case for their devices, which only translates to a rapidly improving streaming video experience for all.
[Update 3/31/14, 1:20 pm PST]
In addition to those prime video apps, Chromecast also recently announced compatibility with the Rdio music streaming service today, adding to the swell of new talents the device picked up ahead of Amazon’s April 2nd announcement.