Chromecast just got a lot more versatile as Google today announced 10 new apps ready to rock on everybody’s favorite streaming dongle. After a slow ramp up to only a handful of apps since its launch such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, and HBO Go, Chromecast’s new stable will add much anticipated new services, including the ability for users to stream cloud-based content from their personal catalog.
The list of new partners includes minor players such as Red.Bull TV, the independent Internet TV service, Revision 3, and podcast manager, BeyondPod. But the real meat of the new lineup comes from the additions of its new content streaming apps, RealPlayer Cloud, Plex, and Avia. In case you aren’t familiar, here’s a quick synopsis of what these powerful new apps bring into the Chromecast fold.
RealPlayer Cloud is a new cloud-based service from RealNetworks which currently has only a few hundred thousand users. But, its new partnership with Chromecast is likely to change that, and soon. Launched last September, the app allows users to stream local content from mobile devices and PCs, as well as content from 2 free Gigabytes of cloud storage that come with the app, with additional storage available at $5/month. The app can be remotely controlled by your transmission device, and, along with Chromecast, it’s compatible with Android and iOS devices, Roku players, Windows PC, and the Kindle Fire.
Plex Media Server has been a friend and ally to Roku users with massive content libraries for some time now. Like RealPlayer, Plex allows users to access local content, and media stored in its cloud database, as well as content from online video channels called Plex Channels. The service currently allows Chromecast users to cast stored video content only, but will eventually allow them to stream their entire music and photo catalog. However, unlike RealPlayer, only paying PlexPass members will have access to the Chromecast world for now. Plex works with Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
For those in the Android universe, Avia allows for casting music, photos, and video to Chromecast from any DLNA server or Android mobile device on their local network. The app also allows users to manage pictures from social websites such as Facebook, Dropbox, and Picasa, and send them straight to the TV over Chromecast. But just like Plex, only members of Avia’s paid service will have access to Chromecast.
Other new apps for Chromecast include longtime Google partner and video streaming service Vevo, as well as Songza, Viki, and PostTV.
While Chromecast has been popular due to its low price and ability to cast content from PCs and mobile devices, its extremely limited app lineup pales in comparison to both Apple TV and Roku, the latter of which comes with over 1,000 choices. However, this power-packed new bundle gives Chromecast some real teeth in the cloud-based streaming game. For those still waiting on the sidelines, Chromecast’s latest play makes it an even more enticing option.
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