The popular media center app Plex may be one of the next apps to be made available to Chromecast users: The startup recently took first steps to support DIAL, the protocol that Chromecast is based on, which indicates that it is looking to take Chromecast-like functionality even beyond Google’s hardware.
Plex is a media center app that originated on the Mac, but has since found its way to iOS, Android and a number of connected TV platforms. It’s especially powerful for the playback of local files, which is a feature that has so far been missing from Chromecast.
Plex hasn’t officially announced support for Chromecast yet, but the company has left a number of clues that it is looking to embrace Google’s streaming stick. A Plex spokesperson told GigaOM back in July that his company was “actively investigating and optimistic” about Chromecast, and the Plex Twitter account acknowledged that this has been a frequently requested feature and that the company was “definitely interested in Chromecast.”
Now, that interest may have turned into action. Plex recently registered its app name for the DIAL app registry. DIAL is the open protocol for multiscreen discovery and launch functionality that Chromecast is based on, but fully implementing DIAL isn’t a prerequisite for app publishers that want to be on Chromecast. Google developed its own media playback and control protocol that is layered on top of DIAL, allowing app makers to quickly add Chromecast support to their apps. (At least that’s the theory. In practice, Hulu Plus is the only additional app that was approved for Chromecast since the device launched in July.)
However, using DIAL will allow Plex not only to embrace Chromecast, but also add the same kind of multiscreen playback capabilities to other hardware. The latest generation of TiVO recorders supports DIAL, as do TVs from Vizio, Sony, LG and Panasonic. The latest hardware maker to announce DIAL support was Roku. Fully embracing DIAL could enable Plex to let its users fling local files from their Plex mobile app straight to any of these devices.
So when will Plex come to Chromecast? The startup won’t comment, but we have heard that Google is looking to add a number of additional apps to Chromecast within the next few months.