Windows Media Center gets (limited) Chromecast support

12 Comments

Before Plex, Boxee and XBMC, there was Windows Media Center. Microsoft’s (S MSFT) original media center software is still being used by plenty of home theater and digital media enthusiasts, and it just got an interesting new feature. Media Center Cast is a Windows Media Center extension that brings some basic Chromecast (S GOOG) capabilities to the platform.

Once installed, users are able to beam videos straight from their iOS (s AAPL) or Android YouTube app to their media center device. Casting is also supported for Chrome tabs as long as the browser is equipped with the Google Cast extension, as well as for Google Play Music. Netflix (s NFLX) and Google Play Movies don’t work because of proprietary protocol extensions and DRM issues.

This isn’t the first time resourceful developers have brought Chromecast capabilities to other devices: Chromecast receiver apps also exist for Android, iOS and OS X, just to name a few. Someone even managed to get a Chromecast receiver running on a Raspberry Pi.

12 Comments

Saajan

I bough this last night and its great.. unfortunately you can’t push your own videos from the device.. but it works great for YouTube..and it doesn’t take much farting around to get it working !

Richard Eastline

Can WMC be used to extract movies and music videos stored on the computer’s hard drive and then cast to the Chromecast-equipped TV, or is there some other way possible to accomplish this?

Jon Deutsch

I can tell you first hand that this plug-in is probably the most valuable plug-in available for Windows Media Center. So much that it probably single-handedly extends its useable life by 2-4 years! Microsoft has all but abandoned it, so no streaming services are native. This plug-in brings cloud-based streaming right back to the forefront…making Media Center once again the KING of home theater management.

It’s like taking the best aspects of AppleTV and your Cable DVR, and merging them together with a ChromeCast all under one gorgeous, responsive and extensible interface.

Every person who owns Media Center needs to at least download a trial to see how awesome this plug-in is.

Kary

I’m still running WMC in Win7. Are you saying they removed the streaming in Win8?

I still don’t see that it matters though. My WMC has Netflix, but I use the Chrome browser instead. That’s why I asked my first question above, and TJ gave a good example. But streaming Netflix or Youtube from your phone doesn’t seem to be all that useful to me.

SPM

Chromecast streams directly from the Internet to your TV not from your phone. Your Phone is just used to control it.

Kary

Thank you for the technical correction. My point though is that with a PC that has WMC installed for most content I can “stream from my TV screen” using programs other than WMC. My examples were Netflix and Youtube using the Chrome Browser. TJ pointed out content taken with the phone can also be streamed, and that I would consider usefull. The rest is just an alternative way to do something thing that can already be done.

Stated differently, I’m trying to find if there’s a reason for me to spend the relatively nominal amount that Chromecast costs, and I’m not seeing it.

Rob Meier

I’m with you Kary. I have Netflix already. When I click on TV at their website it lists TV shows and I can stream (Hulu lists the TV by stations so its easy to find). Then there another option: Ways to Watch. If you click on this you are given options on ways to connect(parallels Kary’s question as to why does this have to be done): blu-ray players, streaming players, smart tv’s. Chromecast is under streaming players. So if I get chromecast what enhancements will I get?

Kary

My only question is why? What can you beam from your Android device that you can’t play directly from your PC?

TJ

Movies taken with your Android device. My wife likes to show movies of the kids via her S3 to xbox. Samsung did a great job on their casting feature. I got my Chromecast and annoyed with its limitations compared to the S3.

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