Chromecast – a household hit

Ok; I was skeptical about the Google Chromecast. When it was released in the states I didn’t immediately bite (despite it being cheap enough to import). I’m mainly an iOS user (and fan) and so I wasn’t sure I’d get enough use out of a wifi HDMI dongle that presumably might see most support on Android.

But I was kinda wrong.

The device doesn’t really do anything I couldn’t already achieve through other means, be it wired connections or whatever. But there’s a certain cool factor to being able to control what’s on your television with your smart device and my kids have seemingly bought into it big time. I found it hard to wrestle my iPhone away from my youngest today once she got used to loading up various childrens content from BBC iPlayer and when she did give me my phone back it was to swap for the Google Nexus 7 that offered the same functionality of controlling her content from the sofa.

My eldest also found it very cool and it prompted her to download a few apps to her Moto G to take proper advantage of the device.

As for me? I tried casting some sports from Google Chrome via the BT Sport website last night (after installing the Google Cast extension) but found the sound cut out from the transmission. Maybe it’s a Microsoft Silverlight issue as I found various Adobe Flash content streamed just fine (BBC News, YouTube, etc). I read that when casting from the Chrome browser to use the lower bitrate 720p setting but I found the highest 720p setting worked just fine; there was no difference between the slightly jerky frame rate I was viewing on the television (but obviously the picture quality looked a little better).

Overall, I think the device is worth buying and I really hope developers adopt it wholeheartedly. I’m very tempted to go do some tinkering with it myself… 🙂

Silverlight released

So, Silverlight finally gets a release. The Halo 3 demo is nice enough, but I haven’t seen anything that knocks my socks off as a developer yet. My money’s still on Flash; “Moviestar” adds H.264 video support (HD) and going by Ted Patrick’s blog post it seems the next version of the Flash player, “Astro”, is going to add even more features.

I still think Adobe need to add DRM support for video when not served from an Adobe Media Server; it pretty much renders progressively-downloaded video with any rights issues unusable otherwise.

H.264 Flash plug-in now available + FAQ

Beta player here, with the FAQ here. Still no word on DRM and/or protecting content in the plug-in (as opposed to outside the browser through Adobe Media Player). Shame; looks like Silverlight will still have it trumped in that respect, as not everyone’s going to want to shell out for Adobe’s media server to ensure secure streaming of content.

H.264 (mp4) support in Flash

The third beta of the Flash player on Adobe Labs will support H.264 video, with full support in the “proper” version of the plug-in coming in the 4th quarter of this year.

Big news, and a big step towards taking on Silverlight. Lots of detailed insider information on this announcement can be found on kaourantin.net, with other sites I’ve read this morning including Yahoo!, Aral Balkan, and Flashmagazine.

Flash video and Microsoft’s Silverlight to go to war!

It seems Adobe have relented and included DRM within Flash video with the announcement of Adobe Media Player.

Hot on their heels is Microsoft, who’ve also announced Silverlight, a plug-in for Windows and Mac that’ll work across the major browsers too.

Who will win? Hopefully Flash, but it’ll depend on which of the big boys incorporate what technology on their sites, despite the apparent lacking in Silverlight’s feature set compared to Flash. I’d also like to think the ease of development might also help drive either technology.