April 14, 2014

HTML5 New Chrome Beta for Android Update Offers HTML5 Video for Chromecast

Chromecast users out there will have one more reason to cheer as a new update arrives for Chrome Beta for Android (NewsAlert). While Chromecast already had quite a bit going for it in terms of getting video from a device to a larger screen, the new update to Chrome Beta allows for another improvement that should prove increasingly valuable. Specifically, the new update allows users to push video in HTML5 from the mobile device through to Chromecast, potentially opening up a major new front of video content.

Activating the new feature, meanwhile, won't be best described as a walk in the park. Reports indicate that users need to hit the address bar of Chrome Beta and type in “chrome://flags/#enable-cast” to activate the new feature. Users then press go, and after, a message should appear reading “Enable experimental Chromecast support,” then hit the “enable” link and close the browser. Restarting the browser thereafter should allow users access to the feature in question.

This is said to be necessary, as the new feature is still in its early stages. Once the new feature is active, users should have the ability to move the HTML5 video content to Chromecast, and from Chromecast, play the HTML5 video on a television. However, reports suggest that, at this stage, the actual videos available for Chromecast to work with are a bit on the limited side, with only YouTube (NewsAlert) videos seeming to work, and the content from those sites using HTML5 for video outside of YouTube just does not seem to make it from the Chromecast to the television. Future updates, however, are expected to make this fix.

This is one of those interesting situations where the update is probably more valuable later than now. While some like to point out that, right now, Flash is the weapon of choice when it comes to putting out video content for websites, that's not likely to be the case forever. Back in 2013, we started seeing Netflix make moves away from Microsoft Silverlight, and its target was to move to HTML5. Of course, such a move didn't come without concerns—some were actually looking to boycott Netflix over the use of HTML5, or rather, the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology in the HTML5 video in question—but as those concerns become more readily addressed, and as both the use of HTML5 in video and the Chromecast / Chrome Beta combination expands outward, the more value it is likely to have. The use of a PC in home theater operations has been around for quite some time, so seeing Chrome Beta take advantage of Chromecast like this probably should have been expected. It's not exactly a huge plus right now, but the further modifications that are likely to follow may ultimately make this a real game-changer, and certainly something that will get more valuable as more uses for the technology emerge. It's also worth wondering just what kind of effect this will have on HTML5 gaming, another major technology that could likely benefit from getting an easy conduit to a larger screen.

While those who were looking forward to this may be a bit disappointed in its limited initial scope, the future looks progressively brighter not only for HTML5 video users but also for Chromecast and Chrome Beta users, who will be able to put the two together to make a progressively greater whole.

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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