Google Chromecast has long been a favorite for mediaphiles and TV junkies alike, offering an easy way to stream all sorts of media to your TV. Google has consistently expanded the services that work with Chromecast, originally launching with just a handful of partners and eventually opening it up to everyone by providing an official API for developers to work with. They recently rebranded this API to Google Cast and it’s been more prevalent than ever, even if there are some stragglers that aren’t quite 100% on board yet. Chromecast is the best selling media streaming device ever, so it’s just a matter of time before these developers jump on board. Controlling media from your smartphone has been a treat for many, giving the opportunity to launch media from almost any app that can play it back, but what about controlling the content after you beam it?
When watching a movie sometimes it’s just plain annoying to turn your phone on and use the media control buttons. Worse yet are the apps that support Google Cast but don’t use Android’s built-in media playback buttons, forcing you to open the app again just to control your Chromecast’s media playback. Yes this is certainly a first-world problem but it’s still a problem that Google seems to be willing to solve and now has a new and interesting solution for users to try. You can now control Google’s Chromecast media playback via the media buttons on your TV remote, so playing, pausing, etc. all work like they would with the rest of your TV-controlling experience.
Like Chromecast’s initial launch this feature is only working with a handful of apps, and it seems that developers need to build this into the app for it to work. It’s presumably working via the HDMI-CEC feature that Chromecast and many TV’s support, so you’ll need that capability before you can even use this feature. If you’ve ever cast media to your Chromecast and your TV turns itself on and tunes to the Chromecast automatically, you’ll know just how nice HDMI-CEC capabilities can be. This feature was actually added to firmware 27946 and appears to work with all devices casting an app that supports the media playback feature. So far apps like Google Play Music, Plex, TuneIn Radio and YouTube work great with this feature while Pandora and Netflix, among others, do not. Give it a shot and let us know what’s working and not working for you!