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Ten new apps arrive for Chromecast - and more are coming

The Chromecast is getting more useful by the day with new media apps appearing. But the biggest improvement, screen casting from the latest Android devices, is still waiting to go on stage.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

I'd been assuring people that the Chromecast would become even more useful soon and I was right. Google just announced that it's added 10 new apps, actually more like directly supported media services to Chromecast.

Android 4.4.2
The biggest upcoming Chromecast improvement, the ability to cast Android tablet and smartphone screens, is still a work in progress.

These are: VEVO, a self-proclaimed MTV for the Internet age; Red Bull.TV sports; Songza, an Internet music station; PostTV, the Washington Post's Internet TV channel; Viki, international TV shows and movies, primarily from Korea; Revision 3, techie TV shows; and BeyondPod, a popular podcast manager.

On top of that you can now use three media-server programs, Plex, Avia, and RealPlayer Cloud apps to watch your own local and cloud-based video recordings. 

Plex is the most well-known of these media servers. Plex, a fork of the open-source XMBC can run on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. With it you can stream video in a variety of formats from local drives, network drives, and some cloud services. 

You can, of course, continue to play many video files simply by opening their files from your Chrome Web browser.

Google didn't mention it this time, but it's also become clear that screen casting will be coming to Android soon. In the recent Android 4.4.1 update, there were hints in the code that the ability to "cast" an Android display to a Chromecast-equipped TV was on its way. This was further confirmed in the latest Android 4.4.2 where "Cast screen" is an option under the Display settings. Unfortunately, in my tests, this still isn't working. My 2013 Nexus 7 with Android 4.4.2 was unable to detect my Chromecast.

Still, it's only a matter of time before the newest Android tablets and smartphones will be able to share their displays to Chrome cast-equipped HDTVs.

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